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 Canadian Merchants
A very small number of Canadian merchants belong to an affiliate network that report and pay us only in US dollars. The rebate amount may be slightly wrong due to the affiliate network converting the transaction amount to US dollars when the transaction is reported to us. We then convert back to Canadian dollars when we calculate your rebate and post the amount to your account. For these merchants we pay the currency conversion when we convert your rebate to Canadian dollars, however, it may not always be accurate. The currency conversion are constantly changing and may not correspond to the date you purchase. We have tried many times to get this affiliate network to report in Canadian dollars. Hopefully, they will change soon.
Errors at International Merchants
US and International merchants convert to Canadian Dollars because that is how they report to us and how we are paid. There is a small reduction (2 to 2.5%) in the transaction amount because of currency conversion.
Errors at Canadian Merchants with US Headquarters
Some merchants such as Hotels.com Canada, Expedia.ca, 123inkcartridges.ca 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 we are paid. In this case there is further reduction (a second 2 to 2.5%) because of the double conversion.
Here is an example :
You purchased an item for $100 at a US dollar merchant.
You paid : $100
Merchant Reported to us : $96.10
The US dollar to Canadian Dollar on date of transaction : 0.986
Click Here for the exchange rate on a specific date.
The bank charges for currency exchange and the merchant also charges for currency exchange. Added together it comes to approximately 2.5% (0.025) for the conversion.
Total conversion rate is now 0.986 X 0.025 = 0.961
The amount a US dollar merchant reports for the $100 item in Canadian dollars is : $100 x 0.961 = $96.10
Buying from Canadian merchants does not have any currency exchanges and charges. However, some Canadian merchants are on an affiliate network that reports only in US dollars.
Sorry for the calculations but that is the way it works. On the bright side look at it as free money.