15 Cashback Shopping Portals Compared: Payments, Bonuses, & How They Work

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Cashback Monitor is far and away the best site to check the highest payouts (be it points, miles, or cashback) for online shopping. And there are a lot of shopping portals out there.

Each has its “quirks” – from slow payouts to minimum thresholds and different ways of paying. And most of them even give you a little reward just for signing up and shopping – some as much as $10 on top of your cashback bonus.

Cash Back Shopping Portals Comparison

Always click through a shopping portal when you shop online – but which one should you use?

There are many to choose from – and of course you can earn points or miles from airline or bank portals. Here’s an overview of the 15 most popular cashback portals. And how to pick which one to click through!

15 Cash Back Shopping Portals Comparison

Say you want to shop online at GNC for some vitamins or protein (I picked this one at random). You navigate to Cashback Monitor and type in “GNC.” You see this:

*exploding head emoji*

So, it’s a lot to process. And some of those cashback portals, I’ve never heard of. But whatever. Start at the top – where the best payouts are.

You can get:

  • 15% cashback from Ebates
  • 12% cashback from BeFrugal
  • 8% cashback from Top Cashback or Rebates Me… and down from there

Or, if you want points or miles:

  • 5 British Airways points pet $1
  • 4 points/miles from Ultimate Rewards, Amtrak, Choice, American, or United… and down from there

How do you pick?

First, consider your travel goals. I always love to earn more Ultimate Rewards points. I value them at 2 cents each, so 4 per $1 is like getting 8% back (4 points X 2 cents each).

Or, if you’re close to an award flight on American, that might trump all else.

What about Southwest points? They count toward the Companion Pass. If you’re close, or really want it, you might forego 15% cashback to earn points toward flying with a companion for only the cost of taxes.

So there’s mental gymnastics going with just a skim.

What if you just go for highest?

If you just want the best return, the 15% cashback from Ebates is by far the best payout for this store in this scenario. If you spent $100 at GNC (before taxes and shipping), you’d get $15 cashback. Compare that to 400 Ultimate Rewards points, or 500 British Airways Avios points. I’d rather have the $15. Again, unless I had a travel goal in mind. 💰

Say you have an Ebates account though, but not a BeFrugal account – the next highest cash payout.

Well, you could get a $10 bonus for signing up for BeFrugal – in addition to the 12% cashback. So you’d come out with $22 – a much better deal (12% cashback + $10).

I always factor in any bonuses – they add up!

Consider minimum thresholds and payment schedules

If you chose to get 400 Chase points or your 500 British Airways Avios points, you’d check out – and a few weeks later, have points in your account. Slam, bam, thank you ma’am.

But cashback portals? Ah, now you have to think about thresholds. Dang it.

So you could get $22 cashback from BeFrugal. But – you can’t touch the cash until you have $25 in your account. Grrr. 🐻

But Ebates only requires you to have $5+ in your account – and $15 would definitely qualify. But… you might not be that money for a while. If you shop early in the quarter, like April or May, you wouldn’t get your cash until August 15th. That’s 4 or 5 MONTHS of waiting.

So now you have to choose between shopping more to earn more or waiting a while.

If you shop in early April, you can’t touch your cash until Mid-August

If you don’t mind waiting, Ebates is the best deal for GNC at the time of writing. But if you wanted cash without waiting, consider Giving Assistant (which pays weekly if you earn $6+) or Top Cashback, which has no minimum threshold and no waiting to get your cash once it posts from the merchant.

Compare at a glance

With all of this in mind, here’s an overview of the 15 most popular cashback shopping portals.

