Ebates Review: Is Ebates a Scam?

On January 30, 2016 By Cam Secore

You most likely arrived on this page because you searched “Ebates Scam” on Google. And you’re probably a little confused about Ebates because it seems too good to be true. Good job! Doing your research is an important part before getting into any venture. Fortunately, Ebates is actually not a scam.

What is Ebates?

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

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 to somewhere.

How can you start?

When you’re ready, search for the store you want to purchase from, then click on the store link and it will set up a ‘tracking code’. Once you visit the online store from Ebates, you have thirty days to purchase what you want.

Example: Wal-Mart gives Ebates 2% of every sale that gets referred from their website. So if Ebates sends a customer to Wal-Mart, and that customer buys a $500 computer, Ebates will make $10 on that sale.

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

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

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Why is it legal?

Ebates is an affiliate to over 1,600 online stores. Almost anyone with a website can become an affiliate to these stores. Here’s an article from Wikipedia with a more thorough breakdown of what affiliate marketing is.

This is way over simplified, but if you’re confused, think of it this way: online stores are paying Ebates to advertise on Ebates.com, then, Ebates splits this money with you.

How do I use Ebates?

I’ve been an Ebates member since 2011, and I’ve done quite well. I doubt you”ll have the same kind of success I’ve had, but you can still earn a lot of free money. Most of my cash back came from buying web hosting accounts ($30 cash back from each) and other large items.


Last year’s earnings:


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How long does it take to get the cash back?

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

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

You can either have them send you a check in the mail, or have the money directly deposited into your PayPal account. I prefer the PayPal method.

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My beefs with Ebates

  • Amazon does not offer cash back for most things they sell. There are only certain categories that 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 because they have a “no incentive rule” as part of their affiliate terms of agreement. Current categories:
  • 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 been happening, 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.

Realistic Expectations

This seems pretty self-explanatory: if Ebates says they’ll give you 1% cash back for shopping at Wal-Mart, guess how much you’ll get get back? Wow, you’re good!

People get confused all the time when I show them my past earnings. They see it and think they’ll instantly do as well as I did.


What are the steps for cash back?

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I dispelled the “Ebates scam” myth, now what?

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

If you sign up through my link, and then go on to make some purchases through Ebates, I will eventually earn $5 from Ebates. This in no way affects you, but I just wanted to be transparent about this. If you don’t think I deserve the commission, and you still want to use Ebates, no problem with me. I wrote this review because I’m a big fan and don’t think enough people are using it.

In my mind, it doesn’t make sense to pass up this opportunity. Just shop for the things you would normally shop for, and get paid for doing it. Sounds like a good deal to me!

I'm Cam Secore. I've been an Internet marketer for the last four years, and I started this blog because I wanted to review some products on the Internet.

  • Lori Kelly

    All the above is true! Love ebates! I just started recently. Made $89 in about a month. $50 in just referring people that used it.