Posted by William Charles on November 28, 2017
Portals

Published on November 28th, 2017 | by William Charles

30

10 Tips For Getting A Cash Back/Points/Miles Portal To Track Correctly

I originally wrote this post back in 2014. Whenever I write about shopping portals, people inevitably post that it didn’t correctly track for them. I have very few issues, if any with tracking so I thought this was worth revisiting.

I seem to have a lot more success with portals tracking correctly than a lot of other people, I’m sure a lot of that is just pure luck but there are a few things which you can do which will help you get your portal to track your purchases correctly. Here’s the list:

  1. Find the best portal to begin with: A lot of people will click through a portal and then search for better offers from other portals. Do your research first and decide which portal you want to use first. I’d recommend using CashBackMonitor to compare portals. If you click through to the merchant and then do your comparison shopping another tracking cookie could be added and you might miss out on your portal bonus.
  2. Read the fine print: A lot of portals have fine print that vastly change a deal (e.g, no coupons apart officially approved coupons. No gift cards, etc etc). This fine print isn’t always enforced, but it’s still important to read it and understand what they are actually allowing.
  3. Empty your cart: You want to start with an empty cart, if you have a half filled shopping cart from a previous shopping session empty your cart and then add the items back once you’ve clicked through to the portal
  4. Enable javascript, popups and cookies: If you don’t have cookies enabled then the portal can not track your shopping session. Some sites will also use javascript or open a new window via a pop up to start your shopping session.
  5. Remove any toolbars your browser has: I hate toolbars with a fiery passion, one of the things they do is add their own tracking code for merchants that they earn commission on. If you don’t have any toolbars, you won’t have this problem. If for whatever reason you really need a toolbar for something, disabled it whilst doing this.
  6. Clear your cache and cookies: This should remove any other affiliate cookies which are currently tracking you, ensuring that you start with a blank slate
  7. Use incognito mode: This should also help ensure that there are no cookies attached to your browser session when you start and removes any plugin’s your using. To open a new incognito window click ctrl+shift+n for google Chrome users (you can probably skip tips 5 & 6 if doing this).
  8. Disable any adblockers you have: Using incognito mode should automatically disable any adblocking software you have installed but it’s always a good idea to manually disable this while your shopping as well. This software can prevent cookies from being set which means that the portal cannot track your purchases.
  9. Click through to the merchant: You should obviously make sure you click through to the merchant from the portal you want to use. This will add the tracking cookie to your shopping session which is used to determine how much cash/points/miles to give you. I would’ve thought that this is common sense, but I saw my girlfriend do the exact opposite of this a few weeks ago (“cool sears is 10x!” then she starts opening up sears.com rather than clicking through)
  10. Make your purchases: Don’t open a whole heap of new windows to do this, just use the window you clicked through from. There really shouldn’t be any issues in using multiple tabs, but a safer is better than sorry approach should be adopted.
  11. Keep records of your purchases: At bare minimum you should be keeping a copy of your receipt/e-mail confirmation that made a purchase. I also like to take a screenshot as well, but I am overly cautious.

Do you do all of the above? Is there anything else you’d recommend doing, if so what is it?



30
Leave a Reply

avatar
 

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Roger Wilco
Roger Wilco

Good tips! What I do is to have a dedicated browser (Opera, in my case) with all security features disabled, no adblocking installed, just plain vanilla for cashbacked shopping.

I think you should make a note about the adblocking – it’s an excellent tool, but also blocks most referrals, that the cashback sites use. Yes, there are whitelists, that circumvent this, but I prefer it my way, that’s the surest.

For all other browsing purposes I use my trusted and well-armoured Firefox.

JVP
JVP

I usually go to the merchant website first to log in, then close the window, go to the Cash back portal and click on their link. When I enter the merchant site my info is logged in.

My reasoning was that I would lose tracking if I log in. Am I being paranoid here?

john
john

I do the same…

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

I have always logged into the merchant website AFTER the shopping portal takes me there. I’ve never had a problem with purchases being credited by the portals. (except when I ignored the “no other coupon” rule)

Ann
Ann

Opera has built-in ad-blocking, FYI. So you need to make sure to disable that even though you didn’t *install* any ad-blocker.

Dylan
Dylan

Genius. I’ve had problems with topcashback tracking on google chrome because I have adblock and a host of other settings and extentions that sometimes conflict.

