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How to Get Approximately Four Percent (4%) Back on All Credit Card Purchases

Note: The American Express Gift Cards are not currently listed on Ebates, so some of the information below is dated unless/until Ebates lists them again.

Would you like to get approximately four percent cash back on (almost) everything that you spend?  You can, using the method described below!  Let’s imagine that your total expenditures in a given year are around $50,000.  Saving 4% on that total amount would give you an extra $2,000 a year.  If someone saved that $2,000 a year in a Roth IRA from the time he turned 18, and realized a 9% rate of return in Christian mutual funds or Christ-honoring peer-to-peer lending (which is very reasonable, although, of course, not certain, 1 Timothy 6:17), he would have $1,253,725.52 when he reached retirement age at 65, according to a Roth IRA calculator.  “How,” you ask, “can I get 4% cash back in this way?”  There are several relatively simple steps.

Step #1: Sign Up for Ebates

The first step to getting c. 4% cash back on almost everything you purchase is signing up for Ebates.  You can find out more about Ebates here, or sign up (and get $10 for doing so!) by clicking on the banner below:


Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Step #2: Make Sure You Have a Good Credit Score So You Can Do Step #3

Since Step #3 involves applying for a credit card, you ought to check your credit score and credit report before completing the credit card application to find out if you are likely to be approved.  You can get a free copy of your credit score and a free credit report by clicking here.

Step #3: Get the Ebates Credit Card

 The next step is to apply for and get approved for the Ebates Cash Back Visa Credit Card.  This credit card gives you 3% back on all purchases made through Ebates, as well as 1% back on all purchases made elsewhere.  Getting an extra 3% off on the already nice discounts on every store on the Ebates website is definitely attractive.  I must confess, however, that the customer service for the Ebates card is less than spectacular.  I have found it a hassle to get a human being on the automated system one reaches when he calls in on the card, and for customer service concerning cash back, one cannot even discuss issues with a human being; the only option is to contact Ebates on their website.  There have been other negative customer service issues as well.  Too often I have not had the extra 3% credited and I needed to go through the hassle of contacting Ebates to get it (although when I have done so I have usually gotten the cash back).  Furthermore, there are a small minority of purchases where one cannot get the extra 3% back, and it is sometimes hard to tell exactly which purchases those are.  Those negatives make me hesitant to recommend the Ebates credit card.  However, the ability to get a total of c. 4% off on all purchases in the manner described on this webpage makes it worthwhile, in my opinion, to at least consider getting the card.  I have not had trouble with doing what I have described here myself and getting the c. 4% off.


Step #3: Use the Ebates Credit Card to Purchase American Express Gift Cards

The Ebates website typically offers 1% off the purchase of American Express Gift Cards (you can visit Ebates by clicking on the button below and then searching for “American Express.”)

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

If you use the Ebates Cash Back Visa Credit Card to purchase American Express Gift Cards, you get an extra 3% off in addition to the normal 1% off the list price for purchasing the cards on Ebates.  You can then use the American Express Gift Cards like a credit card wherever American Express is accepted.  In this way, after subtracting the small purchase and shipping fees, you can get approximately 4% back on everything you can purchase with an American Express card.  An individual can purchase up to $5,000 of gift cards in a single order, and a business can get up to $75,000 in a single order.  This process can be repeated every 14 days.  If you purchased one $3,000 and one $2,000 gift card, you would pay $5000 + ($3.95 x 2 [purchase fee for the two gift cards; these can sometimes be waived with coupon codes, but be careful that this does not invalidate your cash back]) + $8.95 [shipping cost] = $5,016.85.  On that amount, you would receive (5016.85 x 0.01) + (5000 x 0.03) = 50.17 + 150 = $200.17 cash back.  That comes out to 3.67% cash back.  If you are able to run your order as a business and purchased $75,000 of gift cards, and were able to avoid the purchase fees, you could pay $75,008.95 and receive $750.09 + $2,250 = $3,000.09 cash back; that comes out to 3.99% rounded up to 4% cash back.  American Express will refund you the unused portion of your gift card balance if the gift card is lost or stolen (as long as you register the card or at least keep the order number or card number handy–I would highly recommend registering the cards as soon as you get them), so you are far safer with a $3,000 gift card in your wallet than you are with $3,000 in cash.

Of course, not everyone can pay large sums ahead of time to purchase gift cards in this manner.  However, if you can, and you also avoid the dangers of credit card use, you can get c. 4% cash back on everything that you can purchase with American Express.

Finally, let me point out that you can easily liquidate unwanted balances from American Express gift cards that you cannot conveniently use by buying Visa gift cards that have a PIN and can be unloaded more easily than American Express gift cards; using Internet portals can save you money on this AmEx to Visa conversion.  You can also try sending payments with Plastiq for a 2.5% service charge.  Since 2.5% is less than 4%, you can still come out ahead if you purchase a higher dollar amount of American Express gift cards than you need.  However, I have had poor service with Plastiq; they have returned every payment I have tried to make with them (merchant, charity, credit card, person), so although their homepage states that one can pay any bills with them, this is simply not the case and you may find yourself wasting your time with their company.


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Note: After being a happy member of Ebates for a number of years and getting thousands of dollars in cash back by simply clicking in the right place, I decided to become an affiliate of the company. If you join Ebates by clicking on the Ebates button on this webpage, I will receive financial compensation for helping you to save money.  I can in good conscience say that there is nothing on this website that I would not have said were I not an affiliate, and I believe that it is appropriate that we both benefit from the information I have put together for your betterment (1 Timothy 5:18).  However, if you are bothered by the fact that I will be compensated if you use the button to sign up, you can sign up on the Ebates website without clicking on the banner, and I will get nothing.  If you choose to use the button on this webpage, I offer you my sincere thanks.