Posted by: hmchang | December 3, 2008

Money: Shopper’s good friend — Cash-back Websites

An important way to save when shopping on the Internet is to search for cash-back. Cash-back is different from rebate. For rebate, you usually buy a product and then send the product UPC back along with a rebate form. A rebate check would be sent by the company after roughly 6~8 weeks, if we are lucky.

Cash-back works by first log-on to a cash-back website. Then search for the online store that you would like to shop. Then click on the online store link in that website, and then you would be connected to a page where it shows that the cash-back is on its way. Then you just need to shop and checkout with normal procedure.

After you finish your purchase, the online store will send a notification to the cash-back website and then you would get an email notification that the cash-back is pending. The cash-back money will be deposit to the cash-back website after 6~8 weeks or more. After you accumulate a certain amount of cash-back, you could request to transfer the money to your paypal account or get a check. The whole procedure may take more than 2 months. It is less risky than rebate since there’s no worries of mail loss. However, there are certain policy that you would need to follow to get the cash-back, so make sure you read their footnotes.

Currently, there are three cash-back website that I know:

1. Fatwallet
2. Ebates
3. Microsoft Live! Cashback

Each of them offer different cashback ratio to different online merchant. Therefore, before you shop, make sure you compare the cashback amount from these websites.

During 2008 thanksgiving holidays, Microsoft Live! cashback provided 20% cash-back for circuit city, 40% for HP home, and 30% for ebay. These made a lot of deals extremely attractive. Nevertheless, some online stores would not provide cash-back if you use coupon. Make sure you read the notes before shopping.

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