All About Ebates


All About Ebates —
In today's day and age (queue old lady insults), online purchases are a regular thing. Just like getting gas each week, or picking up milk and bread. If you're going to be making these purchases anyway, then you would probably appreciate earning some cash back on those purchases — like a discount. It's basically the same as if your item was 10% off, or if you were enjoying a "Save $X when you spend $X" sale. Oh. you would appreciate some cash back, you say? Good, because this is where I tell you about Ebates, and it's nice not to talk to myself, ya know?

I have been using Ebates since 2011, and I updated this post in 2015, so I have been using Ebates for (by this time) four years. I have earned over $140 in "Big Fat Payments," which is impressive because I don't shop online all that much. I'm pretty old school (queue additional old lady insults) and prefer to go in-store for the experience... and because I need to touch/try on most of what I plan on buying... but that's just me. If you don't have the hang-ups I do and enjoy the convenience of shopping online, and do so often, then you'll enjoy many, many more Big Fat Payments using Ebates.

If you would like to (basically) get paid for buying stuff you already need, then you've come to the right place!

What is Ebates?

Ebates is free to join, and offers over 1,500 retailers to shop from. "Ebates pays members cash back every time they shop online as well as provides them with the best coupons and deals online." Basically, Ebates gets paid when you go through their site to make an online purchase, and in return, they share that commission with you!

How does Ebates work?

Let's say, for example, you want to make an online purchase from Target... because, you know, who doesn't love Target? Rather than going directly to Target's website, you would instead go to Ebates' website, and click on Target. (2% cash back, heyyy!)

After you click on Target, you'll be directly transferred to Target's website with a tracking code. This tracking code allows Ebates to know when you've made your purchase, and how much you spent, so they can reward you with the correct amount of cash back. You don't have to do anything else other than browse through Target online as you normally would, and use their checkout as you normally would. Once your transaction is complete, the information is sent to Ebates, and Ebates will email you a confirmation.

Cash back amounts vary by store, and will often times change based on promotion. For example, occasionally Ebates will offer double cash back, which you'll see labeled where the store's regular cash back amount is listed. You can find the cash back listing directly aside the retailer's name.

Wondering when you'll get yo money? Ebates pays out every three months, and you can opt to be paid via Big Fat Check, PayPal, or you can choose to have your rewards paid out to a charity/organization or family member. (Christmas gift, anyone?) You can change your preferences at any time via your account settings. It's that simple!


Ebates offers a Tell-A-Friend referral program, where you can refer people to Ebates through a link or by your email address. (Psst. That's my referral code.) When a person signs up for Ebates and makes a qualifying purchase, you earn $5.00!

Now, hold on. I know you're like, "What exactly does 'a qualifying purchase' mean?" Everyone can settle down, because there's no fine print here. A "qualifying purchase" just means the person signed up, made a purchase through Ebates, and has successfully paid. (Also known as, their bank account has sufficient funds. You feel me?)

There are also added rewards for how many people you refer, for example:

  • Currently, there's an increased payout for referring two people, which ups your reward from $5 to a total of $50 overall!
  • Occasionally Ebates will offer prizes and/or trips. Right now they're offering a Hawaiian Getaway Giveaway!
Then there's something called a "Power Referrer", which is for you super popular folk who have the skills of a pitchman. You still earn your $5 for every referral, but you also earn additional bonuses. The more people referred, the more you earn, with a potential of $25,000! Whoa! I don't think I know enough people to score that kind of cheddar. 


Now that you know who Ebates is, how they work, and how you can earn even more cash back, I have a few tips I've learned along the way to eliminate headaches, and maximize rewards:

1. Post a note on your monitor to remind you to visit Ebates first!
I can't tell you how many times I went directly to a website out of habit and missed out on earning cash back. You can take the note down once you get into the habit. (As if you needed my permission...)

2. Go through all the categories and "favorite" your frequently-shopped stores!
Click the heart next to your favorite stores. They will now show up under your "My Ebates page," and you'll be able to see each store's current cash back, as well as valuable coupon codes, which leads me to....

3. Always check your My Ebates or store page before clicking through.
These pages are constantly updated to show current promotions and coupon codes. Your My Ebates page will also show your pending cash back, when you'll be paid next, and how many qualified referrals you have earned.

4. Hold off on clicking through if you aren't sure what you'll be buying.
At first, I often timed out our tracking number while browsing, and had to start all over again. When that happens, and you revisit the store, a second tracking number is issued, and it makes for a headache as Ebates has to sort this out, resulting in longer-than-usual processing.

What I like to do is go to the store's website like those non-cash-back-earning people, take my time browsing, load up my cart, and then go to Ebates and click through. My items are still in my cart, and I can proceed to checkout with my handy tracking number, sipping on my latte, earning my cash back. Heyyy!

Now that you're more informed, potentially-cash-back-earning shoppers, will you be giving Ebates a try? Go ahead, sign up (shameless plug — here's my link), browse the stores, mark your favorites, and enjoy your savings!

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