Shopback $750 milestone

I have just collected the cashback for my Hokkaido trip hotel stays, and this propels me past $750 in total cashback earned!

If you haven’t been earning cashback for your online purchases, now is a good time to get started. Why wait? –> Sign up link <–

Shopback $500 milestone

It’s been almost two years since I have used Shopback and I am happy to announce that I have just crossed the S$500 milestone!

Most of the cashback were accumulated from hotel bookings. Yes, I travel a lot, but most of us do travel every now and then and there’s no reason why anyone should miss out on rebates for hotel bookings. Hotel stays don’t normally come cheap, and the 6% you earn in cashback is very significant.

Earning cashback through Shopback is one of the few things that defy the saying “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. All it takes is a few clicks to get back a little of what you paid for online purchases.

If you haven’t signed up, you really should do it now! Free money, people.

The end of ANZ Optimum Credit Card is in sight

Received the mailer as pictured above today. ANZ Retail business taken over by DBS, and that would include the Credit Card business. It can only mean one thing – all ANZ Credit Cards will go.

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. Also, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You could say the 5% cashback without minimum spend and practically without cap was a dream. I am quite sure DBS will clamp down on this money losing business.

For those of us holding the ANZ Optimum card, we could probably continue to enjoy the benefits until June or so. Next best Credit Card? Well i guess, for me it will be UOB Visa Signature for overseas and foreign currency spend, and possibly OCBC 365, which gives cashback for a very wide range of spending categories. Once ANZ is no more, i will probably have to get this card.

Taobao is back on Shopback

For two months probably, Taobao went missing on Shopback. Apparently, they were revamping the mechanism for tracking Taobao purchases through Shopback.

Previously, you had to search for the item you wanted to purchase through the search bar in Shopback’s Taobao page. With the new approach that was just introduced, effective 8 Mar 2017, you can shop on Taobao through Shopback as you would any other merchants on Shopback, i.e. just click “Shop Now” and get redirected to the merchant site. Except, you also need to submit your Taobao order ID using a special form on Shopback. Continue reading Taobao is back on Shopback

Visit to Shopback office

I was invited to visit Shopback’s office today. Anyway, let me clarify that this is not a paid advertisement, although i did get a free lunch on them.

I was surprised to find the office housed inside the premise of NUS Enterprise, a start-up incubation space. I was told quite a few of the company founders were from NUS, so in a sense, NUS is giving them a helping hand. It’s easy to justify such an arrangement (the word “subsidy” comes to mind), given that they are already a success story. Everyone needs a success story, right?

NUS Enterprise
NUS Enterprise

The company is already more than 80-strong, and I think they have a sure footing in this business. They went headlong into the market when few people understood the business model. I can imagine it would have been damn hard work negotiating with the merchants, so Shopback really deserves a pat on the back for the windfall they’re raking in right now.

One corner of the congested working space in Shopback office
Congested working space in Shopback office (everyone is in a presentation session)

In case you don’t know what Shopback is about, i have a very short writeup here. In essence, you’re rewarded for brand loyalty and accepting marketing content. Just about every business is giving cashback now, because consumers love the feeling of getting a “kickback”. Consumers are, themselves, the ones paying for it anyway.

If you haven’t signed up with Shopback, now is a good time to do so. You will certainly save some money (or possibly spend more money).

Many thanks to Ying Ying from Shopback for hosting me!

Save serious money on hotel bookings

I have just received S$166.16 in cashback for the hotel bookings of my recent trip, no kidding! Here’s how i did it.

Earn cashback through ShopbackSimple as that. Hotel booking websites take an average of 15% in commission from the hotel/accommodation provider for every booking done through their websites. Yes, that’s an awful lot of money! They’re willing to give you back 6% of that commission, so you better grab it! You can get this cashback if you do your hotel bookings through cashback websites, like Shopback.

Continue reading Save serious money on hotel bookings

Why i still use Ebates

There are 3 categories of spending for which Ebates works for me: eBay, US merchants and car rental. For everything else, there is Shopback.

Ebates rewards up to 5% for purchases on eBay, which is fantastic. In comparison, Shopback offers only 1% cash back for eBay purchases. The email notification pictured above tells me i have earned US$4.05 for a US$135 purchase, which works out to be a 3% cash back.

You may be wondering what is worth buying on eBay. Let me tell you – beauty product samples. Guys, don’t back away and think this does not apply to you. You have no idea how much money you may be saving when your spouse buys the sample instead of the full retail product. Even when you buy the full retail products on eBay, you’ll be saving lots compared to buying from the local store. What i do is to find those eBay sellers who have collected a large quantity of samples, where, often the total quantity is more or less the same as the retail product, but at a fraction of the price. Sometimes, you can find sellers with overstock items at less than wholesale prices (for the lower cost products only of course).

For other US branded goods, it is also great to use Ebates for cash back. There’s no stopping you from grabbing Black Friday deals, or clearance sales that happen every now and then, and earning cash back at the same time when you’re already getting a good deal. Shipping is easy, and relatively cheap (don’t use the shipping service offered on the merchant sites, they’re rip-off!).

Finally, there is car rental, for which i doubt Shopback will ever bother to offer cash back, because the demand is probably too little compared to the demand for car rental in the US. For my upcoming trip to Korea, i have two car rental arrangements with Sixt, and i’m earning cash back for the rentals, so the cash back actually works for worldwide car rentals. As you can imagine, car rentals easily cost hundreds of dollars each time, so the cash back, even at just a few percent, is very significant. Don’t lose out on such savings. Sign up for Ebates and get the cash back.

