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Getting rewarded for doing your shopping might sound too good to be true but if you shop through a cashback website that’s exactly what you’ll get – a bit of money back on everything you buy.
While cashback websites (such as Curve, Quidco, TopCashback and Swagbucks) won’t make you a millionaire, if you use them on a regular basis you can make £100s each year. Read on to find out how to get the most out of cashback websites.
Cashback sites are essentially shopping portals. Instead of going directly to a company’s website to buy whatever it is you want, you visit that site via a cashback website and they pay you.
Why? Because the cashback website will have partnerships with all the retailers they list and will be paid by those retailers for directing people their way – and will then pass that money onto you.
You have to register as a member to use cashback websites, but it’s usually free. We recommend steering clear of any which ask you to pay to become a member.
As a member you’ll get an account and each time you shop through the site you’ll collect some cashback. It can take some time to process, but it will eventually be put in your account. After you reach a certain threshold – which varies between different cashback websites – you’ll be able to withdraw your money.
Getting 5% cashback on a £150 camera is not a good deal if you can get the same camera for £75 elsewhere. So do a bit of research online first (maybe on Amazon, eBay and elsewhere) to find out which retailer offers the cheapest deal.
Then see if you can find that retailer on a cashback website.
If they don’t, see if the cashback sites have the same item for the same price that you saw it elsewhere. If it’s there and you can get cashback on it as well – happy days!
Tracking your path through to a retailer can be a tricky business, which is why some cashback can get lost.
Cashback websites create something called a cookie – a tiny bit of digital information which identifies you – and it is stored on your computer.
The problem is that lots of other websites do that too, which can confuse things.
You know when you go onto Amazon and it immediately recommends you certain items based on what you’ve purchased and viewed on their site before? That’s done with a cookie.
So, to ensure you get the cashback that you should, make sure you clear your cookies, and click through directly from the cashback website to make your purchase.
As soon as you reach the threshold at which you can withdraw the money you’ve earned from shopping through a cashback website – do it.
There’s no point leaving it sitting in your account, and if anything were to happen to the company you’d lose it forever.
Earning cashback is great, but make sure you don’t end up buying things simply because you’re lured by the cashback deal. You’re not saving money if you end up spending it on things you wouldn’t have otherwise.
There’s nothing to stop you using several different cashback websites – and because plenty of them cover the same retailers but have different offers, it’s worth keeping an eye on a few.
Remember though that because of the threshold you can’t withdraw the money you earn immediately so if you use too many different sites, you’ll never be able to get your hands on your earnings.
Many cashback websites reward you for getting friends to use the site too. So if your friends fancy saving some money too, get them on to these sites and make some extra money for yourself. Free Fivers pays you £3 when you sign up and another £3 when you refer a friend.
By the way, there are lots of sites that let you make money by referring a friend. See our article here on how to make money referring friends.
As we’ve said it’s worth signing up to a few different cashback websites, but because there are so many about how do you know which to go for?
Probably the biggest and most established cashback websites are
Both pretty much have the best variety of retailers and the most competitive offers.
Quidco. offers £10 cashback just for signing up.
TopCashback promises to give you 100% of the cashback i.e. it passes on everything it gets from the retailers to you. It also doesn’t charge an annual admin fee.
Swagbucks lets you earn for every pound you spend. They have over 700 merchants and counting. You can earn cashback from all the popular brands such as, eBay, M&S, Waitrose, Tui, Next, House of Fraser, Expedia, Hotels.com and much more!
If you’re feeling philanthropic consider donating your cashback to charity. The site Give or Take gives you the choice of either ‘taking’ your cashback or ‘giving’ it to a charity of your choice. If you ‘take’ there is a £5 admin fee, if you ‘give’ they’ll waive it.
Try out our favourite cashback websites:
As well as doing your shopping through a cashback website, you can earn even more by paying for it with a cashback credit card.
There is no conflict between the two so you will get cashback for the same product twice!
Some credit cards give you points instead of cash, but those can be even better as you can use them in your favourite shops like M&S or John Lewis. Others give you airmiles which you can then use to have free fights, hotels, train journeys and even trips to Legoland.
So if you’re the sort of person who tends to pay off their credit card bill before the interest kicks in, use a cashback or ‘rewards’ credit card when you buy and get a double-whammy.
Compare the best cashback credit cards here. Take at look at the cards under the headings ‘Rewards‘ and ‘Airmiles‘.
If you’re a bargain-loving shopaholic, you should check out this article…
…this is where you and your friends can help each other get massive savings on everything from days out to beauty products!