Note: In 2014 Rakuten purchased Ebates. Since they took over Ebates, they have slowly changed the look, feel and even the name Ebates to Rakuten. However, until we are officially ready to stop calling them Ebates and adopt the name Rakuten, this is still an Ebates review.
*My latest savings hack using Ebates, Honey browser extension, and Giftcard Granny has been added at the bottom of this post. Watch Now (Video)
2020 Ebates Review: What is Ebates?
Ebates is a company that is partners with over 2,000 online companies to form an affiliate relationship with each company. An affiliate relationship simply means Ebates and each online company have created a partnership where Ebates will refer you or I to buy something from them, and that company then sends Ebates a thank-you referral.
The good news: Ebates then splits the thank-you referral with you, and you earn Cash Back.
For example, at the time this post was published, Kohl’s has agreed to send Ebates a thank-you referral of 12% Cash Back for whoever shops online at Kohl’s via the Ebates website. Ebates then splits the referral commission with you or I (the online shopper) and we each earn 6% cash back.
It truly is a Win-Win-Win.
- #1 Win – The Online Retailer: The online store is getting more of us to shop online at their stores.
- #2 Win – Ebates: Ebates receives a thank-you commission for referring us to shop online.
- #3 Win – You and I: Ebates splits that commission with us in the form of CASH.
Getting Started with Ebates
Creating an account with Ebates is FREE and simple.
To create an account with Ebates, all you need is an email address, Facebook account or a Google account to get started. Once you create your account, you can shop online just like you would normally do, however now you can earn between 1% – 40% CASH BACK at over 2,000 online stores!
The Cash Back is truly Cash Back, meaning you will either receive a check in the mail or your money will be deposited into your PayPal account. Remember, this is actual money, not a bunch of gift cards, points, or anything like that.
To get started, go to the Ebates website to create an account. You will see a pop up here that looks like this:
This $10 bonus you’re receiving is because I referred you to the Ebates site!
Just to be 100% transparent, Ebates will also send me a thank-you referral for referring you to their site. However, you can also refer your friends and family to their website and earn the same thank-you referral as well!
I will explain more about this little side hustle later in this post.
How to Shop and Save with Ebates
Right now, the vast majority of cash back savings is online, however there are specific stores that offer in-store cash back as well.
According to a recent study, millennials do 60% of their shopping online. The fact that you are here reading about Ebates shows you are also online, and chances are you regularly shop online.
This is why I see Ebates as an absolute no brainer – you’re going to get cash back for doing what you’re already doing.
Search Ebates First (Good Option)
Before you shop online, head on over to the Ebates website and you can search the 2,000+ online retailers to see if they have a partnership with Ebates. Once you find a store where you’re going to shop, simply click on the button of that store.
For example, let’s say you’re going to purchase something from Things Remembered and you go through Ebates to get 16% Cash Back. You would click on the Things Remembered icon below:
Once you click on it, you will be taken to the screen below to let you know your cash back is now activated:
You will then be automatically redirected to the Things Remembered website to shop. This extra step took a whole 10 seconds which in return offers you cash back for doing something you were going to do anyhow – shop online.
Get the Ebates Button (Best Option)
Guess who is the king of buying something, bringing it home, and then finding a coupon for it after the fact?
Ebates must know we sometimes do this so they created a button we can add to our Google Chrome Browser. Now instead of having to remember to go to Ebates first, we will get a little notification on our screen when we arrive at an online store that is an affiliate (partner) with Ebates.
Andrea and I are big fans of Groupon because we LOVE getting a deal! Now, when we go to Groupon, this little pop up let’s us know we will get an additional 6% back on anything we purchase via Groupon once we activate the Ebates Reward.
Note: You can get the button added by clicking here.
This is something that is newer to Ebates, but it’s really cool!
What you will need to do is add your debit or credit card to your Ebates Account. Then, before you shop in-store, check Ebates.com or the Ebates app for both iOS and Android, and see if that store has an in-store cash back option.
All you will need to do next is click on “Link Offer”.
Now, just make sure you use the same credit/debit card you added to your account when you checkout, and you will receive the same cash back as you would if you shopped online.
You can also search where you live to find if any of the stores in your area are offering in-store cash back. This is an example of where I live in Phoenix, AZ. As you can see, Macy’s is offering 3% in-store cash back. However, Macy’s also is offering 6% cash back when you shop online. I would always recommend checking both online vs in-store to get the best deal.
Daily Deals, Coupons, and Promo Codes
In addition to cash back, you can also use Promo Codes to get an even further discount. For example, when I logged into Ebates today, I noticed a one-day promo for Macy’s and Kohl’s in addition to my 6% cash back. You can see exactly what it looks like below.
Now not only will I get my 6% cash back, but I will also receive an additional coupon/deal that is currently offered by Macy’s or Kohl’s. Plus, this saves me the time of looking around the web for coupon codes before I buy something online! Ebates makes it quick and simple.
When Do I Get My Cash Back?
