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 a little extra 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 may earn a small commission from Amazon. Ebates has created a system where they partner with over 2,000 online retailers to refer customers via these 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 Amazon Devices, Prime Apparel, clothing, 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?
1. 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. You can download it here. This is my top tip for making more money with Ebates!
2. Refer your friends: Ebates is right now giving you $25 for every friend you refer who makes a $25 purchase. That's big money!
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. In-Store Cash Back: You can even earn cash back from Ebates shopping in stores now, too! You simply add a credit card to your Ebates account (works with most American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit cards). 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.
6. 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 Welcome Bonus for signing up and making your first qualifying purchase!
Win a $250 Visa Gift Card
Ebates has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for readers of The Work at Home Wife. One lucky winner will receive a $250 Visa Gift Card. You do have to be an Ebates member to win, but no purchase is necessary. You simply need to sign up for Ebates with a valid email address and leave that email address in the giveaway box below. And if you are already signed up for Ebates, that's cool! No need to sign up again. Just drop your email address in the giveaway box below.
Sweepstakes is open to residents of the 50 United States who are lawful U.S. residents and are 18 years of age or older or the age of majority, whichever is older at the start of the Sweepstakes, and a registered account holder with Ebates (“Entrants”). No purchase necessary. Joining Ebates is free.
Originally published December 30, 2015. Updated October 28, 2018.