In an interesting new twist on the Ebates / Amazon partnership, Ebates emailed members yesterday to give them the option of receiving their quarterly cashback payment immediately in the form of an Amazon gift card, with a $1 bonus for choosing Amazon instead of a Big Fat Check or PayPal. Members were given until November 5th to opt for an Amazon GC, otherwise their payment would be made via their default preference on file.
I decided to give it a try, and after entering my password to confirm my identity, sure enough: the code for the Amazon GC in the amount of my cashback due, plus a dollar, appeared immediately on the next screen. Ebates even cleverly prompted me to Shop Now, taking me through the Ebates’ link to Amazon.
Ebates and sister site FatWallet are the only two cashback programs currently allowed to bypass the standard terms of service for Amazon affiliates, which prevent any type of incentives to be offered for shopping at Amazon. The two programs don’t have a storewide cashback rate, but rather a 3% rate that applies to a couple of categories of products that change fairly frequently. (In fact, they changed again today — a new post is coming on that momentarily.)
One of the big complaints people make about Ebates is that it takes too long to get paid your cashback, as they only pay on a quarterly basis, 6 weeks after the quarter ends, and only when your personal cashback from shopping exceeds $5…otherwise it rolls over to the next quarter. Typically your third quarter cashback check, with your earnings through September, wouldn’t come until mid November. The instant Amazon payment option shaved about two weeks off the process. And thanks to a glitch that I’m sure they will address next time, the instant Amazon option allowed me to cash out my referral bonuses despite not having earned $5 in personal cashback for shopping this quarter.
Even assuming Ebates fixes that little glitch, I hope they continue to offer instant Amazon as a regular cashback payment option. It gives members quicker access to their cashback, and those of us with Amazon Prime can not only spend it immediately but can get most orders delivered within two business days. Plus, it’s a nice reminder that we can potentially earn cashback on our cashback, if we turn around and spend the Amazon credit on whatever department Ebates is offering 3% cashback on at the time. (Note to Ebates: make sure you mention which Amazon product categories are cashback-eligible next time, on the page that gives members their Amazon GC code and tells them to “Shop Now” — so members don’t have to go back to Ebates in another window and check.)
Not a member of Ebates yet? They’ve been online for over a decade, with competitive everyday cashback rates and frequent temporary rate increase promotions. They pay as scheduled every quarter, just like clockwork. If you’re interested in giving them a try, please join here; thanks!