On top of using credit cards (Discover and American Express) to get some cash back bonuses for our normal purchases, TJ and I have been using several websites to help give us an even bigger boost to the amount we get back. These cashback websites are nothing new but as more of them pop up, they get more sophisticated and their rewards are even greater. The bottom line is if you ever shop online, using one of these sites should be a no brainer.
So here is how one of these websites work (for those who are unfamiliar with them): You need to setup an account with the website (free) and use it as a middleman to get to the site you want to make your purchase from. So you will visit the website (i.e. Ebates.com), search and use the link for the site you want to make a purchase from (i.e. Dell.com), then just go about with your purchase. After a few days and the purchase has gone through, you will be credited with a certain percentage back into your account at the cashback website. It is one extra step, but visiting these cashback sites is a good idea as they usually list off current promotions and online coupon codes that you can apply which could drive down the cost even further, saving you even more.
Here’s a list of the three cashback sites that I use:
Fatwallet.com is the first cashback site that I started using. On top of having one of the most extensive lists of partnering sites, Fatwallet boasts one of the best online communities of users who make it their daytime to job to promote deals and freebies for other users. Their payment option is PayPal, which only takes a few clicks and a couple of days to clear. I have made it a habit to have them pay me at the end of each calendar year for the past three years. One of the downsides of Fatwallet is that it takes weeks for the cashback bonuses to post.
- Easy Payment (PayPal)
- Extensive List of Partners
- Doesn’t always have best Cashback %
- Takes a while for cashback bonus to post
Ebates has been a relatively new site for me. They don’t have a forum for users to connect with one another, but one thing that they do well is give better cashback percentages than Fatwallet on certain websites. They also boast a very extensive list of partnering sites too. Their payment option is also very easy, as they pay via PayPal. But their best feature is that Ebates will give you $5 for signing up and making your first purchase!
- $5 bonus for signing up and making a purchase
- Occasionally better cashback percentage than Fatwallet
- Easy Payment (PayPal)
- Lack of forum/community
Bing.com is a relatively unknown cashback shopping website. Microsoft has been promoting its other features but its cashback feature could be its best thing. Bing will occasionally give outrageous cashback deals (25%-50%) but those promos are very sporadic and are rarely promoted on their own website. The ironic thing is that Fatwallet users will post about Bing’s big deals. A trade off for their big cashback bonuses is that Bing only pays via check, which can take up to three weeks for them to process. Bing offers a variety of different ways to redeem your cashback bonuses: PayPal, Amazon Credit, Direct Deposit and Check, giving its users a lot of positive options to choose from. (Thank you Jimmy for this update!)
- Occasionally has huge cashback deals
- Excellent variety for redeeming your bonus (Update: 10/29/09)
- Smaller list of partnering websites
- Cashback percentages fluctuates too often
In summary, I use Ebates and Fatwallet the most but occasionally use Bing if their deal percentage is significantly higher. I would recommend signing up for Ebates first to get the extra $5, then continue checking all three sites for the best percentage. Happy Shopping.