You’re probably one of the many people who are waiting for an ‘Ebates Scam’ report to surface, but the fact of the matter is…Ebates is a legitimate way to make money and save on items purchased online – from big screen televisions to magazine subscriptions.
How Does Ebates Work?
Offering online rebates, coupons, promo codes, and cash back opportunities for more than 1,700 stores; Ebates.com is an online shopping tool that has been around for more than 15 years. The site is best known for providing cash back to users (sometimes more than 25% percent of a purchase price) when specific links associated with Ebates are clicked to make a purchase.
Ebates a Scam?
What’s in it for Ebates? Is eBates a Scam… The company is an affiliate of numerous online retail stores (including Macy’s, Old Navy, Walmart, Target, JCPenney, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Amazon), which means they make a small commission for every person they refer to specific businesses. Everything Ebates does is completely legal, legitimate, and not a scam. The Better Business Bureau even deems Ebates a legitimate company with an A+ rating, so they must be doing something right.
Ebates is basically splitting their commission with consumers that is made from spreading the word about money-saving offers and encouraging people to shop at a specified store. When you think about it, the entire process is a really ingenious way to advertise and make money.
Let’s say Barnes & Noble gives Ebates 10% of every sale that gets referred from their site. If Ebates sends a book lover to Barnes & Noble with an offer of 5% cash back, and wind up purchasing $100 worth of books, Ebates will receive $10 from this transaction. The consumer later receives $5 cash back from Ebates for using the affiliate links to make their purchase.
In the end, it’s a win-win situation all around the board for everyone involved – Ebates, the businesses, and customers.
How Do I Use Ebates.com?
Use Ebates to save money on purchases with coupon codes; learn about free shipping opportunities and store sales; earn cash back on purchases; and make extra money by referring others to join and make a purchase through Ebates.
Visit the Ebates website before you start shopping online to learn about the latest deals and discounts. It is here that you will find the latest Deals of the Week, Featured Stores, Featured Coupons, the Daily Double, and the hottest deals of the moment.
How Can I Start?
One of the first things to do to take advantage of Ebates.com savings is to create a free account.
Another incentive to join Ebates is that first-time members are given the choice to have $5 deposited into their Ebates account, or to receive a $10 gift card to a store. It is important to note that these perks do not take place until you spend $25 using an Ebates link to make a purchase.
User accounts on Ebates (referred to as ‘My Ebates’) consist of the following features:
‘My Favorite Stores’. Ebates will also make suggestions for savings under sections titled ‘Stores I might like’ and ‘Coupons I might like.‘
Cash Back Activity. Information about every shopping trip started at Ebates is posted here as a convenient reference. Pending Cash Back and Big Fat Payments are also recorded here.
Account Settings. Users can update their email address and password, and connect their Facebook and Google+ accounts here.
Email Subscriptions. Users can customize the kinds of Ebates emails they’d like to receive here, including seasonal sitewide sale alerts and the Hot Deal daily newsletter.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Get Cash Back
1. Log in or Register with Ebates.
2. Type the name of a store that you wish to shop at inside the search box. ‘Dell‘ has been chosen in the example below. You can also browse specific categories featured on Ebates.com, and click on a store link from there in order to reach your intended destination.
3. Click on the orange ‘Shop Now’ button situated next to the store info within the search results. You are then redirected to the store’s website.
This is what you will see as Ebates redirects you to a store’s website.
4. Once you have found items to purchase on the store’s website, checkout normally (such as entering promo codes or gift certificate numbers, if any).
5. Ebates is tracking your purchase activity, and your cash back-related transaction will appear in your Ebates account typically within 2-3 days.
How Long Does It Take to Get Cash Back?
Although Cash Back is generally added to a user’s account within 2-3 days (after order information from stores has been received), Ebates follows a Cash Back payment schedule with payouts applied on a quarterly basis: May 15, February 15, August 15, and November 15.
include having a check mailed out to you or a direct deposit into a PayPal account. The preferred method of payment is set up within the user account, and may even include earnings being sent to the charity of your choice (or another family member).
In order to receive a Cash Back payment, you must have at least $5 in your account. Earnings totaling less than $5 are rolled over to the next payment period. As you can see above, blogger Kela’s Kloset posted her ‘Big Fat Check’ from Ebates to prove that cash back earnings really can add up, and that Ebates is not a scam.
Ebates.com Referral Program
Ebates.com members are given a referral ID to share with others in hopes of attracting new members to the program. This “tell-a-friend” opportunity translates into earning extra money on the side that can prove quite lucrative for the ambitious. The Ebates website provides many different ways to share a referral ID. In addition to copying and sharing a direct referral link, users can also share through email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and an Ebates blog button.
Individuals not only earn $5 per referral to the program, but they also receive additional bonuses as seen above. Someone who is lucky enough to recruit 1,000 new, legitimate members within a 3-month referral period can earn a $20,000 bonus for a total of $25,000. It’s much easier said than done to find brand new sign-ups (especially since Ebates.com has been around for quite some time) but nonetheless, the opportunity still exists.
