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Verdict: Ebates is one of the most popular and oldest of the shopping incentive websites. The shopping portal was founded in 1999 and remains one of the best shopping rewards websites available to consumers today, with cash back rewards up to 25% of your purchases and a very generous referral program. To maximize the potential of the referral program, you really need a large social network or a blog with good traffic (or both), but the payouts can be incredible.
Sign-up is quick and easy, shopping choices are broad with more than 1,200 partner sites, the website offers intuitive navigation, and if you have any questions, you’ll find the answers on the FAQ page.
If you’re looking for a shopping portal to earn cash for referrals, I highly recommend this one. Of course, again, it pays to shop around to determine where you can get the most cash back. Your cash back rewards credit card may offer more for the particular purchase you want to make.
Ebates.com is a website that offers “digital rebates” for all purchases made through their website or shopping portal with participating retailers. You may think of rebates in the old fashioned sense of mailing a receipt to a manufacturer and receiving a small check in the mail — providing you filled out everything correctly and included all the required information and paperwork. Ebates is different; all “ebates” are credited to an account created on the Ebates.com website. Each purchase gains anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, depending on the percent cash back and the amount of purchase. After you accumulate a certain amount of cash, you receive a payment.
Online shopping portals all receive some sort of monetary compensation for the customers they direct to retailers. This comes in the form of pay per click ads or direct compensation from the retailers for affiliate programs.
Some portals, like Ebates, give some of this back to the shopper to entice people to use their portal and send their friends to it, too. The ebates portal is very straightforward and easy to use.
The website says it takes 15 seconds to sign up. Since all you have to provide is your email address and a password, I found it took even less time than that! As a sign-up bonus, you have a choice of receiving a $10 gift card to select stores like Target.com or BarnesandNoble.com, or a $5 ebates credit to get you started.
Once you’re logged in, you can shop and earn up to 25% cash back at 1,200 popular online retailers. Ebates issues checks quarterly. When you earn more than $5.00 in cash back, you’ll receive payment by check, Paypal or direct deposit into your checking account on the next payday. If you haven’t accrued more than $5 in the past three months, your cash back rolls over into the next period — you don’t lose your cash back at each quarter.
As with many of these programs, the big money comes when you refer others to the website. You earn $5 for each referral, but you also get bonuses when you refer a certain number of members for each pay period.
Here’s what you can get:
- Refer 10 members, get a $100 gift card from select retailers
- Refer 25 members, get a $250 gift card from select retailers
- Refer 50 members, get an iPad 2
Referral bonuses change monthly. If you have access to a huge social network, you can earn even more cash:
- Refer 150 – Get a $1,500 cash bonus
- Refer 300 – Get a $3,500 cash bonus
- Refer 425 – Get a $5,000 cash bonus
There are a few “catches,” if you want to call them that. Your bonus referrals don’t roll over across pay periods, so you only have three months to reach each tier to earn the bonuses. Referrals also don’t count toward the cash back minimum of $5, so you need to shop to actually cash out your referral bonus money.
In addition to earning money for shopping, Ebates.com has other benefits that set it apart. Click “coupons” and you’ll find more than 4,000 coupon codes for discounts from partner stores. Shop, get free shipping, bonus merchandise or percentages off AND earn cash back. Could it be any better?
Well, yes. Use your cash back rewards credit or debit card when you shop and “stack” your cash back opportunities with an extra 1 %.
If you’re looking for specific deals, you can sort coupons by category:
- Free Shipping
- Money Off Coupons
- Free Gifts
- Limited Time Offers
- Deals of the Week
- Exclusive Offers
- Earn up to 25% cash back for shopping online
- Earn referral bonuses for signing up friends
- Only need to earn $5.01 per quarter to cash out your bonus
- Rewards points roll over each quarter
- Earn $5 cash back for each friend you refer, plus bonuses when you reach 10, 25, or 50 referrals (or more
- ”Stack” your cash rewards by using a cash back credit or debit card
- Referral link is easy to email or post on your blog or social network
- Another website to compare cash back bonuses; if you use too many sites, it can take you too long to accrue rewards on any one website
- Bonus rewards don’t roll over each quarter
- Your $5 cash back for referrals doesn’t count toward the minimum quota to cash out your earnings