We’re going to start of with a quick overview of two of the best resources to save money while shopping online. You’ve probably heard of Ebates – TopCashback is similar in that it’s an online shopping portal with a selection of stores and the chance to earn cash back on your purchase.
Both Ebates and TopCashback are website based and come with companion mobile apps. The two services usually have similar cash back amounts to the same stores at the same time, so for most people finding which one they’re more comfortable with and using that one will be sufficient. I’ll be mostly talking about Ebates as I think it has the best interface and is the easiest to use.
Ways To Earn
Ebates is a shopping portal, meaning that you have to click on a link through their website for the website you’re shopping on to activate the cash back. They also have a Cash Back Button that you can install in your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge) that will automatically alert you if you’re on a site where cash back is available, erasing the step of having to remember to go through the website.
You can also earn cash back in select stores – you do have to link a debit or credit card – the same one you’ll be paying with – and at the time of this writing it’s a relatively new feature so it’s not as inclusive as their regular online selection.
How You Get Paid
Cash back is earned in quarters (ie, Jan. 1 – Mar. 31) and available for payment on the 15th on the 2nd month of the next quarter (May 15th, or 45 days). Your options are either a paper check in the mail or a direct deposit into a paypal account.
Shopping trips are instantly recorded, although it can take a day or two for your cash back to appear on your account.
If you have an issue with cash back not appearing, I highly recommend contacting their customer service. I made a fairly expensive purchase netting around $35 cash back that didn’t automatically record. One email to customer service and the issue was resolved. For reference, I’ve made tons of transactions through Ebates and this is the only time I’ve had one not get recorded.
Signing up for Ebates is quick and easy and the browser add-ons make it almost effortless to get some money back on things you buy online. They have a great mobile app and an easy to use website, great referral bonuses for getting friends to sign up, and excellent customer service. I did all my Christmas shopping online and averaged around 10% back for virtually no effort. They also offer a wide selection of coupons and sale alerts.
Since this is a personal finance website, I do recommend you install the browser add on as seeing coupons and bonuses could lead to more unplanned shopping. Used on a mission or for pre-planned big purchases Ebates can be just as lucrative as a cash back credit card for those who primarily shop online.
If you sign up using the links in this article you’ll get a $10 cash back bonus through Ebates. At the time of this writing there isn’t a sign-up bonus for TopCashback but it may be worth your time to check them out if you’re looking for something specific not available through Ebates. And both links will help support this blog!