This is a review of some of the best cashback reward programs out there, helping you get money back for shopping online. In my experience, Ebates consistently comes out tops, followed by MrRebates, Fatwallet, Shopathome.com and BigCrumbs. However, you will benefit most if you sign up for all five cashback programs because the cashback percentage offered varies. (UPDATE: my previous review included Cashbaq - a good program that went bankrupt in 2011. Now Ebates is actively recruiting former Cashbaq members by offering to pay whatever credit was in their Cashbaq account. I've updated the rest of this post to reflect this development).
How Cashback Reward Programs Work
In a nutshell, merchants pay these cashback sites (Ebates, Fatwallet and etc) commissions to send us to the merchants. The cashback sites then give us a percentage of those commissions. Most of the sites require you to click through a trackback link that brings you to the merchant's online store and complete your purchase asap. And better still, the cashback rewarded is stackable (in addition to) any discount
coupons or rebates that you click through to get to the merchant's online store. Example, stacking Restaurant.com's 80% sale with Ebates' 25% cashback. Today I clicked through the Restaurant.com link on Ebates' website to buy a Restaurant.com $25 dining discount certificate for only $2 by entering the code DINE at checkout. Stacked with Ebates' 25% cashback for that purchase, I received 50 cents back from Ebates, so my total for the $25 certificate was only $1.50! Pretty good considering the normal price is $10 for a $25 certificate.
Signup Bonuses (get rewarded for signing up)
Fatwallet: None (used to offer $5 but not any more)
How do I get paid? And when? Is there a minimum to get paid?
Ebates: Check or Paypal (Every 3 months - $5.01 min)
MrRebates Check or Paypal (After 3 months - min of $10)
Fatwallet: Check or Paypal (After 3-4 months - min of $10 (check), no min (paypal))
Shopathome.com: Check (Every month - $20 min)
BigCrumbs: Paypal (Every month - No min)
Note: I received my checks from Ebates ($16), Cashbaq ($210) and Shopathome ($320) exactly when they promised to. I just requested a Paypal payment from Fatwallet for $75. I know, I know, I am a big time shopper haha!
Who gives the best cashback percentages?
It varies. For example, last month when I bought an Entertainment Book, I went through Shopathome.com because they were giving a $6 CB per book. Then Shopathome had a double CB sale that gave $12 CB per book, so I bought a couple more through them! I paid $0.50 per book plus $3 S&H, what a great deal! I suggest checking the CB rates at all these sites, and using the one that gives the most CB.
Most User Friendly
In my opinion Fatwallet wins hands down for being extremely easy to use. They have an active and useful forum where members can get info on the latest and best deals. Also, there is a fantastically cool Fatwallet Now button - From a merchant's webpage you can click on the button to bring up a list of deals for that merchant AND can easily click through the Fatwallet link to earn Fatwallet CB for that merchant. Shopathome has a downloadable search toolbar that you get $5 for trying out, but it didn't really bring up the right kinds of merchants for keywords that I entered.
|My fav is Ebates!|
Ebates: $5 per referral (if you refer 3 friends, you'll get $10 per referral)
MrRebates: A whopping 20% of whatever cashback your referral gets, i.e., you benefit from every purchase your referrals make.
Shopathome.com: $5 per referral (at one time it was $10)
BigCrumbs: About 1% referral commission up till the 5th generation of referrals.
Happy Savings! I've also compiled in one handy location (for myself anyways!), links with discounts and coupons to all the places where I shop online. Check out Where Gracie Shops!
P.S. It would be AWESOME if you could click on any ad here - my sponsors give me a few cents per click. Thanks for supporting my blog!