4 Cash-Back Sites That Save You Money On Everything

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In the past six months, I’ve earned roughly $220 shopping online.

And I’m not talking about credit card rewards. Rather, I discovered some cash-back websites that reward me for doing my regular shopping. Find out how cash-back sites work and how you can start earning more money today.

What are cash-back sites?

Cash-back sites don’t sell products or services. Instead, they act as a portal to retail websites.

“To earn cash back, you must visit a cash-back website and click through its special link to the retailer of your choice instead of going directly to the store’s site,” said Natasha-Rachel Smith, TopCashback’s resident personal finance expert.

The cash-back site records your visit and then gives you the promised reward once you complete a purchase. Check out the four best cash-back sites below and see which one works best with your online shopping habits.

1. Ebates

Ebates partners with more than 2,000 stores to give you up to 40 percent cash back. It also offers coupons you can stack with your cash-back rewards.

What sets Ebates apart

Cash-back sites typically require that you visit online retailers through the cash-back site’s website to get your rewards. That’s not the case with the Ebates Cash Back Button.

An extension you can add to your web browser, the “button” pops up to notify you when you’re on a website where you can earn Ebates cash back.

The extension also highlights cash-back rates in your Google searches. For example, this is what you’ll see if you search “clearance sales”:

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 4.39.05 PM.png

Swagbucks is the only other cash-back site that offers this feature.

Other ways to earn cash back

Shopping online isn’t the only way to earn cash back with Ebates. You’ll also earn money by referring your friends to the website. As of August 2017, you’ll earn $5 for every friend you refer who makes a qualifying purchase and an extra $40 when two of your friends join and make qualifying purchases.

The cash-back site also offers in-store cash back. Simply add your Visa or American Express credit card to your Ebates account, and you’ll earn extra cash back when you shop at participating stores.

Getting paid

Ebates pays out earned cash back every three months in four ways:

  • A “big fat check” addressed to you
  • A “big fat check” addressed to someone else or a charity
  • A PayPal transfer
  • A retail e-gift card (you sometimes get a bonus if you choose this option)

You must have at least $5.01 in earned cash back to get a payout. Otherwise, it’ll be included in the next one.

2. TopCashback

TopCashback has more than 4,000 retail partners, ranging from big-name brands to small and midsize retailers. It also offers coupon codes you can stack with cash-back offers.

What sets TopCashback apart

Not to be outdone by its competitors, TopCashback offers to match some other cash-back sites’ rates.

cash-back sites

Image credit: TopCashback

Eligible websites include:

  • BeFrugal
  • Ebates
  • Extrabux
  • FatWallet
  • Mr. Rebates
  • ShopAtHome

Before you request a match, be sure your purchase meets the terms and conditions.

According to Smith, another thing that makes TopCashback stand out is the fact that it’s the only cash-back site in the U.S. that offers full commissions.

“That means it gives the entire commission rate it’s paid by retailers,” Smith said. “No other cash-back site in the USA does this; they give a portion back but keep a share too.”

Instead of keeping part of commissions, the cash-back site makes money from advertisements and sponsored links that don’t generate cash back.

Other ways to earn cash back

TopCashback has a page dedicated to in-store offers on its website. However, as of August 2017, there are no offers available.

Like Ebates, TopCashback offers referral bonuses when you get your friends and family to sign up for the cash-back site. You’ll earn $10 for every referral who signs up and earns at least $10 in cash back through the website.

Getting paid

You can redeem your TopCashback rewards in three ways:

  • A direct deposit into a U.S. bank account
  • A PayPal transfer
  • A gift card (you’ll get a 3 percent bonus if you choose this option)

There’s no set timeline or minimum balance for payouts. Once your cash is available, you can request a payment.

3. Swagbucks

With Swagbucks, you’ll earn rewards on purchases with over 1,500 retailers. Instead of straight cash back, you’ll earn Swagbucks points you can redeem for gift cards or cash back.

Like Ebates, Swagbucks offers a browser extension that highlights when you’re on a partner website. It also shows how many points you’ll earn with a partner in your Google and Bing searches.

What sets Swagbucks apart

Although other cash-back sites offer a few extra ways to earn cash back, Swagbucks takes its mission to the max. You can earn Swagbucks points if you do the following:

  • Answer surveys
  • Watch videos
  • Sign up for offers with partners
  • Get free samples
  • Search the web using Swagbucks’ search engine
  • Play online games
  • Find special text codes on the site and social media you can submit for points
  • Refer a friend (you’ll get 10 percent of their earnings for life)
  • Meet daily earnings goals

Getting paid

You can redeem your Swagbucks points in four ways:

  • A retail gift card
  • A PayPal transfer
  • A donation to one of Swagbucks’ charity partners
  • By entering a Swagstakes to win prizes
best cash-back sites

Image credit: Swagbucks

Points are worth one cent each, so 500 points are worth $5. You can redeem your Swagbucks points anytime, assuming you have enough points for an available reward or Swagstakes. There’s no minimum balance requirement or waiting period.

4. Upromise

Partnering with more than 850 online retailers and more than 10,000 restaurants, Upromise offers cash back on shopping and dining out.

What sets Upromise apart

Owned and operated by private student lender Sallie Mae, Upromise is geared toward helping you save for college and pay off student loans. It offers bonus cash back if you transfer your earnings into a Upromise GoalSaver account for college savings.

cash-back websites

Image credit: Upromise

The Upromise dining program is also beneficial for individuals and families who eat out regularly. You’ll earn 2.5 percent cash back at qualifying restaurants. All you need to do is link your credit or debit card to your Upromise account and use it to pay the bill.

Other ways to earn cash back

In addition to earning cash back through online shopping and eating out, Upromise also partners with popular travel sites.

You also can use eCoupons to get cash back on everyday in-store purchases by linking your store loyalty card to your Upromise account.

As of August 2017, Upromise doesn’t offer a bonus when you refer your friends.

Getting paid

Once you’ve earned enough cash back, you can redeem your rewards by:

  • Contributing to a Upromise college fund or a linked 529 plan
  • Paying down student loans that are linked to your Upromise account
  • Requesting a paper check

There’s no minimum balance to use your rewards to contribute to a college savings plan. If you want to pay down student loans or get a check, however, you’ll need at least $10 in your account to redeem.

Which cash-back site should you choose?

“America has an abundance of cash-back sites, but they all play by different rules,” said Smith. “Look at each one’s benefits and limitations to determine which is the best for you.”

Consider earnings and redemption options as well as restrictions, including how often you can redeem and how much.

Choosing the right cash-back site isn’t always about making the most money, either. For example:

  • If you’re likely to forget to go through the cash-back site to shop, using the Ebates and Swagbucks browser extensions could be your best bet.
  • If you like the idea of getting cash back for more than just shopping, Swagbucks offers the most opportunities to do so.
  • If you eat out regularly, Upromise’s restaurant network is impressive.
  • If you want to maximize your cash back without signing up for multiple cash-back sites, TopCashback is great.

But if you’re more of an optimizer who wants to get the most cash back every time, consider signing up for all of them. Then, you can use websites like Cashback Monitor to keep track of which cash-back site is currently offering the best rate for a given retailer.

Regardless of which cash-back site you choose, Smith said you should “get into the habit of using [it]. Read and follow the directions on each retailer’s specific cashback page, bundle savings, and tell all your friends and family about it.”

The sooner you find the right cash-back site, the sooner you’ll start earning money. For my part, $220 in six months isn’t going to make me rich — but it’s two weeks’ worth of groceries, so I’m not complaining.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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Get real rates from up to 4 Lenders at once

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.