Cash-back programs

Is there anything better than getting paid to shop? Well, besides world peace and an end to hunger and all that…

Cash-back programs are about as simple as they sound. You sign up for the program. Then, once you need to buy something online, go to the website and see if the store is a merchant. If you shop the merchant through the program’s site, you’ll receive a percentage of total back.

There are some perennial favorites, but each program will have some merchants that the others don’t. I recommend signing up at more than one site, so that you can do a quick comparison for the best deal.



Mr. Rebates


If you do choose just one program, make sure it’s this one. Mr. Rebates has more than 2,000 merchants; and it tends to have the highest cash-back awards.

Here are a few perks of the program:

  • $5 sign-up reward
  • You earn 20 percent of whatever your referrals make. (This does not affect their rewards.)
  • Monthly payouts
  • Payment via check or Paypal.

The only cautions here are pretty basic. First, you can’t cash out until you have at least $10 in your account. You also have to request a payout. The system will not automatically send you the money. This means you have to keep a more active watch on your account.





Until I found Mr. Rebates, this was the program I touted. The idea is the same, but Ebates has slightly different policies.

For example, each person you refer gets you $5. It’s a nice, quick way to earn a few extra dollars. On the other hand, it doesn’t have the long-term promise of Mr. Rebates. Still, if you refer people who aren’t big online shoppers, Ebates’ system could mean more money, more quickly.

With Ebates, you only need $5.01 in your account to qualify for a check. (No Paypal option here.) If you know someone who doesn’t shop online very often, this could be a better deal than the 20 percent at Mr. Rebates. Ebates also automatically generates a check for you once you have enough in your account. So you don’t have to keep an eye on your account balance.

The main drawback of Ebates is the wait. Ebates pays out four times a year. Your earnings over a three-month period are accrued. If they meet the minimum amount, you get a check. If they don’t, you’re out of luck for another three months. The long wait can be aggravating.

Still, there are a few merchants in this program that aren’t on Mr. Rebates. So it is worth checking out.





Cashbaq is on the same level as the other two sites. I only list it last because I have not had occasion to use it yet. So far, the percentages have favored the other two. However, this is a site that you should consider signing up for.

Like the other two programs, Cashbaq offers you $5 to sign up. You have to shop through the company’s portal site. That’s all pretty standard.

However, Cashbaq has the most extensive referral program. You get 10 percent of your referrals’ rewards, but it doesn’t end there. You get 5 percent of your referrals’ referrals’ rewards. And 2 percent of the your referrals’ referrals’ referrals’ rewards.

Put another way: You get 10 percent of rewards earned by people you refer; you get 5 percent of rewards earned by people they refer; and you get 2 percent of rewards that those people refer. It is a little confusing, but there are definitely big potentials for rewards! The key, I would assume, is to get very active referrals.

The long-term earning possibilities make this a program you should at least attempt to investigate.