If you been searching for an online money making venture, you must have noticed that one name keeps appearing virtually on every post – Ebates. And though the website recently changed its name earlier in the year to Rakuten after the billion-dollar acquisition by Japan-based Rakuten Inc. it still operates as Ebates in Canada.
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The brand remains one of the most popular cashback programs and online shopping companies around that rewards you for shopping with its partner ecommerce websites and completing several other tasks on the platform. But before registering with the company you might want to first ask such questions as how legit the company really is and how much should you expect in these cash backs?
We took a closer look at the company and vetted its operations to help you decide whether Ebates – Rakuten Rewards – is worth your time or effort and summed it all in this review. Let us start by looking at how it works.
How does Ebates Rewards work?
Simply put, ebates is a rewards website that presents you with a platform through which you can earn cash rebates on your online purchases that pass through ebates. The site has partnered with a huge number of ecommerce stores that pay it to direct customers their way. The site then shares the commission they earn from these sites with you every time you use their systems and links while shopping online.
How does ebates (Rakuten) make money?
Ebates was specially designed with online shoppers in mind to provide a unified platform where they can access over 2000 online stores. It also functions as an affiliate marketing platform by providing you with outbound links to each of these stores. And just like banks and insurance companies pay brokers to send clients their way, these ecommerce stores that include some of the household names in the country like Amazon, Target, and Walmart reward them a percentage of the lead’s in-store spending hence the term in-store cashback company. The company then shares these spoils with you.
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How can you make money with Ebates?
What are the merits and demerits of signing up with ebates rewards website?
What we like:
- Easily accessible:
What we like most about Rakuten Inc. and its ebates programs is their versatility that has seen the brand explore numerous less stressful ways of maximizing their user’s earnings. Traditionally, you could only access the different online stores affiliated with the brand through your account on the company website. Today however they have come up with the more versatile browser extensions and plugins that will automatically reward you with the necessary rewards whenever you shop with one of the brands affiliated with the brand.
More importantly, the company recently launched the Rakuten mobile app that is designed to ensure that you don’t miss out on potential cash backs whenever you shop using your smartphone or tablet. Note however that you will do well not to delete the site in your browser cookie and cache as this may result in losing on accumulated rewards.
- Free registration:
Registering with the site is totally free. The company will also only maintain one general type of membership implying that you don’t have to subscribe to better rewarding premium programs.
- Access to the widest range of ecommerce stores up to 2500 stores:
According to Rakuten, they have partnered with over 2500 online commerce websites across the world that offer cash backs on purchases. This includes all your favorite direct selling ecommerce sites like Target, Amazon, Walmart, and Old Navy. They have also partnered with numerous hotels across the globe that offer a fixed 10% cashback on bookings. And in addition to this, they also operate The Marketplace – an ecommerce website where you can buy goods from third-party sellers and earn cashback rewards.
- Less intrusive on your privacy when signing up:
We also liked the little intrusiveness with which the company conducts its operations. Unlike most reward companies whose complicated registration processes involve collecting as much personal data about the subscribers as possible, Rakuten doesn’t pry into your privacy and doesn’t collect such sensitive personal data as your race, income levels, or social security number.
What we don’t like
- Not all shopping products qualify for cash backs:
One of the biggest disappointments about Rakuten is that while they have partnered with thousands of sites that have millions of products listed for sale, most of these won’t earn you the much-needed cashback. The cashback reward program is only available to a select range of products which varies from one store to another. Some of your most popular purchases are like groceries and other daily-use products won’t earn you points. The reward program can thus be seen as a creative way of inviting consumer interest in the slow-moving goods.
- The cashback percentages aren’t constant:
Unlike with such other reward sites as Survey Junkie that maintains constant point redemption rates, there isn’t a standard rate for the amount of cash you get back for qualifying purchases in a single store or across the industry. This means that buying an electric nail gun from Amazon will not always attract the same cashback percentage as buying it from any other online store. You, therefore, might want to first shop around the different stores if you are looking for better deals on rewards.
- Will only pay after 3 months:
Unlike most other cash and shopping reward companies that provide for immediate cashouts and cash redemption features, Ebates will only make quarterly payments. The cash earned here will be sent to your PayPal account or via a check that is mailed to the address you used when signing up. To qualify for the payment, you must have a $5 balance in your account failure to which the amounts are carried forward to the next quarter.
- Poor customer support:
From unanswered phone calls to unsatisfactory email responses, ebates clients report to having suffered a deal of poor customer support. These complaints are documented in the different company reviews and you might want to first check them out and gauge the impact they might have on your interactions with the company before registering with the cashback platform.
Everything else you need to know:
- $50 limit on earnings per purchase:
According to the company, the maximum you can earn from a single trade purchase is capped at $50. This implies that if Target were offering a 10% cashback on the purchase of product Y that costs $700, Ebates will only deposit the maximum $50 to your account and not the deserved $70 cashback.
- Charges $2 for inactive accounts:
You should also note that while the company doesn’t charge for registration or account maintenance, you will be charged an inactivity fee of $2 per month if your account remains inactive for over 12 months.
Verdict: Is Ebates legit or scam?
Ebates is a legit and reputable way of earning real cash online. It is for you if you hope to save on online purchases through cash backs. One may, however, consider their average 6% cashback relatively low, especially if they are not an avid online shopper. This makes the site most appealing to regular online shoppers who looking to save on their next big purchase. You will also find it appealing if you want real cash rewards instead of the gift cards offered by most other online money-making and reward companies.
How fast will Cash Back be credited to my account?
Mostly, Cash Back rewards get credited to your account within 48 hours. However, some stores will not confirm your purchase until the return period is over. In such a case, it might take up to a month to confirm your Cash Back.
When will I get my Cash Back payment?
Ebates will send your Cash Back payment every three months for the purchases you posted during the previous quarter. However, if you earned less than $5.01 Cash Back your money will be carried over to the next check.
How does the Rakuten gift card shop work?
Ebates has curated more than 40 retailers such as Metro, Esso, Hudson’s Bay, and The Ultimate Dining Card to give you a wide selection of Cash Back and Gift Cards on all your purchases. All you need to do is shop confidently, earn your Cash Back, and keep checking for new inventory regularly.
What is the Ebates Cash Back Button and Why is It Great?
You can find the Ebates Cash Back Button in your browser and it handles all the work for you. The reason this button is so useful is that you can use it to shop and earn Cash Back at your favorite stores without the need to visit the Ebates website first. This button also alerts you whenever you have available Cash Back at participating vendors to ensure that you don’t miss Cash Back ever. In some cases, your Cash Back will be activated automatically.