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When my wife and I first got serious about saving money, we didn’t really have a choice. We were newlyweds living on my starting teacher’s salary while my wife finished college.
And because we lived in a pretty high cost of living area, this all meant one thing: We were basically poor.
Looking back on those days, I’m so grateful to God that we learned how to budget and make extra money on the side. If we had lived like most people our age, I’m sure we’d probably still be digging our way out of credit card debt.
In those first few years, we skimped and scrounged the old-fashioned way to save money. It was 2010, and believe it or not, we didn’t even have smartphones. So using money saving apps like Ibotta, Paribus, and Ebates wasn’t even on our radar.
Ironically, today, 9+ years later, the odds are high you’re probably reading this on your smartphone. And you’ve probably heard of Ebates.
What is Ebates? How does Ebates work? How does Ebates save you money? And why should you be using it?
The short answer: Ebates is a free savings site that gives users cash back on online shopping almost everywhere.
The long answer: Read more below.
How Does Ebates Work?
Does free cash back sound like it’s too good to be true? We thought the same thing when we first learned about Ebates, mostly because we were used to having to work pretty hard to find good coupons to save money.
But much to our surprise, Ebates is 100% legitimate. It’s actually a genius idea that helps everyone make or save money, including shoppers like you, retailers that partner with Ebates, and Ebates itself, of course.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you shop online at an Ebates partner retailer. You redeem a savings offer and get 10% cash back on a purchase you were already going to make anyway. Ebates also makes a small commission by referring business to their partner retailer, who also makes money on your purchase.
If you’re curious and want to read a little more detail, you can check out more straight from Ebates.
Is Ebates Going to Cost Me Money?
Nope. Nada. Zilch. Zero dollars.
Ebates has always been free to use and will most likely always be free because that’s how cash back platforms work best.
There are no hidden costs, fees, or gotchas. And it’s surprisingly effortless to save money with Ebates once you sign-up, so it’s pretty hard to make an argument that you’re working hard to save money.
Not only will Ebates not cost you a dime, you’ll actually earn a $10 welcome bonus when you join and make a qualifying purchase of $25 or more within your first 90 days.
Hint: It’s basically inevitable that you’ll earn your $10 welcome bonus if you shop online even once or twice on a monthly basis.
Why You Should Sign-up for Ebates
If you’re still on fence about joining a free cash back program that offers generous savings opportunities, we get it. You have to be cautious about what you do online these days, especially when it involves money.
But the honest truth is there is absolutely no good reason for anyone not to use Ebates.
Here are the top 4 reasons we recommend Ebates to everyone we know:
1. Ebates Offers Multiple Ways to Get Cash Back
Ebates generally works a little differently than other cash back apps like Ibotta or Paribus. In our opinion, it’s even more effortless!
Depending upon the store or retailer, there are three ways an Ebates user can get cash back:
1.) Flat rates
Many Ebates partners offer a simple flat rate on the cash back they offer. For example, you could earn activate a $5 cash back offer simply by completing a purchase.
2.) Percentage return
A high number of Ebates partner retailers offer a fixed percentage return on purchases. These rates often change on a daily basis, depending upon the retailer.
At publishing time, cash back percentages currently offered range all the way up to 40%.
From time to time, some retailers temporarily become Double Cash Back Stores, which is exactly what it sounds like: They double their cash back percentage.
3.) In store cash back
Ebates made its name as an online cash back giant, but they’ve also made their presence known with increased in store options.
Activating in store cash back does take a bit more effort, but it’s still easy — you can even do it on the go.
First, you’ll need to securely link a credit or debit card to your Ebates account. Second, browse in store shopping offers using your desktop browser or your mobile device. Finally, link offers you want to redeem to the payment method you have on file and you’re ready to go!
2. Ebates Offers a $10 Welcome Bonus
This should probably be number one on our list. I mean, who doesn’t love finding free money? If you’ve ever put on your winter coat for the first time of the year and found a $10 bill in your pocket, you know what I mean.
It’s quick and easy to sign-up for Ebates, and once you’re registered, getting your $10 bonus is a two-step process.
Complete your first online or in-store purchase of $25 or more in the first 90 days.
Select an option for redeeming your $10 bonus. (These options change from time to time, but they often include gift cards to places like Kohls, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart.)
Sign-up for Ebates and get your $10 bonus.
3. Ebates Partners with Over 2,500 Stores
No, that’s not a typo: Ebates has partnered with more than 2,500 stores to give users cash back and flat rate savings on their normal, everyday purchases.
It’s an impressive number of stores, but we realize a number like 2,500 can be a bit overwhelming.
Here’s the good news: Once you sign-up for Ebates, you don’t need to constantly check on which stores are Ebates partners because their browser extension does it for you.
Currently, Ebates offers extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. This means that your browser will do the work for you and let you know if the site you’re shopping is an Ebates partner and if you qualify for cash back.
When you’re shopping on a partner site you’ll see a small pop-up button like the one pictured below letting you know if there are eligible cash back or flat rate savings available.
4. Ebates Has a Generous Referral Program
If you’re like me, you tell everyone – I mean EVERYONE – when you find out about a great way to save money.
How does earning $25 for sharing the good news about Ebates sound?
Once you join Ebates and become a qualifying member, it’s easy to share the good news with friends and family and collect a $25 referral bonus for each new member you refer.
When you sign-up for Ebates, you will receive a unique referral link — you can find it by signing-in to Ebates and visitng the Refer-a-Friend page. You can grab your link there and share it with friends through text message, e-mail, Facebook, or carrier pigeon (kidding on that last one).
If your friend uses your link to sign-up and completes their first qualifying purchase within one year of signing-up, you will qualify for the referral bonus.
You can always login to check on the number of referral bonuses you’ve earned, as well as view an estimate of when you can expect to receive referral bonuses.
Here is the best part: There is no limit to the number of friends, family members, and colleagues you can refer to Ebates.
Remember, it doesn’t cost anything for them to sign-up, so you won’t even need to be salesy when you share your link.
With more than 10 million registered users in Canada, the US, and Korea, it’s official: Ebates is a 100% legit way to get absolutely free cash back for the shopping you already do online and in stores.
Unless you’re allergic to saving money, we can’t think of one reason NOT to sign-up and tell all of your friends. So before you close this article, take a couple minutes and register for Ebates now.