These free online services offers rebates at thousands of stores, collect your savings into an account and then send you a check. Many of the sites immediately deposit $5 into your account when you sign up (get a $10 Home Depot gift card from EBates now) and also offer other cash incentives when you refer friends.
Typical rebates offered by EBates.com are six percent back on purchases at JC Penney and Kohls, five percent back from Macy's, two percent for Walmart and three percent back from Groupon.com.
I use EBates.com all the time when I shop online. Every once in a while I get a "Big Fat Check" in the mail. It's convenient and easy and once you get a check in the mail, you're hooked. I have received rebate checks for hundreds of dollars for buying things I was going to buy anyway.
Here's how EBates.com works: Register with an e-mail address, click through retailers listed on the site (Macy's, Walmart, iTunes, Sears, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.). When you make a purchase, a percentage of the sale is posted into your EBates account after you checkout. After the money collects, you request a check (up to four times a year) or the money can be transferred into a Pay Pal account. The site has paid out over $50 million in cash to members, according to its website.
The site also offers deals of the day and coupons and sometimes can be combined with the rebate offered. If you refer friends, Ebates.com gives you and your friends $5. There also are “Featured Coupons.”
The sites fund the rebates by offering you a portion of the affiliate commissions, or revenues, generated from referring you to online merchants.
Fatwallet.com offers coupons, deals and rebates from more than 1,000 stores, typically offering from one to 40 percent back on purchases. Rebates have totaled $29 million, according to its website.
ShopAtHome.com offers rebates as well as coupons for groceries and restaurants, free samples and even has a free shipping section. The site has 50,000 affiliate stores and offers 1,200 coupons. According to its website, its members have earned more than $50 million in cash back.