InvestigatorsMatter for Mallory


The cash back app with serious rewards: Local shopper earned $500

Online Shopping
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 12, 2019

BALTIMORE — Savvy shoppers already know not to buy without a discount but those savings can go even further by opening an app before going to an online retailer's website.

Ebates, a website and phone app, is like the middle man between consumers and retailers. They make money by simply posting discounts.

“We partner with over 3,000 well-known retailers and brands and when our members purchase through those brands, we get a commission, and we share that commission with our members in the form of cash back,” said Kim Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Ebates.

With cash back deals that range from 1 percent to sometimes 30 percent back, your online wallet can grow quickly.

Other cash back apps:

WMAR-2 News Lauren Cook has been using the app a little over a year. In that time, she says she’s made almost $500.

“You know, Macy's, they're offering 20 percent back, well maybe I should buy that new suitcase from Macy's instead of Nordstrom,” Cook said.

There are limits and conditions:

  • Travel purchases are only credited after your trip is completed
  • You'll only earn on your net purchase amount (taxes, fees, shipping, etc. don't count)
  • Payouts are every 3 months (can’t be expedited)

“Four checks a year and that first check I was wary to deposit it into my bank account, and I even asked the bank teller, ‘Have you seen Ebates checks before?’ And the bank teller told me, ‘I use it too,’” said Cook.

One trick to earning more is to install their browser button. It'll notify you when a site you're on has a promotion without having to go directly through Ebates.

However, you're sharing information with those sites including your browsing history.

“That allows us to present offers based on your interest and your history,” Miller said.

Cook said she doesn’t mind sharing shopping history, but privacy conscious users should keep that in mind with any app or browser plug-in they download.

“If they would like to track my shopping habits that's absolutely fine. I have almost $500 extra cash in my pocket,” Cook said.

You can also double-dip, even triple-dip by using Ebates combined with a promo code and additional cash back incentive through your debit or credit card.

The app offers in-store deals if you link your credit card plus $25 bonus incentives to get your friends to sign-up.

All week on Good Morning Maryland, WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii has reported on different cash back apps that pay for everyday tasks like pumping gas, shopping online, even walking. To see her stories and hear from local people who have earned anywhere from $500 - $900, click here.