August 10, 2010, 2:35 PM

EBay launches a rewards program

EBay Bucks offers users 2% off on qualifying purchases made with PayPal.

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EBay Inc. has rolled out its eBay Bucks rewards program to all U.S. users. The program had lingered in beta testing phase since April 2009.

The program offers consumers 2% back on qualifying purchases made on eBay.com with PayPal, the online payment service that eBay owns. The program excludes purchases in eBay’s classifieds, business and industrial capital equipment, real estate and eBay Motors categories (except parts and accessories in eBay Motors).

Each qualifying purchase will automatically earn eBay Bucks, which accumulate every three months. After each quarter eBay will issue consumers a certificate with the total amount earned during the quarter, which the consumer can then apply to purchases made with PayPal on eBay.com. Each certificate is valid for 30 days upon issue.

EBay is limiting the amount of eBay Bucks consumers can earn to $200 on any single purchase and $500 for all qualifying purchases during a given calendar quarter. That means that if a consumer spent more than $25,000 during three months, he would accumulate only $500 in eBay Bucks.

Consumers’ Bucks certificates are automatically applied on most qualifying items on eBay.com when the consumer pays with PayPal. But if a merchant has a customized online checkout system, the consumer may have to enter the certificate’s promotional code when completing a purchase.

EBay settled on the 2% reward because it wanted the program to provide a meaningful incentive, says Marc Steffens, senior manager of the eBay Bucks rewards program.

“The average U.S. household has 13 loyalty memberships so in order for customers to take note of our program we had to get it right and create a meaningful program that resonates,” he says. “A 2% kickback is a meaningful reward for customers and actually gives them the opportunity to buy anything across eBay.”

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