How Cashback Sites Work – a Complete Guide

How Cashback Sites Work – a Complete Guide |

Most of you may have heard about cashback sites, and some of you may have already taken benefit of such sites. But have you ever wondered how cashback works?

There are many cashback sites like RetailMeNot, Ebates, TopCashback, BeFrugal, etc. You can see more such sites at Some of you may have heard about these sites. But, never tried to use it. You may be concerned about the truth behind such offers. You may be thinking, “how do I know if Ebates worked?”

This article aims to explain everything about cashback sites, and after reading this, you will not have questions like, “how does RetailMeNot make money?” or, “how does Ebates make a profit?”


What is Cashback?

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Cashback refers to the percentage of the money you get back as an incentive for purchasing something. In other words, you will get money back for shopping. A vast majority of these cashback offers are over and above the various offers given by the dealers. So this is made possible? Is it some kind of scam?

The more perplexing fact is that almost all of these sites don’t charge you anything, while some charge a nominal fee. The services from these cashback companies are absolutely free. So, how is this happening?

How does Cash Back Work?

If you understand the business logic behind cash back sites, all your concerns will be gone. It’s a genuine and innovative business model which helps the cashback companies to make profits.

Cash back companies work closely in association with affiliate companies. These affiliate companies are mostly online shops. You can find the biggest names in the online shopping world like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Macy's, etc. in the list of affiliate companies of top cash back sites.

The cashback companies strike deals with these companies, and they give the cash back sites a percentage of their revenue they get through their sites. It means that these online stores pay the cash back sites for bringing new customers to it. This is a beneficial scenario for both the store and the provider of rebates. The store will benefit from the additional sale and the extra revenue they get from new customers. Normally, the commission is only a part of the sale they get through the cashback site. So, if no sale happens, there’s no need to share any revenue.

This mode of gaining customers is much more effective than any traditional advertising methods. You only need to spend less, and the benefit will be more. This is all the more significant considering the fact that many of the top cash back sites claim millions of people among its customers and most of their customers go to any shopping site only through the cashback site.

Moreover, the visitors to these sites will be people who are interested in shopping not like someone who is watching an ad during a TV program or the one who sees a billboard while driving. So, what the companies achieve is targeted advertising.

As you may have guessed, the cash back company’s profit comes solely from the commission it receives from various online stores. The company will share a part of it with the customer. That’s the money you receive as cash back. It retains a part of the commission as its profit from the business. Most of the top cashback companies claim that they pass on the major part of the commission to their clients.

So, now you know the general principles and won’t probably ask again, “how does RetailMeNot cash back work?” This is a simple business idea that will benefit all the three parties involved – you, the online store and the cash back firm. So, if anyone asks you if the whole business is fraudulent, now you can explain the logic behind it.

How to Get Money Back from Cash Back Sites?

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In this section, we will tell you how you can avail the benefits of cash back sites.

To get these awesome cashback offers, first of all, you need to open an account with the cashback site. All your cashbacks will be credited to this account. You can register by filling in some basic details like email id, name, phone number, etc. Most of the sites allow you to directly login with your social media accounts like Google Account or Facebook Account.

Then you have to log into the cash back website, and you will see a large number of online stores listed there. Most of the cash back sites display the available offers alongside the company names.

Then you click on that store, and you will be directed to their web page. Then you continue shopping as you normally do. Select the items you need to buy, put it into cart, check-out, and make the payment. Your cash back will get reflected in the personal cabinet.

You won’t be able to see the cashback amounts when you make the payment. These will get added to your account later only. It may take anywhere between a couple of days to a few months, depending on the site and store policies. Normally, the cash backs are credited once the return period is over.

If you modify the order, you will most likely lose your cashback offer, because your replacement order will not be considered as coming from the cash back site and the store won’t give commission to the company. So, they won’t give you the cashback.

How Can I Avail Cashback Offers?

The customers registering at cashback providers’ websites and doing the shopping through their partner links are the major source of the cashback vendors’ income, so these organizations go the extra mile to attract clients and let them do the shopping in the easiest possible way. One of the methods you may enjoy is that of shopping with cashback with the help of an app – almost every top cashback provider has a handy app to use on the desktop and mobile devices. Even is there is no app, all market players make their websites easy to access via a mobile browser, though it’s generally not recommended as you may lose the cashback.

