BrightBuyA free shopping tool that makes it quick and painless to save money on your favorite stores when you shop online. Make your online deal even better. One simple search can save you a significant amount of money. BrightBuy finds and compares the latest coupons, gift cards, and reward opportunities, to get you the best discount for your online purchase. Save more money by shopping smarter with BrightBuy.
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BrightBuy is good at comparing the discount options for a specific store. But if you really want to get the most cashback or the most discounted gift card for your purchase, then you have to manage different accounts at places like Raise, Ebates, etc… , to get the best rates possible. Since cashback vendors vary their rates, and the difference could be more than 5%. Thankfully, most of the cashback guys have a low cashout limit, usually $10, so you won’t feel as tethered to one vendor. Still, having to register for an account and manage potentially multiple passwords is a hassle. But fear not!
There are several tools out there that lets you register a new account or login with a mouse click. My favorite free tool is Chrome Password Manager, which you get just by using Chrome. After filling out your first form in Chrome, the tool automatically builds a user profile, including your name, phone numbers, and email address. The next time you have to fill out a form, Chrome autofills the corresponding fields from your profile. In Chrome, you can manually modify your autofill user profile by going to Settings –> Advanced Settings –> Manage Autofill Settings. Chrome also remembers username and password every time you login to a site, and automatically fill in the login form next time you log in. Best part about the Chrome Password Manager is that it automatically syncs data across all instances of your Chrome account, so the logins you saved on your Android phone can later be used on your laptop.
If you’re looking for a little more functionality, or a cross browser mechanism for managing form autofills, then you could try Roboform. It’s a paid tool, but it’s reasonably inexpensive (used to be cheaper). It’s been out there since forever, and it works across all the major platforms and browsers. So if filling forms is your thing, then this is the power tool to get. Advantages of Roboform over Chrome Password Manager include support for more much types form fields, the ability to add custom form fields, and the ability to specify a default password. From my experience, it’s overall a little “smarter” than Chrome Password Manager at autofilling the appropriate data for a field. Also with Roboform, you have the option to encrypt all your passwords with a master password, which only Roboform has. In contrast, Chrome Password Manager encrypts passwords with your windows logon password, and any malicious app running as your user account can steal the precious passwords.
One of the most common sources of consternation and frustration with cashback and rewards portals is not seeing the earnings being credited, as if the purchase never happened. This occurred to me once with a substantial Kohl’s order a few months ago. After some research and repeated testing, I’ve settled on a procedure I always follow when making purchases through cashback portals, whether it be from my credit card, my airline, or a third party company like FatWallet. I’ve tried this for physical products and even physical gift cards (I never expect e-gift cards to work), and I always get my earnings.
1. Disable all browser extensions
I disable everything. I never really trust the extensions to not mess my cookies. So to be safe, before starting a purchase, I disable all the extensions. This is especially true if you use AdBlock, which blocks certain types of cookies, which could potentially be used for revenue attribution to cashback shops. When that happens, the cashback shop won’t get the commission, so it won’t split any for you and me.
2. Clear all cookies
This might just be me being paranoid. But it’s conceivable for a store to use both URI and cookie to track affiliates. I don’t want to risk the chance of some rogue cookie set by another website I was browsing to steal the attribution. Thankfully, clearing cookies is easy with modern browsers. Just make sure to do this BEFORE you log in to the cashback portal.
3. Do your shopping research beforehand
Clearly demarcate the two stages of online shopping: research and execution. Conflating the two steps makes it easier to mess up. Before even logging into the cashback portal, you should know exactly which store and the product name. When you are doing research, you may mentally think ahead to how to execute the purchase for the maximum discounts. BrightBuy is a great tool for this. But by the time you log in to the cashback portal, you should be committed and ready to buy. The reason for this is discussed next…
4. Do NOT browse any other websites until checkout is complete
You will login to the cashback portal, find your store, and click the URL to your store. You will then navigate the store’s website to your item, add it to cart, and perform checkout. That’s pretty much it. What you should not do is browse any other websites, including deal forums and coupon websites. The reason is that external websites could potentially override the cookie used back the cashback portal to track your purchase. Simply opening a new browser tab or browser window does not solve this. If you must browse another website, you can either use the browser’s anonymous mode (e.g. Incognito mode for Chrome or Private Browsing for Firefox), of use a different browser software completely (e.g. switch to Firefox if you’re using Chrome to purchase).
5. Do NOT copy/paste URLs into the address bar until checkout is complete
The simplest way to navigate to the target store’s website for purchasing is to copy and paste a product URL. However, it’s difficult to know if the product URl overwrites the tracking info of cashback portals. So I avoid pasting URLs when possible. Instead, I find a way to navigate to the product page from the store’s home page. In most cases, this means finding the right keywords to use in the store’s search bar.
Topcashback recently added Amazon.com as a new pay out option. I was curious how this worked. I use Amazon regularly anyways so Amazon credits are as good as cash. It was also enticing that there is 5% pay out bonus when you cash out as Amazon. So in the case you would have received $100 via a direct bank deposit, you can now receive $105 via Amazon :-)
Four days later, I received notice that the payout was successful. Checked out my Topcashback payout history, and lo and behold:
I’m not in the mood for sharing today, so I clicked on the “Click to use now” button, and there its…
For those of you not familiar with how Amazon e-gift codes work, it’s really simple. Simply copy the claim code (blotted out in the screenshot above, for obvious reasons) and apply it into your account. The gift card amount will then be deposited into your Amazon gift card balance, which you can tap during Amazon checkout. It works much like a debit card. Amazon gift card balance works for third-party shops on Amazon as well and it never expires