If you buy something online and don't go through a cashback site, you are leaving money on the table.
Most people know that you can earn cashback through your credit cards. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best cashback cards that will give you 2% of your purchase as Chase Ultimate Rewards points when spending in travel and dining, 1% on everything else with no limit. (you can also get 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, worth $750 in travel)
But did you know about cashback websites?
If you've heard of the name eBates or Fatwallet (before it was shut down), you're familiar with some of the biggest cashback sites. Each one works similarly. All you have to do is sign up for an account, click on a link or special offer on the sites before making your purchase, and you earn cashback on your purchases.
So which are the best cashback sites?
It's not a cashback tool, Wikibuy is a browser extension that searches for better prices and coupon codes that it applies when you check out. Whenever you earn loyalty credits, you can redeem those credit for gift cards. It's not “cashback” but you do earn gift cards.
When you visit any product page, Wikibuy will automatically do a search for a better price elsewhere. If they find one, they'll include that information on the page itself. If they don't, they tell you that Wikibuy hasn't found it for less anywhere else.
If you click on the green Wikibuy button, it'll add it to your watchlist. The best part is that Wikibuy is seamless and you can learn more from our Wikibuy review.
Wikibuy is owned by Capital One and compensates us when you sign up for Wikibuy using the links provided.
Honey is a free browser extension that you can add to Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge or Opera and it'll help find coupons for you as you shop. Then you can add those coupons to your order and instantly see savings. This isn't a system where you get points or cash into their ecosystem and have to cash it out with a gift card – it just finds discounts and gives them to you. If you're shopping on Amazon, they'll even compare every seller to find the best deal and will take into account that you have an Amazon Prime account.
If you “upgrade” to Honey Gold (also free, but you have to register an account), it works like a cashback site in that it gives you Gold that you redeem for free gift cards.
TopCashBack was founded in the UK in 2005. By 2011, they expanded to the United States. Today, the cashback giant boasts over 8 million users across the globe.
TopCashBack bills itself as one of the fastest-growing cashback websites in the US. Their mission is to help consumers save more money while shopping online. They also offer a free app available to download in Google Play and the App Store.
TopCashBack is a cashback site that's free to join. You can shop from over 4,400 merchants, including Amazon, Walmart, Groupon, Overstock, and more with TCB. The great thing about TCB is that they're not only a cashback site, but they also give you access to sales and coupons to save way more money.
If you start comparing cashback rates, you'll often see TopCashBack offering some of the highest rates. These sites work by earning a commission from the retail for referring you and then sharing a part of that with you. TopCashback shares 100% of the commission with you and makes money off traditional advertising. This is why they offer some of the highest cash back rates.
(for a limited time, get a $15 gift card sign up bonus after you earn $10 in cash back!)
How it works
First, use the TopCashBack portal to choose a cashback offer. Follow the directions to complete your purchase.
Instead of pocketing the entire commission, TopCashBack gives you the entire commission as cashback from your purchase. Curious how they make money? They earn from advertising banners and by negotiating extra fees from the retailers.
Once TopCashBack receives the commission from your chosen retailer, they apply the credit to your account. You can then request the cashback from TCB and rake in the big bucks!
Sick of hitting minimum payment thresholds? Then TopCashBack is the cashback portal for you. They don't have a minimum payout, so you can withdraw as little as $2 if you want.
You can rack up the rewards by direct deposit, PayPal, or an Amazon gift card.
How much swag do you have? When you go with Swagbucks, you have the opportunity to earn gift cards, score exclusive coupons, and enjoy more discounts.
Swagbucks is a California-based cashback portal. It's free to join Swagbucks, and you even have the chance to earn one of 7,000 free gift cards every day.
How it works
Swagbucks partners with over 1,500 merchants, including Amazon, Target, Starbucks, and Walmart.
Simply sign up for a free account and start earning points, or Swagbucks (SB). You can earn SB shopping through their website portal or app, answering surveys, browsing the web (thanks to their Yahoo! partnership), and watch videos. Swagbucks also has a relationship with GSN, so you can also earn from in-game purchases.
For every SB you collect, you earn 1% cash back. I love the gamified nature of SB. Who doesn't want to rack up points and save a little money in the process?
Swagbucks is a cashback shopping portal, although their main payout is via gift card. However, if you prefer cold, hard cash, you can also accept your rewards through PayPal. Keep in mind that PayPal fees will cut into your overall earnings, though.
(for a limited time, get a $5 bonus!)
MyPoints is one of the oldest online rewards programs. The site was founded in 1996, which means it's older than some of its users!
MyPoints is a rebate site that partners with over 1,900 retailers. Score cashback when you shop on Groupon, eBay, Walmart, LivingSocial, and more.
How it works
Like Swagbucks, MyPoints is also a points-based system. As you earn points, you're able to redeem them for cashback.
Although rebate shopping is the main way to earn on MyPoints, they also have other ways to rack up the points.
Complete surveys, play games, watch videos, print coupons, and even check your email to earn MyPoints.
One of my favorite things about MyPoints is their payout options. You can cash out your points for gift cards, travel miles, a Visa prepaid card, and even PayPal. Rewards tend to start around 700 points, although it depends on what you've set your sights on.
MyPoints also has a Refer-A-Friend program. When your friend shops with your link, you get 10% of their total cashback. If you convert your friends to MyPoints for life, there's a good chance you'll start passively raking up the points.
