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How Does Ebates Work?

Updated on December 3, 2015

Ebates Screenshot of Earnings

Here's a screenshot of my personal earnings for one quarter
Here's a screenshot of my personal earnings for one quarter

Wondering How to Use Ebates? This is what you need to know...

But if you are in a hurry, here's the oversimplified quick version of how to use Ebates:

1. Sign up with Ebates. Yes, they will ask for your email, name etc. They will also ask you to pick a giftcard for signing up.

2. When ready to shop online, GO TO EBATES FIRST, then click on the link to your favorite store. Don't leave your online store until you have made your purchase! More about this later.

3. Shop and check out as usual. That's all!

4. Ebates tracked your purchase. This all takes place in the background. You will not see any notice that your purchase was tracked. Don't worry! It DID happen and you will see money from your purchase in your Ebates account in a few days.

OK, here's all the rest. Grab a cup of coffee if you are still with me. Maybe you've heard of Ebates and aren't sure what it is, how it works, or how to use it. Yes, definitely learn all about it before you start making purchases through Ebates or you could miss out on having your purchase tracked for your cash back. I've now used Ebates for almost 4 years and I want to share what I've learned with you by answering these questions and more.

I'm sharing exactly how to use Ebates, example purchases, what I've personally earned in cash back from my own account and, of course, how you can sign up for your own free account.

If you have any questions at all, please ask them in the guest book at the bottom of the page - and please participate in the poll.

FAQ's Questions and Answers about Ebates

How it Works. Just the facts.

What exactly IS Ebates?

Ebates is a FREE program that earns YOU cash back on internet purchases. Period. You sign up with Ebates, click through an Ebates link to your favorite store (I'll explain this in more detail below), make a purchase and Ebates puts a percentage of that purchase into your Ebates account. Three times a year they will mail you a check for that amount. I share step by step instructions below.

Is Ebates Free?

Yes. Ebates is absolutely free and you can sign up here.

Is Ebates some sort of scam?

No.

Do I personally recommend Ebates?

Yes, I do. And I do it often, although I'll have to say that most people look at me with one eye squinted when I tell them about it. I know they are thinking, "How can this be real?" I thought that exact same thing.

How can Ebates offer cash back on purchases? Aren't they just giving away money?

This was my first question and now that I know more about internet marketing it all makes perfect sense. Think of the internet as a HUGE marketplace. Every purchase has a "click-path" that was followed to make that purchase. Lots of times, wherever you "click" from earns a commission for the referring site. Well, some smart folks had an amazing idea. Why not offer a huge selection of links that earn commissions and share the commissions with the people doing the purchases? Vwala. Ebates.

Do you get a discount at checkout from simply clicking through Ebates?

NO. You will not get a discount from the store you're shopping at simply by clicking through Ebates. You WILL earn a percentage back into your Ebates account. It's important to note here that you may be able to save additional money on purchases with coupon codes (more on that below).

Can you combine coupon codes with using Ebates?

Yes. I've seen some disclaimers about a select few sites that have rules about combining offers, but I've NEVER had this happen. Matter of fact, Ebates offers their own coupon codes.

How do you get the money you've earned?

Ebates sends out checks quarterly to their members who have earned $5 or more. If you earn less than $5, your money will stay in your account until you break the $5 threshhold.

Name some of the store links available at Ebates.

Wal-Mart, JCPenny, Sephora, Walgreens, Magazines (one of my favorites for gift giving), Home Depot, Toys R Us and hundreds and hundreds more.

The one thing I don't like about Ebates?

They don't link to Amazon (but this has changed). Ugh. Well, Amazon is an already a discount sort of place. So, I'm not going to complain too much. ***Update: Ebates now links to Amazon (for select categories)!!!!!!! Ha ha ha!!!***

What happens if I forget to click through Ebates? Will I still get cash back?

NO! Don't forget to click through Ebates.

What if I click through Ebates to make a purchase - Walmart for example, then get distracted and visit another site, then go back to Wal Mart to check out? Will I still get cash back?

NO! Do not navigate away from your purchase before you complete the transaction. Your cash back will be lost.

Why am I telling you about Ebates?

Because I AM REBATE WOMAN (according to my family anyway) and I don't see a reason anyone would not use this cash back tool to earn a little cash for themselves and their families. It's important to say here that if you sign up through this page, I'll earn a little cash back for telling you about it (but ONLY if you use it). And so will you. I think the current promotion is $5 or a $5 gift card. I don't know for sure what it is right now, but when you click through it should give you an option for your "sign up gift".

How long have I used Ebates?

This Christmas makes 7 years!

What's the very very very best time to use Ebates?

I ALWAYS use Ebates for online purchases, but the VERY best time is at Christmas time. PLEASE do not miss the DOUBLE CASH BACK deals at Christmas! Ebates will send you emails about exactly which days are double cash back.

Just so you know...