Off to download opera then. Thanks for the recommendation!

trackback

[…] the inner workings of portals and how they are able to offer these great cashback opportunities and tips for the best way to be sure your purchases […]

Amy
Amy

There’s also cashbackwatch.com for comparing rates.

trackback

[…] 10 Tips For Getting A Cash Back/Points/Miles Portal To Track Correctly […]

TJ
TJ

I just used my iPad to make a purchase through AA portal but don’t see the purchase on portal just yet. Does it work on tablets? I clicked Walmart link thru AA portal which then I bought $50+ worth of stuff for AAs 10k mile promotion. How long does it take for the purchase to show up? Does it only work on regular computer? Thanks!

Ray
Ray

Not sure #7 is a good tip. Sometime incognito blocks tracking cookies and that may hinder the whole process.

Chuck

Maybe that’s a setting? I’ve never had a problem.

Credit
Credit

I was thinking the same thing

Stacking Points

Agreed. #7 should be removed from this list right away, lest a ton of readers miss out on CB due to using encognito mode. DoC is a site that intends to help people, not eliminate their cash back! 😀

Aaron
Aaron

This isn’t accurate. Incognito means that any existing cookies aren’t used and any cookies created during your incognito browsing session are wiped out when you close the incognito window. It doesn’t block any cookies from being created.

Incognito is probably the single most important tip on this entire list. Using Incognito (and ensuring I don’t have any browser plug-ins enabled on Incognito), I have a 100% tracking rate for my purchases year-to-date.

tro
tro

I have only ever had a couple purchases not track over the years, and those were resolved with a ticket, so in my experience 1,3,6, and 7 aren’t required. (Although #3 I have seen once or twice in the terms & exclusions for some retailers, in which case I do follow it.)

This is what I do:
1) Shop, fill up my cart, try out different codes etc. in my normal Chrome browser
2) Use cashback monitor to pick a portal
3) Go to portal (and make sure adblock is disabled for that portal), read the fine print for any surprises
4) Click through, click on my already full shopping cart, and complete the purchase. I don’t worry about adblock for the actual retailer site.

I think the suggestion to use a dedicated browser is good, too. I personally wouldn’t want to clear my cookies etc. all the time for sometimes just a few bucks back.

JL
JL

“3. Empty your cart.”

For real? I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong? I usually browse, research add to cart, and then go through portal before checking out. =/

Also haven’t really been tracking what has posted and what hasn’t.

Harry
Harry

Anyone know if logging into your shoprunner account either before or after clicking over from the portal will cause you not to get the cashback? Thanks!

BHO
BHO

re #11 keep a record, for years I’ve used a simple spreadsheet to track cashback; I keep it in Dropbox so I always have it handy. There’s a section for each portal I use, and each has a ‘template’ line to copy and insert, then edit per order. Columns for order date, vendor, order #, click #, price net of shipping/tax, cashback rate, expected cashback (price*rate of course), date expected (order date + 30days or whatever), date to inquire (order date +7days or whatever), and payout status (pending, confirmed, payable, paid). Once I get the payout those lines are deleted. It come in handy on every portal I use, every few months, and makes it dirt-simple to file a ticket at the right time. (It used to be ESSENTIAL for uPromise back when probably 30-40% of their cashbacks didn’t track properly, but was worth it when their Mastercard gave an extra 5. But those days are gone… though they’ve mostly fixed their tracking problems, at least!)

Peter
Peter

For 5 you should also remove/disable any browser add-ons/extensions. Some will hi-jack cookies/portal tracking and insert there own (such as Honey for Chrome).

For 7 I don’t recommend Incognito mode since it’s sometimes designed to prevent tracking by sites (blocking cookies, etc.). I use FireFox and never go Incognito for shopping, I just disable ad-blocker, click through portal, add to cart and check out. Always tracks for me.

Chris Highet
Chris Highet

Third-party cookies need to be enabled in addition to the first party ones.

Adam
Adam

One thing i always do is if the cash back portal has an app, to make sure I shop through that. Also some portals are definitely better than others in terms of honoring cash back / customer service. Even if some random portal has a better payout, I tend to go with Ebates or Topcashback unless the difference is crazy since I’ve had good luck with them in the past.

GL
GL

Most of my purchases track in my experience; I can’t really be bothered with the ~5% that don’t track unless it’s a really big purchase of big bonus. Then I send a message in. I find that Cartera portals tend to be very responsive and have resolved my issues quite quickly.

Theodora
Theodora

My main takeaway is that you have a girlfriend who shops at Sears.

So much for my fantasy crush…

Back to Top ↑