I love cashback sites. What’s better than getting extra cashback, just for doing something you were doing anyway? We’ve reviewed Ebates and BeFrugal independently (see BeFrugal review here and the Ebates review here), but haven’t done a matchup yet. So here’s an Ebates vs BeFrugal showdown. They’re the two largest cashback sites in the US, but which one is better?
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- 1 How Do The Cashback Sites Ebates and BeFrugal Work?
- 2 BeFrugal And Ebates SignUp Bonuses
- 3 How To Earn Cashback On BeFrugal And Ebates
- 4 BeFrugal Vs Ebates: Which Has The Highest Cashback Rates?
- 5 BeFrugal And Ebates Features
- 6 BeFrugal And Ebates Referral Bonuses
- 7 Ebates Credit Card – Extra 3 Percent In Cashback
- 8 Getting Paid Via BeFrugal And Ebates
- 9 Which One Should You Use?
How Do The Cashback Sites Ebates and BeFrugal Work?
Both Ebates and BeFrugal operate the same way. They aggregate coupons, deals, and promos on their site and give you cashback for shopping.
Cashback sites can do this because of affiliate marketing, which means a retailer pays a cashback website a small commission for driving sales to their site. Cashback rates range from 1 to 40 percent.
In my opinion, you should only go through a cashback site when you’re already ready to buy something, otherwise you risk spending extra money when you weren’t going to.
BeFrugal And Ebates SignUp Bonuses
Both BeFrugal and Ebates offer signup bonuses of $10. BeFrugal gives you $10 when you’ve earned at least $10 in cashback within a year (yep, you read that right, within a year!). Ebates gives you $10 when you spend at least $25 on a retailer in 90 days.
Looking at these two signup bonuses, it’s easier to get your signup bonus with Ebates. That’s a 40 percent cashback rate just for your bonus — you spend $25 to get $10, which is 40 percent cashback. That being said, if BeFrugal is also giving out $10 and the cashback rate is higher than Ebates for some things there, I’m not complaining!
How To Earn Cashback On BeFrugal And Ebates
Cashback is definitely a weird concept if you haven’t heard of it before. Don’t fear, I’ll go through it in detail in this section so you know how to get cashback.
Let’s say you want to buy something from Sephora, for example. For the screenshots in this section, we’ll use Ebates as the example, so we don’t have to show two sets of screenshots.
1). Instead of going directly to Sephora’s website, you’d go to either the Ebates or BeFrugal website, then type in Sephora in the search bar.
3). You’ll then see a page which tells you that you’re going through to the Sephora website with a click tracking number.
4). You can then go and shop as normal and expect your cashback from Sephora. Here’s the screenshot of what it looks like. We did the Sephora screenshots so you could see what it looked like, but this form below is from when I got 14 percent cashback from Nordstrom. 😀 Yep, it was a great cashback rate!
5). Both sites track the clicks you make from the cashback site to the retailer, so if anything goes wrong you can send Ebates or BeFrugal a message and they can manually update your cashback. Below is what the tracking looks like.
We’ve included the payout screenshots in the payout section a little further down the page.
If you have Adblock or a software that blocks ads, the cashback site won’t be able to track your clicks and the site won’t know to give you cashback. Turn off your adblock before you shop online to make sure this doesn’t happen.
BeFrugal Vs Ebates: Which Has The Highest Cashback Rates?
Ebates says they have ~2,000 retailers and BeFrugal says they have ~5,000 retailers for cashback. However, in our analysis of the largest retailers, it seemed there were some stores only Ebates had access to. There were no stores BeFrugal had access to that Ebates did not. In general, if Ebates and BeFrugal had access to a retailer for cashback, BeFrugal had the higher rate most of the time.
Notable stores that Ebates had access to but BeFrugal did not: Apple, Itunes, Anthropologie, ASOS, H&M, J Crew, Lu Lu Lemon, and Urban Outfitters.
There were some very well-known stores that neither cashback portal had access to: Nordstrom (though they do have access to Nordstrom Rack), Uniqlo, Zappos (but you can shop their product on Amazon I believe), and Zara.
BeFrugal had higher online-only cashback rates for retailers, but BeFrugal didn’t have access to Apple or Itunes.
BeFrugal had higher cashback rates for stores it actually had access to. 3 stores tied for cashback rates.
Ebates did well for Sephora and Ulta.
Overall, BeFrugal gave cashback rates at more than double the rate of Ebates for high-end luxury department stores, hardware, flower, and neighborhood pharmacy and grocery retailers.
BeFrugal offers higher (sometimes more than double) cashback rates in the hardware, floral, decorative, and large grocery retailers.
BeFrugal And Ebates Features
Both cashback sites have browser extensions so that you don’t need to go through the cashback site each time. The extension simply tracks everything.
