January 11, 2022

How To Earn Cashback On Your Invoices With Customer Rebates

by The Ottimate Editorial Team

Navigating your business’s financial landscape, with a focus on optimizing your invoice rebate, is essential for maintaining a healthy bottom line. It’s worth noting that most businesses operate with a slender net profit margin of just 5.05%, leaving little margin for financial missteps. This challenge is particularly daunting for small businesses and startups, where achieving sustained profitability can be a demanding endeavor

When assessing your budget and expenses, even small savings can make a huge difference for the life and success of your business. There’s always room to add another place to save or earn a stream of revenue.

So why can’t your invoice rebates be one of them?

With the help of customer rebates and cashback, your business’s expenses don’t have to be quite so large. 

Learn how to earn money back on each of your invoices: 

  1. Rebates
  2. Supplier Invoice Rebates
  3. Customer Invoice Rebates
  4. Card Cashback
  5. vCard Cashback
  6. Final Thoughts: Earn Cashback on Your Invoices With Customer Rebates

1. Invoice Rebate

No doubt you’ve heard the term rebate or manufacturer/vendor rebate before. Rebate programs are essentially money back on a service or product for agreed-upon terms. Vendor rebates offer customers a way to pay a lower price on their invoices and secures more business for suppliers. 

That’s because consumers are 75.4% more likely to make a purchase with a rebate. 

graph showing the importance of an invoice rebate.
Bar chart showing the importance of discounts and coupons to overall digital purchasing decisions. Source

Rebates are different from discounts and coupons because they aren’t given upfront. That means you have to wait to receive the rebate amount once a transaction is completed. In some cases, you may have access to instant rebates at the point of sale that act very similarly to discounts. 

Vendors offer invoice rebates for a variety of reasons. In many ways, they work to serve the interests of both parties. A manufacturer may offer a rebate to attract a new customer, win business from the competition, increase their market share, or encourage current customers to reorder in larger quantities. 

Since rebates are only given after the transaction is complete, they offer a measure of control to distributors for buyer behavior. For example, a rebate agreement may include restrictions on the total amount of products purchased and which ones the customer purchases. 

There are many different types of rebates. You can typically secure a rebate for one of the following reasons: 

When talking about rebates, it’s common to hear a couple of different terms: 

Supplier Invoice Rebate

Supplier invoice rebates are money back offered to customers to incentivize qualifying types of purchases. Suppliers offer them to win business or secure further sales. 

On the supplier side, rebates sometimes involve a dedicated rebate management professional to:

  • Determine the right kinds of rebates to offer
  • Keep track of rebates
  • Process rebates
  • Manage customer accounts 

Customer Invoice Rebate

Customer invoice rebate programs are similar to supplier rebates as both refer to the same transaction. The difference is that customer rebates are from the buyer’s perspective. For customers, the rebates don’t need as much work to manage, besides making sure you maintain eligibility and that they’re fulfilled through accounts receivable.

2. Card Cashback 

It’s very common for credit card companies to offer a small amount of cashback on purchases. The cashback ranges from 1% back on every purchase to as much as 5% cashback on specific purchases like restaurants or travel. 

Take a look at the cashback offerings of NerdWallet’s recommendations for the best business credit cards:

How can credit card companies afford to pay you to use their services?

Credit card companies charge merchant processing fees for each transaction. Since they earn money every time you use their credit card, they incentivize it by giving a small portion of those merchant fees back to you. Retail stores participate in this program because it broadens their potential pool of customers and offers convenient customer service. 

There are often a few stipulations on how much cashback you can redeem and what you can redeem it for. Most credit card companies have an annual limit on the amount of cashback you can earn. The upside is that you can use your credit card anywhere and still earn money back without negotiating a deal or meeting certain requirements. 

There are several additional benefits of getting a business credit card. For one, the line of credit is separate from your personal expenses. While you’ll probably need to use your own credit history to qualify for the card, the credit line will be associated with your business entity. That means your personal credit utilization won’t be affected. 

Business credit cards also offer different reward categories than personal credit cards. You can benefit from purchases on travel, shipping, advertising, and restaurants

The downside of a business credit card is that it may come with annual fees that undercut some of your earnings. Additionally, carrying a balance month-to-month will incur interest charges that can negate your small cashback benefits. 

There are many options to choose from, and you should carefully consider the pros and cons of opening a business credit card before jumping into a commitment.

3. vCard Cashback

Similar to credit card customer rebates, virtual payment networks also offer cashback for your business invoices. 

Services like Ottimate’s VendorPay provide a bill pay network with participating vendors and retailers, with a convenient and easy-to-use automated payment feature. 

Invoice rebate captured in Ottimate's system
Screenshot of Ottimate’s bill pay features. Source

The network also charges a small fee to the vendor, but in this case, the vendor benefits from the services because the automated services reduce time and expense on their end for a low price point. 

In addition, virtual cards (vCards) can be sent out in response to one-off or irregular invoices, which makes it easier to match payments with outstanding invoices. 

Almost all vendors expect to have a certain number of late invoices every month, but that uncertainty can make accounting more difficult. It also ties up revenue and requires account representatives to spend time collecting their B2B payments. 

It’s estimated that the average American small business owner has to spend 15 days a year attempting to collect payment. 

A virtual bill payment network like Ottimate’s VendorPay greatly lowers the average time vendors have to wait on payments, or the Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). While the industry average is 41 days, we found in a recent survey that our vendors have an average DSO of just 22.7 days.  

Chart showing the economy-wide Days Sales Outstanding benchmark, compared to Ottimate’s DSO of 22.7. Source

We offer a service that cuts out those difficulties and earns you cashback on every invoice. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

Final Thoughts: Earn Cashback on Your Expenses With An Invoice Rebate

Running your business already involves several expenses and bills that can eat into your profits. Finding ways to earn customer rebates on each one of your invoices can be a great way to make your money go further. 

Invoice rebates from your suppliers for fulfilling certain order requirements, paying with a business credit card, or joining an automated bill pay network like VendorPay all offer excellent options for cashback for your business. 

If you want to see how Ottimate can save you money and automate your accounts payable, request our free demo today. 

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