Pay close attention here, because I want you to know exactly how it all works. Ebates is going to either send you a paper check in the mail or they are going to pay you via your PayPal account. They aren’t going to send you a check for each and every little transaction you make in the form of cash back. Instead they have a payment schedule set up in advance. You can see it below:
|Purchase Period||You Get Paid On|
|Jan 1 – March 31||May 15th|
|Apr 1 – Jun 30||Aug 15th|
|Jul 1 – Sep 30||Nov 15th|
|Oct 1 – Dec 31st||Feb 15th|
How to Earn More Money with Ebates
Ebates extends their referral program to any Ebates member who would like to share how to earn cash back while shopping online. Once you create an account with Ebates, you can invite your friends and family to join in on the cash back savings, and YOU will also receive a thank-you referral.
You can share Ebates with anyone via your Gmail contacts, by sending them an email, sharing on Facebook, or by copying your referral link and sending it out. If you have a website or blog, you can also add in the link and a small Ebates widget anywhere on your site.
As you can see, when someone shops via Ebates and spends $10 or more, you will get $25.
If you look in the top right, this shows you the amount I have personally made with Ebates including cash back!
Side Hustle Alert!
Here’s the really crazy part….this could be a great little way to try a side hustle. Remember how earlier I showed you how this was a win-win-win. Well, I would also go as far as to call it a win-win-win-WIN!
- #4 Win – Side Hustle: You can earn money fast by helping your friends and family save money while doing something they’re most likely already doing – shopping online.
Ebates Pro Tip
Here’s my BEST piece of advice for you: Try Ebates out for a few weeks first before you tell anyone else about it. I find a lot of value with Ebates because I know my friends, family, and you will save money by literally doing the exact same things you’re already doing – shopping online.
I am 99.9% positive you’re going to see the value in Ebates, but I would still highly recommend you actually try them out before you share this with a friend.
The One Problem with Ebates
Whenever I do a review like this, I always look for the good and bad. If you ever read a review that doesn’t point out the flaws, this should automatically be a red-flag alert!
However, finding the “bad” with Ebates was difficult. It’s free, there isn’t software you have to download or install, and the amount of effort to activate your cash back is effortless. I still dug into it and found a few things you could consider flaws:
- Deals will come and go. You may shop one day and see 6% cash back and then a few months later the partner is no longer found on Ebates.
- It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re getting your cash back. 99.9% of the time your account will be credited within 48 hours. If you don’t see it in your account, it’s your responsibility to notify them about it via a form on their site.
- You will only get your cash back payout once every 90 days.
Watch Video: The Triple Savings Hack
If you want to get a little crazy, you can do what I have been doing and I actually made this video to show you how to also.
I use Ebates, the Honey browser extension, and Giftcard Granny all at once to save the absolute most money possible. When I arrive at the online retailer I activate my Ebates to get my cash back activated. Then at checkout, I click on the Honey browser extension to apply any available coupon codes. Once I know my final checkout price, I search Gift Card Granny for an online gift card at a discount (someone may be selling a $50 gift card for $42 to get rid of it).
This means I am getting the cashback discount, the maximum discount using any and all coupon codes, and then the discount at the end with a bargain gift card.
Triple whammy my friend!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Membership Fee?
No. Ebates is 100% free for anyone to use.
What if I return something?
Your cash back will then be reversed. However, it is important to note that if you are sending the item back only to exchange it, you must go back through the initial process of activating the cash back via Ebates.com or the Google Chrome Extension or Ebates may not be able to capture your rewards.
How long does the cash back take to show up in my account?
Cash back will show up in 48 hours or less. However, in very rare instances the retailer will not credit Ebates your cash back until their 30 day return period has expired.
What if the cash back doesn’t show up in my account?
Ebates has a “Help” Link which will ask you to fill out the store name, the date, and order number, so they can track down your Cash Back and get it resolved for you.
Is there an Ebates App?
Yes, for iPhone, Android, and iPad.
Does Ebates work outside the United States and Canada?
Yes. Just make sure the online retailer ships outside the U.S and Canada. Also, your Cash Back will come to you in whatever currency you set up as your initial payment method.
As you can see, Ebates is a great way to shop and save money without much effort. The days of making your latest hobby clipping coupons and storing them in your purse or wallet is gone. Thanks to places like Ebates, the effort of saving money is as easy as clicking one or two buttons on a computer screen or mobile app.
In addition to saving while shopping, Ebates also has one of the most lucrative referral programs on the internet. By sharing the savings with your friends and family, you can earn hundreds of extra dollars.
Sign up for free with Ebates right now so you are ready for the next time you shop online. Also, don’t forget about the Ebates Chrome Extension (desktop only) – it’s an automatic savings game changer!
I literally signed up for ebates the day before you posted this blog post. Grrrr!
I literally signed up for ebates the day before you posted this blog post. Grrrr!
Great post. What happens if a referred friend needs to return part of their order? Is the referral bonus completely rescinded from you and the friend?
Additionally some stores note that using promo codes not listed in eBates may result in cash back being voided. Have you found this to be true out of the time?
I’m not sure about the referral bonus. You may have to look on their website.
I just now uninstalled Ebates after several years of erratic use on my part. I happened to see the permissions I was giving Ebates by having it installed on my computer! Please look at what they collect: I didn’t make a list, but it included passwords and card numbers!!!! I guess they have to have the info. to carry on their business, but I don’t believe I want to be totally exposed just to get their small % back. I don’t think they are transparent enough in their advertisements…or I’m just not careful enough about examining permissions I’m allowing.
Wow! I might have to check that out! Thanks for the information!