PortalSign Up BonusPayment ThresholdPayment Sent ViaNumber of MerchantsApp? Mini Review
Acorns$5"Found Money" is automatically invested in your portfolioAutomatic investment40+YGet 50 cents per Uber ride. Only portal that lets you invest money for the future
BeFrugal$10• $25 for cash
• $5 for gift cards
Check, direct deposit, PayPal for cash5,000+ NOn the slow side, but all my bonuses posted with no problem. Great if you don't mind waiting
Coupon Cactus$3$10Check or PayPal, 45 days after close of quarter and only if you've earned $10+. First payment must be by check4,000+NMight be worth it for certain deals
Dosh$5$25Direct deposit, PayPal, or to a charity100,000+Y (App only)Love it to double dip while dining. Some great portal offers if you like to shop on your phone or tablet
Ebates$10$5.01Check or PayPal, 45 days after close of quarter2,500+YLove the ability to earn cashback in-store. One of the best and most reliable portals out there
ExtraBux$5$10Check, PayPal, card credit, or donate to charity3,000+N90-day waiting period to get paid - one of the longest. Might be worth it for the bonus or if there's a store with a high payout
Giving Assistant$5$6Direct deposit or PayPal - weekly! Can also send to charity3,067 NOne of the best portals with the fastest payouts. I love this one and highly recommend it
Honey$0$10 worth of Honey Gold pointsGift cards30,000+N, only a browser extension Automatically finds coupon codes and earns cashback at the same time. Great for Amazon shopping - my full review
Ibotta$10$20PayPal or Venmo300+ YI love Ibotta. They have frequent bonuses and make it easy to earn via mobile shopping, though with a limited selection - my full review
Lemoney$0$25PayPal1,700+NSome crazy good payouts with "Turbo Cashback." Get up to 20% back once per month - very worthwhile on certain stores. Payouts can take up to 120 days, though
Mr. Rebates$5$10Check, PayPal, or gift card2,000+NWebsite's a little clunky, but you can cherry-pick good deals, like IHG hotel bookings. Some of their weekly deals are worthwhile
RebatesMe$5$20PayPal2,000+NWebsite is easy enough to navigate and promises payouts within a week. Chinese company - a few OK deals if you peck around a bit
Swagbucks$3$3 is the cheapest gift cardGift cards or donate to charity1,500+YOccasionally some good deals. OK if you don't mind getting Amazon (or other store) gift cards
Top Cashback$5Any amountDirect deposit, PayPal, or gift cards4,380NOften has the highest payouts. This and Giving Assistant are the ones I use most
UPromise$0$10College savings plan, Sallie Mae student loan, savings accounts, or check850+NEasy to earn cashback via shopping or dining. If you want to save for the future, this is an easy way to add a little here and there

Some notes on the portals

Here’s what to keep in mind, based on my personal experiences using these portals.

1. Acorns

This is an investment account – you can open it for only $5. Any cashback you earn (“Found Money”) is invested based on your risk tolerance.

They don’t have the biggest selection (only 40ish stores right now), but this feature alone can easily cover the $1 monthly fee to have an account.

Not a huge selection, but a great way to save for the future

You can get 50 cents per Uber ride right now (if you’re targeted). So one round-trip would cover the fee. And the cashback would be invested. It’s a neat little program.

And if you’ve never invested, Acorns is a simple and fast way to get started. Every little bit helps – and compound interest is a force of nature (assuming you accrue returns).

2. BeFrugal

Used this one a time or two. A bit slow to confirm my cashback – but it all posted with no problem, bonus and all.

Payment request April 24th and sent May 5th

I had to wait about 10 or 11 days to get the cash payout in my account. But everything tracked perfectly and I did end up getting everything I expected. Great experience, just have a little patience.

Plus, the $10 sign up bonus is something to consider if you’ve never used them before.

3. Dosh

  • Link: Dosh – $5 bonus

“Why does it say 100,000 merchants?” you’re probably wondering? (In reference to the chart above.)

Because you can earn cashback from dining at local restaurants when you link your cards – and there are a lot of them!

Dosh is great if you don’t mind it being app-only

Dosh is an app and only an app. But, you’ll find many of the same merchants as other stores. Great if you shop on your phone or tablet a lot.

Also, they do NOT appear in Cashback Monitor (yet), so it’s worth checking here. Because you can combine cashback from dining out with online shopping and hit the payment threshold that much faster.

