This is the first post in a new series called “Websites We Use”. The idea is to show you the websites I use for my day-to-day savings, with a review of each one.
These reviews may contain affiliate links, but rest assured that I will only endorse websites I personally use. And you can be sure that I won’t be partial when reviewing these websites because I want to share my complete experience with them. I’ll also look at reviews from other people to compare different points of view.
So today, the first site for the “Websites We Use” series is (drumroll, please)…
Ebates.ca is a cash back website. Cash back is when you get money back after you purchase something. The most common way to get cash back is probably by using credit cards, as a lot of them offer cash back programs.
Why should I use cash back programs?
Imagine you’re buying something online for $100. If you were to buy it straight from the online store, you’d pay $100 and that’s it. But if you buy it from the store’s website through Ebates, then after you pay the $100, Ebates will give you some money back (let’s say $2.50). It’s like getting a 2.5% discount, right? Since nobody should pay full price, 2.5% off is always better than 0% off.
How does Ebates work?
Many, many online stores work with what they call “affiliate programs”. When someone refers a customer to their website, that someone earns a small commission. This is what Ebates does: they refer you to online stores that offer affiliate programs. When you buy something there, Ebates will make a small commission on your purchase. The twist is that Ebates doesn’t keep the whole commission; they share part of it with you, the customer!
How do I use Ebates?
First, you have to create an account. If you don’t mind using my affiliate link, you can create one by clicking this button:
If you use my affiliate link, I’ll earn $5 from Ebates. It won’t cost you anything and I’ll be happy! ;)
After creating and verifying your account, you can visit Ebates.ca every time you want to buy something online. Search for the store you want to shop from and Ebates will redirect you there. There are more than 650 stores listed, so chances are your favorite store is there. After that, just shop as you normally would; they’ll know Ebates referred you, and Ebates will know you used their link.
You can also find a “Coupons and Deals” section there. It’s a good place to look for coupons when shopping online!
How much cash back can I make?
It depends on the store you’re buying from and the promotions Ebates has available at the time. Cash back values normally range from 1% to 10%, and sometimes even more. Note that the most common values are in the 2–5% range, so don’t get too excited about 10% cash back. From time to time, there are “double cash back” sales and the like, so be sure to subscribe to Ebates’ newsletter to be notified about these special deals.
- Free money! As I always say, why turn down free money? (Well, technically it’s your money returning to your wallet, but it feels like free money, right?)
- Hassle-free discounts. Some people complain about having to search for coupons and trying them all with little success. I agree it can be a bit frustrating. With Ebates, all you have to do is visit their website and click the link to the store. That’s it!
- Super fast and friendly customer support. I once needed to get in touch with them, and the service was top-notch.
- Sometimes the cash back is not correctly credited to your Ebates account. It happened to me once, but all I had to do was open the help section and fill out the “Where’s my cash back?” form. Some days later, the amount appeared in my account.
- Sometimes the cash back you get from Ebates is less than a discount you could get with a coupon or sale. (Please note that Ebates cannot guarantee your cash back if you use a coupon not on their site.)
- Some people claim Ebates takes too long to give you cash back. They pay you in cycles of once per month. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the wait or not. But every service under the sun will have a wait time, so you may just have to get used to it.
Also, pay attention when shopping at big online department stores like Amazon.ca. Different departments may offer different cash back rates, and some may not qualify for cash back at all.
Is Ebates.ca a scam?
Does Ebates look like a scam? I don’t think so. You can find some websites claiming that it is, but after researching them myself, I found that they’re a serious company established in the US in 1998. As I said, I use Ebates myself and it works like a charm for me.
So if you’re willing to give Ebates a try (and you should), please use the following button to create your account:
Do you use Ebates? Are you going to? What do you think about this series so far?
Photo by Flickr user Paul Bica – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dexxus/