If you sign up with Ebates through a link on this page, I'll earn a small commission - and so will you. BUT I'll only earn that small commission if you USE Ebates

to earn money back for yourself.

I have no other affiliations with Ebates.

Yadda, yadda.

Now on to the facts...

*Don't Forget

You MUST click through a link at Ebates to earn cash back.

Top Question about Ebates: When do I get my cash back payment?

Every three months

Every 3 months, Ebates sends you a cash back payment for purchases posted during the previous quarter based on the schedule below. But if you've earned less than $5.01 cash back, they carry over your money to the next check. Sign-up rewards do not count toward the $5.01 minimum.

Here's the payment schedule:

And here are your options for payment methods.

Specify which one you want to use when you sign up.

1) Big Fat Check

2) PayPal

3) Charity/Organization/Family Member

Up until now I've always received my earned cash-back in the form of a Big Fat Check (that's what they call it). But I think I'm going to change that to PayPal (Yes! I changed it to PayPal - all transactions have been smooth and on time). I actually didn't realize they offered PayPal as an option until I wrote this article. Here's a copy of one of the checks I've received. This check was a smaller amount of $6.19. It does not include any Christmas time spending. Take a look at my own Ebates account purchases in the next section to get an idea of what to expect.

Examples from my own Ebates account

It took me a while to meet the $5.00 threshhold for this payout.

And this check included my Christmas spending. As you can see, it adds up fast at Christmas.

Which store links at Ebates have I personally earned cash-back from?

Here are a few I use regularly: Walgreens, Foster & Smith, Magazines, Target, Snapfish, Ebay and more.

What's the best deal I've ever gotten through Ebates?

Each year I purchase a magazine subscription for my uncle. He used to live in Alaska and loves to receive the Alaska Magazine. The regular price is $18.00/yr at my favorite online discount magazine website. For the best deal possible I waited for the double cash back day (I think it was on Black Friday last year), clicked through Ebates and earned 42% back! Not only that, since I had ordered from them before, the magazine website had recently sent me a $5 off coupon for any magazine purchase. So all in all I paid $7.54/yr when I consider the cash-back.

Example Purchase #1

How to use Ebates

Using Ebates with step by step instructions

Scenario:

I need to purchase a comforter set from Target.

1. Go to Ebates

Here's what the home page looks like after you sign up. It displays the "deals of the week" etc.

2. Find the store link

First I've got to find out if Target is indeed one of the store links at Ebates. I go to Ebates and click on "Shop all stores" in the upper left corner. Since stores are listed in alphabetical order, I click on the "T" to see if Target is listed. YES! It is currently at 3% cash back. If I'm not using any coupon codes (more on that below) I go ahead and click on the orange "Shop Now" button.

3. After clicking "Shop Now" you'll see this screen.

This screen lets me know I'm on my way to cash back with my purchase.

4. Make the purchase.

Now that I'm at Target, I will NOT navigate away from it until I make my purchase.

Target will not alert me to any cash back with Ebates - even though it happened when I check out. However, in a couple of days, Ebates will send me an email about money being credited to my Ebates account.

5. Get an email confirmation of your earned cash back.

Be on the lookout for an email notifiying you of the cash back you have earned. This usually takes 2-3 days.

Example Purchase #2

How to use Ebates

with a coupon code

Using Ebates to save the MOST

An example purchase WITH a coupon code

Scenario:

I want to purchase a fishing reel for hubby.

1. Go to Ebates

Here's what the home page looks like after you sign up. It displays the "deals of the week" etc.

2. Find the store link

First I've got to find out if West Marine is indeed one of the store links at Ebates. I go to Ebates and click on "Shop all stores" in the upper left corner. Since stores are listed in alphabetical order, I click on the "W" to see if West Marine is listed. YES! I see it. Do you see it in the list? See the orange "Shop Now" button to the right? DON'T CLICK ON IT YET!! We need to sweeten the deal first. Click on "West Marine Coupons & Cash Back" (in green lettering).

3. Look for special coupon codes (discount codes)

When I click on "West Marine Coupons & Cash Back" it takes me to this page. Browse all of the offers available on this page. Some will be "no code needed", but some will offer a special code you will enter at checkout to receive a discount. If you look close at the West Marine page below, you will see one of the codes available when I wrote this article was "free shipping" with the code "ship". But WAIT. You may be able to find an even better code somewhere else online. If you luck up and find a better code somewhere else, simply write it down and come back to this Ebates page and close those other computer windows you used while searching. We don't want to miss out on the cash back! For this particular purchase I found a $5.00 of $50.00 purchase ELSEWHERE online and I'm going to use it.

4. Click "Shop Now" and you'll see a screen like this.

Once you have written down your coupon code, it's finally time to click "Shop Now".

Excellent. This screen lets me know I'm on my way to cash back with my purchase.

5. Make the purchase.

Now that I'm at West Marine, I will NOT navigate away from it until I make my purchase.

