Huge eBay Portal Term Changes: No Cashback on Gift Card Purchases or Redemptions & More

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eBay Portal Term Changes

eBay Portal Term Changes

The hits keep coming with eBay. Over the past couple of months the following changes have occured or been announced:

  • eBay gift cards purchased after August 23, 2016 cannot be used to purchase merchant gift cards.
  • eBay gift cards purchased before August 23, 2016 cannot be used to purchase merchant gift cards after October 13, 2016.
  • Starting on October 1, 2016 eBay Bucks will no longer be earned on the purchase of “eBay Gift Cards, Gift Cards, and Digital Gifts purchases within the Gift Cards & Coupons category.”
  • Starting on January 1, 2017 eBay Bucks will no longer be redeemable for eBay gift cards.

Another Negative Change

As if that wasn’t enough, another big change has happened as well. eBay is severely restricting which categories qualify for a payout from shopping portals. Gift cards of all kinds are now restricted in most portals and electronics are being restricted many places as well. One portal even has a restriction on the redemption of gift cards. My guess is that some of the portals are slower in rolling out these new rules compared to others. I would expect that BeFrugal’s language may become the new norm.

Let’s look at the language as it stands as of 10AM Pacific on 9/23/2016 at each of the major portals:

BeFrugal – 1%

  • Cash back not valid on purchases of electronics, computers/tablets & accessories, cell phones & accessories, cameras, video games, automobiles, real estate, gift cards, bullion, coins and money, & select business & industrial equipment.
  • Cash back not valid with gift card redemption.

Top Cashback – .9%

Excluded Categories (Including sub-categories where appropriate) – Not eligible for Cash Back

  • Bullion, Coins and other Money items
  • Computers, Tablets and Networking
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Gift Cards & Coupons

iConsumer – 1.3% (Capped at $20 per month)

  • Cash Back is not available within the following categories: eBay Motors (including Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, and Powersports; excluding Parts & Accessories), any form of Real Estate, eBay branded Gift Cards, Bullion, and Heavy Equipment within the Business & Industrial category.
  • No Cash Back on purchases from “GiftCardsMall”.

Simply Best Coupons – Up to 1.4%

  • No cash back on eBay Motors, Real Estate, precious metals, coins and bullion, gift cards or heavy equipment
  • No cashback on other brand gift cards.
  • Cash back amounts may vary by product category.  (No confidence here.)

Giving Assistant – 1.2%

  • Cash back in NOT available for the following: physical “hard” eBay gift cards, Motors, Vehicles, Bullion (including coins), Heavy Equipment, Real Estate, Charity Auctions, Snipe Services, and when seller fees are $0.00.

Mr. Rebates – 1%

  • Cash Back is not available on the following categories: Computers/Tablets & Networking, Cell Phones & Accessories, Coins & Paper Money, Business & Industrial, eBay Motors (excluding parts and accessories), Real Estate and eBay branded gift cards.

Upromise – 1%

  • Cash Back is not available within the following categories: eBay Motors (including Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, and Powersports; excluding Parts & Accessories), any form of Real Estate, all Gift Cards, Bullion, Computers/Tablets, and Heavy Equipment within the Business & Industrial category.


For now Giving Assistant or Mr. Rebates seem to have the least restrictive language along with halfway decent payouts. Of course, I would screenshot their pages just in case something goes wrong, although I don’t know if that will help or not. At this point it’s seemingly a crapshoot to use a portal when shopping at eBay. Of course, that is if you can still get a deal there anymore given all of the changes.

What do you think? Is this extra 1% loss going to hurt or have you given up on eBay already given all of the other changes? Let us know in the comments!

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. Giving assistant said eBay clawed back my electronics rewards. I got like 20 emails today. On giving assistant the terms have changed slightly to 0% cash back on “some deals”. Sucks they took them in arrears though those were not the terms when I made the purchases.

  2. Okay I’m a little confused here.. call me stupid but does this mean that after October 1st, I won’t get eBay bucks if, for example, use an eBay gift card to purchase a MacBook?

  3. Interesting. We will adopt. They are just taking more & more away from us to where we wont buy as much and their fees will be less as a result. Would like to hear their reasoning for the changes that to me, didn’t seem broken. If its not broken, why fix it ?

    • Keep in mind that there is a lot of pressure to close “open loop” financial transactions. That is what you will often see referred to on SlickDeals or reddit as “rolling”. ebay could probably take a more surgical approach by prohibiting the use of gift cards for the purchase of gift cards from third-party companies *that in turn sell ebay gift cards* … but try figuring that out for every third-party gift card sold on ebay. So I think this more than anything leads to the decision to block the whole category.

      And as far as simple a business model, as much as people say that ebay will lose revenue on this, I suspect it is more likely that they are not making money on this particular behavior anyway.

  4. Every week Amazon gets better and eBay gets worse. Its strange that they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Anyone and everyone would chose to buy from Amazon over eBay. eBay has sketchier sellers, some of the worst customer service of any big company, more fake items….The only thing they had going for them was price. For a while with the right cc / gift card lineup, you could earn 6 miles per dollar and eBay bucks. Those days are over and pretty much so is almost all my spend with eBay

  5. As a full time reseller, EBay remains my primary source of OA. None of these changes will impact me and may be a positive. Discounts on EBay or other G/C may have to increase to compensate. The gift card use limitations are more of an impact. Portal cash is nice but I need to use so many and spend time worrying about whether I maximized their use. If your EBay deal hinges on portals or EBay bucks in order to be profitable, your margins are too low to be sustainable.
    I realize that the points/MS crowd has a different primary objective than resellers.
    . EBay is a business like any other, they don’t exist to lose money for the benefit of buyers. Adapt or die folks!

    • As you said, you’re talking to the wrong crowd here. Sure, there’s definitely crossover with full time resellers and the MS community but for the most part the people here and in the community as a whole aren’t trying (or willing) to invest the time required to look for deals that’ll survive the negative changes. Myself included. If you have the time or if this is your full-time job then more power to you.

      That said, I’m also interested to see what fallout, if any, happens in regards to discounted ebay gift cards. While we in this community were only a small part of their customer base I have to believe we were scooping up ebay gift cards at a disproportional rate.


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