I recently wrote a review of Mr. Rebates. It is my go to cashback site when I am making a purchase on the fly. When the purchase is larger, it can be worth investing the time to review a cashback monitoring site first. As the name would indicate, cashback monitoring sites index a list of sites, like Mr. Rebates, that offer cashback from various merchants and post the different cashback rates.
Best Cashback Monitoring Sites
1. Cashback Holics – my favorite monitoring website. They are the first one I noticed in this sector. The site looks like dog poo, but functionality is great. On top of showing the cashback rate from different sites, they also rate these sites. Here is an example for screen capture for the Groupon results.
Groupon is a site that I check frequently because Shop Discover frequently offers 10% back, although this generous rate has been less common in recent months. I would also be careful with Groupon because they tend to let pretty much anyone into their affiliate program. Hell, even I am in it. Here is my affiliate link if you feel like making a purchase and throwing a few cents my direction.
This is where the Cashback Holic reviews also come into play. If I was looking at this list, I would probably skip the 12% offered by Coupay unless I wanted to test them for shits and giggles. Cashbackhouse looks like a legit option, but if you go to the site and read the terms, there are a myriad of caveats. The interesting part is it looks like they are passing along the entire commission Groupon pays them on a sale. I assume this is a promotional push to garner more users because this model isn’t sustainable in the long run.
Personally, I would probably combine the 6% from Ebates with the 2.5% I get back on all purchases from my Bank of America card for a combined cashback rate of 8.5%. I would do it this way because Ebates is well known quantity in my book and they don’t make you think about which category you are purchasing. It’s just a straight 6% back on all purchases.
If you read that last paragraph closely, you might have asked yourself, “how does your Bank of America card give you 2.5% back on all purchases?” It was a special offer of double the standard 1% rate. Plus if I save up over $300 in cashback, I receive a 25% bonus. It makes for a real life rate of 2.5% cashback on all purchases. While I can’t help you find that particularly offer as I am not sure what qualified me to receive it, Fidelity does offer a no annual fee Amex that offers 2% back on all purchases. I really like that deal since you can steer the cashback into your IRA as a painless way of saving for retirement. By putting the 2% into an IRA that can be used to purchase stocks or mutual funds, there is a good chance it will grow into significant amounts over time.
2. Cashback Monitor – another great site to check cashback rates. It seems to have the same lack of design flare of Cashback Holic, but it is simple enough to use. The differentiator with their site is that you can set up monitoring of the sites where you make the most purchases. Here is what the cashback monitor configuration screen looks like:
Lifehacker even wrote a little blurb about this site. It’s a fairly crappy article by Lifehacker standards, but it does offer a few more screen captures from Cashback Monitor.
3. Cashback Tool – they aren’t as good as the first two sites mentioned, although they are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t provide the same wealth of information and the site isn’t updated as well. As an example here is a somewhat sad result from a Groupon search.