Get Paid to Shop Online: 5 Cash-Back Sites That Pay You for Your Everyday Purchases
Cash-back sites are a popular way to earn cash, points or credits for your online shopping. You’re going to make these purchases anyway, so why not get a little something back at the same time?
All of these sites are free. Most of them make money by earning a small commission of each purchase you make via their direct link. They pass a portion of these earnings on to you.
But with so many sites, which one should you use? Should you go with one that offers direct cash back or one that gives points you can redeem for gift cards? What about other special deals and coupons?
To help you determine which site is best for you, here’s a breakdown of how each one works, complete with information on the types of rewards, how often you get paid and more.
Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.
Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.
When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:
- 25 cents back for any item
- 25 cents back on strawberries
- 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
- $1 back on a box of tea
- $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer
Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
Drop is another app that’ll reward you for making purchases at affiliated retailers.
With Drop, you’ll earn points.
Here’s how it works: You select which retailers you want to earn points from. You’ve got plenty of options, but you can only pick five, so choose wisely.
The number of points you earn per dollar spent depends on the retailer. For example, you’ll earn eight points per dollar at Target, 12 points per dollar at Starbucks or Trader Joe’s, or 10 points per dollar at Lyft.
You can exchange these points for gift cards to hot spots (think: Starbucks, Old Navy, Dunkin’ Donuts, Amazon…). When you hit 10,000 points, you’ll earn a $10 Amazon gift card.
Ebates offers up to 20% cash back at more than 1,800 online stores, though the average earnings are usually closer to 5%.
Search the site to find your favorite store, then click the “Shop Now” link to make your purchase. For example, you can get 3% cash back at Macy’s and up to 6% back for certain Amazon categories.
Your cash-back earnings will show up in your account within 48 hours.
Ebates sends you a payment each quarter based on your account earnings of at least $5. You have three options for redeeming your earnings: a check in the mail, PayPal deposit, or gift to a charity or family member.
You can earn a $5 bonus right off the bat by signing up for Ebates or referring a friend or family member.
Bigger bonus: Spend $25 at Walmart, and it’ll send you a free $10 gift card!
Shopkick is one of the only rewards apps that doesn’t require you to spend money to earn money.
With Shopkick, you earn “kicks,” which you can exchange for gift cards.
You have several options for earning kicks, including:
- Walking into a store.
- Scanning items’ barcodes.
- Taking photos of your receipt (if you do spend money).
- Linking your credit or debit card.
- Shopping online.
- Watching ads.
When you earn 6,250 kicks, for example, you can redeem them for a $25 Amazon gift card.
If you want the cash back you earn to go toward a shared cause — like your daughter’s soccer team or your friend’s doctor bills — then consider using FlipGive.
FlipGive is an online fundraising platform that pays individuals, teams or organizations for shopping. Essentially, you shop through FlipGive’s online portal at one of its affiliated online retailers. Then, your fundraiser receives a percentage of that cash back.
Some popular brands offering cash back on FlipGive include:
- Warby Parker — for a 15% cash-back donation
- Under Armour — for 15%
- Anthropologie — for 10%
- Walmart — for 7%
- Sephora — for 3%
- Hotels.com — for 3%
- Apple — for 2%
To make sure you don’t miss out on any cash-back opportunities, download Flipgive’s cash-back reminder. It’s a browser extension that’ll alert you when you’re perusing a participating website.
One of the nicest parts of the app is that there are no fees, no percentages of sales taken and, if you’re fundraising, you don’t have to go old school and walk door to door.
Read about how one soccer dad used the portal to raise $2,100 for his daughter’s soccer team.
Carrie Smith (@carefulcents) is a writer and business consultant for freelancers and entrepreneurs. In 2013, she quit her accounting job to pursue full-time writing and blogging.
The Penny Hoarder staff writers also contributed to this article.