What if I told you that you can get free cash back just by shopping? Sounds impossible, right? Shopping only drains money from your bank account; it doesn’t put it back in! Sure, that’s the way the world has worked for… well, for a really long time. But now we have the Internet, and the Internet has changed everything. Thanks to the Internet, affiliate marketing has evolved and Ebates was born.
Ebates has been around since 1998, which is forever in Internet years. They’re a free website – and committed to always remain free—that allows you to earn cash back on your online purchases (and some made in store; see below!) without having to sign up for another credit card. Using Ebates is as easy as clicking on their link for the retailer you’d like to shop, whether Amazon, Kohl’s, Walmart, or Groupon (and many more), and then completing your qualifying purchase.
I have been a member of the site since 2011 and people ask all the time, “Is Ebates legit?” Frankly it is one of my favorite ways to earn passive income, stash away some extra cash in my savings account, and finance my holiday shopping.
How Does Ebates Work?
Most of you are probably familiar with affiliate marketing. Basically, businesses partner with individuals or other businesses to give kickbacks for customer referrals. If I tell you that there is a great deal over at Amazon today and you click through my affiliate link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission from Amazon. Ebates has created a system where they partner with over 2,000 online retailers to refer customers via affiliate links; Ebates gets a commission for your qualifying purchases made through their links, and they then give a portion of that commission to you.
When you’re about to make an online purchase, just visit Ebates and click through their link to your favorite or preferred retailer. They will advertise up front how much cash back you will receive from your qualifying purchase. Most often, it’s around 3% to 6%. I occasionally spot offers up to 25% off or more, so it’s well worth your time to take the extra Ebates step.
A few of my favorite stores that are Ebates-eligible:
- America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses
It’s important to pay attention to category restrictions on some retailers for earning cashback, which is why I keep saying “qualifying purchase.” For some retailers, like Amazon, you can only earn from Ebates if you’re shopping for certain things – for example, right now, you can only earn on purchases in the Home, Furniture, Amazon Video, and several other departments.
Your earnings through Ebates accumulate on a quarterly basis, meaning they only pay out on fixed dates throughout the year. Those payment dates are February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15. To qualify for a payout, you must have a balance of at least $5.01. They let you choose whether to receive your Big Fat Check (as they put it!) as an actual check or via Paypal.
How Can I Increase My Earnings?
Refer your friends: Ebates usually gives you $5 for every friend you refer that makes a $25 purchase. Big bonuses are usually available as well – for example, you might get an extra $40 when two friends join and make purchases, or you might win a family trip to Disney World, and so on. Referral bonuses are where the majority of my earnings come from. My referral rewards are usually over $2,000 each quarter!
Install the Ebates button: I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to visit Ebates first—and left money on the table because of that oversight! They now have a browser extension that will alert you when a site you’re shopping on is eligible for cashback through Ebates. It will also tag your Internet search results—whether through Google or Yahoo! or Bing—to show you which merchants will allow you to earn cashback through Ebates. No logging in or clicking through Ebates required! It’s been a game changer.
Get the Ebates app: Ebates now has a smartphone app as well! You can get it for Android, iPhone, or iPad. It lets you access your account on the go, so you’ll always know where you stand on pending rewards. It does much more than that, however! You can also get in-store coupons, scan barcodes to compare product prices, discover last-minute deals and more.
Shop Double Cash Back Stores: Ebates features a section of affiliate stores offering double cash back percentages; new stores may come and go from this section, so it’s a great idea to check back regularly! There are usually other special promotions available during the holiday shopping season as well, especially on Black Friday.
In-Store Cash Back: You can even earn cashback from Ebates shopping in stores now, too! You simply add a credit card to your Ebates account (only Visa or American Express right now). When you find an Ebates deal you love, you click “Link Offer” to connect it to the credit card of your choice and you’re done. Use that credit card to make your purchase in-store and earn cash from Ebates as usual! You can even do this on the fly from their app.
Ebates Cash Back Visa: Ebates also allows you to “double dip” on your earnings when using their cash back Visa credit card. You will earn an additional 3% cash back on every qualifying purchase you make online using Ebates. You can earn 1% cash back everywhere else you can use your Visa card. They’re also offering a $10 bonus on your first purchase for a limited time. And it works with Apple Pay!
How Do I Sign Up?
Just visit Ebates to get started. It doesn’t cost anything to join and, with the new Ebates button on your browser, no additional work is required! This is one of the easiest ways on the planet to make money online. And, for a limited time, you’ll get a $10 gift card for signing up! You can even choose between a Walmart gift card or Ebates Cash Back right now. What are you waiting for?