Most cash back rebates are reported exactly as advertised. Unfortunately, the rebates at some merchants are not exactly what you expect. Here is a closer look to the reason :
What Amount is Used to Calculate a Cash Back Rebate
All merchants report the amount after any discounts and excludes taxes, shipping and fees.
Errors at International Merchants
US and International merchants convert to Canadian Dollars because that is how they report to us and how you are paid.
Here is an example :
You purchased an item for $100 USD at a US dollar merchant.
Merchant reported to us : $80 CAD
The US dollar to Canadian Dollar exchange rate on date of transaction : 0.80
Some merchants such as Hotels.com Canada, Expedia.ca and a small number of other merchants do not have their own Canadian affiliate program. They are joined with their US parent affiliate program. This means they convert all transactions to US dollars because they are under the US affiliate program. Then the affiliate network converts back to Canadian dollars because that is how they report to us and how you are paid. In this case, there is a reduction of 2% to 2.5% of the sale amount for each currency exchange.
Here is a simplified example :
You purchased an item for $100 CAD at a Canadian Dollar site with a US affiliate program.
You paid : $100 CAD
Merchant reported to us : $96.02 CAD
The merchant arrived at this amount when they converted $100 CAD to USD and then back to CAD.
The currency exchange charges come to approximately 2% for each currency exchange.
CAD to US exchange fees = $100 X 0.02 = $2
US to CAD exchange fees = $98 X 0.2 = $1.98
Final Amount = $100 - 2 - 1.98 = $96.02
These are all approximations as the exchange fees vary from affiliate network to affiliate network.
Buying from most Canadian merchants does not have any currency exchanges and charges. The above example only applies to those under their US headquarters affiliate program. Look for the Currency Exchange notes on each merchant page on this site to see which merchant this affects.
Sorry for the calculations but that is the way it works. On the bright side look at it as free money.