Ebates.com is one of the most popular “cash back” websites. It’s free to sign up for and use, its instructions for use are easy to follow and backed up with good customer service, you can choose how you get your money back, and it has partnerships with over 2500 stores that you can shop at in order to get cash back.
Among the drawbacks of Ebates are that you only get paid four times per year, there are some restrictions on the stores (or store departments) that you can shop at in order to get cash back, and there may be a few technical loopholes that you have to jump through in order to make Ebates work (though it will usually show you an easy way to do so).
If Ebates just isn’t your bag, and you want to try another online coupon site like it, we’ll point you in the right direction.
What is covered in this article
Best sites like Ebates for getting online shopping rebates
Originally one of the largest Ebates competitors in the United Kingdom, TopCashback.com is now taking North America by storm. It’s partnered with over 4000 businesses, from big-name retail players to small-to-medium-size shops. It also has no restrictions on when you receive your payment, or how large it has to be. And if you choose to get paid in gift cards, you can save even more money!
TopCashback vs. Ebates: which is better? TopCashback bills itself as superior to Ebates by virtue of things like having more eligible stores (4000 vs. 2500), more payout methods (4 vs. 2), and a more generous friend referral program ($10 when a friend cashes out $10+ any time vs. $5 when they cash out $25+ within one year). You can read more here.
Lemoney is a relatively new cashback service, but it has two things going for it over Ebates. The first is its “Turbo Cashback” system, which allows you to get higher-than-normal cashback rates for some stores. It works on a credit system: the more you shop at specific stores and complete other promotional tasks, the more chances you get to use Turbo Cashback!
The other cool thing is its “Community” structure. When you refer friends to Lemoney, you don’t get just a one-time bonus when they make their first purchase, like some other cashback sites. You get bonus cashback every time any of you shops!
As Lemoney is new, it’s currently only partnered with about 1700 retailers and only pays through PayPal.
Swagbucks.com is a very popular and interesting Ebates alternative because you can do more than just go shopping to earn rewards. You can also answer surveys, play games, watch videos, and do other fun stuff on the Internet. This earns you points, which you can redeem for gift cards, prepaid credit cards, or cash in your PayPal account. Or, if you want, you can donate your savings to charity.
Swagbucks vs. Ebates: which one has the edge? The obvious advantage Swagbucks has over Ebates is that you don’t actually have to buy anything to get rewarded! However, Ebates beats out Swagbucks in number of supported retailers (2500 vs. 1500), as well as in the fact that it doesn’t require you to have a PayPal account for it to pay you in cold hard cash.
Ibotta is one of the hottest mobile apps like Ebates, and it specializes in getting you cash back on your groceries and everyday items (and other stuff, too!). Simply link a participating store’s loyalty card to your Ibotta account before you go shopping there, shop through Ibotta on a partnered business’s mobile app, and/or use Ibotta to take a picture of your bill from a supported retailer with your device’s camera. So, you have three different ways to save! Ibotta is valid at over 300 retail chains in the U.S.
BeFrugal.com is a rapidly-rising star in the world of websites like Ebates. A late 2016 study by CashbackHolic.com reported that BeFrugal not only had the highest number of cash back partnerships with American-based retailers, but also the highest number of those partnerships that gave the best rates of return. In addition, BeFrugal has printable coupons for saving on everyday shopping, live email and chat customer service, and so much more! However, it’s only available in the U.S.
6. Mr. Rebates
Mr. Rebates is an Ebates alternative that’s rather “no-frills.” It offers similar cash back services at over 2000 retailers nationwide, but its policies and operation aren’t quite as clear as those on Ebates. It’s still pretty popular, however. Still, it is highly accredited by the Better Business Bureau, so it’s pretty good at handling any issues.
MyPoints.com is an alternative to Ebates that works similarly to Swagbucks. You can earn points by shopping, playing games, taking surveys, watching videos, and more. You can then turn those points into cash back or exchange them for gift cards or airline reward points. The site also features coupon codes and printable grocery coupons for further savings.
Formerly a home shopping television network, ShopAtHome.com is now an online shopping discount website. It’s somewhat like Swagbucks and MyPoints, in that you can earn cash back by making purchases through the website or just by taking their surveys. It also features printable grocery coupons, a catalog of local and featured deals, and a “Savings Button” you can install on your web browser to find cash back opportunities on any of ShopAtHome’s partnered websites.
ExtraBux.com is very similar to Ebates. Choose one of over 5000 businesses to shop and get cash back at, or browse trending products and deals with cash back offers to find some inspiration. Like Ebates, you only get paid every 3 months, and you have to hold a balance of at least $10 in order to get paid. However, like Swagbucks, you can donate your savings to charity if you wish.
