Ebates Review: How Much Cash Can I Really Get Back?

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Most of us do a lot of things to try and save money. You have probably seen advertisements and commercials for Ebates where people show you a stack of money stating they got a refund just for shopping like they normally do. What is Ebates? In short, Ebates is a company that offers coupons and savings when you shop at their partner retailers.

You need to create an account with Ebates and browse their website where you will “add” items to your list. Your list is then linked to your card, so when you go shopping and purchase the items you added, you will get a refund.

Ebates was founded in San Francisco, California in 1988. Since that time, they have amassed over 2,000 online and retail outlets across America to partner with them to save you money. They work with their partners to bring you discounts, promotional codes and cash rebates when you shop in their stores.

How Does It Work?

When you sign up for an Ebates account, you are given options for products and retailers that Ebates is an affiliate for. These retailers give Ebates money for sending customers their way. When you make a purchase, a portion of that profit is given to Ebates, who then turns around and gives you a portion of what they receive.

So, for example, let’s assume you signed up for an account and downloaded the Ebates app. You log into the app and find that there is a coupon for something you are interested in at the online shop of Macy’s. The coupon tells you that you will get an Ebates reward of six percent.

When you click on the coupon, you are taken to the Macy’s website, and you can do your online shopping. As long as the specific products are purchased, you will earn six percent of the total amount the Macy’s gives to Ebates.

If Macy’s gives Ebates two dollars for sending you to their site, you will, in turn, receive six percent of that two dollars. So not only do you get a coupon for a lower price on what you were going to buy anyway, but you also get a cash refund for making the purchase.

By using the Ebates app, or website and following through with your purchases, Ebates will make money for their referral. You make money just be being referred and making your purchases.

Ways To Earn Cash Back

Ebates offers many different ways to earn cash and rebates. They offer coupons for online retailers, in-store rebates, Hot deals, Double Coupons and Seasonal Deals as well as the Refer and Earn.

Refer and Earn

The first cash back option you will see is when you first make your account. You will qualify for a sign-up bonus of ten dollars. To earn this ten dollars, you must be a new member and spend a minimum of $25 in the first 90 days of opening your account. If you do, you will get an extra $10 deposited to your account.

You can also refer new members to join as well. When signing up, they can put your account email address in the sign-up form, and once they qualify for their welcome bonus, you will get a referral bonus of $25.

In-Store

Getting your rebates while shopping in an actual store is a bit different. Before you head out, you will need to log in to your account and link a credit card. Once that is done you will then select the items you wish to purchase and link them to the account.

You can also continue to link items while in the store using the Ebates app. When you check out, you must use the credit card on the account and make sure that you sign a receipt. Using a debit card and PIN will not qualify the purchase.

Every quarter your rebates will be added up and sent to you via PayPal or a paper check.

Double Coupons and Seasonal Deals

Many retailers will offer to double the amount they pay for referrals during special events, sales or holidays. During this time, you can browse the website for double coupon stores and see what they have to offer.

These will be online vendors such as Amazon, JCPenny, Ebags, American Eagle and more. When you click through their coupons and make the purchases, your rebate is doubled. The amount of the rebate is clearly positioned on the coupon before you click so you know how much to expect back.

Online Deals

The original method of earning cash back is through Ebate’s large selection of online retailers. Since 1998 they have amassed affiliations with over 2000 online merchants, including WalMart, Macy’s, Kohl’s and many others.

The concept is the same though: Log in, browse for items, coupons or deals, click through to the retailer and shop as you normally would.

You will earn a rebate for shopping for items you already buy while also saving on the retailer's specials, promotions, and sales. On top of the coupons and savings, you will also receive a cash back rebate from Ebate’s for shopping through them.

Ebates also offers other ways to save that include an Ebates credit card that is automatically linked to your account. You can apply for the card through their website. They also have Ebates buttons, which is an extension of their site as an add-on for your browser.

The Ebates Chrome extension (which is now also available for Firefox) will allow you to click and save without having to go through the website.

Special Offers

Ebates has special offers that change constantly. Certain vendors will offer to pay more, or give extra coupons for certain items at certain times of the year. These special offers are extended to you through coupons.

With these special offers, you will save even more on the things you will buy every day. This should be a daily stop for you so that you never miss a deal. You will still receive the Ebates cash back, but you will also save more by looking through the daily deals.

You can get specials such as half off and free shipping on entire stores, extra cash off certain items and percentage discounts not offered through the vendor in any other way.

Redeeming Your Cash Back

The obvious goal of signing up with Ebates is to get a check with the refunds you have earned by shopping through them.

