Ebates: How I saved $847+ shopping online!

Way too many people I’ve mentioned Ebates online shopping cash back rebates initially think it’s a scam or are too lazy to save extra money! I’ve been using this since 2013 and I’ve had nothing but a positive experience. Maybe I need to work on my initial “pitch” since not that many people believe me. One of my best friends when I first brought this up was worried since the parent company Rakuten had an unreliable past (if you follow that rabbit hole link on Wikipedia). She also followed me when I first started my journey into savvy online shopping through SwagBucks as a referral. (That’s another saga haha spanning my middle/high school years.) Ebates is probably one of the most popular online cash back (CB) affiliate link websites that paved the way for many others. (They’ve also acquired several other moneysaving deals websites.)

$847.12 lifetime cash back

I love online shopping!

Q: What is this and how does it work?

A: Ebates has an agreement with over 2,000 online retailers to earn commission when a member initiates a shopping session through their affiliate network links and makes a purchase. They will share some of the savings to members in the form of cash back as a percentage of the total order total (before tax and shipping costs). In some rare instances they offer a fixed dollar amount. Basically when you’re about to make a purchase online, you can check if cash back % or $ value is available for the retailer! VERY IMPORTANT, make sure you click through their link so it’s registered that you made a “shopping trip” when you are about to complete your purchase. If you forget to do that it’s very difficult to file a follow up ticket to receive the cash back. Every quarter members receive a “Big Fat Check” payment through the mail or through PayPal!

Ebates instructions

Q: Why should I sign up? Seems like a bit of work and I’m sacrificing info…

A: If you make a significant amount of purchases online you could greatly benefit from Ebates. It’s especially useful around Black Friday/Cyber Monday or holiday shopping in general when you don’t want to deal with the hordes of people. Once you make your purchase most of the time you will either will instantly get an e-mail after purchase or maybe a few days later when the product ships. Honestly to sign up you just provide your name (you could use a nickname or alias if you wanted) and your address. The address is for mailing you the Big Fat Check. You can also link our PayPal account to receive the transfer much faster. I’ve just started doing this recently after a anxiety overcame me. I stalked the mailbox and mailman daily hoping it would arrive soon. In terms of actually exerting energy you just need to remember to visit the website BEFORE checking out. They also have created these nifty toolbars in your browser to automatically a “Activate” and remind you if you’re on a qualifying cash back website.


I used a gift card for this purchase of 2 pairs of boots and also received cash back!

Q: You’re just trying to refer me aren’t you? What are the downsides?!

A: Great segue into my actual review portion of the post! While yes I will get a “referral bonus” ranging from $5 to $30 (depending on their promotion cycle) if you sign up and make a purchase, my purpose is more to inform you wonderful readers. I’ve actually had the misfortune of referring one of my friends who signed up years ago, but NEVER made a purchase until just recently. Your referrals do expire after 1 year, but honestly this usually isn’t a problem haha except for my weird instance.


Keep in mind the drawbacks listed below are very common pitfalls with all cash back websites for perspective.

  • EXCLUSIONS – read the fine print for large department store retailers. Look for wording like “up to 10%” cash back. Sometimes the cash back only applies to certain categories for a % of different values, or excludes certain categories (i.e. gift cards, electronics, music etc…) Specialty retailers are definitely the way to go in my book.
    • Amazon (Up to 10%) – I have YET to redeem any cash back with this retailer because of the nitpicky categories. Shame for the original beacon of online shopping. I can’t foresee buying clothes or home services.
    • Target & Wal-Mart (1%) – It’s better than nothing right? Check categories.
  • Inconsistent cash back confirmation notification
    • Some retailers (looking at you Ulta) are notoriously SLOW at confirming the purchase even after your product has shipped!
    • If you’re impatient like me you can directly submit a missing cash back form with your e-mail order confirmation from the retailer. They will 99% of the time instantly credit your account with the money, in the rare instances (larger cash back amounts) a customer service rep will investigate and get back to you.
  • One additional step when shopping online of logging in/clicking through a link
  • Quarterly payout – I’m extremely impatient, but I love seeing my cash back balance increase. It makes sense that they do it only every 3 months since customers could have returns that void the cash back. Mr. Rebates is similar where they make you wait up to 90 days for your purchase to change from pending to confirmed cashback.
Q: What are your favorite cash back qualifying stores?

