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Ebates (Rakuten Rewards) Review – Scam or Legit Cashback Site?

Welcome to my Ebates review!

Ebates is a cashback website that has been around since 1998 – an eternity in the online world! It was founded by two former deputy district attorneys, Alessandro Isolani and Paul Wasserman, of Menlo Park, California. In 2014, it was acquired by Rakuten for $1 billion.

In 2019, Ebates was renamed “Rakuten Rewards” though for now most people know it by Ebates.

But is Ebates a scam, or is it legit?…what exactly is Ebates and how does it work? Let’s dive in!

Ebates/Rakuten Rewards Review

Ebates homepageWebsite: (Join here to get $10 for free)

App: Available for both iOS and Android

Price: 100% Free

Age Requirement: 18+

Verdict: Legit

Ebates is a legit site, as it’s been in existence for 20 years, is completely free to use, and it pays you real money to do something you already do – shop online! Oh, and it was founded by attorneys…if that makes any difference.

Despite all this, there are some complaints people have against it, which I’ll be going over later in this review.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how Ebates works and the services they provide!

What IS Ebates? How Does it Work?

Get Cashback for Shopping Online

Once you sign up for Ebates, use the search bar at the top of the website to search for online retailers – Walmart, for example. You’ll be taken to a page that looks similar to this:

Ebates shop at Walmart

Click the big “Shop Now” button, which will take you to Walmart’s website. From there, you can just shop normally and when you make a purchase, you’ll get a certain percentage of cash back which will go straight into your Ebates account.

Walmart was just my example; there are MANY more stores that work with Ebates:

  • Amazon
  • Macy’s
  • Kohls
  • Petco
  • Expedia
  • Walgreens
  • Groupon
  • eBay
  • Target
  • JCPenney
  • BestBuy
  • Sephora
  • And so many more. Here’s the full list.

You can also install the Ebates browser addon which is convenient because it takes a couple steps out of your shopping experience.

When you visit websites with the Ebates plugin installed, it will automatically notify you if you can get cash back for shopping at that website. You can either dismiss the notification, or click a button to activate the cashback. Be sure to activate cashback BEFORE making any purchases.

Get Cashback at Physical Stores

So, we know Ebates gives you cashback for shopping online…but just recently, Ebates added a new feature:

You can now get cashback in physical stores! All you have to do is link your credit or debit card.

And just one more thing…you can get an Ebates VISA card, use it wherever it’s accepted, and always get cashback! The cashback percentage is very small, but it’s certainly better than nothing at all, right?

What’s the Catch?

Okay, so this all sounds great…but how exactly can Ebates afford to pay you to shop? Good question.

The answer is affiliate marketing.

When you buy something online, from Walmart for example, Ebates gets a percentage of the sale (at no cost to you), and then shares half of it with you, the shopper.

So if you bought an item for $1,000 and Ebates offered 4% cashback on it, Ebates would get $40 and split it with you (so you’d get $20). This means you technically only spent $980, not the full $1,000!

It’s a win-win-win situation. The store wins because Ebates brought them a customer, Ebates wins because they got a commission, and you win because you got cashback.

If you’re still confused about how affiliate marketing works, feel free to read my post about it which goes into a lot more depth.

Now that I’ve explained what Ebates is and how it works, I’ll answer a few common questions about it, discuss the complaints against it, and go over the pros and cons.

How Does Ebates Pay? (+ Payment Proof)

Ebates pays out quarterly, either by check or PayPal. Here’s a handy table that shows the payout schedule:

Ebates Payment Schedule

Ebates payment schedule

After you sign up, you’ll be asked to provide a mailing address. This is so they know where to send your checks.

You need to have at least $5.01 in your account in order to get paid. If you have less than $5.01, it will simply stay in your Ebates account until you reach the threshold. (Hint: if you join through this link, you’ll get $10 for free. :))

For peace of mind, here’s my Ebates payment proof:

Ebates payment proof

Ebates Tips

Here are a few tips you’ll want to follow in order to get the most out of Ebates:

  • Complete your purchase in the same shopping session

Make sure to complete your purchase in the same shopping session you start after clicking the Ebates link. If you don’t, it’s possible that you won’t earn any cashback.

  • Don’t disable your computer’s cookies

Cookies are how Ebates is able to track your purchases and apply the cashback. But no cookies = no cash.

  • Don’t use an ad blocker

Ebates may not work too well with an ad blocker enabled. So if you don’t want to potentially miss out on cashback, make sure to disable your ad blocker while you shop!

  • Refer your friends!

Ebates has an awesome referral program. As a member, you’ll have your own referral link – and when someone joins Ebates through your link and makes a qualifying purchase, you’ll get $25 and they’ll get $10! A qualifying purchase means they spend at least $25.

Ebates Complaints

Ebates is a pretty awesome website, but no site is perfect. Here are some complaints users have against it:

Cancelled cashback

Some users have complained that their cashback was canceled. There are several reasons why this could happen, but generally if you’re an honest user and follow their terms and conditions you should be OK.

Missed payouts

If this ever happens, just message them and they’ll deliver your payment.

Maximum cashback amount of $50

$50 is the maximum amount of cashback you can get for any purchase, which is no problem if you have relatively small purchases, but can be quite frustrating for large purchases.

Slow customer service

Some users report lengthy wait times before hearing back from Ebates’ customer service.

One account per IP address

You can only have one account per IP address, which means people in your household won’t be able to sign up if you’re already a member. The consequence if they do? You’ll all get banned and lose your cashback. 🙁

Ebates Pros and Cons


  • Free money!
  • Huge affiliate commissions
  • Works with most online retailers – including Amazon and eBay!
  • Works on your smartphone (just download the app)


  • See the complaints above.

Final Thoughts

Ebates (Rakuten Rewards) is a legit cashback site and definitely not a scam. I’ve been a user for over a year and have no complaints.

While it won’t make you rich, Ebates is a great way to save money and pay less than everyone else for the same items. A penny saved is a penny earned and if you do a lot of shopping, it can add up quickly.

If you’d like to sign up, be sure to click the button below if you want the $10 bonus:

I hope you found my Ebates review helpful! If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment below.

4 thoughts on “Ebates (Rakuten Rewards) Review – Scam or Legit Cashback Site?”

  1. When you refer some one n they shop does ebates really give u the $25 ? For example if 100 people signed up do think ebates gives u the right referal amount for all people or does it reduce the number ?

    1. I can confirm Ebates does provide the $25 commission for everyone who signs up and spends at least $25 through Ebates. Not that many people make a purchase though. Regardless, I’ve earned over $1,000 from referrals.

  2. What about the statement that Ebates wants access to your Gmail account, which gives them permission to compose, delete, change, etc. your Gmail account? That really concerns me, can you explain this? And the fact that Google allows this as well… it is very concerning.

    1. That is so Ebates can find order confirmations and add the cash back to your account sooner. They won’t actually compose, delete, change, etc. anything in your Gmail account, that’s just the language Google uses and that can’t be changed. You do not have to link your account to Ebates, though. You can unlink from your account settings: BTW, here’s a Twitter thread on this issue:

      If this is still a concern for you, no need to use Ebates. There are other ways to get cashback.

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