Perhaps you’re one of those people who like to shop. But even if you don’t like shopping, you probably enjoy saving money when you do shop.
The problem is that waiting for sales, couponing and hunting for deals can be time-consuming and difficult. So to help people save money, online shopping portals offer rebates, cashback and discounts to shoppers.
Mr. Rebates is fine as far as rebate websites go, but we give it three stars instead of five for a few reasons:
- – The long wait for rebates to become available. – The lack of other ways to earn rebates, such as surveys or shopping in stores. – The lack of a browser extension.
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What is Mr. Rebates?
Mr. Rebates is a cashback shopping portal that lets you save money every time you shop through the website. The website claims to offer cashback bonuses for shopping at more than 3,000 online retailers.
How Does Mr. Rebates Work?
Mr. Rebates helps you save money when you use its website to shop at other retailers. Rather than giving you an upfront discount on your purchases, Mr. Rebates pays cashback on purchases that you make.
To get started, all you have to do is set up a Mr. Rebates account. You’ll need to provide your email address, create a password and give a mailing address that Mr. Rebates can use to send your cashback.
When you want to shop online, the first thing you need to do is visit the Mr. Rebates website. Search Mr. Rebates for the retailer you want to buy from. Click through to the retailer from Mr. Rebates and shop like you usually do.
Once you complete the purchase, Mr. Rebates automatically receives your purchase information from the retailer. It uses that information to calculate how much cashback you’ll earn from your purchase.
With every purchase you make, you’ll earn rebates that pile up in your Mr. Rebates account. Then once you reach a minimum of $10 in rebates, you can cash out. Mr. Rebates offers payment by mailed check or PayPal.
How Much Money Can I Save?
Using a cashback shopping portal like Mr. Rebates is all about saving money, so it’s important to know how much you can save through the website. The answer depends on what retailers you’re buying from.
Most shops offer a percentage rebate based on the size of your purchase. For example, ACE Hardware currently provides 5% back on purchases made through Mr. Rebates. A few shops offer flat amounts of cashback on purchases that meet minimum requirements.
The amount that you’ll earn varies from store to store, and stores can change their rebates without notice. You’ll typically receive 3% – 5% cashback, though some stores offer 15%, 20% or more.
On top of the rebates you can earn, Mr. Rebates stores a variety of coupons for each of its retailer partners. You can use these coupons to save money upfront on your purchases. Best of all, you’ll still earn rebates on the post-discount purchase total. It’s one of the easiest ways to save money when shopping.
How Does Mr. Rebates Make Money?
It’s easy for shopping portals to seem too good to be true. They offer free money, and all you have to do is visit the shopping portal before you shop online. How can these websites make money by providing rebates and cashback?
Mr. Rebates makes money by partnering with retailers. Retailers have marketing budgets that they can use to draw in customers and increase sales. Many retailers use a portion of their budget to offer commissions to people and businesses that drive sales their way. Mr. Rebates makes money by taking advantage of these commissions.
Consider this example: Mr. Rebates currently offers 8% cashback on purchases made at Dollar Shave Club’s website. Dollar Shave Club may be willing to pay as much as 12% in commissions to the websites that refer new customers to their company.
For example, if you spend $100 at Dollar Shave Club after visiting the retailer through Mr. Rebates’ website, Dollar Shave Club will send $12 to Mr. Rebates. Mr. Rebates gives you $8, pocketing the extra $4.
Mr. Rebates can refer more customers to retailers by offering those customers a cut of the commission they receive while continuing to earn enough money to turn a profit.
Pros and Cons of Mr. Rebates
There are several pros and cons of using Mr. Rebates.
Here are the pros of Mr. Rebates.
The most obvious pro of using Mr. Rebates is that it’s completely free to use. You don’t have to pay anything to make an account, and you don’t spend more money on retailers’ websites when you use Mr. Rebates to shop. Using Mr. Rebates is like getting free cashback on every purchase you make.
Stacks With Rewards Credit Cards
Though Mr. Rebates does not offer rebates on purchases made with store credit or gift card balances, it does offer full rebates when you use any other kind of payment, including rewards credit cards. This allows you to stack your rewards, earning cashback from both your credit card and Mr. Rebates.
You can easily earn between 1% and 5% cashback by using a card so that you could earn 20% or more back on certain purchases through Mr. Rebates.
Get Paid in Cash
Mr. Rebates doesn’t pay its rewards in points or other strange currencies. It gives you cold hard cash. You can ask Mr. Rebates to send you a check in the mail or pay you through PayPal. There are no redeeming rewards for a restricted list of gift cards or overpriced merchandise.
Here are the cons of using Mr. Rebates.
You Have to Remember to Shop Through the Mr. Rebates Website
To earn credit for purchases, you need to make sure you visit Mr. Rebates’ website before you shop. This isn’t too much of a burden, but it can be easy to forget to go through Mr. Rebates if you’re just making a quick, small purchase.
There’s no way to get credit for shopping after the fact. So if you don’t go through Mr. Rebates, you’ll lose out on rewards.
