What Is a Rebate? Meaning, Types, 8 Facts

Customers receive rebates in the form of a credit for a percentage of the original purchase. A rebate is a fee paid by the stock borrower to the stock lender in the event of a short sale.

What Is a Rebate?

A rebate is a proportion of interest or dividends paid to the owner of the stock or bond shares being sold short as part of a short sale transaction by a short seller. Short selling necessitates the use of a margin account.

A rebate is any monetary amount credited or refunded to a customer following a sale. Cash back is one type of refund that may be obtained after purchasing a product or service.

What Is a Rebate?

Either a percentage of the purchase price will be reimbursed or the price will be reduced, or the rebate may be conditional on completing specific conditions, such as a “buy one, get one free” clause.

To qualify for certain conditional rebates, the buyer must fill out a form and return it to the cash-back provider, along with a proof proving they paid for the item.

Understanding Rebates

Either a percentage of the purchase price will be reimbursed or the price will be reduced, or the rebate may be conditional on completing specific conditions, such as a “buy one, get one free” clause.

To qualify for certain conditional rebates, the buyer must fill out a form and return it to the cash-back provider, along with a proof proving they paid for the item.

Although businesses may incur a loss when providing a refund, they generally find a way to benefit in the long term. Even if corporations do lose money, customers who use rebates may wind up purchasing more costly products, resulting in a net gain to the company.

Businesses frequently “price protect” certain products by offering rebates on comparable items in the expectation that greater sales volume would justify preserving the original price of the protected items.


The mail-in rebate is one of the most prevalent types of reimbursements used by customers.

Some clients do not take advantage of the deal because of the additional labor required. Many businesses evaluate this issue before offering a mail-in refund.

What Is a Rebate?

Businesses may plan on a median price decrease that is less than the payback promised if they anticipate that a portion of consumers would actually claim the refund.

Vehicle Rebates

Rebates are frequently included in the purchase price of new autos.

The carmaker, rather than the dealer, is frequently responsible for the reimbursement. The manufacturer sends monies to the dealer, who then passes them on to the buyer.

If a customer qualifies for a rebate, the dealer is obligated by law to deliver the full amount of the rebate.

Rebates can have a detrimental influence on resale value because they basically decrease the buying price.

Rebates vs. Discounts and Reduced Interest Rates

Discounts are applied before to checkout, whereas rebates are collected after payment. Manufacturers, such as automakers, are less inclined to provide price decreases than retailers.

Lower interest rates may assist to minimize payments for costly items such as automobiles.

When buying a car, customers are usually given the choice of either a refund or a cheaper interest rate. With the rebate option, the buyer will have more cash on hand, but the savings from a lower interest rate will build up over time.

Rebates in Securities Trading

A short seller’s purpose in the financial markets is to benefit from a decline in the value of a stock or other asset.

Shorted securities are ones that the seller does not own. The stock must be borrowed from the owner and then delivered to the buyer via the broker. A short sale transaction necessitates the seller transferring shares to the buyer on the settlement date.

With the anticipation that the stock price would fall, the seller will be able to repurchase the shares at a lower price and profit.

When selling short, the seller assumes limitless risk since the price of the shares that must be bought might rise by any amount. A trader, on the other hand, can restrict their exposure by stopping a short sale at any time.

The stock borrower is liable to pay the stock lender any dividends declared while the stock is borrowed. Any income earned on a short-sold bond must be repaid to the lender as well.

When a short seller borrows shares, the short seller or the short seller’s broker may pay a rebate fee plus interest to the lender of shares.

Individual investors struggle to achieve the minimum deposit criteria since rebate eligibility sometimes necessitates a significant balance in a trading account. Large institutions, market makers, and brokers/dealers frequently benefit from rebates.

What Is a Rebate?

Short Sale Rebate Fee

When a short seller utilizes a borrowing facility to deliver securities to a buyer, a rebate fee is assessed. This fee is determined by the sale price and the quantity of available shares. If the shares are difficult or expensive to borrow, the rebate costs will rise.

The brokerage firm may compel the short seller to acquire securities in the market prior to the settlement date. When an investor is pressured into making a purchase, we term this a “forced buy-in.”

If a broker has cause to believe that the shares will not be available on the settlement date, he or she may request a forced buy-in.

Before shorting a stock, a trader should check with their broker regarding the short sale rebate charge. If the charge is too large, shorting the stock may not be worthwhile.

How Margin Accounts Are Used in Short Stock Rebates

According to Federal Reserve Board Regulation T, all short sale trades must be completed through a margin account. A short sale deal requires a margin account equal to 150 percent of the trade’s value. As an example, if an investor’s short sale is $10,000, the required deposit is $15,000.

