Holiday spending sets Americans back by nearly $1,000 each year. And, with inflation pushing prices of everything from clothing to gasoline into the stratosphere, this holiday season is gearing up to be more economically painful than usual. That makes this the perfect time to look at cash-back sites.
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These sites get referral fees from retailers and use those to kick back 3% to 20% of the cost of your purchases to you. But you need to pre-register and do a little reconnaissance before you start your holiday shopping to get the best deals.
Best cash-back sites
Here’s a guide to 5 of the best cash-back sites to use for holiday shopping. It’s worth noting that the best way to use these sites is to sign up for them all and compare which provides the best deal on the items you’re planning to buy or at the stores you frequent.
Several of these sites also offer new sign-up bonuses to consumers who were referred by an affiliate partner. To give our readers a little boost on their cash-back earnings, we’ve signed up for these affiliate deals to pass bonuses, worth $40, on to you. If you do sign up through these links, SideHusl.com may earn a referral fee, too.
But pay attention to the details. You generally must spend a set amount within a few months to get your bonus. If you don’t do that, you don’t lose anything. But, if you’re going to do the shopping anyway, you might as well do it in time to collect the bonus payments.
Rakuten was established in 1998. The site claims to have paid over $2 billion in cash back, and have 15+ million members. Once you sign up for a free account, you can shop online through the Rakuten app (or website) at your favorite stores. The site works with Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Old Navy, Saks, Lowes, Ulta Beauty and roughly 3,500 other stores. Most of the Rakuten cash-back deals are modest, providing a 1% to 5% refund, but the site works with a number of discount stores, such as H&M and Nordstrom Rack. So it offers discounts on already discounted prices.
New members can get a $10 bonus when they spend $25 within 90 days. They also offer coupon codes and promo codes to help you save more combined with cash back. And you can also get bonuses for referring friends and family members. Importantly, if you refer someone who spends $30 within 90 days, you both get $30. (You can sign up for that deal here.) The site pays cash-back every three months via check or PayPal, but requires a $5 minimum to get paid.
TopCashback, free to join and use, offers higher cash-back percentages. The site says it pays more because it earns money with advertising and bonuses, so it kicks back 100% of the retailer’s commission to you. Some of the more noteworthy cash-back rates: 8% at Amazon; 10% at ToysRUs; 10% at Macy’s; 50% at NordVPN and 14% at Sunglass Hut. The site also offers coupon codes and promo codes for additional discounts.
The site doesn’t have a regular payment schedule, though. They pay you when the retailer pays them, which is often after the retailer’s return window expires. At that point, you can choose to get paid via direct deposit, PayPal or with gift cards.
MyPoints is one of the oldest cash-back websites, established in 1996. This site offers multiple ways to earn points. These include shopping online, buying groceries, taking online surveys, and watching videos. Points can be redeemed for gift cards with popular merchants, such as Target, Amazon and Walmart, as well as United travel miles and cash via PayPal.
To earn cash back, you sign up for free and get a $5 Welcome Bonus. You then earn usually 2% to 5% of your purchases in cash back. However, the site is better at providing discount codes for everything from free shipping to 50% off at popular retailers, like Old Navy and the Gap.
Active Junky offers much the same deal. You can get cash back, ranging from 1% to 10% on purchases made through the app. And get $5 if you invite a friend to join Active Junky and that friend makes a qualifying purchase. (You can get your first $5 by using our referral link here.)
Cash-back payments are made quarterly when you have more than $5 in your account. Payments are made via PayPal or a physical check.
Ibotta gives you a variety of ways to earn cash back. Like the other sites, you can shop through the Ibotta app and snag cash-back offers of 3% to 30% at retailers like Macy’s, CVS, Home Depot and Walmart. However, you can also get cash-back when buying certain grocery products at stores ranging from Vons to Costco. The site offers a QR code that you can put on your phone to see whether a grocery item you’re buying will generate cash back.
The site also has a variety of bonuses. When you first sign up, you get a $10 bonus after spending $30. And, if you refer a friend, you get a $10 referral fee and the friend gets $5. (Use our referral code to get your first $5 with this deal.)
You can withdraw your cash back to your bank account, PayPal, or gift card(s) once you reach a $20 withdrawal threshold.