4. Ebates

An oldie but goodie. Ebates has done a great job marketing themselves with their “Big Fat Checks.” But be aware of long waits to receive payouts.

I love the in-store cashback offers from Ebates

That said, they’re reliable – and purchases I’ve made tracked flawlessly. And, it’s one of the few that let you earn cash in-store – just link your card. They also have a fantastic app.

It’s worth a look or download. Just know your patience is required to get cash in hand.

5. Giving Assistant

I have a major soft spot for Giving Assistant. They pay out weekly as long as you earn $6+. And cashback posts lighting fast – often within a few days.

Fast payouts, low thresholds, great deals – what’s not to love?

Plus, they often have highest or next-highest payout levels. And all things considered, I choose them sometimes just to get the cashback and be done with it. Very little waiting.

Not always the best deal, but when it shines, it really shines.

6. Honey

  • Link: Honey – browser extension 

Honey scours the net for coupon codes and applies them automatically – plus, rewards you Honey Gold points for shopping with their browser extension. You can only redeem for gift cards.

That all sounds limiting, but they often have bonus like 1,000 Honey Gold points for shopping at certain merchants – which you can trade it for a $10 Amazon gift card.

Get extra points for shopping – these are great value adds and often worth $10 or more

I’ve used them a few times and always had everything post quickly. Gifts cards are sent within minutes.

I mean, I can use another Amazon gift card

So far, I’ve gotten $100 completely free bucks to spend at Amazon. So yeah, Honey is definitely worth a looky-loo – easy install on most browsers, too. (That rhymed lol.)

7. Ibotta

Oh, Ibotta. I have such a love/hate relationship with this app. When they’re good, they’re amazing. And when they’re bad, they’re whoa – really bad.

But, you can use it nearly anywhere. And, they often have a ton of stackable bonuses.

I love Ibotta’s zillion stackable bonuses

It’s a little deceiving – in a good way. Because you’ll redeem a rebate or shop and before you know it, you have way more cashback than you expected. A good problem to have.

This app has gotten me $400 bucks so far!

I’ve earned $400+ from regular shopping at Whole Foods and Costco (!). And I don’t even try that hard. If you can combine the shopping portal aspect with the rebate aspect, you can do well with Ibotta.

8. Swagbucks

What you need to know is 100 Swagbucks equals $1.

Start redeeming when you reach $3 (300 Swagbucks)

It’s also easy to earn more points instantly from surveys, if you don’t like waiting for cashback to post.

Also, it is possible to turn 2,500 Swagbucks into a $25 PayPal Cash card – and then send the cash to your bank account.

I haven’t messed with Swagbucks much. But I see it here and there and yes, some of the deals are very good. You’re locked into their points system and gift cards. Which is fine – just something to be aware of.

9. Top Cashback

This and Giving Assistant are my favorite shopping portals. I love how transparent Top Cashback is. They show you clear estimates of when to expect your payouts.

I know to expect this in 7 weeks – love this feature!

Plus, there’s no minimum! If you earn $2, you can withdraw your $2. So simple.

I literally have $2 in my account right now

They live up to their name, too. They very often have the best payouts. I’ve never had an issue and have gotten hundreds of dollars from them over the years. A solid choice, most of the time. Worth using, definitely.

10. UPromise

Cool concept. If you have a Sallie Mae student loan, or a qualifying 529 college savings plan, the cashback you earn can go toward paying down your loan or saving for college.

You can also send the money to a savings account or request a check. This is an easy (and free!) way to earn some cash to pay down a debt or help someone pay for their education down the road. A unique option – but worth mentioning for those interested.

Be sure you get your rebates!

