Becky at CompareRewards has compiled an excellent comparison review of shopping rewards programs. These would be web sites like EBates and FatWallet that give you cash back on purchases you make through them.
“Merchant” column shows the total number of merchants covered by the program, number of merchants that the program gives the best reward at (compared to its peers), and number of merchants that the program gives the worst rewards at. You certainly want the first and the second number be more while the last number — less.
Note, these numbers include only the 155 covered merchants. Programs may offer rewards at other merchants that were not reviewed.
|BondRewards||109/56/0||Rewards offered: U.S. Savings Bonds. Minimum to Redeem: 50 Bond Dollars (equivalent to $25)|
|EBates||138/27/2||Rewards payable by check or PayPal quarterly, with a $5 payout minimum. Promotion: $5 for joining and making your first purchase.|
|FatWallet||123/28/3||Rewards go to your PayPal account with no minimum after a waiting period of 3 to 4 months to allow for returns and adjustments. Promotion: $5 bonus for first-time shoppers.|
|JellyFish||60/16/0||Rewards payable by check or by PayPal, any time your account reaches $10, after a 3 to 4 month pending period.|
|BabyMint||105/16/1||Rewards Offered: check or deposit into a college savings account|
|QuickRewards||140/8/5||Cash out for shopping within days with no minimum amount. Payable via Paypal or Gift Certificates.|
|GreenPoints||49/5/10||Rewards redeemable for gift cards or merchandise. Minimum redeemable - $25|
Here is another spin on the data. These are the stores that I personally use most often. The table lists the programs that give the highest rewards for shopping with these merchants.
|Merchant||Programs Offering Highest Rewards|
|Best Buy||2.6% - GreenPoints||2.2% - JellyFish|
|Staples||4.0% - FatWallet||3.0% - Ebates||2.6% - BondRewards|
|CompUSA||2.6% - BondRewards||2.6% - GreenPoints|
|Buy.com||2.6% - BondRewards||2.2% - JellyFish|
|Dell (Home)||3.0% - FatWallet||2.6% - GreenPoints|
|Half.com||4.0% - QuizPoints||3.7% - FellyFish||3.0% - FatWallet|
|Circuit City||2.6% - BondRewards||2.6% - GreenPoints|
|Home Depot||3.0% - EBates||3.0% - BabyMint||2.6% - BondRewards|
|Office Depot||6.0% - BondRewards||2.6% - GreenPoints|
|Office Max||4.0% - Ebates||3.4% - BondRewards|
|Snapfish||10% - Ebates||10% - FatWallet||10% - BabyMint|
|Shutterfly||12% - BabyMint||8.0% - EBates|
|Toys’R’Us||4.0% - BabyMint||3.1% - QuickRebates||3.0% - EBates|
|Starbucks||8.5% - BondRewards||8.0% - EBates||7.5% - JellyFish|
|Payless Shoes||8.0% - FatWallet||6.0% - EBates|
I couldn’t find Amazon and Outpost/Frys (the other two stores I use frequently) in the list of merchants. Either no one offers rebates or they were not included in the analysis.
Looking at the last table here is the list of programs that I should be choosing from (the numbers show how many first, second and third spots the program has taken):
- BondRewards: 5-1-1
- EBates: 3-4-1
- FatWallet: 3-1-1
- BabyMint: 2-1-1
- JellyFish: 0-3-1
As for my personal preference - I am torn apart between EBates and FatWallet. I will try both and will use what is more convenient. For big price items I might end up using the best choice rewards-wise at the time of the purchase. As for BondRewards - it seems to offer good rewards but I don’t like the idea of getting bonds as opposite to cash.