By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

Cashback Monitor is a site that allows you to compare the cash back or other rewards you can get if you use certain shopping portals or credit card reward malls when you shop at specific stores. If you’re not aware of how these portals and malls work, it generally goes like this:

  1. You sign in to the portal/mall before you shop online.
  2. Once signed in, you get a selection of retailers that have agreed to provide certain discounts (or reward points) to users of that portal/mall. For example, last we looked, the Shop Through Chase portal was offering an extra 3% cash back if we used our Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card at Ulta Beauty.
  3. You choose the retailer where you want to shop, and then hit the “Shop Now” button or whatever means the “mall” has to transport you to the retailer’s site.
  4. Your purchases at the retailer site are tracked and you get the extra cash back or reward points.

These shopping portals are kind of a no-brainer if you’re planning on shopping with certain retailers anyway, so you should take advantage.



What Cashback Monitor Does

Cashback Monitor offers a sort of one-stop shop to find the best cash back / reward rate that you can get for shopping at a particular store. For example, Macy’s has relationships with a LOT of these malls, but the rebate or reward you get varies:

If you’re planning on shopping online at Macy’s, you can use Cashback Monitor to figure out which shopping portal to use in order to earn the most cash, points, travel miles, etc.

If you create an account and sign in with Cashback Monitor, you can also use their tool that lets you give a value to each type of reward point or mile, so you can try to get an apples-to-apples comparison on which portal is offering the best deal. (Cashback Monitor does not estimate the value, it just provides the tool to let you change the value if you feel a point/mile is worth more or less than the penny-per-point equation that is the default for many programs.)

Is Cashback Monitor Worth the Time?

If you are a super “maximizer” when it comes to loyalty rewards, Cashback Monitor offers an extensive list of portals & malls, with rebate/reward numbers that seem to be generally up-to-date. In short, it is a valuable resource for you.

However, for some people, the Internet offers too many choices. If that’s you, Cashback Monitor could be information overload.

One Word of Caution

Remember that every rebate or reward you earn through a shopping portal is only valuable at that site or with that credit card. If you have accounts at too many portals and you always fish for the best rebate at Cashback Monitor, you could end up with good rewards spread too thinly over dozens of sites or credit cards or travel programs. So it’s best to choose a small number of programs that are valuable to you and compare the rebates only within those portals. For example, you might decide to concentrate on Ebates, Swagbucks, and your Chase credit card to concentrate your rewards so that you can redeem them more often. However you choose to do it, though, Cashback Monitor is a good tool if you’re willing to put in the time to maximize.