Ebates Review 2021
Update: As of September 2014, Ebates was bought by Rakuten, it’s the same site that you know and love, just a new name.
Each week, we review a product or service aimed to help you make more, save more, or grow money through investing.
Our goal is to provide you with an honest review to help you achieve these goals. Today, we review the money-saving app Ebates. This is the most legit Ebates review you will find on the internet.
As more states continue to require online retailers to charge sales tax, regardless of whether the business has a physical presence in the state or not, finding ways to save while acquiring the items you need may be more critical than ever. Many households are on tight budgets, so finding ways to reduce spending is a common quest.
Cash-back deals are an excellent way to stretch your budget. However, not every website or app that offers cash-back is as lucrative as others, and some are outright scams.
Luckily, there are a few real players in the cash-back arena, and Ebates is one of them. It’s incredibly easy to use and won’t cost you a dime, meaning your savings isn’t offset by membership fees or other expenses.
If you’ve wondered whether Ebates is legit, here’s our Ebates review. Get paid to shop.
What is Ebates?
Ebates is an online shopping portal that allows you to get cash back on your purchases. The site includes over 2,500 retailers and gives you the ability to earn 1 percent to 25 percent cash-back when you shop.
Essentially, stores partner with Ebates to help attract more customers. In exchange for promoting the store’s listing, the retailers offer up a cash-back incentive to Ebates users.
Additionally, it’s the retailers that compensate Ebates. They provide Ebates with a commission from every purchase an Ebates member makes. Then Ebates gives some of that commission to you. This allows the site to offer customers savings without having to charge membership fees for using the portal.
How Does Ebates Work?
Ebates is free to use. All you need to do is sign up with Ebates to gain access to the cash-back offers. You can use your Facebook or Google account for quick account creation, or simply use an email address and provide a few personal details.
The personal information you have to provide is very limited. Ebates needs your name and address, but not your Social Security number, credit card details, or anything that sensitive. You can get started with just an email address and by choosing a password. However, you do have to provide the additional information to access your cash back.
During the signup process, you’ll also have a chance to select a bonus; either $10 in cash in your Ebates account or a $10 Walmart gift card. To get your bonus, you just have to make a total of $25 in qualifying purchases within 90 days after signing up.
Now that you’re a member, you can start shopping. Just locate the store you want to use or take advantage of the handy search features to see which retailers are available and the current cash-back percentage.
Once you find your preferred store, click the “Shop Now” button and you’ll get redirected to that website. The only difference is Ebates is keeping track of your cart and, once you check out, it will begin calculating any cash back you are owed based on the amount you spend.
For example, if you head to Sephora through Ebates and they are offering 8 percent cash-back, if you spend $100 (before taxes and shipping), you’ll earn $8 in cash-back automatically.
That’s literally all you have to do. There are no additional forms to fill out; you don’t have to forward your confirmation email anywhere or do anything else to qualify for the rebate.
What About the Ebates Chrome Extension (Ebates Button)?
In some cases, the trickiest part about earning cash back with Ebates is remembering to head to the Ebates site before you start shopping. Luckily, the company has made things a whole lot easier thanks to the Ebates Chrome extension.
If you have the Ebates Chrome extension (or Ebates Button), your browser will alert you to cash-back opportunities while you shop. For example, if you head to Sephora, and there’s an active cash-back deal with Ebates, you’ll have a chance to activate it without having to go to the main Ebates site.
Plus, the Ebates browser plug-in can also help you save even more. It will automatically check with any coupon codes that might land you a discount and can apply them with the click of a button. Additionally, the “Price Magic” feature can help you comparison shop even on sites that don’t offer cash back. If the same product is available for less and with cash-back elsewhere, the Chrome extension will let you know.
Chrome isn’t the only extension available too. You can also get an Ebates plug-in for Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
Do You Have to Shop Online to Use Ebates?
No, you don’t have to shop online to take advantage of the cash-back offers. You can actually use Ebates at participating brick-and-mortar stores too.
To take advantage of this feature you do have to link a credit card to your Ebates account. Then, find an “In-Store Cash Back” offer on the website and click “link offer.” Next, simply shop at the store before the deal expires.
When Ebates sees the transaction come through, the site will calculate your cash back reward. It’s that easy.
How Does Ebates Send Your Cash-Back Rewards?
A cash-back shopping portal isn’t worth much if it makes it hard to get the money you earn. With Ebates, the entire process is easy, so you won’t encounter any headaches to get your rewards.
Within five days of placing a qualifying cash-back order online, you’ll see your cash-back rewards in your account. Then, that money sits for a 60-day holding period, ensuring you don’t return the items (which would void your rebate).
Once the holding period is over, you’ll receive your cash during the next standard quarterly payment as long as you have at least $5.01 in your account. Ebates sends money by check or through PayPal every February, May, August, and November, as long as you have eligible funds in your account at that time.
If you don’t have $5.01 available when a quarterly payment happens, you don’t lose your cash back. Instead, it sits in your account, giving you a chance to cross the threshold during the next quarter.
Is Ebates Legit?
Ebates has been around for about two decades now. Yes, that’s right, they got their start in 1998.
Currently, the company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, which means users are satisfied with the service. Plus, there are a plethora of Ebates reviews covering the 20-year span, and the majority are incredibly positive.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Ebates?
Since Ebates is free, easy to use, and works at more than 2,500 stores, it’s hard to imagine any drawbacks. However, there are a few points worth considering.
First, your favorite store might not partner with Ebates. Additionally, participating retailers can also exclude specific products from cash-back offers, even if they have one active.
For example, Amazon usually only includes specific categories at any point in time. This means your Amazon purchase may not qualify at all or only partially. Plus, since the categories change monthly, it can be hard to predict what will be eligible for cash-back in advance.
Second, while Ebates has a great reputation, that doesn’t mean problems don’t occur. Of the complaints filed with the BBB, most involve missed payouts or the cancellation of cashback rewards. However, all of the complaints have been resolved, and you can typically get any problems sorted out by contacting customer service through your Ebates account.
Finally, there are a few caveats regarding cashback. For instance, you can’t earn more than $50 in rewards on any single purchase. That means, if you spend $1,000 on a sofa at a store offering 7 percent cash-back, you won’t earn the full $70. Instead, you’ll get $50.
Similarly, if your account is inactive for 12 months, Ebates removes $2 from your cash-back rewards balance to compensate for their accounting services tracking your account.
Should You Use Ebates?
During our Ebates review, we discovered that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, especially if you shop online regularly. However, even if you don’t usually shop online, but will be making a big purchase in the future at a store that offers cash-back, it can still be worthwhile. As long as that one purchase crosses the $5.01 cash out minimum, you’ll get some money back even if you never use Ebates again.
Even if you don’t shop online, the brick-and-mortar rebates can also tip the scales in favor of signing up. If you are comfortable with linking a credit card, then see if your favorite stores are on the list and take advantage of the rewards.
Ultimately, Ebates is a practically hassle-free way to save. If you’re going to shop at participating stores anyway, you might as well make a little cash-back along the way.
Just make sure that you avoid shopping for things you don’t need just because there is a rebate. Even if you get cash-back, if you are spending money you wouldn’t have otherwise, you aren’t coming out ahead. But, if you stick to a list and only purchase items you were planning to already, then it’s just money back in your pocket.