Here's the reel he wants. It's price is $79.99. When I check out I'm going to use that coupon code $5 off $50. Or perhaps I'll use the one I found for free shipping. In any event, I make the purchase with my coupon codes and pay with my debit card. West Marine will not alert me to any cash back with Ebates - even though it happened when I check out. However, in a couple of days, Ebates will send me an email about money being credited to my Ebates account.

6. Get an email confirmation of your earned cash back.

Be on the lookout for an email notifiying you of the cash back you have earned. This usually takes 2-3 days. *This example is actually from Target, but Ebates will send me an identical style email for all purchases.

Please participate in this poll - I'm curious

What do you think?

After reading the information above, how do you feel about Ebates?

See results

Don't forget to use it!!

**Now, don't forget to use it!!! Use it for Walgreens photo print orders, use it for all your pet supply purchases, all your gift giving and Christmas shopping. Earn some fun money for yourself.


Scroll back to the top and sign up! Don't miss out on cash back!

Thanks for stopping by! - Do you have any questions about Ebates?

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    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      thanks for explaining it so well! I will use it for sure.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Well wow-weee! You've done quite a presentation that is quite convincing.

    • profile image

      ruraldweller 5 years ago

      Wonderful detailed presentation!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I use ebates but had some questions about it that the sight its self was not answering. This answered all my questions and also gave me some great tips.. can't wait to get my big fat check... I already have 27.31 from christmas shoping and I just signed up in november! Wish they would add amazon!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks Michelle! I am looking forward to my Christmas Big Fat Check too. I even ordered some things for my mom through my acct. Should be a nice one.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Silly question maybe but I'm just wondering if this means that I get the money back I spent plus the percentage?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Sallie,

      Not a silly question. But, no, you don't get the $ back you spent, only a percentage. So if you spend $10.00 on a shirt (through ebates) and that store is offering 3% cash back, you will earn $.30 into your account. For $100 you would earn $3 etc. etc. Every little bit adds up.

      Thanks for asking.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Question....i wanted to buy some tickets through entertainment.com they are through ebates but when I go to that website it directs me to to another website to purchase the tickets would I still get the percentage back i am wondering cause the tickets are quite expensive and ebates gives 17 perc. for this. thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Question: Is Ebates only for online purchases? I don't like to shop online, I make in-store purchases. So can I still use Ebates?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: No it is only for online purchases...

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm not familiar with this. Best thing to do is call ebates or send them an email. I've had good luck with emails to them - their responses are always quick.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey Can I use Paypal as a payment option on ebates?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Well that depends on the store you are buying *from*. Let's say you are buying from Kmart. 1) Go to Ebates 2) Click on the Kmart link 3) Select what you want to buy at Kmart 4) When you check out at Kmart, look for a PayPal payment option. (I have no idea if Kmart allows payment from PayPal, this is just an example.) If you see it, then yes, you can use it.

      In a nutshell, it all depends on the site you are buying from, not Ebates at all.

      Very good question. Thank you!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I've been thinking about your question a bit more. And want to add more info. SOME stores are now offering a "Pick up in store" option. This is where you make your purchase online, then actually go to the store IN PERSON to pick up the item. No shipping involved. This is an instance when you MAY be able to earn cash back and still pick up the item right away in store. BUT, let me say, I'm not 100% sure on this. I will test it with a local store and post the results here. If anyone else gives this a try, please post your results so we will all know. Thanks!!!

    • AlexiaLynn profile image

      AlexiaLynn 4 years ago

      I just joined ebates not to long ago! I wish I would have went through you! I am definitely bookmarking and sharing on Facebook!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When Ebates says "No Discount" on whatever site it may be I want to shop on. What exactly do they mean? Or does it mean exactly what it says? Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How long does it approx take from the time the checks says it has been sent til the time it arrives in the mail?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I opted to get my payments via paypal, but before that did get them mailed to me. I don't recall there being a long time lag. Seems like it wasn't a very long time.

    • suzyjahi profile image

      suzyjahi 3 years ago

      I LOVE EBATES IT IS THE BEST WAY TO SHOP ONLINE AND GET DISCOUNTS AND CASH FOR SHOPPING!

    • profile image

      Kristy 16 months ago

      I have a question how are you earning money if you only get a percentage if someone goes shopping after your review? How do you make money if you buy something for $500.00 and only get 5.01? So in reality you are losing lots more money than you are making!

    • yecall profile image

      yecall 14 months ago from California

      Ebates is a great site, yes it absolutely is. In fact, you have given a very thorough definition and description of it here. I am glad to have found your article and I do appreciate your writing. Ebates is a good way to get some money back.

    • hubber8893 profile image

      hubber8893 13 months ago

      Is the price tag of ebates is same as that of real outlet Walmart,Jpenny etc.

    • profile image

      Eranda99@aol.com 5 months ago

      I can't figure out how to change my ebate to paypal instead of big fat check. Can you walk me through it?

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