After you go through all the deliberation of which portal to use – no matter which one you pick – don’t ruin your chances of getting your points, miles, or cash. Make sure you always always:

  • Disable your ad blocker
  • Use an incognito window or clear your cookies
  • Start with an empty shopping cart
  • Click through the link in the shopping portal AFTER YOU SIGN IN
  • Use the new tab or window to shop
  • DO NOT open new tabs or windows
  • Check out soon after clicking the link
  • Verify any coupons or promo codes you entered qualify for cashback – many DO NOT – so you may have to decide between a discount or a rebate
  • Track your purchase to make sure it posts

In addition, if the portal is running a bonus, and your purchases qualify to earn it – make sure those post, too. You want to get everything you expected to earn.

Keep it neat, and there’s no reason you should miss any rewards coming your way!

Bottom line

Hopefully this gives an overview of where to begin and how to select the best cashback portal for your goals.

If you want to focus on a few, I’d recommend EbatesGiving Assistant, and Top Cashback. You can always branch out later when good offers pop up. Also, check out Dosh if you like shopping on a portable device.

Keep in mind, the sign-up bonuses typically DO count toward the minimum payment threshold. And before you go for the highest percentage, check that minimum and how long you can expect to wait for your payment. Also, if you really want cash, that’s important to check – some portals only pay out with gift cards.

Finally, make sure you actually get your rewards by shopping without an ad blocker and preferably in a new browser window. Nothing sucks more than clicking through a portal and not getting a bonus when you expected one.

Which of these portals is your fave – and why? Are there better ones I missed? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

Comments

  1. I feel like I should print this to read…there’s a lot here. I’ve always tried to be the person who does their best to not leave money on the table, but this area is so hard for me. I’m also not a big online shopped, so there’s that.

    • It’s all free money for shopping online – just have to dig a little to get the best return. Next time you shop, you might as well scoop up a cash bonus. Even if it’s not a lot, it all adds up. I shop a fair amount and these discounts have rebated me hundreds over the years. It’s pretty amazing that companies want to give you free money for shopping.

  2. Do not use TCB if you value your time at more than about $0.50 per hour. They fraudulently make you jump through bogus hoops to get the money they promised you. Stick with honest portals like ebates, even if they pay less.

    • Dang, sorry to hear you had a bad experience! My cashback from them has always gone through fine. But I do agree – there’s value to picking one you like and sticking with it!

    • I have probably gotten $1500 from topcashback. They have researched things not showing and gotten them for me. The money goes to PayPal, and then I send to Chase with no money loss. Been very happy with them as part of my MS with giftcardmall and giftcards.

  3. There’s an interesting site, iConsumer.com.
    iConsumer has an interesting feature of bitcoin plus “shares” back. Previously the site used to pay cash instead of bitcoin, had a $25 threshold, and of course I was just shy of $25 when they switched to bitcoin, so now I have over $20 that I can never get back due to their switch.
    As a result of the switch, I don’t use the site much, because I haven’t dabbled in bitcoin, and I have a little bit of a sour taste because of the switch and not getting paid out as a result.

  4. I guess a follow-up article may add suggestions to get the Ebates Visa (Synchrony), or the Rakuten MC (First Bankcard / FNBO)? The Ebates Visa earns 3% when used in conjunction with the Ebates portal. The Ebay MC might get honorable mention because there are sites that allow PayPal to be used as a payment method, and the old versions of the PayPal and Ebay MC’s earned 3% in points (at least ~2.3% in cash) on PayPal purchases.

  5. I have long used Retailmenot as a cash back, coupon code and rewards site
    Recently found Coupon cabin, also a cash back and rewards site (very exciting, but has limiting rules)

    Curious what your thoughts are on those.

    • Hey Michele! I’ve never used either of those. But from a quick glance, I don’t like how Retail Me Not has a minimum threshold to earn cashback. I like the other portals that award you a percentage of anything you spend. And if Coupon Cabin is even more limited than that, I definitely wouldn’t use it.

      I like Ebates, TopCashback, or an airline portal for most purchases – easier and no minimums. But I’m glad you’re earning rewards! If those sites work for you, then that’s great. You can always try another one and see which one you like the most. 🙂 Hope that helps!

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