Ebates Review: How Does Ebates Work?

On March 19, 2016 By Cam Secore

I’ve been an avid Ebates user for five years and done well with it. To be honest, I didn’t buy into the idea at first. I’m sure you’re a little hesitant too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be on my blog right now looking for an Ebates review.

When I was an innocent high schooler, I had no idea what affiliate marketing was, but now it makes perfect sense. Let’s clear the air. There is no “Ebates Scam.”

I’m going to tell you why the system works, how it works, and why you should be using it…every day.

What is Ebates?

Ebates is a company that gives cash back if you click through the links of stores listed.

The company is an affiliate to many online stores. What’s an affiliate? An affiliate is a person (or company, in this case) that makes a small commission for referring people.

How can you start?

When you’re ready, search for a store and click on the store link. This establishes a ‘tracking code’. Once you visit the online store from Ebates, you have 30 days to purchase what you want.

Example: Wal-Mart gives Ebates 2% of every referred sale. If Ebates sends a customer to Wal-Mart, and the customer buys a $500 computer, Ebates makes $10 on the sale.

Wal-Mart is paying Ebates to advertise. Ebates takes that $10 (the money Wal-Mart paid them) and gives you half ($5). This results in a 1% cash back rate.

It’s a sweet deal! Online stores (e.g. Wal-Mart, Target, BestBuy, etc.) win because they get the sale. Ebates wins because they get a commission. You win (as an Ebates user) because you get extra cash for doing next to nothing.


Ebates - Cash Back Account

Cam may get a commission (learn more).

Why is it legal?

Ebates is an affiliate of over 1,600 online stores. Almost any person with a website can be an affiliate. Here’s an article from Wikipedia with a thorough breakdown of affiliate marketing.

If you’re confused, think of it this way: online stores pay Ebates to advertise on Ebates.com and Ebates splits it with you.

How do I use Ebates?

I’ve done well in the last five years. Most of my accrued cash back came from buying web hosting accounts ($30 cash back from each) and other large purchases for my house (i.e. Apple stuff, desk, etc).

My Earnings:
ebates review


Ebates - Cash Back Account

Cam may get a commission (learn more).

How long does it take to get the cash?

Once you click on the link to the store and check out, it’ll take 1-5 days to appear inside your Ebates account. From there, the cash back will need to go through a holding period (to make sure you don’t return the item you purchased).

After your cash back is 60 days old, you will be paid on the following dates: February 15th, May 15th, August 15th, and November 15th.

You can have them send you a check in the mail or have the money directly deposited into your PayPal account. I always get the money sent to my PayPal and then transfer that into my checking account.

My beefs with Ebates

  • Amazon does not offer cash back for most things. Only certain categories are eligible for cash back, and these categories change monthly. It’s annoying that cash back isn’t offered, but there are still 1,600 other stores to choose from. The reason for the lack of cash back from Amazon is that they have a “no incentive rule” as part of their affiliate terms of agreement. Current categories:
    ebates scam
  • I’ve had two orders in the last couple months that didn’t get credited for cash back. I’m not sure why this is, but there’s an easy solution: go to this link. Give them your order number, the purchase price, and the tracking ticket number, and they’ll immediately credit your account with the proper cash back.
  • Apple.com is no longer eligible for cash back. I buy a lot of Apple products so this is definitely not ideal.
  • Even though I’ve been an Ebates member for a long time, I sometimes forget to go to Ebates to click-through the link. Ebates created a perfect solution for this with their “Ebates Button.” You can download that here, and it works with all browsers. The button stays on your browser’s toolbar, and when you get to a site where Ebates is a partner, it warns you with a message and a link to click. It’s improved my Ebates experience dramatically.
  • This should be self-evident, but it gets brought up repeatedly in the comments section: no, you can’t get cash back from doing in-person shopping in a store. This sucks but here’s a quick tip: if you plan to purchase of a big item in-store, buy it online and choose “in-store pickup.” If you do this, you WILL get credited for cash back.
  • If you’re using a popup blocker, at times you’ll get a message from Ebates letting you know to turn it off for the link tracking to work properly.

