$259.53.

That’s our lifetime earnings so far from the free cashback app Ebates. If you’re wondering whether it’s legit, our bank account says “definitely!”

If this has got you asking, “what is Ebates,” then you’re in the right place because our Ebates review guide will tell you everything you need to know about this awesome way to earn money from your online shopping.

In this post, we cover:

  • the Ebates site, app, and browser extension
  • ways to earn cash back through Ebates
  • how to earn a $10 welcome bonus with Ebates

This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure for more details.

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What is Ebates?

Ebates is a popular cashback site that pays you a certain percentage back on your retail purchases, absolutely free. They also have a bank of online coupon codes that you can apply to your orders to save even more!

The amount of cashback you can earn varies from store to store, and each retailer has their own set of terms & conditions. However, virtually every major chain or online seller you can think of participates with Ebates, so you have the potential to save on nearly everything you buy.

When Ebates first started, they only offered rebates for online purchases, but they’ve since launched an in-store cashback program that works with select retailers.

Does Ebates cost money?

ebates app logo

Not at all. Ebates is 100% free. There is no sign-up fee, no cost to download the app, no hidden costs…it’s literally free cash back with no catch whatsoever.

There is nothing different about what you see and can buy from the retailers you shop at, other than the fact that you’re pocketing back some of the money you spend by using Ebates.

How does Ebates make money?

So why would some random company pay you money to buy stuff without there being any funny business going on? For the skeptics that insist there’s gotta be a catch, here’s how Ebates makes money.

Ebates’ model for profiting is pretty simple: Stores pay Ebates a commission to get shoppers to their sites. Ebates shares a part of that commission with you. Win-win!

Because of how popular Ebates is (8 million users and growing), they can also charge retailers extra to get featured or highlighted on Ebates’ platform.

ebates app review - double cashback

How does Ebates work?

There are three ways to activate the cashback incentive when you shop online:

  • Visit Ebates.com and click through to the website you want to shop at
  • Open the Ebates app and tap through to the website you want to shop at
  • Install the Ebates Cash Back Button extension for your web browser, which automatically shows you a cashback activation button anytime you visit a site that offers cashback through Ebates

All three are pretty user-friendly, so which one you want to use depends mainly on which device you shop on most often.

As for in-store cash back, just register your credit card with Ebates and select which offers or stores you want to link to your card. After you pay for your purchase at the store with the linked credit card, the cashback will be credited to your Ebates account within seven days.

Check out our article on how Ebates works to read our best tips on how to maximize your cashback earnings from Ebates!

What stores are on Ebates?

Ebates works with over 2500 stores, so the chances are very high that the place you want to shop at online is part of Ebates’ cashback network.

You can earn cashback at places like:

  • Amazon.com
  • Target
  • Macys
  • Walmart.com
  • eBay
  • Groupon
  • And more!

amazon logo

target logo

old navy logo

Can you use Ebates in stores?

Recently, Ebates began offering in-store cashback so now you can use Ebates even when you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar location rather than online.

To help Ebates track your purchase so they can award your cashback, just do the following:

1.

Log in to your Ebates account via a web browser or the Ebates app.

2.

Click on the “In-Store” section.

3.

Find the store you want to shop at and click the button to link the offer to your account.

4.

Add the credit card you’ll be using to pay to your Ebates account.

After you pay for your purchase at the store with the linked card, you should see the cashback hit your Ebates account within seven days.

As of this writing, there are roughly 75 stores participating with the in-store cashback program. That’s far fewer than the number of retailers who offer cashback through Ebates for online purchases, but the number of in-store offers is very likely to grow.

ebates app review - link credit card for in store cash back

TIP:

The cashback percentage offered for shopping in-store often varies from the percentage offered for purchasing from the same retailer online.

Since it’s inconsistent which way offers you more, be sure to compare the two and see whether, after considering shipping costs, you might earn more by buying online.

Our review of Ebates

We’ve been using Ebates for years and don’t plan on quitting any time soon.

We honestly can’t find any reason NOT to use them, because it’s so easy to use and the money you save adds up fast. So far among all of us Changs, we’ve earned almost $450 from Ebates!

Why Ebates is worth using

$10

$10 welcome bonus
We’ll be totally honest: this is the real reason why we even tried out Ebates in the first place (but once we started using Ebates, we never stopped). Snagging the $10 is really easy – just visit Ebates before you do your shopping and make a qualifying purchase.