If you don't feel like going to MyPoints every time you shop, you can also install their browser extension.
(for a limited time, get a $5 bonus!)
Rakuten (formerly eBates)
Rakuten is another veteran cashback site that got a rebrand from their previous name, eBates (what a great name for a cashback site!). They were founded in 1999 and today, they have over 10 million members globally. Their users have saved $1 billion in cashback since 1999.
In addition to cashback, you can also use Rakuten to slash your cost at checkout, thanks to coupon codes and exclusive deals.
How it works
Any time you have the itch to shop online, go to the Rakuten web portal or app. They partner with over 2,000 merchants for cashback deals, including Groupon, J. Crew, Kohl's, Sephora, and Macy's.
Download the Rakuten app or access their web portal to get started. Use their link any time you shop online to earn cashback. On their end, Rakuten verifies your purchase and then adds cashback to your account.
Like many rebate sites, Rakuten earns money through commission. The downside is that, unlike other sites, Rakuten takes a cut of your commission. You still get your cashback, but it may not be as much as other rewards sites.
Unless you look for other ways to get rewards, that is! Rakuten is great about offering signup bonuses to new users. I haven't tested it myself, but they claim that you can score up to 40% cashback shopping with them.
You can get your cashback paid out via check or PayPal, so the payment options aren't quite as robust as, say, MyPoints.
(for a limited time, get a $10 bonus!)
Many of the cashback apps listed here focus on online retailers. What happens if you want to earn cashback from, say, the grocery store?
Ibotta is a grocery-focused savings app that's perfect for the job. They're headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and have been around since 2012.
During that time, they've had over 22 million app downloads and have paid out over $200 million in cashback.
How it works
Although Ibotta does have deals with non-grocery stores, most users love it for the grocery savings. They are a smaller platform, with nearly 290 merchants. However, they're one of the best when it comes to slashing your grocery bill.
First, you can connect your store's loyalty card to the app. This will help you automatically scan for savings.
Second, before you shop, browse Ibotta for rebates. Once you've completed your shop, you can either use loyalty card data or upload your receipt to get the rebates.
Remember, you need to sign up for the rebates before uploading your receipt. I made Ibotta browsing part of my natural pre-grocery ritual so I never forget.
Ibotta pays out through PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards. You can also earn rebates through in-app purchases on your mobile. Ibotta requires you to collect $20 on your account to withdraw funds.
(for a limited time, get a $20 welcome bonus!)
Instead of simply sending you cashback, Upromise helps its users save for college.
Although it started as a savings resource in 2000, Upromise launched its retailer partnership program in 2001.
Upromise has one goal: to help you save money for college. Build up your savings account every time you shop.
How it works
You can use Upromise to shop either online or offline from their 1,000 merchant partners. Earn rewards shopping at places like Expedia, Best Buy, Walmart, and the Apple Store.
Browse offers and coupon codes on the Upromise site. When you shop through their portal, you earn cashback to pay for college. Easy, right?
I don't always recommend credit cards, but Upromise does offer a Mastercard where you can earn 1.25% cashback on every purchase you make. You can even have them round up your purchases to the nearest dollar.
You can also earn cashback through the Upromise dining program.
If you're looking for straightforward cashback, Upromise probably isn't for you. They pay out by depositing funds into a 529 plan, tacking it onto your student loan payment, or sending you a check.
Upromise also can deposit your rewards into a Upromise GoalSaver Account. They offer automatic transfers so you can save for school with little effort.
Who doesn't want to be frugal? With the cashback site, BeFrugal, you can save even more of your hard-earned money. Founded in 2009, the Boston-based company BeFrugal helps you save more online.
How it works
BeFrugal has a big advantage over other cashback sites: it has a tremendous network of retailers to choose from. Shop with over 5,000 retailers like Dick Sporting Goods, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target.
Like with other cashback sites, you shop through the BeFrugal portal or use their Chrome extension to apply the savings.
You earn 100% of BeFrugal's commission. They make their money through promotional deals with the retailers and pass the savings straight to you.
BeFrugal claims you can earn up to 40% cashback on your purchases through their portal. They also offer a $10 signup bonus, as well as access to coupons.
You can redeem your cashback via check, gift card, direct deposit, or PayPal.
Founded in 2002, Mr. Rebates is a cashback site where you can earn rebates for online shopping.
Funny name aside, you can buy nearly anything on the Mr. Rebates site, thanks to their handy category-style product search.
You can earn points shopping with any of their 3,000 approved merchants, like Walmart, Macy's, eBay, and Groupon.
How it works
Mr. Rebates features different offers on their site every week. Depending on where you shop, you can earn 10% cashback.
To use Mr. Rebates, remember to shop through their portal. When you click on their links, you'll activate a rebate code. Once they verify your purchase, they add the cashback to your account.
Like other cashback sites, Mr. Rebates earns a commission every time you shop through their website. They keep a portion of the commission and pass the rest over to you as cashback savings.
Mr. Rebates has a $10 minimum for you to withdraw your cashback. They'll pay you out via check, gift card, or PayPal.
Oh, and don't forget their referral program! Share your Mr. Rebates referral link with a friend and you'll earn 20% of your friend's rebate.
They also offer a signup bonus for new users.