BeFrugal has cashback deals with ~5,000 retailers while Ebates has ~2,000 retailers. They also have the weekly circulars for the majority of grocery stores.
Both offer up to 40 percent cashback on their retailers.
Ebates has a Double Cashback page while BeFrugal has a page with bonus cashback deals.
BeFrugal also has a travel portal where you can get cashback rates for specific hotel brands, rather than just a single cashback rate for going through a travel portal.
Ebates also has an in-store cashback portal where you can link your credit card and get cashback in your favorite brick and mortar store.
Though Ebates has this feature, you should consider the Dosh app for your in-store purchases. You don’t need to link offers, you just sign up and get cashback anytime you spend money in-person at a store they are affiliated with. You also get a $5 bonus. Check out our review of Dosh here to maximize your in-store cashback potential.
If you’re looking for grocery in-store cashback check out our review of Ibotta for a $10 bonus.
BeFrugal has a live chat but Ebates only has offline messaging services.
CashBack And Coupon Guarantees:
Don’t you love price matching? I do.
BeFrugal offers a cashback guarantee of 125 percent if you can find a higher cashback rate somewhere else. BeFrugal also gives $5 if you can find a coupon that doesn’t work.
Ebates offers neither of these things.
Both of them offer thousands of coupons for grocery stores, restaurants, and online stores.
Though people should care about only which cashback site has the higher cashback amount, I’d argue that user interface is important.
Both are pretty easy to use, but Ebates definitely has the sleeker user interface.
BeFrugal And Ebates Referral Bonuses
Ebates definitely wins out on referral bonuses. Ebates gives you $25 for every friend you sign up and spends $25 through the cashback site. Your friend gets $10 for joining Ebates.
BeFrugal offers $10 for every friend you signup. Your friend also gets $10.
From time to time, both sites have increased referral bonuses. Check back. Both offer unlimited referral bonuses.
Ebates Credit Card – Extra 3 Percent In Cashback
Ebates is the only cashback site with a credit card. They offer an extra 3 percent in cashback if you use it when you purchase things through ebates.
If you’re purchasing through a store not in the Ebates portal, you still get 1 percent cashback wherever VISA is accepted.
Getting Paid Via BeFrugal And Ebates
With BeFrugal you get paid anytime you have cash in your payable balance. You can get paid via check, Paypal, or gift cards. There isn’t a minimum balance you need to get paid — if you have $0.01, you get paid. When I initiated a transfer, it took 3 business days for my cashback to reach my Paypal account. You also get bonuses if you decide to get a gift card instead. A cash VISA gift card gets you a 2 percent bonus, which is awesome. Some other gift cards give up to a 6 percent bonus, as shown below.
Here’s the screenshot of getting paid via BeFrugal. I chose to get paid through Paypal to see how long it would take (3 days).
With Ebates, you get paid quarterly, 4 times a year. See the dates below. You have the choice of Paypal or check. Minimum payout is $5.01 (No, I have no clue why it’s $5 and a penny).\
Here’s the screenshot of getting paid via Ebates. I chose to get paid by Paypal.
Ebates also allows you to give your cashback to your friends, family, or a charity.
Since BeFrugal gives you a bonus if you chose a VISA gift card (which you can basically use anywhere) and you can cash out whenever you have cashback in your account, we chose BeFrugal as the winner here.
Which One Should You Use?
Overall, cashback rates are higher at BeFrugal for stores it had access to.
BeFrugal pays out sooner than Ebates and had no minimum amount to cash out and also offers bonuses on gift cards (up to 6%) and VISA gift cards (2%).
BeFrugal had more in-person and restaurant coupons and also offers 125 percent cashback match guarantee if you find another retailer with a higher cashback rate and also offers $5 for every coupon you find that doesn’t work.
Again, notable stores that Ebates had access to but BeFrugal did not: Apple, Itunes, Anthropologie, ASOS, H&M, J Crew, Lu Lu Lemon, and Urban Outfitters.
While we didn’t go through every single store in the database, we tried to go through the largest and most-well known brands and stores.
Ebates had access to a travel portal for hotel specific cashback rates vs travel portals.
Ebates offers $25 for each friend you refer, while BeFrugal offers $10 for each friend you refer and offers a special credit card that gives an extra 3 percent cashback on Ebates purchases and an extra 1 percent anywhere VISA is accepted.
Both have the same referral bonus ($10 for each).
Personally, I use both and just quickly check site gives me the higher cashback rate. It takes an extra 5 seconds to check the other site for the rate.
If you need your cashback more often than 4 times a year, you should go with BeFrugal.
If you want to get specific cashback rates for hotels or get an extra 3 percent cashback on each purchase, go with Ebates.
But if you truly only wanted to choose one, BeFrugal cashback rates beat Ebates way more often.
Otherwise, just take a few extra seconds to check. There is no absolute clear winner here.
Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.
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