How I’ve Earned Over $1,000 with Cash Back and Price Drop Apps like Earny, Ebates, Paribus and Sift (Without Lifting a Finger!)
Updated 7/5/19 — Current Cash Back Total: $2,081.23
This page will tell you EXACTLY how you can make some extra cash back safely JUST by shopping with the use of Rebate or Price Drop apps like Earny, Sift, Paribus and Ebates.
Rebate apps where you can shop at retail or online stores, like Amazon, to get cash back on every day items that you purchase.
They’re also known as price tracking websites or apps, because they keep track of your purchases to make sure you’ve gotten the VERY BEST deal available.
If a price drop is detected, these guys get right on it so you can be refunded the difference.
Keep reading below … or Jump directly to reviews:
So what does a Cash Back or Price Drop Service do?
Two things —
It can create an electronic trail, linking a purchase that you make to a retailer that gives you cash back just for using their site.
Or it can scan purchases you make through either your email address or credit card. If it identifies a price drop on an item you bought, it will submit a claim to get you a refund.
Below are reviews of 4 different cash back and price drop apps that I’m currently using.
These are from my personal experiences, and mostly by shopping on Amazon. Although I have been able to score rebates through other online retailers as well.
These are the top 4 competitor cash back and rebate apps, gauged on popularity, safety, overall reputation, and my personal experience with them.
**Please note, these opinions are entirely my own, with no influence by or for anyone else**
In other words, feel free to check these out for yourself and do your own research, in order to make an informed decision that’s right for you.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you sign up or make a purchase using my referral link.
Ebates (now known as Rakuten)
How It Works – Using Ebates to Earn Cash Back:
When you sign up with an Ebates account, you gain access to their listing of online retailers, as well as current sales and coupon codes. Ebates is a rebate app that allows you to earn cash back safely, just by shopping as you would normally do. The Ebates rebate app even works on Amazon purchases.
Yes, you can actually earn CASH BACK for using a Ebates on Amazon!!
Here’s how you do it – Using Ebates:
When you decide what retailer you’d like to make a purchase from, click on the Ebates “shop now” button from that retailer’s profile.
A page will pop up, saying that an Ebates shopping trip number has been generated.
This means any purchase you make at the retailer is linked back to your Ebates account.
And you make money back from each qualifying purchase.
Important points to consider when using Ebate:
– Ebates pays out on a quarterly schedule, so you will not receive the cash back immediately. It will accumulate until the next payout date, and then be paid out as a lump sum. You will need to earn a minimum of $5.00 to receive a payout, or else it will be rolled over into the next payout period.
– You can receive payout via PayPal (quickest/easiest), or have Ebates mail a paper check to you.
– As it gets closer to the payout date, Ebates will sometimes send out a promotional email offering payment in the form of a store gift card (instead of cash), at an increased percentage rate.
So they’re willing to offer you more money if you take the gift card instead. If you actually plan on using one of these store gift cards, this could be a really good deal for you. But there have been times that I’ve rejected this offer from Ebates simply because I knew I’d never shop at the stores offered, and would benefit more from receiving the straight cash from Ebates.
For transparency sake, here is a screen shot of my upcoming payment from Ebates:
As you can see above, I chose to receive my previous quarter’s cash back as a transfer to my PayPal account. However, in previous months, I’ve chosen to receive a QVC gift card — which I then used to purchase items from QVC — earning even more cash back.
So there’s definitely a way to stack your options and take advantage of multiple ways to earn cash back.
But I also wanted to show you one of the items closer to the bottom, to prove that Ebates can in fact be used with Amazon. Although there is no specific Amazon rebate app (that I’m aware of), you can easily use the Ebates app to earn cash back from Amazon purchases.
AND, if you’re REALLY savings-savvy — you can earn cash back by getting an Ebates rebate through Amazon, while still maintaining Price Protection through one of the additional rebate apps listed below.
This means, you’ll earn a percentage back through Ebates, and then also possibly an additional refund if the price drops further.
Summary for using Ebates:
Overall, Ebates is the real deal, and I’ve been a big fan for several years.
In conclusion, just make sure you are not spending money just to make money… In other words, it doesn’t make sense to purchase something you wouldn’t normally buy, just to get the cash back from Ebates.
Earnings while using Ebates:
My personal savings through Ebates:
Ebates (total) cashback: $1,190.96
Ebates Affiliate Link:
Earny is an app that scans your online purchases to determine if you might be owed a refund. And guess what — Earny works with Amazon!
How It Works – Using Earny:
When you sign up for service through Earny, you will be asked to provide the email address used for online purchases. Earny requires access to your email account to scan any purchase made online.
This is so Earny can monitor the retailers (like Amazon) where your items were purchased, to see if there is a price drop.
If a price drop is detected, Earny contacts the store on your behalf, and files a claim for the difference.
It’s important to note that Earny collects an operational fee of 25%. That means a quarter of your refund stays with Earny.
However, in Earny’s defense, often times they will offer to bypass the charge, if you share the good news of your earnings with friends. A lot of the times Earny will allow you to skip the fee if you share your earnings on social media, or leave an honest review for Earny in the app store.