We figured out a genius hack on how to use Ebates if you want an easy step-by-step walkthrough of the smartest way to earn with Ebates.

2500+

Huge number of participating retailers
If you’re shopping from a store that most people would recognize, chances are it’s probably on Ebates. Thanks to Ebates, we almost never pay full price for anything we buy online.

amazon logo

EBATES & AMAZON

One site that people often ask us about is Amazon. You can earn cashback for Amazon through Ebates, but it is very important to understand the terms:

  • Only select categories on Amazon earn cashback.
    To view the categories, click on the Amazon logo from Ebates and look at what specific categories will qualify for cashback
  • You CANNOT stock your cart before going through Ebates.
    This means, you have to add the item to your cart after you’ve clicked to Amazon from Ebates.

2x

Double cash back days
Ebates regularly features stores that will give double their normal cash back for a limited time, which can make your cash back earnings go from great to fantastic. Imagine a store offering 10% cashback that’s suddenly giving you 20% off!

$25

Generous $25 referral bonus
There are very few sites of any kind that offer this high a referral bonus for you to tell your friends & family. If you can find four people to sign up and meet the requirements, that’s a cool $100 in your pocket!

Ebates gives such a big referral reward because they’re confident that once someone starts earning cashback and scores the $10 welcome bonus, they’ll be hooked. From our own personal experience, we can tell you they’re totally right!

Ebates site vs app vs browser bar

 

ebates review - screenshot of stores in ebates app

In terms of which method we use to access Ebates, we tend to gravitate towards using the website itself rather than the app or the browser bar.

There’s nothing wrong with the app and we found it easy enough to use the few times we tried it, but we prefer to do our shopping on a bigger monitor screen rather than a small mobile device.

As for the browser bar, we loved how it automatically notified us every time we were at a site where we could stand to earn cashback.

We did, however, find the browser bar’s coupon code element a little buggy. 

The browser extension would try to apply any Ebates-approved coupon codes automatically at checkout, but on a few occasions, it got stuck in a loop because our purchase didn’t meet the requirements for any of the available coupons.

It was easy enough to exit out of the coupon applicator, but it was a weird quirk you might encounter too.

Overall, the browser bar is pretty great if you are too lazy to check Ebates each time you are ready to make a purchase.

CAUTION:

With the browser bar, you don’t get a chance to see the store’s terms and conditions before the cashback is activated.

That’s why we prefer going through the actual website Ebates.com, so we can check out the fine print beforehand and be crystal clear on what we’ll earn cashback on.

How to earn a $10 welcome bonus with Ebates

Start off your Ebates experience with a $10 welcome bonus by following these steps:

Pretty easy, right?

TIP:

You don’t have to meet the spending threshold all at once if you aren’t ready spend that much just yet. As long as your total purchases within 90 days totals the designated dollar amount, that $10 bonus is yours!

ebates review app welcome bonus

How do you get your money from Ebates?

Ebates automatically sends your payment according to a set schedule, as long as you’ve reached the minimum balance of $5.01 by the designated date below.

If you have over $5 by this date……your payment will be sent on this date
March 31May 15
June 30August 15
September 30November 15
December 31February 15

If you haven’t surpassed the $5 threshold yet, your balance will keep carrying forward until you meet the threshold for a cashout.

When it is time for you to get your moolah, you can choose to receive your money by check or by Paypal.

ebates review earnings check

Can you use Ebates after your purchase?

Unfortunately, getting cash back after the sale is not an option. To earn their commission from a retailer, Ebates has to track the sale and prove that they guided you to the retailer’s online site or physical store.

If you go buy your item without going through Ebates first, the retailer has no reason to believe that Ebates helped influence your decision to shop there. Since they won’t pay a commission to Ebates for your sale, there is nothing for Ebates to split with you.

Conclusion

Our Ebates review answers all your burning questions about what Ebates is, if it’s legit, and how to earn cashback. We’ve compared the Ebates app, site, and browser extension to make it easy for you to decide how you can make extra money with Ebates. Don’t forget to snag your $10 welcome bonus!

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AUTHOR BIO

STACY, aka AUNTY CHANG, is a personal finance blogger set on a mission to show people that there's more to money than just the numbers. With two rental properties and a six-figure 401k by her 30's, she's on track to retire early without sacrificing work-life balance to get there. She wants to teach others how to identify their goals and use money to make them happen. Dual income, no kids, based in Hawaii.

Hangs out on Keeping Up with the Changs: Facebook | Twitter