Because short sellers may lose as much as they put into the market, brokerages often require a substantial initial deposit from new customers. When the price of the security rises, the short seller must put up extra collateral to cover possible losses.

When a borrower’s short position suffers a greater loss and the borrower is unable to make a larger capital deposit, the borrower’s short position is liquidated.

If the borrower’s losses surpass the amount of money in the account, he or she is still liable for the whole amount.

For the purpose of argument, suppose a trader shorts 100 shares at $50 a share. They are $5000 short in shares and must maintain a minimum balance of $7500. If the stock price declines, the short seller has nothing to worry about.

However, if the stock price unexpectedly rises, the trader may be required to deposit extra cash into the account to offset any losses.

The merchant will have to pay $8,000 in fines. This is the cost of exiting the position if the stock unexpectedly rises in price from $60 to $80 per share overnight. The trader must put an extra $12,000 into the account to keep the transaction alive, or else terminate it and take the loss.

There would be a $3,000 loss (or $30 times 100 shares). This amount will be deducted from their current balance of $7,500, leaving them with $4,500 after expenses.

Example of a Rebate

Assume an investor borrows $10,000 in stock ABC to short it. On the day of trade settlement, a simple interest rate of 5% will be imposed, as agreed upon by the trader. As a result, by the time the transaction is completed, the trader’s account balance should be $10,500.

On the day of transaction settlement, the trader must send $500 to the investor or the person from whom the shares were borrowed.


Rebates are widely used as a type of promotion in retail since they have the ability to improve the desire of price-conscious customers to make a purchase. For example, a customer may be charged $79 for an item but only pay $39 once a $40 refund is issued.

What Is a Rebate?

In certain circumstances, discounts are offered at the register rather than through manufacturer rebates, eliminating the need for coupons or postal rebates.

“Cashback offers,” on the other hand, are a frequent type of compensation for high-priced retail items supplied with a credit arrangement, such as mobile phone contracts.

To enhance their market share, businesses may use rebates to attract customers to pick their goods and services over those of their competitors. Profits at one business climb as a consequence, while profits at others plummet.

Types of rebates

Instant rebate

When a product is offered at a fixed or discounted price, and the discount is applied at the time of purchase, this is referred to as an instantaneous refund, or sometimes instant savings.

If a company advertises a widget at $9.99 but gives a $5 instant rebate, the effective price is $4.99. Alternatively, a $5 instant rebate might be provided, lowering the final price to $4.99.

Because quick rebates are handled at the point of sale, the discount is applied immediately after the customer completes the transaction.

If we view the instant reimbursement as a price reduction, it makes sense. Accounting-wise, the consumer’s speedy reimbursement would lower the real invoice by the amount of the rebate. Then:

invoice cost = product cost – instant rebate amount

Mail-in rebate

The most common form of rebate is the mail-in rebate, which requires the client to do something in order to get the compensation. To receive the rebate, the consumer must provide their phone number, name, postal address, and receipt (or proof of purchase).

There is frequently a deadline by which a mail-in rebate application must be submitted in order to be processed. The majority of refunds are completed and mailed out within 12 weeks after purchase.

In response, the product’s original manufacturer or the refund processing business will mail a check.

Regulations and laws

Any refunds offered must comply to any local limits that may be in place. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) aim is to protect American consumers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered that firms pay out refunds within the agreed-upon time limit.

The FTC also mandates full disclosure of any fees or deadlines that are important to a consumer’s decision. Furthermore, certain forms of advertising are subject to regulations.

For example, television advertising are not permitted to purposely obfuscate information by making it too tiny or removing it before it can be read.

If a Connecticut business advertises the net price of an item after a rebate, section 42-110b-19(e) of the state’s laws require the firm to deliver the refund to the client at the time of purchase. Rhode Island has a law that is quite similar (Gen. Laws 6-13.1-1).

What Is a Rebate?

Otherwise, the after-rebate price cannot be advertised as the final price to be paid by the consumer. For example, retailers in Connecticut can advertise only “$40 with a $40 rebate,” not “Free After Rebate,” unless they give the rebate at the time of purchase.


Rebates are a marketing strategy employed to create an incentive to keep purchasing. Differently from discounts, rebates are given after the sale is concluded.

These rebates were normally sent by physical e-mail with an application that had to be filled and sent back in order to receive it. Companies would ask for certain personal information from the client to issue the rebate, which also serves as a market research tool.

There are typically two types of rebates used: an instate rebate, where the discount is taken immediately at the store register, or a mail-in rebate, or MIR, where the customer must fill out documentation, and mail it in order to receive their refund.

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