I love me some eBates. They sit at the top of the “earning money without effort” mountain, and have for years. Enough so that commerce giant Rakuten bought them lately. So technically, eBates is no more. Same service, though.

The concept is that by shopping through the Rakuten portal – or better yet, shopping with their browser extension active – you’ll earn cash back. The % varies by store, but can get pretty interesting.

eBates/Rakuten runs almost constant “specials” for specific commerce sites

So, first things first: install the extension, and create an account with Rakuten (if you haven’t already). From then on, when you shop a site they support, you’ll get a notice in your browser window that your cash back option is active. Make a purchase, and you’ll get an email advising you that cash is coming. Easy peasy.

However, there are some details, just to keep your expectations are in line:

  • Rakuten “conflicts,” at least at the browser extension level, with other coupon services, notably Honey. That is, you won’t be able to “stack” Honey and Rakuten savings.
  • The extension also can’t function with an ad blocker active. It’s the most picky of all extensions I’ve seen in that sense. But it’s easy to “pause” your ad blocker for the site of the moment and proceed.
  • Cash back is earned in your Rakuten account and paid quarterly, provided it exceeds $5 in total. Otherwise, you wait.
  • You can choose to receive a “Big Fat Check” by mail or have the funds dropped directly into your PayPal account. Obviously, option 2 is better, but there is something satisfying about receiving a paper check, I guess.