Posted by Chuck on February 5, 2015

Published on February 5th, 2015 | by Chuck


How long does it take to receive notification from a shopping portal?

Portal Delays

We often go through shopping portals as a way of accruing extra cashback or extra miles or points. How long will it be until you hear from the portal that your purchase tracked and you have pending points/cashback available?

This a question people wonder often because it could be nerve-racking waiting for a large portal purchase to track (think: Amex gift cards). Sure, if it doesn’t track you should be able to file a claim and get the money that way, but we always prefer the ease and assurance of knowing that it’s taking care of.

I’ll share my recent experiences with Ebates, TopCashBack, Upromise, ShopDiscover/DiscoverDeals, SavingStar and more. I’d love to hear from others what they’ve experienced with these portals or any other portals. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a clearer picture. If we do, I’ll update the post with the results.

One important note, there appears to be a difference between various merchants as to how fast they send the purchase info to the portal; we couldn’t paint every merchant with one brush. That being said, it appears to me that it’s more of a question of how fast the portal lets us know about it (or, possibly, how fast the portal themselves find out about it), since it seems to vary more from one portal to the other, and less from one merchant to the other.

Some Estimations

Here are some experiences:

  • Ebates Over many transactions, they’ve always sent notification within 24-48 hours.
  • TopCashBack This is the portal I’ve used the most. Over dozens of transactions, I invariably receive a notification email within 48 hours.
  • ShopDiscover/DiscoverDeals Notification ranges from 2-8 days. Seven days seems to be the most typical.
  • Upromise I’ve used a bunch of times. I used it recently for a Staples purchase, and I received notification 8 days after the purchase. One reader mentioned that it could vary from 3 days to a full month.
  • SavingStar Across a few Staples purchases I did with them, I got notification between 3-7 days after the purchase.
  • FatWallet Usually within 24-48 hours.
  • ShopAtHome I’m new to this portal. I made one recent eBay order, and it took 8 days until I got the cashback pending email.
  • Extrabux I used them once and it took 8 days until I got the pending cashback email.
  • UltimateRewards from Chase One report mentions a 5-day wait until receiving notification of purchase.
  • MrRebates Should be within 24-48 hours (1).
  • Barclay RewardBoost Varies. Often 1-3 days, but could be up to a month.
  • Alaska Sometimes up to a month.(FrequentMiler)
  • Delta Sometimes up to a month. (FrequentMiler)
  • United Around 3 weeks

Please let us know about any experience you have with any of these portals mentioned or any other portals.

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josh f
josh f

United is around 3 weeks


How about an article on how long it takes for these websites to actually pay after each purchase.

I have used most of the above mentioned websites and in my opinion thet are not very fast in paying people for there purchases.


Savingstar is really good. Good rates and pay months ahead of topcashback and be frugal, at least in my experience. I’ve been waiting for months for those two – nothing.


I’d be happy if they would at least track on time or give some reassurance that the portal (Cartera, I’m looking at you) has captured the click-thru. I haven’t had one single purchase track automatically in years, not since the US Grand Slam days. I always screenshot any purchase and have to chase them up a couple months later. It’s getting really annoying!


I’ve found Upromise varies greatly depending on the merchant — from three days ( to a month after purchase (Snapfish).


[…] Mileage portals seem to run differently than standard cashback and banking portals. Many mileage portals run through the Cartera affiliate network. They’re usually slower to send notification of purchases, likely due to a different operating system. See How long does it take to receive notification from a shopping portal? […]

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