Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Cashback Websites With a Twist - Buy Nothing Extra and Get Cash Back

With the latest Internet trend of offering cash back, along comes a couple of new startup websites with a different twist.   Both sites are predicated on learning your existing purchasing habits, so as to gear specific offers based on where you already shop.  Targeted demographic information like that is extremely valuable to merchants, and they are willing to make it worth your while (in the form of cash or cash savings) to share where you buy your groceries or gas.  We will take a look at both sites.
Offermatic is a new cash back website that offers targeted 50% off coupons to merchants you already patronize.  At the initial level, this translates into $5 off a $10 purchase, offered every couple weeks.  At level 2, the deals get even better, with $10 off a $20 purchase.  There is even a 3rd level.  Users attain the higher levels by referring new customers, giving reviews of their shopping experiences and twittering about their deals.  I am only 5 referrals away from reaching a Level 2, so if this website sounds appealing, sign up via this link and I thank you.  They are offering an additional free $5 off $10 purchase at whatever merchant you use just for signing up.

Envaulted is another startup website that is currently in beta and is not open to new membership at this time.  However, one can get on a waiting list and as new membership slots open, you can receive an invitation to join.  It took me approximately 4 weeks to receive my invitation.  The business model for Envaulted varies slightly from Offermatic, but is intriguing.  Their pitch is simple.  Receive 1% cash back on all your credit card purchases, paid to youby monthly check.  Period.  End of Story.  Nothing extra to buy.They will even increase the cash back during limited time frames for featured vendors.  For example, this week, they offer 20% cash back on all Fandango purchases, and 3% cash back on all Whole Foods purchases.

Credit Card Registration - Both sites require registration of at least one credit or debit card through their secure website so they can analyze your spending patterns and preferred merchants.  This is usually the part that scares off most people; yet in actuality, it is all handled through Yodlee, the same company that Mint.com, Quicken and many of the top banks themselves use.  No personal information is ever requested, and they ask only for the last 4 digits of the credit card. If you currently use online banking, you are probably already using Yodlee's services without knowing it.
   I highly recommend both sites to those of you who feel comfortable with the business models of these firms.  As always, I welcome your comments and what your experiences have been.

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