Mr. Rebates May Fail to Track Purchases
Mr. Rebates relies on browser cookies and merchant reporting to track your purchases and give your credit for the cashback you earn. In some cases, the website can fail to track your purchases, meaning you won’t receive any rewards.
Make Some Extra Cash by Taking Surveys
Taking surveys in your spare time can be a great way to earn some extra dough fast. Check out Survey Junkie which will pay you instantly with cash via PayPal. They have over 10,000,000 members and have an 4.5/5 rating on Trust Pilot.
This frequently happens if you block cookies or disable certain types of track. Ad-blocking software can also cause issues with purchase tracking. You’ll want to turn off ad tracking on Mr. Rebates and retailer’s websites when you make your purchases to maximize your chances of having the purchase tracked properly.
Waiting Period for Rebates to Become Available
You can’t redeem your rebates immediately after earning them. There is a waiting period before they become available for withdrawal.
Mr. Rebates says that it will post your rebates within 30 days of your purchase. This delay gives the site time to receive purchase data from retailers and process it. Once your rebates post, they’ll be listed as pending for 90 days. After 90 days have passed, they become available for withdrawal.
The 90 day waiting period is designed to allow for returns and other actions that could invalidate the rebates you’ve earned. But it means you’ll have to wait months before you can benefit from the cashback you’ve received.
$10 Minimum to Cash Out
Mr. Rebates won’t send your money to you automatically. Instead, you have to request a check in the mail or PayPal payment when you want to cash out. You can cash out as frequently as you’d like, but there is a $10 minimum balance requirement. You won’t be allowed to cash out until you earn $10 in rebates.
If you don’t do a lot of online shopping or don’t shop at stores that offer rebates frequently, you may have to wait a long time to cash out your rebates.
What About the Competition?
Mr. Rebates is just one of the many shopping portals on the internet. Because all a shopping portal has to do is refer customers to retailers who make and sell products, there are few barriers to entering the market and fierce competition between shopping portals.
If you don’t find Mr. Rebates to your liking, you may prefer one of its competitors.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is one of the most popular shopping portals on the internet. It offers rebates of up to 40% at more than 2,500 stores.
Rakuten has a few things that set it apart from other shopping portals.
One is the ability to earn cashback on purchases that you make in a physical store. Most shopping portals only give you cashback when you shop online.
To earn cashback on in-person purchases, you have to link your credit or debit card to your Rakuten account through the Rakuten app. Then, you can browse offers through the app and add them to your card. Once you’ve added the offer to your card, you can shop and earn cashback by completing the offer.
Rakuten also offers automatic redemption for your rewards. You don’t have to request a payment manually. Instead, Rakuten sends your payment, called a Big Fat Check, once every quarter.
Rakuten only sends your money if you’ve earned at least $5 in cashback. If your balance is less than $5, it will roll over into the next quarter until you’ve built up a balance of at least $5.
Rakuten has also partnered with American Express to offer perks to cardholders. You can opt to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cashback rewards when you shop through Rakuten.
If you use your points well, you can get more than one penny in value for each point, making this a better value than earning cashback.
TopCashback bills itself as “The USA’s most generous cashback & coupon site.” It offers rebates and coupons for more than 4,400 online retailers.
Unlike most other shopping portals, TopCashback has no minimum balance required to be eligible for a payout. It also offers multiple options for redemption. You can get a cash deposit to your bank account or a PayPal payment. Plus, you can earn bonuses on your redemption for choosing other options such as retailer gift cards.
Swagbucks is more than a typical shopping portal. You can earn rewards, called Swagbucks, by shopping through the website, but you can also earn Swagbucks from a variety of other activities.
Swagbucks Answer pays Swagbucks when you answer short surveys. Each survey lists the Swagbucks that you can earn and the approximate amount of time that it will take to finish the survey. Companies use these surveys for a variety of purposes, such as marketing research. And new surveys are added to the site regularly.
Swagbucks Discover lets you earn rewards when you sign up for mailing lists or explore offers from Swagbucks’ partners.
Swagbucks Watch lets you earn a few Swagbucks for every video that you watch. Usually, the videos come from Swagbucks partners or are advertisements for new products and services.
Swagbucks Play pays you Swagbucks whenever you spend money on popular online games or play certain free to play games.
Finally, you can buy Swagbucks for cash, which can be helpful if you’re near a redemption threshold.
You can redeem Swagbucks for a variety of rewards, including cash through PayPal and retailer gift cards. Typically, Swagbucks are worth a penny each when redeemed through PayPal. Often, you can redeem them for more value by exchanging them for gift cards. You can also redeem your Swagbucks for donations to your favorite charities.
Mr. Rebates is one of many shopping portals that provides cashback when you use it to shop online. It doesn’t have many of the perks that offer portals give, such as a browser extension or flexible redemption options, but it does offer solid rewards.
So if you’re looking for an online shopping portal, Mr. Rebates is worth a look. However, you should always compare the cashback offers from each portal to find the best one available.
Do you use a rebate website or are you looking for the right one to sign up for? Let us know in the comments below.