Is Shop Smarter A Scam? Pay Money to Earn Cashback, Really?
If you do online shopping on a regular basis then earning cashback is a VERY good idea, but is it a good idea to earn cashback with ShopSmarter? Is the latter a cashback scam you should avoid?
In this review, you will learn about everything related to Shop Smarter! No stones are left unturned here.
You will learn about the pricing, what I like, what I don't like, the alarming red flags what other people say, everything you need to know is here!
Sounds good? Let's hop into it!
Shop Smarter Summary Review
Name: Shop Smarter
Price:$1.97 for first 7 days, then $9.97 per month sometimes $12.97/month.
Is it a Scam? No
Summary: Shopsmarter.com is a good website where you can earn cashback but paying $10 a month for a cashback site is not very usual, there are some complaints about the site online. I will talk about all the red flags in this review I will also share with you GOOD free alternatives as well.
Recommended? Yes! If you shop online frequently.
What is Shop Smarter?
Shopsmarter is a cashback website that gives you the opportunity to earn some money back from each purchase you make online.
This cashback website is affiliated with 1000's stores where you probably do your shopping anyway, I'm talking about stores like:
- & more
Chance are you have been shopping regularly from sites like these, so why not save some money by shopping on these same stores but through a middle man website like Shopsmarter?
Yeah, a cashback website can save tons of money every year, but unfortunately, there are tons of cashback websites out there and not all of them are legit.
Is Shopsmarter a scam? So far I did not see any alarming red flags. But there are many suspicious things about it that honestly are bothering me.
For example, Shopsmarter is promising you 10% (sometimes even 20%!) of cashback on all the purchases you make using the site, but is this too good to be true?
Seems like it because 10% cashback on every purchase is unheard of in the online rebates websites world. In their terms of service page, they say that you can earn 20% of cashback from their time-limited promotions.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, I came across many suspicious things about this site and I don't mind sharing them with you through this review.
If you want to find out whether is Shopsmarter a scam or a good cashback site that is worth it then simply keep reading the rest of this review!
How Does Shop Smarter Work?
To start saving money and earning rebates from your online shopping you have to sign-up for Shopsmarter.
Once you're in, you will be given a list of all the Shopsmarter retailers where you can start doing your shopping.
In order to earn cash back, you must click on the links found on the retailer's list.
Let's say you want to buy an item from the Walmart website, to earn a cashback you shouldn't shop directly from the Walmart website, but you have to click on the Walmart website by using the Shop Master affiliate link.
If you click links from the shopsmarter and purchase through them, Shopsmarter will be able to track your purchase and as a result, you will earn some cashback.
Once you purchase a product using the Shopsmarters link, you have to wait for 5 to 7 business days for the cashback to be credited into your account.
Once your cashback is approved you can request a payment via check on the 15th of every month.
Other things that Shopsmarter offers is a comparison tool which allows you to compare and find the lowest prices on the products you want to buy, you will also find coupons that will allow you to save money on shipping or on the general price of certain items.
So far all good, but wait!
Shopsmarter is NOT free! There is a monthly fee you have to pay!
Does ShopSmarter Cost Money to Join?
Yes, Shopsmarter does cost money to join, you have to pay $9.97 or sometimes even $12.97 every month to use the platform.
But before you start paying for the monthly membership they do offer a 7 day trial for $1.97.
Let me tell you that this is the first time I come across a cashback website where you have to spend money every month in order to earn cashback.
There's even some confusion on their monthly paid membership as on their sign up page you can read that the monthly fee is $9.95 but in another page, you will read the monthly fee is $12.95.
Now that's confusing, but a friend of mine has called the Shop Smarter customer team as they have a 1-800 number and she was told that some members will pay $9.95 per month while some members will have to pay $12.97.
The monthly fee depends on where you have found the link to join. If you want to pay $9.97 a month, then sign-up directly from the shopsmarter.com website.
How ShopSmarter Can Afford to Give You Cashback?
If you're not familiar with cashback sites you're probably wondering why and how sites like Shopsmarter can afford to give you cashback on each purchase you make throughout their site.
They actually earn good money and can very well afford to give you cashback!
There are 2 main ways how Shop Smarter can afford to give you cashback.
- 1 - Affiliate Marketing
Basically, Shopsmarter is a partner of 1000's retail stores like Walmart or Amazon, these online stores are willing to pay Shop Smarter if the latter drives them sales.
Shop Smarter will earn a commission every time you buy from a retailer on their list when Shopsmarter earns a commission they are willing to give you a percentage of it (aka cashback) to thank you for the commission you have earned them.
That's how they are able to make money, and this is called Affiliate marketing, a business model that allows you to make money selling other people's products which is exactly what Shopsmarter is doing here.
I personally make a full-time income too from affiliate marketing and I highly recommend it, it's a legit & very profitable business model.
- 2- The Membership Fee
The membership fee is another way they can afford to give you cashback, but as I said before this is the first time I come across a site that makes you pay in order to save money.
The most popular cashback sites I know like Befrugal & Topcashback don't charge any money. But I have to say that they don't offer 10% cashback but something like 5% to 7%.
What I Like About ShopSmarter
1- Good Customer support
The first thing I like about Shop Smarter is the customer support, usually, with these cashback sites, many issues can happen.
Sometimes you may make a purchase and not get credited any cashback this is very annoying and the support team is the only way to solve such problems.
There are some sites where you're left in the dark if you have a question or issue to fix. Fortunately, that's not the case with Shopsmarter as they are pretty quick at answering your issues.
There are different ways to reach out to the Shopsmarter support team.
You can contact them on their toll-free number here 800-254-6536.
They are very responsive on social media too and the good thing is the support team is available on the holidays as well.