Within the blogger dashboard, Ebates keep track of:
Qualified New Members (those referred to Ebates.com by you who have signed up during a specified referral period and made qualifying purchases totaling $25.00 or more)
Signed Up (those who have signed up as members but have yet to make qualifying purchases totaling $25.00 or more)
Not Signed Up (those invited to join Ebates.com via email but who have not yet signed up)
What to Expect with Ebates…
As an Ebates user, you should expect to find plenty of different ways to save money (with promo codes and online coupons) and make money (through Cash Back opportunities and refer-a-friend payments). You’re basically making or saving money for shopping online as you normally do… by using designated links to conduct a routine transaction.
Why not save money on the items you’re planning on buying anyways?
It is also important to note that not everyone will make the same amount of money using Ebates.
The money you make or get back all depends on how much money you spend on transactions, where you shop, and the Cash Back percentage offered at specific stores. For example, a $1,000 purchase at a site that offers 10% cash back is going to net more than a $10 purchase at a store offering 40% cash back. And, the majority of members will not be able to convince a lot of new members to join Ebates through the referral program within a period of three months.
Ebates has posted the following video to help members and future users get acquainted with the money-saving process of the website and using Ebates links:
Consumer Video Review
To get an idea of a consumer’s experiences using Ebates, the video review below touches upon the different ways that people benefit from Ebates to save and make money:
Special Features of Ebates
The following special features of Ebates increase usability and money-saving opportunities:
* Ebates Cash Back Button:
To make the cash back experience easier and faster for users, the Ebates Cash Back Button provides automatic Cash Back notifications in regards to participating online sites. Situated to the right of your browser’s address bar, there is no need to login or worry about missing a Cash Back opportunity – the indicator reveals the Cash Back status for stores you are currently browsing.
The button facilitates direct shopping and eliminates the need to click-through a link to receive Cash Back credit. However, to get the most out of this feature, it is important to pay attention to the color of the Cash Back indicator.
When the indicator is ‘neutral’, the website does not offer Ebates Cash Back.
* Ebates Cash Back Credit Card:
Unlike other online cash back sites, Ebates.com actually has its very own credit card that you can apply for to enhance your overall Cash Back results. The credit card adds on an extra 3% Cash Back on qualifying purchases made through Ebates.com, and 1% Cash Back on non-qualifying Ebates.com purchases, as well as purchases made wherever Visa is accepted. Additional features of the Ebates Cash Back Visa Card include no annual fee and zero fraud liability.
* Ebates Mobile & Tablet Apps:
Free downloads are available for users who wish to use in-store coupons; scan products to compare prices; and receive up-to-the-minute deals while on their iPhone, iPad or Android devices.
Any Complaints Regarding Ebates.com? Is eBates a Scam?
While you can very well imagine all of the benefits and advantages that come with using Ebates, there are a few issues that some users have voiced their opinions on.
* Failure to Report or Pay Cash Back Earnings:
Some users have complained of various Cash Back transactions slipping through the cracks, and not being reported or paid for by Ebates. The new Cash Back Button should remedy this gripe, but it requires users to incorporate the free download in order for it to work in their favor. Some users report to have found success by directly emailing Ebates to correct an issue, while others speak unfavorably of their experiences trying to recover their cash back earnings.
* Exclusion of Two Popular Websites:
Although one of the most popular online shopping sites, finding cash back-eligible items on Amazon.com are far and few between. If you purchase a lot of jewelry, watches, luggage, musical instruments, and local Amazon deals…then you’re good to go. Anything else, and Ebates is useless. eBay is also outside of the Ebates Cash Back bubble, and the site is not associated with their affiliate program.
Why are these online giants excluded from all the fun? Because Amazon.com and eBay have a ‘no incentive rule’ in place as part of their affiliate terms of agreement.
* Displeased Over Negated Rebates:
Some Ebates users have reported issues with ‘fine print’ or hard-to-find details regarding certain transactions that have led to an unpleasant shopping experience. For example, one shopper noted that exchanging a pair of shoes for a different size resulted in negating their rebate. Although directed to ‘cancel and re-order’ through Ebates, by that time – the discount she previously received was no longer valid.
* Did Not Receive Their Sign-Up Bonus:
Some users report not receiving their sign up bonus (the $10 gift card or bonus $5 added to their account) for becoming a new member. However, many fail to thoroughly read the disclaimer on the website that states these extras come when a purchase of at least $25 worth of items using the store links featured on Ebates has taken place.
In a Nutshell…
It’s free to sign up for Ebates, and free to use. You can earn money by doing the things you normally do when shopping online. You’re getting paid for doing basically nothing out of the ordinary except for clicking on a specific link associated with Ebates.
As for taking advantage of cash back opportunities and referral activity, it’s important to recognize that only a handful of people truly make thousands of dollars using Ebates, while others may only cash out $10 (if anything) every three months.