Having worked in the personal finance field for the last 10 years, I know far more than anyone should about affiliate marketing. Perhaps the biggest benefit of my experience is that I know most online merchants offer a hidden cashback percentage, just for buying their merchandise. EvoShare is a new online cashback savings platform which does just that: offers its users the ability to save money on everyday online purchases.
The idea of offering cashback to shoppers for everyday purchases is nothing new. I could list a dozen well-known cashback sites that millions of Americans shop on everyday (eBates.com being one of the largest, for example). Evoshare adds two unique twists to the online cashback shopping experience, though.
The first is that the money earned can be linked to a retirement or student loan account, so it can automatically be deposited. The second is that it also offers select cash back percentages at local brick-and-mortar stores (currently in the city of San Francisco only).
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Evoshare has partnered with over 300 online merchants to offer you a cashback rebate every time you spend money. For example, Kohl’s is listed as one of the retailers in their platform. When you log into your Evoshare account and click on the Kohl’s link located inside your interface, you are sent to the Kohl’s website. If you make a purchase there, you’ll earn up to 4% of they money you spent back in your Evoshare account. Let’s assume you’ve just purchased a lovely set of bath towels for $25. A few days after your purchase, the sale will track back to your Evoshare account and $1 will be given as cash back.
More than likely, Kohl’s has paid Evoshare a greater cashback percentage than 4% (not much greater, but perhaps as high as 6%). So, Evoshare will keep, say, $.50 and pass the remaining $1 along to you. This is how they make their money while still being able to offer the rebates to you.
For the hundreds of stores located in the SF area, you simply link the card you use in your Evoshare account. Then, they’ll credit the appropriate cashback percentage to your account after your purchase. That’s all there is to it — earning cash back for making the purchases you would normally make anyway.
Evoshare has partnered with the online money management software tool Yodlee, which allows them to track your credit cards and bank accounts. The screenshot below is what you’ll see when you first go to link an account to your Evoshare profile. Just as you would on Yodlee, or most any online money management tool, you’ll be asked for your username and password of the account you’re looking to link. Once provided, Evoshare will have the ability to take the cashback you’ve earned an apply it directly to the account you’ve linked. All of the information you enter is not stored by Evoshare; rather, it’s securely managed and encrypted by Yodlee.
What I like about Evoshare
Two immediate things come to mind when I think about why I would use Evoshare over another cashback earning website.
- The interface is a breeze – Aesthetically pleasing and very easy to navigate, the interface is very well built out. It also has a clearly defined navigation. I’ve been using it for a week now and haven’t run into any bugs. I’ve found their retirement points tool a neat way to determine future earnings, too.
- The innovation of automatic savings – The idea of investing the money you save into your debt or retirement accounts isn’t new, and the idea of earning cash back on everyday spending isn’t new. However, the idea to merge the two is. This forces the user to actually follow through and use the money earned to enhance their future, rather than their present. Automating the deposits removes the temptation to use the money for other things.
What I don’t like about Evoshare
When compared to other cashback platforms, there are three areas where the young Evoshare is lacking.
- The number of online merchants available is small. Yes, you’ll find a good number of everyday household retailers on the list of sites where consumers can earn cashback. At just over 300, though, it’s fairly small. The company is still in its infancy, developing relationships to bring cashback to its users, but I would like to see a much healthier list of available online merchants (triple the current number is a good start). A wider list of merchants will ensure a wider list of new members.
- There’s currently no way to search for merchants, other than the eye test. If I was planning to make a purchase online at Old Navy tomorrow, I would like to be able to log into my Evoshare account, pull up an alphabetical list, and go right to O. Unfortunately, that cannot be done. I also cannot use the ctrl+f function on my computer to search for Old Navy either. Instead, I have to go image to image to see if I can find the retailer.
- The exact cashback percentage is not detailed. All of the cashback percentages listed on Evoshare are done so in the form of “up to X% cash back.” This is done because different retailers have different percentage tiers, depending on what you buy. For example, the cashback percentage at Walmart is up to 4%. This doesn’t mean that you’ll earn 4% cash back on every purchase; rather depending on the items you buy, you’ll earn a maximum of 4%. When buying electronics, you’ll likely earn much less (perhaps just 1%). When you buy jewelry, the cash back percentage might be 2%. Evoshare needs to do a better job at informing its members exactly what they should expect to earn.
There’s no denying the competitive cashback percentage Evoshare is currently offering on a lot of online retailers. Plus, being able to immediately deposit the funds to secure a better future is a terrific idea. But the company is still raw, they’re still working to sign up a lot of high quality merchants, and they still have a lot of information they need to provide to their members.
I’d highly recommend signing up for an Evoshare account and using them in conjunction with other online cashback websites to maximize your savings. Hopefully, in the next few years, you’ll be using Evoshare just as much as anyone else.