Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Review--Smarterbucks

I heard about a website called Smarterbucks a while back, and was immediately curious about it.  It works similar to Ebates, which means that when you shop online at certain retailers, you first log into their site (Ebates or Smarterbucks) and they track your purchases giving you back a percentage of what you spent.  Ebates gives you back cash, but Smarterbucks makes a payment on your student loans.

I was intrigued.  After all, if I'm going to be spending money at certain retailers anyway, it's always nice to get some back, even if it is a mere 2%.  So I signed up, and played around with it for a while.

The Good:

  • I think this is a good system, and it's nice to get something back in exchange for letting your purchases be tracked.
  • It's really nice to have small payments made to your student loans that you don't even have to think about.
  • Something for nothing! Who doesn't want that!?
  • They also have the new option of taking online surveys to earn cash toward your loans.
  • They have a debit card option that nets you more cash back since you get cash back for everything you purchase and aren't limited to their pool of online retailers.

The Bad:

  • Unlike Ebates, which posts your cash back within 24 hours, Smarterbucks takes FOREVER.  It takes literally a month before anything posts to your account.
  • They are very aggressive about getting you to sign up for their debit card, which I don't want to do though that seems like the best way to get more free money paid to your loans.  Has anyone done this?  Care to comment?
  • Ebates tells you when your next payment is coming, and I couldn't find that info on the Smarterbucks site at all, so I guess it will just be a surprise.
  • I didn't find a lot of retailers I wanted to buy from, so I just placed a few test orders with Old Navy, which was only 2% cash back.
  • Naturally, getting cash back for spending might make you buy more, so it's a bit of a Catch-22, but when you're spending money you would have anyway, I see no harm in it.
  • I tried to take about 20 of their surveys to earn extra cash, but I got kicked out of each one for not meeting the criteria and earned nothing.
Overall, there's no reason why I would discontinue doing this, since it really only works in my benefit.  I'm never going to buy enough stuff that it will have a significant impact on my total student loan debt, but every little bit helps.  It's not a perfect system, but it is new, and they seem to be improving it pretty quickly.

Anyone else have any experience with Smarterbucks?

*This is not a paid post and Smarterbucks has no clue who I am, I just wanted to let people know it exists.

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