Another feature of Earny is its credit card price protection, which applies to Citibank, MasterCard and Visa from Capital One, US Bank, Barclays, Bank of America, First Premier Bank and Discover).
Check out this article courtesy of Bank Innovation on Earny: https://bankinnovation.net/2017/10/payment-protection-claims-company-earny-to-add-visa-to-list-of-partners/
If you enter your credit card numbers into the Earny app, and make a purchase with the card, Earny will track those purchases as well.
For example, Earny will monitor Citibank credit card purchases for 90 days (per the existing price protection policies for that card, which can be subject to change.)
The benefit in letting Earny do this is the convenience of letting him do all the work for you.
The price protection feature is already available to you as a cardholder. Have you heard of Citi Price Rewind? It’s a feature already available through your Citibank card.
However you need to manually track all of your purchases, contact customer service & then submit the claims on your own.
This could result in multiple phone calls and the completion of paperwork.
— and do we really have time for that??
The Big Question: Is Earny Safe? Is it Legit??
While it’s so enticing to consider getting cash back from purchases you’ve made online, there’s always that question — Is Earny safe to use?
Per the Earny website, they address your privacy concerns and document their serious dedication to your safety. As far as your personal login credentials go, Earny states their “encrypted token system” does not store any of your login credentials.
In addition, they cite the following top level security measures to ensure your transactions on Earny are safe: “multi-level security encryption and VPN systems including, threat detection systems, dynamic data masking and activity monitoring. We use AES-256 and RSA-2048 as encryption algorithms. Access is also highly restricted by a firewall.”
While I am not sure what a lot of that stuff above means, it sounds like they have spent a lot of time making sure your use of Earny is safe.
Important points to consider when using Earny:
– Earny maintains a list of retailers where their refund process is available. Although many of the stores are the same, there are some differences. This may affect which service you would be more likely to benefit from using.
– Earny allows only one email address to be linked. This should be the email address you use when doing online shopping. (Workaround = Create multiple accounts)
– It’s important to remember that Earny keeps 25% of the profits. But Earny usually allows you to skip the fee, if you are willing to share your experiences with others.
– Earny offers credit card price protection.
– Additionally, Earny tracks Amazon purchases and will file a claim IF the purchase was made with a qualifying credit card (NOT an Amazon credit account.)
Summary with using Earny:
Earny can be a very advantageous program, if you make sure to register and use the credit cards that are covered.
I am an avid Amazon shopper, and previously made constant use of my Amazon credit account for the 5% cashback feature (which would automatically bump me out of contention for using Earny.)
However, I did recently decide to test the waters with Earny, and switched my Amazon payment method from Amazon credit to my Citibank card. And I entered the details of my Citi card on Earny, so that I could pair it with my Amazon purchases.
And here’s what happened….
In October of this past year, I made several normal, everyday purchases on Amazon.
Black Friday rolled around in November, and a lot of Amazon sellers dropped their prices to celebrate.
Earny had been tracking all of my October Amazon purchases, and put in a claim when the prices on these items dropped in November!
And all of the sudden, Earny had practically shoved an extra 60 bucks back into my pocket!
So you tell me — is it worth it to download this little app, and let Earny keep his eyes on your Amazon purchases?
I’m gonna go with a resounding “Yes!!”
Keep doing what you’re doing, little buddy — I know you’ve got my back! 🙂
Here are some examples of products I purchased and then received a refund through Earny:
(Note: Your individual results may, and most likely will, vary.)
Earnings with Earny:
My personal savings through Earny: $681.04
Screen shot of recent Amazon refunds received through Earny:
Earny Affiliate Link:
Like Earny, the Sift app tracks online purchases to identify potential refund opportunities due to price drops. Sift also similarly unlocks the hidden potential of your credit cards that you probably never knew existed.
How It Works – Using Sift:
When it comes to comparing Sift vs Earny, you will find that both require access to your online purchases by way of your email inbox.
Your digital receipts are monitored for price drops. And like Earny, Sift automatically files a claim on your behalf.
(Note: Depending on how you have your account set up, you may need to add one teensy little step before the claim is filed. Like hit an Okay button, or log into your credit card account.)
In addition to price protection, Sift also provides the following:
- Status of manufacturer and extended warranties
- Return policies for all of your purchases
- Theft and Damage coverage availability
- Travel protection availability, including trip cancellation, lost luggage, travel assistance and rental insurance
Unlike Earny, Sift also has a section that displays a neat little summary of each of your credit cards, so you can see an overview and basic benefits in a single location.
So that is a definite difference that makes Sift stand out, when comparing Sift to Earny.
Both apps can be used when shopping on Amazon.
Important points to consider when using Sift:
– Just like with Earny, Sift charges a 25% service fee associated with the price protection feature.
– Sift monitors for automatic price protection for many popular retailers, such as Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Nordstrom and Walmart. A partial list is on their blog. However, I could not find a comprehensive listing on the Sift website.
