3 Websites That Pay You for Shopping

couple earning cash back while shopping online
Photo by Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

The best way to save money, if you ask me, is to get paid to spend money.

This is technically referred to as earning cash rebates by shopping online through cash-back portals. But the way I see it, you’re getting paid to buy stuff you were going to buy anyway.

Cash-back portals receive a commission for referring online shoppers to merchants. When you buy something from a merchant that partners with a cash-back portal, the portal passes some of the commission on to you.

That free money is what’s known as “cash back.” You can earn it at thousands of online merchants — retailers ranging from Amazon to Zales, or travel booking sites to wireless providers, for example.

How it works

Using a cash-back portal takes a few seconds. Those detailed below are all free. Just sign up for one — or more.

Then, when you shop online, first visit the portal’s website and click through to the merchant website where you want to shop. Alternatively, you can use a portal’s app or browser extension instead of going through its website.

That’s basically it. All that’s left is to decide the method by which you want to receive your cash back.

Picking a portal

We’ve broken down the features of three major cash-back portals so you can decide which one — or more — is best for you.

1. Rakuten

  • Sign up at: Rakuten.com
  • Payment methods include: check and PayPal
  • App is available for: Apple and Android devices

To see how Rakuten works, check out “If You’re Not Getting Cash Back When Shopping Online, Use This Trick.”

2. Swagbucks Shop

  • Sign up at: Swagbucks.com
  • Payment methods include: gift card and PayPal
  • App is available for: Apple and Android devices

Note that Swagbucks is more than a cash-back portal, as we detail in “6 Ways to Score Free Gift Cards and Cash in 1 Place.”

3. TopCashback

  • Sign up at: TopCashback.com
  • Payment methods include: Amazon gift card, American Express rewards card, Visa Prepaid card, bank account deposit and PayPal
  • App is available for: Apple and Android devices

Maximizing your cash back

While some folks stick to one portal to keep the process of earning cash back simple, others use multiple portals. That enables them to increase their cash-back earnings because portals offer varying percentages of cash back at a given retailer.

For example, when I wrote this, the portals above were offering as little as 6 percent and as much as 20 percent cash back at GAP.

Another way to boost your cash back is by paying with a cash-back credit card. For me, this adds as much as 5 percent cash back.

If you’re considering getting new plastic, first check out Money Talks News’ free credit card search tool.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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