Here, we’ll look at three popular online rebate websites: Ebates, Mr. Rebates, and Swagbucks. First, we’ll look at them individually. Then, we’ll talk about which one works best for which purchases.
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This site actually offers a lot more ways to earn cash back than just shopping online. We won’t go into all of those here, however, If you’re interested in taking surveys, watching videos, and completing other online activities to earn cash back, read our full Swagbucks review here.
Here, we’ll just focus on the option to earn Swagbucks by shopping online. Like the other two options, this one lets you shop through the site to earn cash back–actually free gift cards. It offers a few really good deals, like a $75.00 cash back offer from Dish Network happening now.
Swagbucks also offers coupons that give you cash back plus a coupon offer. Like Ebates, Swagbucks lets you sort by store type, or you can search for a specific store if you’re on the hunt for a specific item.
Most of the Swagbucks stores offer very similar rewards to the other two sites–one to six percent cash back. But you can sometimes come across stores offering 25 percent cash back, which is, of course, a great deal.
As with Mr. Rebates, you can install a button on your Chrome browser to catch Swagbucks deals when you’re doing your everyday online shopping. You can also switch your default search engine to Swagbucks. This lets you earn cash back for your searches, as well.
Cashing in your rewards
One of the potential weaknesses of Swagbucks is that you don’t get actual cash back. You can use your Swagbucks (which are basically like cash back points) to get gift cards. But the gift cards are very usable. You can get gift cards to places like Amazon, or get a Paypal gift card. So it’s basically the same thing as a PayPal transfer. You just don’t have the option to have Swagbucks cut you a check.
This cashback site lets you earn cash back at particular sites or on particular purchases. You build up the cash back through your account, and then get it by check or PayPal. Ebates is easiest to use online, but you can earn rebates when you’re shopping in stores, too. Plus, some categories and stores offer cash back bonuses, so you can save even more. And the company offers its own branded visa card, which we’ll discuss shortly.
How to earn cash back with Ebates
You have three options for earning cash back with Ebates. One is to shop through its interface at ebates.com. You can navigate to different stores, including stores with extra cash back or special deals, on the top navigation bar.
The stores are grouped by category. And you can see the day’s cash back offer for each store. As you can see below, as of October 29, 2017, Ebates is offering six percent cash back at Macy’s and four percent cash back at JCPenney. That’s a much heftier cash back amount than you can get with most credit cards.
You can also search for particular stores or coupons, or shop by collection, choosing from specialty categories like Wedding and Luxury.
There are literally hundreds of shops to choose from. And you can use Ebates to shop for something you were already planning to buy with a quick search.
Another option is to install the Ebates button. It’s a Google Chrome extension that alerts you when you’re on a site that offers an Ebates cash back deal. This is an even simpler way to get cash back for items you were already planning to purchase.
The advantage of the Ebates button is that it may prevent you from buying things you don’t really need just because you’re messing around on the Ebates site. Just install the extension and shop as usual. If you happen to be qualify for cash back, all the better! And it will automatically add additional coupons if your purchase qualifies.
Finally, you can use the Ebates app to earn cash back on in-store purchases. The list of stores for which this works is smaller. But you can still earn one to six percent cash back at some stores.
For this to work, you just have to link your credit card to the Ebates app. Then when you’re in a store with an applicable deal, you can earn cash back when you pay with your linked credit card. It’s a short extra step when shopping, but could be totally worth your while.
Ebates cash back credit card
If you’re already in the market for a cash back credit card, you might consider using the one from Ebates. Their branded Visa card lets you earn an extra three percent cash back on all qualifying Visa purchases and one percent cash back everywhere else. So you can stack your Ebates rewards to earn even more.
Cashing in your cash back
When you earn cash back from Ebates, you’ll get an email confirmation that you’ve earned cash back. You’ll automatically get your cash back every quarter through a check or PayPal transfer–your call.
Mr. Rebates is similar to Ebates but without as many bells and whistles. You do have to shop through the Mr. Rebates site. Their rebate structure is similar to Ebates, where you’ll earn between one and six percent cash back at most eligible websites. And Mr. Rebates also offers coupons that can stack with some of their cash back offers.
The biggest difference here is just the bells and whistles. Mr. Rebates doesn’t offer the option for cash back when shopping in store. And it doesn’t offer the option to install a browser extension to avoid having to go through their site to shop.
Getting your cash back
With Mr. Rebates, you can request a payment in the form of a check, gift card, or PayPal transfer. You can cash out at any time. But you have to have at least $10 in cash back rewards built up in your account to qualify for a payout.
Which One is Best?
For one thing, if you constantly shop online, having the option of all three may not be a bad idea. You can always do a quick search to see who has the best cash back deal for the store you’re about to use. Then, shop through that site to get the best cash back deal. But what if you don’t want to fuss with going to another site each time you want to put in a quick Amazon order? In this case, you might want to choose either Ebates or Swagbucks.
With their easy Chrome extensions, you can earn cash back without the hassle of having to visit the website first. (Plus, like I said above, this might curb unintentional shopping binges based on “good deals.”)
If you just want to earn from shopping online, Ebates may be the better option. This is because it’ll also let you stack rewards from in-store shopping. It’s a valuable option when you need it! And if you don’t already have a good credit card you can use to stack cash back rewards, the one from Ebates may be worth considering. Ebates also makes it easier to cash in your points for cash, though a PayPal gift card from Swagbucks isn’t that big a deal for frequent online shoppers.
Swagbucks is a better option if you’re already using some of its other functionality, like earning cash back from taking surveys. Plus you can sometimes get gift cards at a discount. This can stretch your cash back points even further.
Bottom line: If you want to earn the most cash back just for shopping online, check out the deals at all three of these services before you shop. But if you want more convenience, use the Ebates or Swagbucks Chrome plugin to streamline your cash back earning options.