Cash Back Shopping Sites

Amy Finley
Image of woman shopping at a website

Today there are plenty of hassle-free ways to save money on everything from groceries and household necessities to clothing and electronics. One of the most popular methods is using cash back shopping sites.

BeFrugal

BeFrugal, started in 2009, is unique in that is offers a guarantee that its coupons will work as well as a guarantee that they have the best cash back rate. If you make a purchase on BeFrugal and discover a cash back rate somewhere else that is higher (excluding paid membership sites and credit card reward sites), submit your claim within 24 hours, and BeFrugal will discount 125 percent of the higher rate.

BeFrugal has over 5,000 stores that offer money back with your online shopping, including the 500 largest stores in the US. The rates vary among stores, starting at two percent and going up to 18 percent, though in rare cases (such as anti-virus protection), cash back rates can be more than 50 percent.

How It Works

Sign up for an account with Google, Facebook, or your email to get started. You can shop on your computer (they have a handy add-on to get coupons and apply cash back offers automatically) or download the app from the Google Play store or App Store. Once you've made a purchase, cash back is applied to your account within seven days.

Your redemption options include a standard check, direct deposit, PayPal, or Amazon gift card. If you choose PayPal as your method, there's no minimum. All other options require a $25 minimum cash back balance before you can withdraw it.

What Consumers Think

BeFrugal Gets a high customer satisfaction rating on Shopper Approved. With a 4.8 out of five star rating and numerous mentions of the site's ease of use and good reward percentages, this is one of the leading sites of its kind. However, consumers should be aware there have been occasional complaints.

Pros

  • They offer a cash back rate guarantee.
  • US-based live chat and customer service.
  • The site has partnered with many stores, including the best-known retailers.
  • A sign up bonus is available ($10), as well as a referral program ($10 for each person you refer that makes a qualified purchase through BeFrugal).
  • You can use coupons with cash back, and BeFrugal has some exclusive coupon offers.

Cons

  • Some users have reported not receiving earnings.
  • Occasionally some have experienced viruses or pop ups after using the site.

Top Cashback

Yellow Cash Back button on a keyboard

Top Cashback is nicely organized according to category, though you can also search for specific store names. With this site, you can shop from over 4000 different merchants. According to the website, the company passes on 100 percent of commissions to consumers.

How It Works

Register for an account or use the mobile app to browse and select an offer. Percentages range from about two percent to 12 percent, though in some cases certain sites may offer more. The site features the stores with the highest-percentage rates on the home page, so they are easy to spot.

The company does not provide a definite timeline of when payouts will be available but states it's possible it may be one to two months. Normally payouts are made within a few days once you make the request. You can get your earnings by direct deposit, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or an American Express Reward Card.

What Consumers Think

About 80 percent of reviewers on TrustPilot give Top Cashback an 'Excellent' rating, citing the convenience and high rewards as reasons. A few, however, felt that it took too long to get paid or didn't get their expected pay.

Pros

  • It offers numerous stores and good percentage rates.
  • Offers can be combined with Top Cashback exclusive coupons.
  • Tell-a-friend program lets you earn more ($10 for each friend that makes a qualified purchase on Top Cashback).
  • There's no payout minimum.

Cons

  • It can take longer than some others to receive a pay out.
  • This site does not offer a browser plug in, so you'll need to make sure you click to shop from the site or app itself to make sure your offer will be applied.
  • No sign up bonus with this site.

Ebates

Established in 1998, Ebates has partnered with over 2000 retailers to offer cash back on fashion, electronics, home goods, health and beauty items, baby and children's products, food and restaurants, travel, flowers and gifts, digital media and more. What's more, you can use it on any device.

How It Works

Sign up for an account, and you can either use Ebates with your computer or download the free app and use it on any device. You can also get the Ebates button so it automatically asks you if you want to activate cash back when you visit a participating site.

In general, the percentage of cash back available varies from three to 12 percent but can go higher, especially around big shopping events like Black Friday. Ebates offers Double Cash Back events and has special in-app offers. Ebates also offers in-store cash back rewards for a limited number of stores. To use these, just add the offer and link a credit or debit card to your account. When you make your in-store purchase, you'll automatically get cash back.

Ebates will send you a check for your earnings each quarter, as long as the amount is over $5.

What Consumers Think

With a solid 4.6 out of 5 rating according to reviews on Sitejabber, and an A+ standing with the BBB, Ebates is a top contender for earning with online shopping. Many users praise how easy it is to use, though some had issues with not getting credit for purchases.

Pros

  • It's very easy to use and doesn't take much extra time.

  • Available retailer coupons are shown on the site, but they are also are automatically applied to your purchase if shopping with Ebates.

  • Numerous stores mean you have many shopping options.

  • Ebates also offers a signup bonus (currently a $10 gift card) and bonuses for referrals.

Cons

  • Ebates only provides payment by check and only four times per calendar year.

  • Some stores (such as Amazon) only provide cash back for certain categories, like clothing or beauty products.

  • Some customers have reported they did not receive the expected payout or that their shopping trips weren't tracked.

Retail Me Not

Concept image of a glowing online wallet

Retail Me Not is well-known for their coupon offers, and they have entered the realm of cash back rewards as well. If you've used the coupons, you are familiar with the ease-of-use of this site.

How It Works

To use it, all you need to do is register for an account. You can shop through the website or the app, available for Android and Apple devices. They offer a special 'Genie' browser plug in to automatically apply deals as you are shopping.