A: I thought you’d never ask! You might judge for the amount of shopping I do online now, but you asked for it. Ebates frequently has “Double Cash Back” (DCB) promotions and sometimes “Triple Cash Back” (TCB). I always anticipate their yearly “Birthday” event where they have up to 15%!

When they have the quarterly cash back payout before the official “Big Fat Check” or paypal they sometimes have the option for you to redeem an e-gift card! You can get a 10-15% bonus added and this is a great way if you were planning to make a purchase anyway. Often get 10% bonus from either Sephora or Ulta!


Limited time offer or you can wait for the Big Fat Check.

  • Groupon – 9% cash back frequently! If you’re savvy and combine it with the sites’ own 20-25% off deals you’re getting quite a steal. Any moneysaving adventurists’ arsenal would be incomplete without this or LivingSocial. (It’s debatable whether it actually helps local businesses gain loyal customers, but that’s another article for another time.)
  • Sephora – 2.5-4% usually or 8% DCB. As a recovering beauty addict I try to justify that the cash back helps offset the MA tax of 6.25%
  • Ulta – 3% usually, rarely featured on DCB. I’m slowly converting more purchases to solely Ulta for their better rewards program. (Again this is another potential post!)
  • ModCloth / Forever21 / BananaRepublic – 1-2% usually, rarely featured on DCB. Well now you guys know where my style comes from haha. I never boasted to be a fashion blogger!
  • Target – 1% usually, rarely on DCB, exclusions recently added. I just love the brand and the feature to order online and pick up in store (specifically for the CB).

Rating: 4.5 ★★★★1/2

Categories: Affiliate, Brand, Product, Review, RewardsTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Ebates is setting a new trend in online shopping! This comparison video at the bottom of the page at my website shows how. The concept is brilliant!


  2. I used to use a similar website in the UK when I’d sign up for bills (like car insurance or gas/electricity) I’d get pretty huge amounts of cashback (it was £130ish in the first 6 months), and I’d save money on the utilities that i’d switch to. It was less good with shopping through – most stores only gave 1% for everyday shopping.

    If I sign up to ebates, i’ll come and use your link. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow getting cash back for bills sounds even better!!! Since those are expenses you can’t even avoid haha excellent work! Yes hope you get to save some money if you have to do some online shopping! There are also websites that compare for you what the cash back % across all of those type of websites but the minimum cash back is a pain and managing all of those accounts!

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. It’s great for bills but it only works when you first sign up, so you need to change providers each year to get the cashback. Most people don’t bother, so you can save a huge amount by doing that!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is true! It’s a big hassle to reset everything up haha we’ve done that with cable/internet providers but that’s kind of up in the air with the current state of US net neutrality yikes! But all the different companies always offer GREAT intro rates then jack up the price year by year.


  3. I see this advertised all the time and think hmm…. so thank you for the post and pros and cons. More information is always good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Ebates! Though I don’t get nearly as much back as you do because we just don’t do that much online shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t used it yet….but signed up after reading one of your other posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love Ebates!!! Especially on Groupon travel deals!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My friend got me onto ebates about 5 yrs ago. I haven’t earned as much as you have but I have been enjoying getting the cash back! I did run into some challenges because I use an ad blocker extension which restricted the ebates link back. I’m not as savvy as you – usually I’m planning to buy something online already and I just go check if they’re listed in ebates. I don’t typically go looking in ebates for deals first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s awesome haha you’ve been a member longer than me! It’s probably kind of embarrassing the amount of shopping that I did between all the stores that I listed to get those rewards. I also have Mr. Rebates too, which is slower and the customer service isn’t as good. Curious have you successfully referred any friends? I haven’t had too much success.

      They have an Ebates toolbar/extension so I don’t know if that helps. I like how Ebates also lists out coupon codes too!


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