Ebates: The Easiest Way to Earn Cash Back

Today I want to talk about the easiest way to earn cash back while online shopping – Ebates! I’ve mentioned Ebates before, but I’ve never written an in-depth guide. I want to start by saying that this post is not sponsored. It does include referral links, but they are the same referral links that are available to any Ebates member. If you sign up through one of the links in the post, you’ll receive a $10 credit and I’ll get a referral bonus. It’s a win-win!

Anyway, in my recent Staycation post I mentioned that I used Ebates to earn cash back on our stay. I also used it to earn cash back on our Sedona overnight trip and on so many other vacations and purchases. Today I want to share more about Ebates and why you need to sign up if you haven’t already. I signed up for Ebates in November 2011 and I’ve earned $350 lifetime cash back…and I forget to use it half of the time! It really is the easiest way to earn cash back.

How does Ebates work?

Stores pay Ebates a commission for sending people to their website to make purchases. They pay you a portion of that commission through their cash back program. The cash back percentage varies by company. Some stores are only 1% cash back (Target, Best Buy), but some are 8% or more. The cash back percentages can change too. For example, right now Kohl’s is only 3% cash back, but I’ve gotten up to 10% cash back from there during Black Friday.

SO many stores are Ebates eligible, but these are a few of my favorites:
  • Groupon
  • Sephora
  • Etsy
  • Kohl's 
  • Shutterfly
  • Target
  • Expedia
  • Amazon (only on certain categories)
  • ebay
  • Mixbook
  • PetSmart
I’m going to run through an example so you can see how easy Ebates is to use. Let’s stay that I want to order some new makeup from Sephora. First, I’m going to search Sephora on Ebates to see if they offer cash back. They do and right now it’s 4%, so I’m going to select Sephora. On the Ebates Sephora page, I just click the Shop Now button and start shopping. As you can see, the page also has a list of coupon codes that you can use on your order!

After the purchase is complete, Ebates will send an email notification about how much cash back was earned on that purchase (sometimes this email takes a couple days to receive). You can also see your purchases and cash back under My Account. However, if you are using Ebates to book travel, cash back won’t be credited until after the travel has occurred. For example, below you can see that I used Ebates to book a stay at the Hilton, but the cash back is pending until after our stay.  

There's also an Ebates button that you can install on your browser to alert you when cash back is available. It's SO helpful and I highly recommend adding it. If you shop mostly from your phone, there's an Ebates app available too.

When/How do I get paid?

Cash back is paid via Big Fat Checks every quarter. You can choose to receive your Big Fat Check by mail or through PayPal. They’ve also recently added an option to get paid by gift card. If you pick the gift card option, you can select from a variety of gift cards and boost your payment by up to 15%! Last quarter my cash back was $22.92, but I chose to receive it as an Ulta gift card and they were offering an extra 15% cash back for that option, so I ended up with an additional $3 to Ulta.

As you can see, Ebates is a super easy way to earn cash back on purchases that you were going make anyway. I know a couple dollars here and there doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up faster than you think. A majority of the $350 cash back that I’ve earned has been made that way. Seriously, less than 10 of the purchases I’ve made since joining earned more than $10 cash back!

I highly recommend signing up if you haven’t already. It’s free to join and if you use this link, you’ll receive a $10 bonus after making a purchase of $25 or more! If you signed up years ago, but have forgotten all about it, this is your reminder to start earning cash back!

Do you use Ebates? What are your other favorite cash back sites/apps? I like Ibotta for grocery shopping, but I need to get into a habit of using it more regularly.


  1. I love me some ebates! It's the best way to feel a little less guilty about shopping online!

  2. I wish I started using Ebates sooner because... Sephora?! I had no idea that Sephora was part of the stores. I think I may finally sign up now!

    1. Yep, Sephora is included! They usually give a pretty good cash back percentage too!

  3. Thanks for sharing, I had no idea how this worked! Seems like an easy way to earn some money back!

  4. I’m going to have to check this out! I’ve heard of ebates but for some reason I’ve never signed up. Thanks for explaining it so well!

  5. I use Ebates, too, and have earned hundreds of dollars. It's such an easy way to save!


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