Ebates alternatives comparison table: supported retailers, payout options, and more
|Site/App||Featured Supported Retailers||Cool Feature||Payout Options|
|Ability to link deals to credit card to get cash back offline|
|Guarantee to match return rates of competitors|
|Turbo Cashback gives you improved cashback rates as you shop more often||PayPal|
|Allows for donating savings to charity|
|Team up with friends on Facebook for even more rewards|
|Financial tools to help with large purchases (e.g. vacations or cars)|
|Mobile app and browser extension for easier use|
|Offers travel rewards as a payout option, which is rare|
|“Savings Button” finds cash back opportunities on partnered sites|
|Allows for donating savings to charity|
How to avoid scams on cash back and coupon websites
1. Never sign up for a cash back or coupon service that asks you to pay.
Be cautious and read the fine print if a coupon or cash back site or app asks you to provide your financial information – or even buy something – when signing up. There is a chance that it may expect you to pay for it at some point, such as billing you for a monthly subscription after a one-month “free trial,” or charging you an extra “service fee” based on the number of purchases you make. In the worst-case scenario, it isn’t actually saving you any money and is outright scamming you. This isn’t always the case, but it’s usually enough of an annoying “gotcha” anyway that you’ll want to stick to the free sites.
2. Be careful with giving out personal information.
Even on cash back or coupon websites that don’t require you to buy anything to earn points, you should still be vigilant. Pay attention to the type of information you’re being asked for when taking a survey, playing a game, or doing anything else to get “free stuff.” If you feel that it’s too personal, the service might actually be a scam attempting to steal your money and/or identity. Be better safe than sorry and steer clear.
3. Never download anything just to get a coupon.
If a coupon or cash back plan (or the site it’s on in general) asks you to download something to your computer – whether it’s the coupon itself or a piece of software allegedly needed to process it – stop right there. You might actually be about to download a program from a scammer that damages or steals from your computer. Most legitimate sites will just ask you to follow affiliate links or allow you to print off physical coupons right from your web browser.
4. Use common sense and verification to avoid fake coupons.
Follow the old saying: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” If your gut tells you that a coupon (or cash back plan) is offering you a suspiciously good deal, check for other signs that something might be off.
One big giveaway is a lack of fine print. Most legitimate coupons and cash back plans have a fair amount of conditions on their use, such as when they expire, what types of products they’re eligible for (or not), and how many items you’re allowed to apply the deal to. Fraudulent coupons won’t have this, or will sometimes have phony expiry dates – as far as we know, June 31st isn’t a date; June only has 30 days!
You may find other weird things, too. Some bogus coupons may say “no purchase necessary”; how do you get money off something without even buying it? Others may be worth more than the product they’re discounting; why would a company pay people to just take their merchandise?
If you’re still in doubt, check the website that’s actually selling what’s being advertised. If you can’t find mention of the deal there, maybe it’s just a fraud that you should stay away from.
5. When printing coupons, look for oddities to spot the phonies.
Some websites will allow you to print out coupons for everyday groceries. You should still be careful with these, however, as they may be fakes that are part of an information-collecting scam. Look for things like:
- Familiar brand logos that appear grainy or not the right shape
- A noticeable change of fonts, as if someone pasted their own text into a legitimate coupon
- Spelling and grammar mistakes, or otherwise awkward use of language
- Missing bar codes
All of these are clues that a coupon – or a collection of them – isn’t legit.
Other resources for savvy online shoppers
We’ve got a few more articles that you can check out for more tips on shopping online with cash back plans and coupons. Get the tools to supercharge your shopping trips while steering clear of those who deal in bad faith.
Social Media Coupon Scams: Is Free Really Free? – Shannon Boyle of the Better Business Bureau explains online coupon scams that try to hijack your social media accounts, including what you can do to identify and avoid them.
Is Groupon Safe? How to Spot Fraud + What Not to Buy on Groupon – Before you go shopping for discount vouchers on Groupon, read this info to know what’s safe to buy and what isn’t.
Beware of Fake Suze (and Other Scams) – Suze Orman from AARP gives you some handy hints for how to dodge online scams, especially those that typically target older adults.
19 Bargain Shopping Sites Cheaper than eBay – There are all sorts of ways to save money when shopping online; these are 19 sites that do them best.
Best Grocery List Apps That Make Your Shopping Trip Faster and Easier – While you’re saving money with all of your coupons, why not speed up your grocery shopping with these handy apps?
How to Determine if an Online Review is Legitimate – With so much misinformation on the Internet today, these questions will help you sort out reputable product reviews from rubbish ones.