2- You can Cancel Your Membership Any Time
I see many people asking: how do I cancel my Shopsmarter membership?
The good news is you can cancel your membership easily no questions asked.
You can call the support team on the phone to cancel your membership, or alternatively, you can shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to cancel your membership.
You can even cancel it by yourself from your accounts settings.
3- 1000's Retailers to Earn Cashback from
What I like about Shopsmarter is they allow you to earn cashback from popular retailers where you would do your online shopping anyway.
There are many stores to choose from and enjoy 10% (sometimes 20% for some offers) of cashback.
Just remember before purchasing a product make sure you click on the retail site from the Shopsmarter list and make sure if the store is eligible for cashback you can find this info on the shopsmarter site.
3- The Shopsmarter Price Comparison Tool
This tool allows you to save a lot of money, this is basically a search engine within Shopsmarter where you can type in any product you're interested to buy.
The price comparison tool will start showing products related to your search term and show the prices and coupons related to the items you searched for.
You can also use the filters to make the comparison tool pull out only the cheapest products or products under a specific price and things like that.
This is a really good tool where you can see which stores offer the best deals!
What I Don't Like About ShopSmarter
1- Not All Purchases Qualify for the 10% Cashback?
When doing your shopping make sure that the products you want to buy are eligible for the 10% cash back because unfortunately, not all products enjoy the 10% cashback offer.
There are also some products where you won't earn cashback at all if you're not careful. Most sites that offer cashback are based in the United States.
Let's say you're from Canada and you're using Shopsmarter to enjoy some savings.
Let's say you want to buy a product from Best Buy when you want to purchase the item as soon as you add the shipping address to Canada, Best buy may redirect you to the Canadian version of the site and in this case, you may not earn any cashback.
Another thing is some retailers listed on the Shopsmarter list don't offer any cashback, if that's the case you will find that mentioned under the retailer's name so make sure you're VERY observant while using the site so you don't miss out on any savings.
There are also three tabs where you can check the status of your cashback:
- Pending: This tab shows you the cashback that is being reviewed and still pending.
- Paid: once your paycheck is issued it will read paid.
- Declined: Here you will find all the cashback that was not accepted, usually, the cashback is declined when you return the product to the merchant.
2- You Get Paid by Cheque Only...
Another thing that makes Shopsmarter lose some points is the payment options available. Actually, there is only one payment option you can choose...
The mail cheque...
I don't like to wait a month for my cheque to arrive and worse to get lost somewhere in the world, that's why I and probably 95% of the population would prefer PayPal as a payment option.
It's so fast and convenient and it's 2019 dear Shopsmarter I think this is the right time to allow Paypal payments!
3- There is a limit to What You Can Earn!
Unfortunately, there is a limit to how much you can earn/save with Shopsmarter.
The limit is $1000 per year, every year all you can earn is $1000.
Once you reach $1k your membership will be pretty useless. You can still get access to the comparison tool and the coupons but no cashback.
At this point I don't know what's the point of paying the monthly membership if you can't earn any cashback what's even stranger is Smartshopper makes money when you earn cashback so I have no idea why they would put up such limit.
4- So Many Negative Reviews & Complaints
During my research, I came across different negative reviews about Shop Smarter on reviews sites like:
I could not find any BBB page related to Shop Smarter which is not a good sign.
Most complaints are saying:
- Shopsmarter is a scam
- Your credit card may be charged without notice.
- The Shopsmarter account gets shutdown once you request payment.
- Misleading advertising.
- It's hard to get cashback even when you prove that the purchase is legit.
Below you can some screenshots of user complaints and above I have linked to the websites where you can read all the complaints about Shop Smarter.
5- No Referral Program?
Usually, rebate websites allow you to earn even more extra money by referring people.
Unfortunately, there is no referral program at Shopsmarter, you're not allowed to earn over $1000 per year it would be good to cover this drawback with a referral program where people can earn some extra money.
Fortunately, there are so many alternatives that are 100% free.
I know many cashback websites that are 100% legit and offer good rebates.
below I mention some good alternatives to Shopsmarter!
Here are 8+ rebates for you to check out.
Who is Shop Smarter for?
Shopsmarter is for you if you're someone that does frequent online shopping every month. If you're someone that spends $100's every month on online shopping then Shopsmarter is definitely for you as you will save some serious money.
But if you're that type of person that purchases an item online once in a while then there is no point to pay $10 every month. It's not worth it.
In this case, I recommend you to sign up for the free Shop Smarter alternatives I mentioned above.
Is ShopSmarter a Scam?
Shopsmarter is a safe and legitimate website where you can earn cashback from your online shopping. Yeah, the membership fee bothers me a bit but if you can save $1,000 by paying $120 for a year of the membership then it's very worth it.
I do recommend this site to anyone that shops regularly online otherwise it's a waste of money. That's my opinion of course.
If you prefer NOT to pay for a membership then check out my top 3 recommended cashback sites (with my affiliate links) that are 100% FREE.
I hope my honest review was useful, if you have anything to add or maybe a question don't hesitate to join the discussion and leave your comments below.
A Reliable Way to Make Money Online!
Cashback sites are really good for saving money on your purchases, but that's it. Sometimes they become addictive and you may end up buying stuff you don't need just get that 10% cashback.
Shopsmarter or any cashback site is not going to earn you any reliable money so don't expect to earn a living from it.
If you want to make money from home and earn some reliable income like I do using affiliate marketing and like Shopsmarter does then you need it to put in some effort and follow a step by step training like I did.
If you want to build your own affiliate money making website you can do it even if you have zero experience because My Top Ranked Training for Newbies will teach you everything click by click.
That's how I was able to work from home with zero experience and there is no reason you can't do the same.