And as i have said before, for everything else, there is Shopback!

Shopback Payout

My second round of cashback on Shopback just became redeemable, a total of $81.61, woot! This is comprised of 2 Agoda bookings ($15 each), 2 Redmart purchases, 2 Groupon purchases and flight tickets purchased on Expedia (1% cashback).

Redeemable

Besides purchases, i also scored two bonus payouts totalling $29, which is a lot. I notice that they don’t offer such bonuses these days, only increased cashback. The customer base must be quite large already by now that they don’t need to offer this kind of incentive anymore. Oh well.

Bonus

The payout takes 7-14 working days to be credited. No problem, i can wait. It’s free money anyway. The only problem is my forgetting to do my purchases by going through Shopback, which still happens once in a long while.

Payout

If you’re still not on Shopback, what are you waiting for?

Critical steps to earn cashback

Today i received an referral email from a cashback website that i didn’t know about before. It looks like the cashback business is really getting hot these days. The business model of giving cashback is difficult to understand to most consumers. I like the way the perplexity is put across in this article – “Why are they offering me free money to shop at stores that I’m shopping at anyway?”. The article goes on to explain that the cashback business is about “affiliate marketing”.

Cashback sites does constant (daily) marketing of all the brands and merchants that have signed on with them. I receive an email per day from each of the cashback sites i have signed up with, and i actually don’t mind receiving these emails, since they tell you about good deals happening currently. Compared to advertisement emails from merchants which normally end up in your spam or trash folder before you even read them, well, affiliate marketing works. And some of these emails actually managed to entice me to spend. If i can fall for it (it takes a lot of convincing to make me part with my money), i can imagine a lot of people will fall for it too.

i had a look at this new cashback website, called Giving Assistant, and i think they have some pretty good deals – 5% cashback on items shipped and sold by Amazon (ebates only offers cashback for a very small range of product categories), US$2.25 on flight bookings on Expedia (vs US$1.25 on ebates, but Shopback is even better, offering 1% cashback). I think the idea is to mix and match cashback sites.

Anyway, I learned about 4 critical steps to earn cashback from the new cashback site Giving Assistant today, quoted below in its entirety:

  1. Start with a cookie free browser session.
  2. Completely disable AdBlocker or Privacy extensions on all websites. 
  3. Begin shopping with an empty shopping cart.
  4. Complete your purchase in the same browsing session within 24 hours.

Now that I am use 2 different cashback sites, and am adding a third, i have to be careful to ensure that only one cashback site is activated at any time, so step 1 above is a good suggestion. Either that, or i can use a different browser for each cashback site. Also, i do use AdBlocker, which i never thought could interfere with the cashback mechanism. Point 3 is an important point to take note. Instead of adding items to the shopping cart, i add them to the wish list first, and only add them to the cart when i have initiated the cashback shopping session. Even if you have been careful to follow these critical steps, i suspect some sites don’t track the cashback very well (whether intentionally or unintentionally), such as booking.com. I suppose you can treat any cashback you get as a bonus and not be too serious about it. Definitely avoid “spaving” (spending to save) as brought up in the article.

Shopback review

Now that I’ve received the first payout from Shopback, I guess I’m qualified to say something about them. The $25 payout consisted of $15 from an Agoda booking and $10 from the bonus given for signing up through Citibank and for updating the personal particulars.

Shopback Payout

The best part of Shopback so far is in getting $15 Cashback for making an Agoda booking. $15 is awarded for any booking that is above $50. If you do the sums, that represents a whopping 30% discount on a $50 hotel booking! With the cashback, it becomes more worthwhile booking a $50 hotel than a $40 one.

agoda

Shopback relies on cookies for tracking purchases made on merchant sites. It has worked every time (for Agoda, Groupon, Redmart purchases) I used Shopback except my latest Agoda bookings. I’m pretty sure I completed the booking within the same window I was redirected to from Shopback, but the cashback wasn’t registered. Thankfully, Shopback actually provides a feedback form for missing cashback. The cashback entry (with incorrect amount at this point of time) appeared in my account within 2 days of submitting my missing cashback request. It’s pretty amazing that Shopback provides this missing cashback form, since I can imagine that it will result a lot of workload, especially when it can be easily abused.

With the $15 cashback offer, the Shopback and Agoda combo is unbeatable. What’s more, Agoda has a tie-up with booking.com and offers some of the hotels on booking.com as well (at the same price) that would have been otherwise not found in Agoda itself. If you factor in the cashback, it is obviously better to book through Agoda than booking.com.

The only downside of Shopback, and most cashback sites, is the long waiting time to receive the actual cash. For Shopback it is typically 60 days after the completion of the transaction (for hotel or flight bookings this means completion of the trip), plus up to a week to process your redemption request.

All in all, i found that Shopback is quite intuitive to use, and it works. Extra cash is always welcome, right?

Update 14/11/2015: Shopback now offers only $10 cashback for Agoda. I noticed that some of the sites i frequently shop on have been added to Shopback’s merchant list, including booking.com ($10 cashback for $50 and above bookings, i,e. matching Agoda’s offer) and ebay (1% cashback). Shopback is making a lot of progress!