When it comes to saving money, there’s always another method to learn. While clipping coupons was all the rage ten years ago, times have changed. In 2021, bargain hunters have some new and improved tricks up their sleeve.

If you frequently search the web for online shopping deals, you may have encountered the terms discount and rebate. These two money saving methods seem pretty similar, so what’s the difference?

Continue reading for the answer, and everything else you should know about using a rebate vs discount.

What is a Rebate?

Let’s start with rebates. A rebate is a bit like a coupon, but in the reverse order. Here’s how it works:

  • Step #1 – Find a rebate. Using RebateKey or a similar resource like cash back apps or money saving blogs, shoppers can find exclusive deals on specific items. Rebates may be 10%, 50%, or even 100% off an item’s total cost.

  • Step #2 – Make your purchase. After finding your rebate, the next step is to purchase the item. The tricky part of a rebate is this: you’re buying the item at full list price—for now. Once you’ve finished your purchase, the rebate comes into play.

  • Step #3 – Claim your rebate. Before the internet was invented, shoppers had to send their physical rebate in the mail and wait for a check to arrive. With RebateKey, the process is much easier. Simply copy and paste your order ID on our website to claim your rebate. After you’ve done this, the money will be transferred into your account.

The bottom line: A rebate is a money-back system. Customers buy items full price, submit their order ID, and get their money back later.

What is a Discount?

A discount is a bit simpler. Customers can get discounts on items through a variety of ways, including:

  • Physical coupons (found in the newspaper, coupon books, or printed off websites)
  • Discount codes (found online, through web browser extensions, or advertised on the store’s website)
  • Sales and promotions (typically advertised on a store’s website)

When you use any of these discount forms, you’ll be saving money upfront. Your reduced price is calculated into your total before you purchase an item. While this may seem preferable to a rebate, there are some disadvantages to this system, such as:

  • Taxes and shipping – Cash discount codes are usually calculated before sales tax and shipping costs are added. This can result in a total that’s nearly the same as the item’s original selling price.

  • Lower savings – Coupons and discount codes will typically offer lower savings than a customer rebate. While rebates can go up to 100%, a discount will rarely go above 50%.

  • Restrictions – Rebates are specific to certain items, but discounts are often more general. Customers will sometimes run into restrictions regarding sales volume and discounts, such as buy-one-get-one-free, limited items, and rules against coupon stacking.

The bottom line: Discounts and coupons are immediate, but restrictions often apply. Discounts will also typically save less money than a rebate.

What is a Cashback Deal?

Cashback vs cash rebate? Well, while rebate programs are a form of cashback savings, a cashback deal can also refer to debit and credit card promotions. When banks and credit card companies partner with certain retailers, card holders can earn cashback percentages on their purchases.

These deals are usually low, between 5-10% for specific retailers and 1-3% with general purchases, but it’s still a good idea to keep up with them when offered—especially for retailers you visit frequently!

Discount vs Rebate: Pros and Cons

Both discounts and rebates are easy ways to save money when shopping at a retailer. Each method will come with its own set of pros and cons, and one may work better than the other in different situations.

Here’s a handy cheat sheet to help you weigh your options with discounts vs rebates:

Discount Pros:

  • Faster savings
  • Easy to use
  • More commonly offered

Discount Cons:

  • Saves you less money
  • Restrictions may apply
  • Not calculated into shipping and taxes

Rebate Pros:

  • Bigger savings, up to 100% off
  • Fewer restrictions
  • Specific to the item you’re buying

Rebate Cons:

  • Has an extra step
  • Paying full purchase price upfront

The bottom line: Rebates and discounts are different, but they can both help shoppers save money! Understanding how each of these methods work is the best way to maximize your bargain shopping.

Find Your Next Deal with RebateKey

With RebateKey, saving money has never been easier. By partnering with popular retailers, we’re able to offer customers exclusive rebates and discounts at the click of a button.

Interested? The process is simple. Just search for the products you want on our website, click “buy now,” and claim your rebate! Users can search for deals based on coupons, rebates, or stores. We work with companies like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay to offer the products you want for less.

Make life easier by downloading our Chrome extension. This simple tool can find you deals every time you shop online. So what are you waiting for? Stop clipping coupons and start saving time and money with RebateKey!




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