– What sets Sift apart from Paribus and Earny is the availability of all of your credit card features at your fingertips. While other refund services like Ebates, Paribus and Earny focus on your individual purchases, Sift also streamlines the overall benefits of each credit card. This means you can not only take advantage of savings after the fact, but you can also be proactive by planning which card to use for your future purchases.
Summary for Using Sift:
While I have only been using Sift for a short time, I do see the potential that this program can offer consumers. It’s a smart and concise little purchase tracker, as well as a “little black book“ of credit card benefits.
But something additional I have noticed, when comparing Earny vs. Sift — Earny appears to submit claims a lot quicker than Sift does.
That’s not to say Sift wouldn’t recognize the price drop and submit for a refund. It just seems like Earny is a little more on top of things than Sift currently is.
In addition, I’ve noticed the Sift app has been a bit glitchy lately — it’s not updating with my recent transactions, and I’ll need to log out then log back in again. Not sure if this would matter to you, but if you get easily annoyed with app functionality, maybe Sift is not the best option.
But then again, if it winds up saving you money, then it could be well worth it. 🙂
Earnings While Using Sift:
My personal savings through Sift: $68.98
Screen shot of Amazon refunds recently scored through Sift:
How It Works – Using Paribus:
Much like its competitors Earny and Sift, Paribus is a service that links to your email address. Paribus tracks online purchases by reviewing purchases in your email inbox. So when you sign up with Paribus, make sure it’s with the same email that you also use to make online purchases.
Paribus then monitors the specific items you purchased on the store website to see if the price drops. (Monitoring timeframe varies by retailer. See the Paribus website for more details.)
If the item you bought goes on sale, Paribus will notify you, and in many cases, file a claim with the online store on your behalf.
In certain cases, depending on the terms of the retailer, you may have to get involved by making a quick phone call or filling out an online form.
Important points to consider about Paribus:
– Just like with Earny and Sift, you can only link one email address to Paribus. So if you have several emails, make sure you link the one that you use when making online purchases.
– Only certain online retailers offer price protection — For the full & current listing of stores monitored by Paribus, see their website.
But as of this posting, there are definitely some big name stores available, like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Sears, L.L.Bean, Wayfair, Home Depot and Target.
– Amazon does not offer price protection, therefore you cannot receive refunds for price drops through the Paribus program. If you are looking for Amazon price protection, and are using a qualifying credit card (not using an Amazon card), then you should stick with one of Paribus’ competitors, either Sift or Earny.
– However, Paribus has added a feature to make up for the absence of Amazon price drops. Paribus now monitors Amazon purchases where a guaranteed delivery date has been provided. If the item is not delivered (or attempted to be delivered) by the set date, Paribus files a claim to refund your shipping fees. If you are an Amazon Prime member, this would typically mean an extension to your Prime membership.
– Paribus also no longer takes a cut of the refund they initiate for you. Previously, Paribus would keep a small percentage. That is no longer the case. Paribus is now 100% free — it all comes back to you. In this aspect, Paribus definitely has a major lead over its competitors.
Update on Paribus and Amazon:
Here’s something interesting that just happened with Paribus and Amazon late delivery tracking. I ordered a package of C batteries, which wound up being delivered one day late. Paribus submitted a claim to Amazon on my behalf for the late delivery.
As you can see below, Amazon does not offer price protection, however they will reimburse for a late delivery date. That same day, Amazon customer service reached out to let me know they had issued a $10 credit to my account. The batteries cost $11.99, so with the credit, I wound up paying only $1.99 for a 12-pack of C batteries.
Earnings by Using Paribus:
My personal savings through Paribus:
Lifetime cashback: $115.50 + a 3-month extension on my annual Amazon Prime membership (value = $24.75), + two 5-dollar credits to account.
Summary of How to Make Lots of Cash Back with Rebate and Price Drop Apps
So that’s it — everything you’ll need to know to make a decision about rebate and price drop services.
- Ebates is a great way to make money back on a planned purchase. You know up front what percentage of the sale you will receive back. But you don’t get it back right away, and not all online retailers qualify.
- Earny keeps his eyes on your online purchases and hops to it when a price drop is detected. No action is typically needed on your part, because Earny does all the work. However, he does take a cut of your refund. But one could argue that with Earny, you’re getting something back, when you may not have noticed the price drop otherwise.
- Sift tracks online purchases similar to Earny. Since I belong to both services, I notice that sometimes Sift picks up on a price drop, and sometimes Earny is first to respond. You will not be able to receive the same refund from both Sift and Earny, but it’s a good idea to belong to both. Sift also retains a percentage of your refund.
- Paribus is probably the most well known and popular of the price drop services, but there are restrictions. You would be hard pressed to get any sort of Amazon refund by using Paribus. But if you do a lot of online shopping at popular retailers other than Amazon, then Paribus might be a smart pick for you. Plus Paribus doesn’t take a cut of the refund, like its competitors. It all comes back to you. And the same rings true with Paribus — that you can’t stack refunds from Sift and Earny. Once you’ve received a refund for an item, you can’t claim it again.
Earn Tons of Money Back with Rebate, Cash Back and Price Drop Apps
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.