shopback-sg
ShopBack shares their commission with you if you use their referral link. (Photo by ShopBack Singapore)

If you already use voucher deals, such as Groupon Singapore and Deal.com.sg; and loyalty programs, such as Plus! LinkPoints, PAssion TapForMore Points, and Perx, but still want to kick it up a notch in terms of savings, now there’s a cash rebate programme that gives you a percentage of what you spend on an online purchase back to you in the form of a rebate. It’s called ShopBack.

Companies that give you cash back for online shopping have been around for some time now, especially overseas (Ebates was very popular when I was living in the US), but these companies are not as widespread in Southeast Asia. With more than 300 partnering merchants onboard, ShopBack hopes to be the leading cash back site in the Singapore market. They have also operations in Malaysia and the Philippines.

How does it work?
ShopBack partners with online merchants, such as Zalora, Lazada, Groupon, and Rakuten, and each time you purchase something from one of these merchants, you get a percentage of your purchase as a cash rebate (up to 15% back!). In order for the system to record your purchase, you must login to your ShopBack account, and use their link to the online merchant you are interested in. A new window will open and all transactions must be made through that one window (as it contains the cookies that will track your transaction). If you close the window and reopen it later, the transaction will not be recorded through ShopBack, so it is very important to use the same window once you’re ready to make your purchase.

After you’ve made the purchase, you’ll get an email confirmation from the merchant and another confirmation from ShopBack. The money will then appear in your account in 1-2 days and sometimes within the same day. But it takes up to 60 days for the cash to be transferred to your PayPal or bank account, mostly because the merchants want to make sure the transaction goes through, so as to account for refunds and returns.

How does ShopBack make money from this?
Online merchants will often pay a referral fee or commission to a referring entity if you, the customer, purchase a product through that entity’s affiliate link. In the case of ShopBack, they are receiving commission from the online merchants and paying you a portion of their commission, as a rebate.

Some of my recent ShopBack purchases:
There was a Groupon Voucher Deal for a one-day Johor Bahru tour, which included a return coach transfer, a tour of a durian plantation and organic farm, a visit to Malay Village and Aeon Tebrau Magamall, lunch with all-you-can-eat durian, and a seafood dinner. The Groupon price was $52 (U.P. is around $100). But on the day I purchased it, Groupon was having a 15% off sale, so I ended up paying $44.20. But because I purchased that voucher using my ShopBack account and through the ShopBack link, I got an additional $6.63 back on my purchase (ShopBack is giving a 15% rebate for Groupon purchases up until the end of June). The cash back from ShopBack comes stacked on top of all other promotions. So the total spent for that one day mini-holiday was $37.57!

Some precautions:
Like credit cards that give cash back for purchases, it’s easy to feel good when you see a credit or rebate magically appear in your account, but don’t forget that you are still spending money, and that rewards and rebates only give back a small fraction of what you spent. I remember once there was this auntie who was so proud that she earned a $500 rebate from her credit card over the course of a year. She looked so smug when she proclaimed it to me. When I asked her how much her credit card gave as a percentage back to her, she proudly exclaimed 1%. I was thinking to myself, “Yikes, that means you spent $50,000! Hopefully, that was money well spent and you got a lot of value from it, and not just clutter.”

It’s always good to think twice before buying, and don’t get too carried away by the “reward”. Just like the 3R’s of environmental stewardship, “Reduce” comes before “Reuse” and “Recycle”.

Get an EXTRA $5 for completing a ShopBack purchase:
If you use FrugalinSingapore’s referral link: https://www.shopback.sg?raf=3yCjim you can get an extra $5 for making a purchase through ShopBack. You will also help me out as ShopBack will credit me with $5. This money will go toward maintenance and web hosting for this ad-free blog. Thank you for your support!

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