– Make money shopping –
Earning discounts and cashback just for shopping online might sound too good to be true. But cashback websites such as Rakuten and more can actually work.
Maybe you’ve heard of Ebates (now called Rakuten rewards) and aren’t sure what it is, how it works, or how to use it. This article will guide you through it.
What Is Ebates?
Ebates is a free program that lets you earn cashback on internet purchases. It doesn’t affect any other part of your purchase – you are now simply going to get petty cash back for every dollar you spend online.
You sign up, click on a link to your favorite store, and make a purchase. Ebates then puts a percentage of that purchase into your Ebates account.
How Does Rakuten Work?
You can sign up for Rakuten with a Facebook or Google account, or an email address.
There’s no charge, and nobody will ask for your Social Security number or anything. Make sure to pick one of two sign-up bonuses — either a $10 Walmart gift card or a $10 Rakuten cash bonus.
- Find the store where you want to shop by typing it into the search bar or by clicking on one of the shopping categories, such as “Women’s Clothing” or “Electronics and Computers.”
- Click through to your store, whether it’s Best Buy, eBay, Old Navy, or Target.
- Click the “shop now” button.
- The difference is that when you buy something, a percentage of the price will be funneled into your Rakuten account.
NOTE: You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25 to earn the sign-up bonus.
The Pros and Cons of Ebates
- Keep more of your money, for free! — Ebates is completely free to sign up for and use. Just start your online shopping there, and you will earn a percentage of what you spend at Ebates’s affiliated online stores as cashback rewards. Ebates will then send you that money later in the year.
- Pick where the money goes — You can have Ebates send your money through a cheque in the mail, or you can have them send it directly to your PayPal account (if you have one).
- Lots of stores to save at — Ebates is partnered with over 1500 stores around the world, so you’re bound to find one that you can get cash back while shopping at!
- It’s right there in black and white — Ebates is one of the better affiliate revenue-sharing websites when it comes to simplicity of use. It tells you exactly what percentage of the money you will earn back. Especially when shopping at a particular store, and it will give you explicit instructions for avoiding any technical problems that you may encounter. Plus, it’s safe to use and has relatively excellent customer service.
- Some restrictions apply — Some popular brands, such as Apple, do not have affiliations with Ebates, so you can’t get cash back while shopping for their products. Other retailers have conditions on getting cash back, such as having to shop in specific departments. Be sure to read the fine print on the deals.
- Waiting is the hardest part — Ebates only sends out your payments four times a year, and they are spaced out so that you have to wait two months after your purchase deadline to get cashback. Some users have also had problems getting their payouts, but fortunately, this is often because they haven’t earned enough money on a payout yet (so it’s carried over). And if it’s not, its customer service is pretty good about resolving the problem.
- You may have to get a bit technical — There are certain technical quirks that may cause Ebates not to work, such as if you have an add-on to your web browser that blocks advertisements, or you shop directly at the store or its website instead of clicking through to it through Ebates. Be sure to start at Ebates and be careful about closing web browser windows or tabs to make sure that it works!
How to Use Ebates
Here’s a quick version of how to use Ebates.
- Sign up with Ebates (now also called Rakuten). It’ll ask for your email, name, etc. It will also ask you to pick a gift card for signing up.
- When you’re ready to shop online, go to Ebates first and click on the link to your favorite store.
- Shop and check out as usual.
How Quickly is Cash Back Credited to My Account?
Most Cash Back rewards are credited within 48 hours. Some stores, however, cannot confirm your purchase until the return period has elapsed and may take up to thirty days to confirm your Cash Back.
Travel and car rental sites do take longer to process Cash Back for Rakuten members than other sites. Most travel sites will not report Cash Back to our members’ accounts until the trip is complete.
How Does Rakuten Make Money?
Rakuten is an affiliate marketing site. That means retailers pay Rakuten a commission for sending customers their way. So, when you click on a Rakuten link to an online store, Rakuten gets a commission.
Then it turns around and gives you a cut of that commission.
Is Rakuten a Scam?
No, it’s legit. A couple of former deputy district attorneys in Silicon Valley launched Rakuten way back in 1998.
Rakuten has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the best rating possible.
Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings on Rakuten
Here are eight ways to make the most of your cash-back rewards:
Before you check out, check Rakuten for coupon codes. Not only does the website get you cashback, but it also has coupon codes for many of its affiliated stores. That way, you can stack your savings.
Make your purchase during the same shopping session that you started after clicking on the Rakuten link. If you visit other websites before buying something, your purchase might not get linked to Rakuten, and you won’t get your cashback.
If you refer friends or family to sign up with Rakuten, you get a $25 bonus. For you to qualify for the $25, they have to spend at least $25 through Rakuten during their first year of membership.
That way, Rakuten knows you’re not signing up fake people.
If you keep forgetting to shop through Rakuten, install its browser extension. The Ebates button will perch at the top of your browser window. When you go to an eligible online store, you’ll get a pop-up message reminding you to click on your cash-back button.
Rakuten doesn’t work too well with ad blockers. If you’re using one on your computer, make sure to whitelist Ebates for the best experience.
Rewards credit cards:
If you have a rewards credit card, you can boost your cashback by using it for shopping via Rakuten. There’s no rule against this or anything. Stack those savings!
Rakuten For In-Store Shopping
Now if you shop more in person than you do online, Rakuten still has something for you. Rakuten has partnered with select retail stores so that you can earn cashback while you’re out shopping.
Here’s how it works:
- Add an eligible Visa or American Express credit card to your Rakuten account online
- Link available In-Store Cash Back offers to your credit card
- Use your linked credit card in local stores and receive cashback in your account within 7 days
- There’s no fee for this and no need to upload receipts.
If you like the convenience of purchasing things online and having them sent right to your door, then Ebates is a great way to get money back for doing shopping that you would have done, anyway.
The amount of money that you get back per purchase may not be much, but multiple purchases can add up to lots of extra money for you!
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