Welcome to WalletPop.com Readers

November 20, 2008 · 0 comments

Hello, and welcome to my site visitors coming by after the super-nice CompareRewards mention by Geoff Williams on WalletPop.com!
Mr. Williams gave a great summary of my analysis, but the full annual shopping rate comparison is available here if you’d like to read more detail. The comparison post also includes a link to a big spreadsheet showing cashback rates by retailer and by rewards program, so you can see who generally pays how much for the specific stores where you like to shop. One note, though: many rewards programs are currently offering holiday promotional rates so the current cashback percentages may vary.
As you read on WalletPop, there are five rewards programs that lead the cashback field right now. I’ll give you a quick rundown on them for you here (note: all of these programs are totally free to join):
Microsoft Live cashback: Launched earlier this year, open to US residents 18 or older with a Windows Live ID (for instance, a Hotmail email address). The program’s FAQ is here. They have hundreds of retailers but many are lesser-known ones (they don’t reward for JCPenney, Macy’s, Kohl’s, ToysRUs, or Disney, among others). But when they do reward for a store, they offer more than anybody else almost all of the time — their 20% cash back for Foot Locker, 20% for Overstock (details here), and 25% on Ebay BINs (details here) are untouchable! Request your cash back by PayPal or check when your balance is $5 or more.
thankyou.jpgCitibank ThankYou Points: You have to have a participating Citibank card or checking account to enroll in this points-based program. Earn points per dollar that can be cashed in for gift cards or merchandise prizes. When I converted their points to a their value in percentage cashback to compare them to other rewards programs, ThankYou Points did great, IF you use your Citibank card to make the purchase because then they double your points. 1,000 points equals a $5 gift card. Just be sure you pay off any charged purchases in full each month or your interest will offset your shopping reward.
extrabux3.jpgExtrabux (aff): Launched two years ago, Extrabux is open to US residents 18 or older and you can cash out by check or PayPal when your cashback earned is $10 or more. When I ran the numbers, Extrabux had the highest, or second highest, cashback rate for over half of the stores I analyzed! They also provide coupon codes for you to combine with your cashback (if you obtain your coupon codes from an outside source like a deal board or coupon site, there’s a good chance the outside coupon will invalidate your cashback, but you’re safe if the rewards program itself gives you the coupon).
mrrebates.jpgMrRebates (aff): This program, in business since 2002, is open to international members, age 18 and older, with a minimum of $10 required in your account to request payment. All members can opt for PayPal payment but checks are also available to US and Canadian members. They reward for over 1,000 stores and offer the highest cashback about a fourth of the time. They also provide coupon codes for their members.
fatwallet.jpgFatWallet: Open to residents of the US and Canada 18 or older, FatWallet has no minimum requirement to receive your cashback by PayPal (there’s a $10 minimum for checks). They have the highest cashback rate for about a fourth of the merchants I analyzed. While they don’t offer coupons, they do have an amazing deal forum to help tip you off to great deals.
I’ve been paid by all of the above programs except for Citibank’s ThankYou Points. I’m not a fan of points-based shopping rewards in general because at any time, the program can increase the number of points it takes to cash out for the gift card or other redemption you were considering, devaluing your points. Cash can’t be devalued. That’s just my personal preference.
In addition to these programs, there are a couple of others that I simply could not live without:
ebates2.gifEbates (aff): Ten years is a long time in internet years, but that’s how long Ebates has been around and I’ve been a member for most of that time. They’re open internationally though they’re based in CA, and your cashback will be sent by check or PayPal automatically once a quarter when you have over $5 in your account. They provide coupon codes for their merchants and a “daily double” doubled rebate merchant of the day. Though they missed the top 5 by a hair this year, their rates are great overall and I shop through them all the time.
quickrewards2.jpgQuickRewards.net (aff): This is the best-kept secret in the rewards program world, and I love the site so much I’m currently running their shopping blog! What makes QuickRewards.net different is that unlike all of the above rewards programs, QR does not hold your cashback earnings for 60 to 120 days before you can request payment. With QR, you can shop, and get your cashback into your PayPal account, in the same week (often within a couple of days). Other programs make you wait until the store’s return period has lapsed, to be sure you don’t get paid for shopping, then return the item to the store, because when that happens, the rewards program has to return its earned commission — and obviously there’s some potential for fraud there. QuickRewards assumes that its members are honest and just asks that you let them know if you had to return a purchase for some reason, and they’ll adjust your account. The program’s been around for 5 years and is open to residents of the US, Canada, and the U.K. 18 or older (limit one account per household). If, like me, you’re willing to give up a percentage point or two in your cashback rates in return for getting your earnings within a week instead of within 3 months — you should definitely join QuickRewards.net. And if PayPal’s not your thing, you can request emailed or snail-mailed gift cards for a variety of popular merchants instead.
I know this is a lot of information to take in; I was new to cashback rewards programs once upon a time and would have loved to have someone help answer my questions — I’d be happy to do that for you! Here‘s my email address. I’ve run this website for 7 years and have used these programs for 11 years, and if I don’t know the answer to your question, I can find someone who does. :) You may also want to subscribe to my twice-monthly newsletter, the CompareRewards Insider, which you can do at the same address (just put “Subscribe” in the subject line). I hate it when I come across a useful website and I forget to go back and check for new content, so the newsletter gives little summaries of what I’ve posted recently as a reminder for you.
Thanks again for stopping by! Glad you came and I hope you found the information you needed!

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