What may not be so obvious is how this actually happens. Each vendor will handle their payments to Ebates a little different, which in turn, means you will get your rebates in slightly different manners.

Most outlets will give the rebate within 48 hours. You can log in to your account and see what has been applied to your refund and what is still pending. Once the rebate has cleared, it will be in your account.

Some vendors have return policies which you may have to take advantage of. Instead of reclaiming the rebate if you return an item, these vendors will wait to send the rebate until the return period is over. This can be up to 30 days, sometimes more.

Larger purchases can take even longer because of the complex returns and shipping procedures that are involved. However, once everything has cleared, your rebates will appear in your account.

Ebates will issue you a payment for the amount that is cleared and in your account every quarter. There is no way to withdraw early. You will have the option, though, to have the funds deposited in your PayPal account which will usually be processed within 48 hours of the quarterly disbursement date.

The other option is to have Ebates send you a paper check through the mail. You won’t have to lose money through the PayPal fees, but you will have to wait up to two weeks for the check to arrive.

Pros & Cons

Just as with everything else, Ebates will have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Thousands of online stores that you probably visit already.
  • Cash rebates are simple to obtain and easily viewed on the site.
  • Daily and seasonal specials to save even more.
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    Money paid through PayPal or paper check.
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    You can earn rebates by shopping online or in a brick and mortar store.
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    The welcome bonus has 90 days to be earned.
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    Referrals pay $25 each.
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    Customer support typically responds and resolves issues within 24 hours, seven days a week.

Cons

  • You must link a credit card for in-store purchases.
  • Pay-outs only happen four times per year.
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    No early withdrawal allowed.
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    Returned and replaced items may not qualify for the rebates.

Customer Reviews

The reviews are in, and for Ebates, they are pretty exceptional. Overall people around the Internet are giving Ebates four and five stars. Their reviews include huge accolades for the customer support and fixing problems or issues fast. Most reviewers are surprised at how easy the whole thing is and are excited when they receive their payouts.

There are, of course, a few bad reviews. These tend to be about the payouts or the amounts. One review stated they purchased a large ticket item (over $400) and had to return it for a different item and didn’t qualify for a rebate. It is unclear, though, if the new item was on the Ebates site or not.

Ebates Vs. the Competition

There are now literally dozens of cash back rebate style websites like Ebates. Each one has it’s own pros and cons. Which one is right for you is a matter of taste, preference and shopping habits.

Sites like TopCashBack will have better cash back opportunities than Ebates, and we have found that most members of one are members of multiple rebate sites. Ebates does have the largest field of vendor affiliates, though, and may offer more opportunities to save money and earn rebates than most other sites.

Building Your Strategy

Getting rebates from Ebates isn’t magic. You will have to do the legwork. The best strategy is to know what you are looking for and stick to your shopping list.

  • Create your shopping list(s) and plan for what you need to purchase.
  • Log into Ebates and scan the stores and departments you normally shop at anyway.
  • Compare your list to the coupons, deals, and incentives offered on the site.
  • Link your purchases to your card, or through the online shops.
  • Stick to what is only on your list to avoid overspending.
  • Realize this is a long-haul game; your rewards are stacked, and the payout is three months away.
  • Don’t spend aimlessly. The best way to save money is not to spend it. Use the Ebates site for things you will buy anyway.

The Deal Meisters’ Tip

The absolute best way to save money through Ebates is to combine offers. Shop online versus in store to make sure you check the Hot Deals section for increased savings. Use these coupon codes along with the rebate amount for double or even triple the savings!

Is It Right For Me?

To be successful with Ebates, you need to understand that this is not a money-making venture. Instead, it is a money saving venture. If you can keep that mindset and make yourself stick your list, buying the things you normally would anyway, you will enjoy the rebate checks when they arrive a lot more.

Deals and Coupons

You can sign up for Ebates right now and receive a welcome bonus of $10! It is fast, free and easy to sign up and become a member. You should be aware that to qualify for the welcome bonus you will have 90 days to use the site and make a minimum of $25 in qualifying purchases. This means you will have to buy the things listed specifically, not just one item and a cart worth $25.

Review Summary

Ebates is the pioneer of online coupon deals. The receive a monetary kickback through their affiliates for sending you, the consumer, to a vendor website. Ebates, in turn, takes a portion of their affiliate kick back and gives it to you. You can earn rebates as well as great deals on items you are likely to purchase anyway. Ebates makes saving money on everyday purchases easier and cheaper, which is the real win. The rebate check is just the icing on the cake.

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