Stretch Your Money Using Cashback Programs

Regardless of prevailing economic conditions, people want to save money wherever they can. This is especially true during periods of financial hardship such as exists today. Families, singles, young marrieds, and seniors alike are pressed to get more value out of their spending. Shopping online using cashback refund programs is one way to get a bit more out of each dollar spent.

What Are Cashback Programs and How Do They Work?

Cashback programs are basically rebates that are offered through specific shopping websites. The website owners negotiate a refund of a percentage of a sale with individual retailers and service providers such as clothing, food, cosmetics, satellite TV, and other commercial enterprises. In order to qualify for the rebate, shoppers open a membership with the cash back site, which is normally free, and then 'click through' to the retail outlet to make their purchases. Tracking cookies are created during the click through that verifies the activity and qualifies the purchase for the rebate. If a member does enter the retailer through the refund site to begin their purchase, no refund is available.

What Are Some of the Most Popular Cashback Websites?

There are a number of cashback shopping sites, many of which have been operating since the 1990s. Each has its own personality including layout, interface, list of participating stores, and refund percentages. Before beginning any program, a trip through the FAQ and Terms and Conditions pages can be a big help and can minimize any misunderstandings that would otherwise arise. is one of the best known and longest established rebate sites on the Internet. Hundreds of online retailers in a variety of categories are partnered with the site. Membership is free and a Refer-a-Friend incentive of a onetime payment of $5 per registering referral is available. Refunds are sent via paper check through snail mail once every three months (Feb., May, Aug., and Nov.). offers a Hot Deals forum in addition to cashback. The forum is where individuals can post items for sale, coupon codes, sweepstakes links, and other related information. Refunds are issued through PayPal or if preferred, by paper check. There is a $10.00 minimum for checks. Fatwallet does not offer a referral program. works the same way that other sites do, however, the referral incentive is a bit different. If a referral registers as a member, a percentage of all purchases made by the new member is rolled back to the referring party - forever. This is especially nice if you refer someone who does a lot of shopping! Checks are sent approximately 45 days after the last day of the month that the member has a balance of $25 ($100 if out of the U.S.) or more.

BingCash is operated through Microsoft's Bing search engine. The links for the participating retailers are accessed through Bing's Shopping category buy clicking an ad or listing that shows the BingCash logo. There is no program for referrals and rebates are paid 60 days after the purchase date. Funds can be transferred through PayPal, Amazon Payments, direct deposit to a registered bank account, or by paper check.

Quick Tips

  • Each cashback site is different and that includes the percent back. Having a membership in several sites and checking the deals each offers for the same retailer before purchasing, maximizes the probability of getting the lowest price.
  • Check to see if any coupons are offered in addition to the rebate. In some cases, shipping charges increase the cost of a purchase beyond what another site with a lower percent of purchase back but has a free shipping offer will cost.

  • Search for coupons on other sites that can be combined with the click thru rebate. Oftentimes retailers' coupon codes are listed on websites that specialize in couponing. Unless otherwise indicated, coupons that were not listed on the refund site can be used during checkout, thereby reducing the sales price. Remember that refunds are calculated on the purchase price after all reductions but before sales tax or shipping.

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