Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review of Ebates, Fatwallet, Shopathome, Bigcrumbs, MrRebates cashback rewards

Summary of post
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)

Ebates: $10!!
MrRebates $5
Fatwallet: None (used to offer $5 but not any more)
Shopathome: $5
BigCrumbs: None

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.

Referral rewards

My fav is Ebates!
All these cashback sites (except Fatwallet) offer some sort of referral program where members get rewarded (see details below) for telling other people about the site. I have used these refer-a-friend programs and have actually earned $20 in the last year from these programs.
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.
Fatwallet: None
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!


xo Gracie

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!


20 comments:

  1. Yes, I agree. Fatwallet gives the best service. Worst service has to be Cashbaq.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been trying to figure out if you can use cashback and big crumbs or mr. rebates all on the same purchase? Have you tried that?

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's an excellent question and one that those of us in the know tend to keep quiet about! Yes it is possible to stack cashbacks on the same purchase but I've only managed that with two and don't know if it would be possible with three.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This article is amazing. I've been using ebates, and have enjoyed it, but I have started wondering if something is bigger and better out there in the world of online shopping savings. Now, I'm wondering what referral programs can go together. I want to sign up for all of them!

    I'm also bad, being that I make our office purchases online, and I tend to go through my ebates account and get a bit of a kick back.

    ReplyDelete
  5. BTW- I think you should make more articles about this!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gracie, thanks for your write up. You are correct that the cash back amounts vary and each site pays more for different stores and services. Cashbaq tried to remain competitive and when we get paid more by our partner stores, we pass it on to our members.

    We just redesigned the site, added a bunch of new features and have almost 3,000 stores and services. We have a lot more planned so check back soon.

    As for customer service, we have top notch folks working on it. HowYouDoing has posted on numerous blogs. It is a shame that s/he remains anonymous as there is no way for me to look into this case. It has to do with Entertainment Book. We've paid thousands of people a lot of money on Entertainment Books (and we pay per book, not per order) so it's a shame that one person would make so much noise about it.

    Thanks again for the write up.

    Happy shopping!

    -David
    CEO & Founder, Cashbaq

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wouldn't recommend Cashbaq. Its customer service is the worst! Submitted a few inquiries about the status of my check and haven't received a single response nor the check. I'm questioning whether Cashbaq even mailed it. Ebates on the other hand is prompt to respond to your inquires as well as to mail your checks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am a member at cashbaq. I earned a check in Nov for $471 which I never received via USPS. I have submitted 6 tickets with their customer service and a phone message since 12/3. I have neither heard back from them nor received the check.

    To this point, I have concluded that
    1) their customer service ("top notch"?) is non existent or is ignoring me.
    2) stated cash payouts are irrelevant if they do not pay your earnings.
    3) their customer service is so incredibly inept or I am getting ripped off which, at this point, I am really not seeing a difference.

    If they make good, I will update.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am having a problem with Shopathome.com.

    I have sent them 4 e-mails and called then 1 time with no responses.

    They didn't give me the correct cash back in my account that I was supposed to get, but no one will contact me about it. Poor customer service.

    Now, there will probably be a rep come on here and say how sorry they are and to contact them and your problem will be addressed.That's what I did already through their posting on face book and they still won't answer.

    Now, I have to wonder if I will ever get the rebate check when it comes due to be sent to me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was supposed to be paid by Cashbaq (via Paypal, so no issues with the USPS)in December 2010. After the payment date passed, my account changed to say I would be paid in January 2011. Now that the Jan date has passed, my account now says I will be paid in February 2011. I'm having a hard time believing that one. I just submitted a ticket with customer service, but given the experiences of others it looks like it won't be answered.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cashbaq is kaput. However, ebates recently asked me to join and offered to give my cashbaq balance (which was over $100). So far it looks like it's pending. Hope I get it. I was livid when cashbaq folded. They kept their site up for months after they stopped making payments, which was real annoying. At least they don't have the site up any more. But it took many complaints with the BBB and the Attorney General before they shut the site down. Bad experience overall. fatwallet has been good in payments and service. Ebates is promising so far as well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my goodness, as Todd pointed out, Cashbaq went KAPUT! No wonder various ones of you (Anonymouses) were having trouble getting your checks. I'm fortunate that I didn't have a huge balance sitting in my Cashbaq account. And when Ebates took over former Cashbaq members, Ebates made good on the balance Cashbaq owed me (provided I signed up with Ebates in return). I have updated my post to reflect these changes. Re: Shopathome and Anonymous' horrible experience with their customer service, I really feel bad for you. I have experienced it myself once before where I bought 20 entertainment books without clicking through their link each and every individual purchase. They gave me the $10 cashback for only one book! All the other books I paid full price :(. The customer service did not budge on that.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was livid about Cashbaq too but Ebates paid me! Yay!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fatwallet
    hot deals have gone downhill since top poster left. Ssite purchased by ebates and now they push the deals that give them the most return. Seems everything is either a Sunday sale item or copied from slickdeals.net a few hours after it is posted there. Free stuff section is terrible.
    Not close to what it used to be
    Service is now terrable as they did not credit my account for numerous purchases
    Owned by ebates but less cashback

    ReplyDelete
  15. NEVER SHOP FROM THIS SITE : SHOPATHOME.COM

    This website looks like a SCAM to me, they don’t issue the cashback points in your account, by giving some false reasons. It has happened in my case, I contacted the merchant from which I had ordered few items via shopathome.com, and the merchant told me that they have made the payment already to shopathome, and these crappy guys are keeping my money by saying that the merchant has an issue with the cashback rebate. Worst customer service ever! They even issue the certain amount of cashback in the account first, send the email and delete it from the account after few days when they see that the total is approaching to $20 and they would have to issue the cashback checque to the customers. Sheer bullshit! They must improve their customer service or else the day wouldn’t be far when they have to close the doors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Precious joy, thanks for your comment. I haven't used shopathome for years - lost a bunch of cashback thru them also.

      Delete
  16. Simple to the point and fair review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and glad it was helpful for you!

      Delete
  17. Hi, I'm trying to give you the referral for Mr.Rebates but it requires your email and I didn't see one. You may add that on here for people. (I apologize if I just overlooked.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi and thank you! My email is gracetabithalim@gmail.com if you would like to have me as your referral. Awesome, thanks again!

      Delete

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