Getting cash back when you shop online has become easier than ever as more and more sites have joined the rebate game. The problem is which programs actually pay out and have enough of rebate offers to make it worth your time. The real question is which program works best for you.
The way these cash back sites work is, whenever you want to shop online, you first log into your members area. Next you click on a link that takes you to the site where you want to do your shopping. This click gives the site you are using a commission for clicking on their link. They take that commission and share a part of it with you. Everybody wins.
Now I have set some criteria before I join a program. These criteria include:
- It has to be free to join – I am not going to go through the trouble of earning someone else some cash if they want me to pay for the “privilege” of joining.
- The points have to be simple – Complex online rebate programs make it hard to really know if your efforts are worth the trouble.
- The payout has to be reasonable – If I have to wait til I earn $100 to get a payout, then I’m out. Most of these programs will pay you at $10 or less.
If you are like me you can use all of these programs but to get things started I wanted to give you a best of class program for anyone that wants to concentrate their efforts on one website.
Highest Percentage Cash Back Site
Mr Rebates is the second longest running of these programs, getting their start in 2002. They do not have as many stores as Ebates but they tend to pay a little bit higher percentage on the stores they do carry.
I used to use Ebates exclusively but found better cash back offers at this site so now I go back and forth between the two based off of who has the best rebate or carries the store I am shopping at.
Best All Around Rewards Program
I am a huge fan of Swagbucks,so much so, that I put then on my list of ways to make money. Their overall program sets them apart from the other rebate style sites.
What makes Swagbucks the best all around is not that they offer the best rebates when you shop online, but the fact that they have a bunch of different ways to earn “Swagbucks” which is their currency that converts into money. The ratio is one swagbuck is equal to one cent. The lowest cash out is $5.
This is not to say that the shopping rebates are bad. They are very competitive with other sites but you don’t have the same total number of retailers as with some of the rebate only sites.
What you can do is earn swagbucks in multiple ways that include:
- Doing internet searches
- Taking Surveys
- Watching Videos
- Playing Games
- Printing Grocery Coupons
And even more. These extra ways to earn cash means you can consolidate all your efforts into one program and do very well. See all the ways to earn more cash in my Swagbucks Review.
Rebate Website with Largest Number of Stores
There are two sites that have really stood the test of time and are head an shoulders above any of the imitators that try to keep up with them.
Ebates is the grandaddy of all the online rebate shopping programs and really paved the way for others to follow this model. The company was started in 1998. That is an eternity in internet years.
Besides age and name recognition Ebates has the most relationships with online retailers. This means that if someone is going to get you cash back from a retailer it will typically be Ebates.
Best New Comer
While they are very new to the game this rookie of the rebates is packing some interesting promotions to get you excited. I just joined this program in a year ago because they were doing a promotion where you buy the Big Hero 6 movie and get a rebate for the exact amount that you spent. Never one to look a free kids movie in the mouth I jumped on it, referred a friend who did the same, and got a quick cash out where I actually made money.
As of this writing they are still giving you $10 for referring a friend and then giving your friend $10 for signing up. You do have to get $10 in cash back rebates before they will pay you that referal bonus but their rebate percentages tend to be as high or higher than MrRebates so I am giving this one the shot to be lumped in with my top two.
If they keep doing promotions like the Big Hero 6 deal then they will quickly become the go to rebate program.
Site with the Most Ways to Earn Money
Inbox Dollars is a direct competitor to Swagbucks. I am a fan of both, but have been using Swagbucks for much longer. If you want to get into the realm of online surveys this is a great place to start. You can learn more in my review of InboxDollars.
Best Rebate Sites for Groceries
Not to be outdone by their online shopping counterparts, the grocery coupon powers that be decided to start offering digital rebates for items that you purchase in store. With both of these sites you have a chance to tap into not only getting rebates but stacking those with old school manufacturer’s coupons and weekly grocery store sales
Ibotta was the first to really test this model and have done really well with it. The way it works is you go into your account and connect your loyalty rewards card. If you are shopping at a store that does not have a loyalty rewards card then you can submit your receipt from the retailer. Before you go shopping you have to unlock your rebates and then you get credit back into your account for the purchase.
While Ibotta focuses on grocery stores, it works with all sorts of retailers so if you are going shopping you should check to see if something you are going to purchase is on their list.
This rebate program focuses almost solely on groceries. They are not as far along as Ibotta in that they are not yet able to interact with the different rewards cards. What is interesting is that along with name brand products they will also give you cash back rebates for general items like eggs and milk. You will have to take a picture or scan your receipt to get credit but it is worth it.
Other Cashback Sites
ExtraBux is quickly starting to compete for my click throughs with MrRebates. They have a very extensive list of retailers where you can get cashback and they are also offering a free introductory $5 when you sign up.
Another site with a huge list of retailers. They do very well and compete nicely with the other three cashback specific sites. The only give you $3 for signing up but it is better than nothing. I tend to hit them last when the other three have failed to produce a link.
There are a bunch of these types of programs out there so if you have had some luck with one of them let me know in the comments. With so many cash back rebate sites out there I am always on the look out for another.