What are the steps for cash back?


My Final Take

It doesn’t cost a dime to sign up, and all you need to do is go to Ebates.com before each purchase, search for the store you want, make the purchase, and you’re done! Why not take the free cash?!

If you sign up through my red button and make purchases through Ebates, I will earn $5. This in no way affects you, but I want to be transparent. If you don’t think I deserve the commission, and you still want to use Ebates, no problem. I wrote this review because I’m a big fan and don’t think enough people are using it whether they’re scared or just unaware.

In my mind, it doesn’t make sense to pass on this opportunity. Shop for the things you would normally buy and get paid for doing it. Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

Thanks for checking out my Ebates Review.


Ebates - Cash Back Account

Cam may get a commission (learn more).

My name's Cam Secore. My entrepreneurial drive started in first grade. I created a pencil pouch and put my name on it. A few classmates took notice and I saw opportunity. It cost $1 to make but I sold each for $2. Read more about my story here.

  • Roy,
    I appreciate the kind words, man.

    As you mentioned, stacking could double your cash back every time. It would add up quickly.

    BUT, I don’t think you’re supposed to be getting cash back, with Ebates, when you make a purchase with a gift card. You’ve said you’ve done it, but I haven’t had the same luck with that.

    It shouldn’t work because it doesn’t make sense from the store’s perspective. I’ll reply to this thread after I try again, but keep us posted if it continues to work for you.

    • Roy C

      For me atleast, Ebates seems to recognized my final cost and gives me a the % back based on that. So I’ve just been capitalizing on it i can.

      Whats more interesting is that their site seems to register a purchase when I actually haven’t bought anything. For example when I made a purchase via Groupon and after hitting purchase I run into an error. Groupon states, there was an error with this purchase and to contact their customer service.

      At this point I was never charged for anything and yet Ebates still credits me with 6% of that Groupon Cost. Its happened to me multiple times because I use a lot of prepaid Visas for online puchases.

      Overall my experience with Ebates has been great. But the past year I’ve been more so using my Discover IT card with is 1% cash back (5% categories + 5-10% shopping portal) and doubled at 13th month. Essentially 10% back on places I shop at like Macys, Groupon, Kohls, Advance Autoparts. And after this year I will move on to the next best way to earn money on my spending.

  • Hi Cam. Found your site through Pinterest. Great info on Ebate. Pity about Amazon though. Are these rebates available to people who shop outside of the U.S.? I hope so! Alanna

    • It should work just fine outside the U.S.

      • Alexander Flores

        Hi, It works outside the U.S. but you have to give a real address and then link your paypal account. I’m from El Salvador and I’m a huge fan of ebates. XD

  • kristine samson

    hi cam
    does ebates charge their member a “membership fee”

  • rochelle

    hey cam

    you mentioned that once we click a site we have 30 days to purchase. what happens after the 30 days? Does the site no longer apply?

    • If you don’t make a purchase within 30 days of clicking the link you won’t get credit for the purchase.

      Just click the link again, and you’ll have another 30 days. I suggest clicking the link before every purchase, anyways, just to be safe.

  • saniel

    I don’t shop online and if I do I it’s maybe once a year, is Ebates still beneficial to me?

  • Bjw6721

    Do we have to pay taxes on the money we get back?

  • Ezz Fayek

    Hey cam ..
    Wanted to ask you concerning the In Store Cash Back. How he operates this ?
    How they link the credit card to the offer.
    Thanking you in advance.

  • Gan Da

    Hey, im a teen so i dont know how this works. Are we still going to pay? Or ebates will pay for our purchase? Are we buying for free?

    • You pay regular price and then get a rebate (typically 2-10%) after your purchase if you click through the Ebates link. If you’re not already planning on buying something Ebates doesn’t make sense for you.