Instead of providing a percentage of your purchase, Retail Me Not offers specific monetary amounts back on purchases (such as $20 back on a purchase of $100 or more). These vary according to store and typically require a minimum amount be spent before the offer can be redeemed. Offers generally range from about $5 up to $70. Although offers vary, the website may have several hundred at a time available from a broad range of retailers. Shop from different stores for clothing, sporting goods, hotels, shoes, items for the home, electronics, jewelry, children's items, and more.

Your earnings will be approved and sent to your online Retail Me Not Wallet 15-20 days after making the purchase.

What Consumers Think

Retail Me Not has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal and is listed among the top 50 shopping apps on the App Store. Reviewers on Viewpoints appreciate how easy it is to use and praise the available coupons.

Pros

  • It's simple to use, and the savings are straightforward so there's no figuring out a percentage.

  • A variety of offers are available, especially in apparel and shoes.

  • You can use online coupon codes along with your offer.

Cons

  • Minimum purchase requirements must be met in order to qualify.

  • The savings potential may not be as great for larger purchases where a percentage back would provide more.

  • Not as many store options as some other cash back sites.

Checkout 51

You can use Checkout 51 to shop at your local grocery store. Items with cash back offers include fresh produce, canned and dry grocery items, dairy products, health and beauty items, and household goods and cleaning supplies.

How It Works

You'll need to register for an account using either your email address or Facebook account. You can either use your computer or download the free app available on the App Store or Google Play. Once you log in, you'll be prompted to enter your location or allow Checkout 51 to access your location. This allows you to view offers specific to your area. You can either browse offers according to item, or browse according to store. If you are browsing according to items, make sure to check the restrictions as some are only available for specific stores.

Be aware that some offers require purchases of more than one item. Cash back offers for items range from about 25 cents to four dollars. Just click the plus sign next to an offer to add it to your account.

Once you've purchased the items from your offers, just take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the Checkout 51 app (or upload it to you Checkout 51 account using your computer). Make sure the image is clear and readable. In the app, check off the items from your offers that you've purchased and indicate the number of times you are claiming each offer. You can request a check from Checkout 51 once your account has reached $20 or more. You can either get a physical check or get the money via PayPal.

What Consumers Think

Checkout 51 has an A+ rating according to the Better Business Bureau, and has fans among some top couponers, including The Krazy Coupon Lady, who praises it for its ease of use and the fact that you can use it with other coupons. Reviews on Influenster average just over four stars, with reviewers giving it top marks for its simplicity and the savings. Some, however, felt it could be a bit time-consuming to go through all the offers and some felt the offers were too specific.

Pros

  • There are a substantial number of stores to choose from.

  • Some offers are good for items purchased online.

  • Certain offers may be available to claim multiple times.

  • Unless otherwise indicated, you can use Checkout 51 in conjunction with other manufacturer coupons or in store coupons to maximize your savings.

Cons

  • The coupons expire each Wednesday at 11:59pm and new offers rest at 12:00. Offers must be live at the time your upload your receipt, so this time frame may be a bit short for some consumers.

  • Offers may have limited quantities, so you'll need to check that they are still available when you get ready to shop.

  • Checkout 51 applies an inactive account management charge equal to $2 in credits each month for inactive accounts.

Ibotta

Mom grocery shopping with open tablet

Another very popular site, Ibotta works similarly to Checkout 51. However, it allows you to earn cash back for in-app purchases from other sources as well.

How It Works

You'll need to sign up for an account and download the app in order to redeem cash back offers. For purchases made in a specific store, you'll need to link your store's loyalty card to your account.

Ibotta works with over 300 different retailers, so there are plenty of different shopping options. Offers generally range from about 25 cents to five dollars, and include items like produce, dry and canned groceries, snacks, health and beauty products, some dairy and frozen products, beverages, and household items like detergent.

In addition, you can use Ibotta to get cash back in the form of a percentage of your purchase or a specific dollar amount when you make in-app purchases at places such as Amazon (may only apply to specific products or categories, such as pet food), Choice Hotels, Priceline, American Eagle, Kohls, Poshmark, Apple Music, and many more retailers. For these purchases, savings generally ranges from three to eight percent of the purchase or cash back dollar amounts from $5 to $15.

Add desired offers to your account and upload your receipt to your app. (If you've selected and app or mobile shopping offer and completed through the Ibotta app, it automatically gets added to your account). Once you've earned $20, you can get your cash, available through PayPal, Venmo, or certain gift cards.

What Consumers Think

Savings blogs like The Penny Hoarder and Frugal for Les say there are plenty of pros to using Ibotta, and they outweigh the cons. The latest update to the app has made it more intuitive and organized as well.

Pros

  • Ibotta offers sign up bonuses (currently $10), as well as additional ways to earn through referrals and Facebook teams.

  • It has many stores to choose from.

  • It's simple to use and has flexible payment options.

  • Offers state right below the item which retailer it's available from or if it's available from multiple retailers.

  • Coupons can be used along with Ibotta and some items are available for multiple redemptions.

Cons

  • The cash back from in app purchases is generally lower than other cash back sites.

  • You have to link your store loyalty cards in order to get the offers for specific stores.

  • Inactive accounts are charged about $4 a month (until the balance is zero).

  • Expiration dates vary between items so you'll need to make sure you offers are still good before you shop. You have one week to scan your receipt, and the offer must still be live in order to redeem it.

Convenience and Savings

There's nothing like the convenience of using an online shopping site to earn money back for everything from your everyday items to a special splurge. Consider the pros and cons and choose a site that will reward you next time you shop.

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Cash Back Shopping Sites