Another handy option is the new technology of cashback plugins/extensions. These work to make your life way much easier and guarantee that you never miss a single offer when shopping online. Suppose you want to purchase something from one of the online stores listed on TopCashback. But, what if you forget to visit the cashback site and directly go to the store? Sometimes it’s easy to follow the shop’s special offer link and forget about the lucrative bonuses a cashback provider also has in store for you. So, the plugin will never let you miss the TopCashback offer as it will notify you at once upon entering the merchant’s website about what cashback percentage TopCashback avails for it right now.

To avoid missing cashback because of forgetfulness or any technical glitches, you may add the cashback site’s browser extension to your web browser. This one will automatically track the partner sites once you visit them. With such a great shopping assistant, you don’t need to go to the cashback resource every time; the plugin automatically shows notifications about all available offers for the websites you visit.

Points to Remember while availing Cashbacks

As cashback is essentially about the money, getting it is not a walk in the park. You need to follow some conditions and take care of the terms to get guaranteed payouts. Here are some tips to maximize the chances of getting a rebate:

  • Never shop directly through the merchant’s link (unless you have the cashback plugin activated).

    Once you enter the website directly, the merchant will never be able to link your purchase with your cashback provider.

  • Fill your shopping cart from scratch as the pre-included items won’t be included in the rebate.

    The rule of thumb is to shop around, save the links to orders that you liked, and then enter the website again to put them all into the cart for getting all rebates.

  • Start the venture only once you’ve made up your mind to buy something.

    In case you just include items in the cart, then leave to get your credit card, a cup of coffee or something else, the next time you open the browser, all rebate activation will be gone.

  • Don’t use the apps of online stores.
  • Remove cookies on your web browser.

    Most of the cash back sites work with the help of cookies, so if you have several from a merchant site, the cashback system may get confused and lose your cashback underway.

  • You can compare more than one cash back site[ЮК1] to see which one is giving you a better offer and choose that one.
  • Don’t try to maximize your savings with coupons or promo codes from other resources; only one of the discounts will activate, and probably it will be the smallest one.
  • Study all terms first as cashback does not cover all products as a rule.

    There’s always a chance that the product you have selected is not included.

  • You can enjoy cash returns not only on physical products but on services as well.

    Pay less for dining out at restaurants, holiday packages, and air travel with a variety of cashback providers.

How to Withdraw My Cashback Money?

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You have learned how to earn cash backs. But earning along is not enough. You must know how to redeem ebates cashback or any other cash-back you have accumulated.

You can opt to withdraw the money after it becomes available in your cash back account. This may typically take anywhere between a few days to a few months.

You must have accumulated a minimum amount to make a withdrawal request. This amount varies from website to website. Typically, most of the cashback sites give you several withdrawal options.

Some of the common withdrawal options you can choose are Direct Bank Transfer, PayPal, or as e-Gift cards. The money will be directly added to your bank account or PayPal account. If you are choosing gift cards, these can be used to make further purchases. Normally, gift cards from one of the partner stores like Amazon or Walmart are issued and you can make purchases for an equivalent amount from that store.

Cashback Sites: Affiliate Programs and Referral Programs

If you have an online store and you want to improve the traffic to your store, one of the best options you can choose is to enter into an affiliate program with a good cash back company. The site will definitely drive more traffic to your webpage, and you will definitely increase your sale. You need to give a part of your profit to the site. However, this commission will be much less than what you may need to spend on any conventional advertisements.

Most of these cash-back sites run referral programs also. You can refer people to the cashback site, and you will get extra cashback when they join and make a purchase.

Advantages of Using Cashback Sites

  • You are getting back a part of the money you are spending on purchasing things you need.
  • All top cash back sites are absolutely free for you.

    You don’t need to invest anything to start earning cashback.

  • With a large number of stores in their folder, you can purchase literally anything and avail the offer.
  • Most of these companies have good referral programs.

    You can earn more by referring to your acquaintances or friends.

  • You can be a member of more than one of these sites.

    But you can avail only one offer at a time. You can look for the best deal and opt for that.

Disadvantages of Using Cashback Sites

  • The cash backs are not instant, and sometimes it may take even months to get your money.
  • The offers are not applicable to all products on the partner stores.

    Many popular products are exempted from such offers.

  • Your preferred online store may not be part of the partner network.
  • You may have to accumulate a minimum amount to take out the money.
  • You have to always go to the shopping site through the cash back site, or else you will lose the deal.
  • There are many instances where buyers complain that they didn’t receive cashback.
  • With the usage of cookies etc. there are some privacy concerns.

    The cookies can read all the sites you are visiting.

Cashback Sites: Final Verdict

After considering both the pros and cons, it is very clear that the benefits far outweigh the costs. So, if you are looking for some extra bucks for free, you better start using cashback sites.

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