Don't have an Ebates account? Never heard of Mr. Rebates? Then you are missing out on easy money.
Online rebate sites are an easy way for online shoppers to shave off some dollars just for doing what we already do: shop online. The general concept is that instead of going directly from your search engine (Google, Yahoo! etc) to your site (Gap.com, for example), you'll go to an online rebate site and click a link to Gap.com there. Then you shop at Gap.com as you ordinarily would. It's that simple. You'll get back anywhere from 1% to 30% cash back on your purchase amount for making that short detour to their web site.
But not all rebate sites are created equal. And you might find yourself scratching your head wondering where your cash back is if you're not familiar with how these sites work. Here's a comparison of the three major online rebate sites, Shopathome, Ebates, and Mr.Rebates.
- A huge number of retail sites to choose from.
- Getting your cash back is easy. Your payment can be cut in a check and mailed to you, deposited directly to your PayPal account, sent to a friend, or even donated to a charity.
- No minimum dollar amount required to be accrued before cash is paid out.
- $5 referral bonuses are earned for each friend that signs up and makes a purchase using Ebates.
- Lower percentage off at many sites than when using Shopathome
- Cash is paid out every 3 months.
Summary: Ebates is by far the best known online rebate site. Their selection of web sites offering cash back is comprehensive, and the cash back process is seamless and easy. Don't buy anything online without checking first if there is a link to that site through Ebates.
- On most sites, the percentage off at Shopathome will be 1 to 3% higher than at Ebates.
- Coupon codes for the site you're planning to shop at are easy to view - though many sales and store policies are advertised as "coupons" when really no code is required for them.
- Cash is paid out every month.
- Cash back is only paid out in checks.
- You must have accrued $20 in rebates before you qualify for a check. Amounts less than that threshold are rolled over to the next pay period.
- You must confirm mailing address each month through email or at Shopathome before each check is cut.
- Your address must be on file at Shopathome so that they can mail your check to you. Remember this because when you create your account at Shopathome, adding an address isn't required and those checks will never come if you don't add it to your profile.
- $5 referral bonuses are offered for each friend that signs up and makes a qualified purchase in 60 days.
Summary: Though less visually appealing and with a few more hoops to jump through before cash is paid out, the deeper discounts offered at Shopathome.com are worth a browse before checking out at your favorite online store.
- A great selection of over 2000 participating online sites to choose from.
- Canada isn't left out! Mr.Rebates has a dedicated portal for Canadian shoppers.
- Coupons for your shopping destination site are easy to find on the site.
- The terms and conditions for those coupons are displayed too.
- Mr.Rebates promises not to offer your email address to third parties.
- Cash is paid out every month.
- Can elect for your cash back payment through check (your address must be on file with Mr. Rebates) or PayPal.
- Must earn $10 in cash back before you qualify for a cash back payment.
- It takes 90 days for cash earned to change from "Pending" to "Available".
- Gift card purchases are not eligible for cash back.
- Earn 20% cash back on each of the Mr. Rebates purchases that your friends make when you refer them.
The Bottom Line: You don't have to choose between Ebates, Shopathome or Mr. Rebates. Maximize your savings by registering with all three and then use a comparison site to easily search these sites and more for best savings. And when you use any of the links in this post to register, you'll get a $5 bonus (2.50 CAD for Mr. Rebates Canada) after you make your first purchase - and you'll kick a buck or two to your friendly referrer too.