Not Just for Online Shopping: Here’s How to Earn Cash Back in Stores, Too

Ebates In-Store Cash Back
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When it comes to earning cash back, Ebates has been my go-to site for online purchases for pretty much as long as I’ve been making online purchases.

It’s been around for forever (OK, since 1998, but sometimes that feels like forever), and I’ve found it consistently has the best selection of retailers and highest payback percentages for my purchases.

It also regularly offers promotions like extra cash back at certain retailers for a limited time and this year’s Black Friday double cash back offer. As a result, checking Ebates before I make a purchase on any website has become a no-brainer for me.

What I didn’t know until recently is that you can use Ebates when you shop at physical retail locations, too. In fact, you’ve been able to since July 2016.

Color me both delighted and annoyed that I haven’t been taking advantage of the offer all this time…

How to Earn Cash Back in Stores

As of July 13, 2016, Ebates offers an In-Store Cash Back Program in addition to its traditional online cash back benefits. And earning this in-store cash only a takes a couple more steps than getting it online.

First, sign into your Ebates account. (If you don’t have an account, sign up here — you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus.)

Then, add your credit and/or debit card information to your Ebates account by visiting this page and clicking on the “Add a New Card” button in the top left-hand corner.

Check out all available in-store offers here, and when you find one you like, click the “Link Offer” button to attach that offer to whichever card you plan to use for your in-store purchase.

The best thing about this program is that you can use it on the fly. If you have the Ebates app on your smartphone, you don’t need to worry about activating any offers before you head out for your next shopping trip; you can simply link them to your card while you’re at the store.

So if you’re browsing the mall and happen to find yourself eyeing something in a store on Ebates’ list, you can activate the in-store offer right then and there.

That’s how Jamie Ernst of Buffalo, NY maximized her savings on a recent trip to American Eagle. “When I was in the fitting room and realized I was going to buy something,” she said, “I put in my debit card info quick so it would be ready when I checked out.”

Ebates’ 2.0% cash back at American Eagle netted her $1.57 on a $78.48 purchase, which she admits isn’t a fortune, but as any Penny Hoarder knows, “it was better than nothing!”

If you’re a frequent shopper of a retailer that participates in the Ebates In-Store Cash Back program, or if you have a big haul coming up (think: holiday presents or back-to-school shopping for a large family), your savings could add up quickly — especially when combined with the savings you’re already accumulating using Ebates for online shopping.

Ebates In-Store Cash Back Participating Retailers

As of the time of writing, there are 32 In-Store Cash Back offers for popular retailers, outlet stores and restaurants such as:

  • GNC (10.0% cash back)
  • Petco (8.0% cash back)
  • Buy Buy Baby (8.0% cash back)
  • Old Navy (4.0% cash back)
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods (3.0% cash back)
  • Salt Grass Steakhouse (10.0% cash back, increased from an original 5.0%)

You can view all current offers here. Be sure to click the “See Details” arrow under each retailer for any fine print such as maximum uses per person, expiration dates and any other limitations.

One item you’ll find for all in-store offers: If you use a debit card, you must have the cashier process it as a credit card.

In other words, when they (or the swipe screen options) ask you if the transaction is debit or credit, always choose credit. That means you must sign for your purchase, rather than entering your debit card’s four-digit PIN, for it to qualify for Ebates cash back.

Take the Savings One Step Further…

There’s no limit to the number of cards you can link to your Ebates account, so get the most bang for your buys by linking your rewards credit cards or store cards to get extra savings on your purchases.

You can use Ebates In-Store Cash Back in combination with store promotions and sales, and many offers allow a generous number of uses per person.

For instance, Petco’s 8.0% cash back, which is good through December 25, 2016, has a limit of 10 uses per customer. As long as you re-link your card to the offer before each new purchase, you can use this offer 10 times before the expiration date — that’s a lot of pet food, treats and other supplies you can stock up on for the New Year!

Your Turn: Have you used Ebates In-Store Cash Back Program yet? What do you think of it?

Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.