There is more to maximizing cash back than just using the right rewards credit cards. Many card issuers also offer marketplaces or online shopping portals where, if you use your appropriately branded credit card, you can earn 1% to 7% cash back or more. That’s in addition to the 1% to 5% cash back credit card rewards.
When you shop through your card issuer’s portal, the company places tracking information on your computer. This tracking information allows the retailer communicate back to the issuer the cost of your purchase and how much cash back you should receive. The tracking information and the online store work together to make sure you receive the cash back as described in the portal.
The system isn’t always wonderful, though. The shopping portals rarely have the specific store you’d like to shop, and it can be a pain to log into your credit card website every time you want to purchase an item online. I prefer the convenience of a shopping portal that works with every credit card, like Ebates.com, rather than a branded issuer-based portal.
I’ve been using Ebates occasionally for the past several years. By creating an account, you earn cash back at more than 1,200 stores. Membership is completely free; in fact, you can earn money by being a member by referring your friends.
The concept of spending money to save money is interesting. It only works when you’re spending only the money you would spend anyway, without the cash back incentive. If a cash back rebate is the impetus that helps you decide to purchase a product, the purchase may not be the best idea in the first place. Furthermore, you have to carefully consider the total cost of your purchase. Many times, you can find a better price for a certain product on a website that’s not included in the portal’s list. For example, if your favorite book is $10 on Amazon.com and $15 on Barnes and Noble’s website, the 4% cash back you receive for Barnes and Noble doesn’t make up for the difference. The book is still $14.40 at Barnes and Noble.
When you do find a good deal on the stores supported by Ebates, receiving your cash back is easy. I created a PayPal account and linked it to my bank account, and use this account primarily for payments from Ebates. You could also configure your Ebates account to distribute your cash back to you in the form of paper checks, if you desire. Furthermore, if you prefer to designate your cash back to a charitable organization, you can provide information for the non-profit to receive your payments.
Ebates is another option available for those who want to make the most of their everyday purchases. Sign up today for free to use Ebates to maximize your cash back. Used in conjunction with a cash-back rewards card, the rebates are unbeatable.
Updated November 11, 2016 and originally published May 9, 2011.