A couple months ago we did a post that did a comparison between shopping at ebates and shopping through the ShopDiscover website. Since then, we’ve been trying out a couple of other cashback websites – ShopAtHome and Bing Cashback. I thought that I’d do a quick breakdown comparing the different sites, take a look at the cashback rewards for a few of the stores I frequently shop at, and look at the payment process. If you aren’t shopping through a cashback site, you should. Not doing so is essentially throwing away free money that could otherwise be ending up back in your bank account.
Payment options: PayPal, Check. You can also give to a charity or to a friend.
Payment schedule: Payments are made every 3 months with the accrued cashback from the months prior. For example, your January 1-March 31st earnings will be sent on May 15th.
Minimum payment: $5.01. Bonus rewards do not count towards this minimum value.
Number of participating stores: Over 1200 stores.
Maximum amount you can earn/year: None found.
Can you use coupons? “In cooperation with our stores, we provide you with specials and coupons that you can combine with cash back for maximum savings….If you choose to use coupons and specials that are not listed on Ebates, we cannot guarantee that you will be eligible to receive an Ebates cash back reward on your purchases.”
Payment options: Check
Payment schedule: Checks are cut 60 days after the end of a month. So your check for January will be mailed at the end March.
Minimum payment: $20
Number of participating stores: “more than 1,500+ brand name online retailers”
Maximum amount you can earn/year: Couldn’t find a maximum
Can you use coupons? “Yes! We offer many special promotions on our Coupons page. If you link through from this page and use the coupon code listed, you will receive the special mentioned.”
To sign-up: Visit cashbackaccount.bing.com and create a Windows Live ID if you don’t have one already. Then click the confirmation email to activate your cashback account.
Payment options: PayPal, Amazon Payments, Direct Deposit, Check
Payment schedule: Payments are pending for up to 60 days. After reaching the $5 minimum, you can request payment which will be processed in ~7 days.
Minimum payment: $5
Number of participating stores: Currently 1271
Maximum amount you can earn/year: $2500
Can you use coupons? “Using a coupon voids the cashback for the majority of stores, including those you may receive in email or see on a deal/coupon site and offerings on a store’s website.”
Here’s a table comparing the some of the cashback rewards for the three sites. I tried to choose a variety of types of stores – from clothing to technology.
After going through the numbers, I feel like the answer as to which cashback site is the best is really up in the air. Each of them has great pros and cons and it’s clear that no one site consistently offers the most cashback across the board.
- Bing was missing a couple of big name stores but had the highest cash back for the majority of the stores it did offer cashback on. But then you have to counter that with the fact that you CANNOT use coupons with their cashback and frequently coupons can make up that cashback difference.
- ShopAtHome offers nice cashback but their $20 minimum payout is higher than the other two. Plus, they only offer payment through checks whereas the others offer PayPal or other online methods.
- Ebates overall had the lowest percentage back, but their website was the easiest (at least for me) to navigate, plus they allow coupons and PayPal payments.
Ultimately, if you do enough online shopping, you’ll probably maximize your cashback effort if you shop through all three sites, using whichever site offers the most cashback for the store you’re shopping at the time. If you don’t think you purchase enough online to meet the minimum payout amount for all three, then I suggest you browse each site and take a look at the stores where you most frequently shop online and opt for the site that gives you the most cashback overall.
UPDATE: Big thanks to our reader Charlie, who tipped us off to cashreporter.com, a website that compares the cashback amounts across different cashback sites. I don’t think it includes ShopAtHome or Bing yet, but it looks like it could be a good place to start.