Cash Back Shopping 101

by Marcy on September 16, 2010 · 7 comments

This week I had the opportunity to meet with a reporter from WBNS 10 TV in Columbus to talk about Cash Back Shopping. When I asked around to see if any of my friends wanted to join in on the interview, I realized that many of them aren’t taking advantage of Cash Back Shopping deals online, so I wanted to take some time to share some info with you about it.

What exactly is “Cash Back Shopping”? – Cash Back Shopping involves using a cash back site (ex: Ebates) to navigate to an online retailers site (ex: You make your purchases, and a percentage of your purchase will be refunded back to you.

How does Cash Back Shopping Work? – It’s easy (I promise!):

  • Visit a Cash Back Website and set up an account (my favorites are: Ebates, ShopatHome and Mr. Rebates)
  • When you are ready to shop online, visit the Cash Back site(s) you signed up for & log in
  • Search for the retailer that you want to shop
  • Click over to the retailer’s site through the cash back site
  • Shop as normal and your cash back site account will be credited (typically anywhere from 2-30% of your purchase excluding taxes and shipping)
  • Receive a check in the mail! (or get pay via PayPal in some instances)

Some Additional Notes – Many of the cash back sites offer sign up and referral bonuses. This is a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash. Also, most of these sites offer daily and weekly deals, for example, check out Double Cash Back during Fashion Week on Ebates here. Many of these sites also offer coupon and free shipping codes for popular retailers – a great way to save even more!

If you are already doing a bulk of your shopping online (as I am), you should really look into using these sites – especially for big ticket purchases such as computers/electronics. One to two extra clicks can result in a check in your mail box – and who can’t use a little bit of extra cash?

So what is the catch? – there really is no catch that I am aware of. Basically the way it works: the cash back sites are paid commission from the retailers to direct traffic/business to them. The cash back sites are able to pay you a certain percent back by sharing some of their profit with you.

So I am curious, how many of you currently use cash back sites when making your online purchases? And if you aren’t, what is holding you back? Free free to ask questions – and I’ll do my best to help!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tricia Meyer September 16, 2010 at 8:17 AM

I live for cash back shopping because I own my own cash back site. :) It’s shocking to me how few people actually take advantage of it compared to the number of people who shop online.

2 Mary @ 4our2cents September 16, 2010 at 2:49 PM

I LOVE cash back shopping! And I generally don’t buy at an online retailer unless they offer cash back. I use shopathome, ebates and bigcrumbs. I check them all first to see who has the bigger cash back amount. My new fave thing to buy online is shoes. Free shipping and free returns at most sites and often 10% (or more!) cash back. I am also amazed at how many people don’t use these sites. Free money people!!! :)
I didn’t know you were going to be on, I would have DVRd it too. Do you know if they will have a video of it up on the 10 tv site?

3 Emily September 16, 2010 at 9:00 PM

I use Shot At Home, but I don’t shop online that much, so I actually have not received a check from them yet because I haven’t got $20 in my account yet. Most of the online shopping I do is at at amazon using my swagbucks winnings.

4 Lori September 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM

I mostly use ebates. I love it. I’ve received 3 checks over the past year from ebates and mr. rebates totaling almost $50. I really don’t even do that much online shopping. I buy frequently from ebay and earn 2% from ebates on all purchases, plus I earn 2% in ebay bucks on the same transaction. It all adds up.

5 CJ September 18, 2010 at 10:04 AM

The one time I tried to use ebates it ran so slowly on my computer that by the time I picked out items it timed out or something and wanted me to start all over. I’d rather shop in stores and see the things before I buy them anyway.

6 Megan June 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Does Upromise count as cash back shopping? If so, yes I do. They deposit a percentage off your online purchase into an account to save for college. They also offer grocery coupons and online retailer coupons.

7 Pamela Cofer August 17, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Wanna pick your brain! If I do any online shopping at all, it’s usually through eBay…tell me how you get ebates and ebucks!

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