WARNING: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk
WARNING: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk

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Cashback Websites – A Quick Rundown and How They Work

April 25, 2018

Cashback sites are a wonderful thing! With the amount of money us Brits spend online increasing each year, online retailers are fighting harder and harder for our custom. They are more willing than ever to offer a little something extra to attract new business, and that includes cashback for savvy shoppers.

How do Cashback websites work?

You’ve probably seen the promotions that many companies often run, that encourage you to introduce a friend to their services. In exchange for that recommendation, you may receive a £25 gift voucher or something similar as a thank you – a commission.

Cashback is very similar to that. In this case, it is the cashback website that is the friend doing the introduction. You are the new customer about to buy something. But the cashback website doesn’t keep that commission that the online shop pays. Instead, it passes it on to you. They may take a small percentage, but the majority of that commission will be given to you.

How much cashback can I earn?

The amount of cashback you can earn will vary depending on what you are buying or signing up to. Something like an online clothes shop may pay between 3% and 5%, and occasionally ten or fifteen percent. On a £100 shop, that is between £3 and £5, not a massive amount, but an amount worth having nonetheless. Those fivers can quickly add up!

It is on the bigger things that you may pay a monthly fee for where it can get exciting. Think car insurance, mobile phones, broadband, energy and other services that cost you regularly. Commissions can go up to a whopping £250, though that is a rare occurrence. Typically, we see £30 – £80 paid, and they are on things that you would otherwise normally be buying. A few of us in our office earn around £100 a year in cashback. Not bad!

But what’s in it for cashback websites? Are they a charity?

We don’t know of any cashback websites that operate as a charity or non-for-profit organisation. As mentioned above, they earn a small bit here and there – a few pence on your commission, or receiving bonuses from the shops for hitting certain targets. They are very much in the business of making money. Consider the fact that these online shops sometimes turn to cashback sites for a sales boost, and so there are usually bonuses and other incentives on offer if they help the retailers hit their sales targets.

How do I begin to earn cashback?

The two biggest and most popular cashback websites are Quidco and Topcashback. They each have millions of users, and pay many millions in cashback every year. They are free to sign up to. Once signed up, instead of visiting – let’s say ASOS – via Google, you visit them via the cashback website. Your visit to ASOS gets tracked or recorded by the cashback website, and ASOS can tell the cashback site you’ve made a purchase later on. Your cashback website knows who to pay the money to then.

Signing up is easy and can have an account in a couple of minutes.

What’s the catch?

There is no catch!

If you were about to buy a t-shirt for £20 on ASOS and they’re offering 10% cashback, you will get £2 back, making that t-shirt just £18. It doesn’t get deducted during checkout (you’ll pay £20 still today), but it comes back to you into your cashback account later on, and can be withdrawn into your bank account. Quite literally, free cash! Retailers do not increase their prices for using cashback websites, so you will get treated exactly the same as a normal customer.

We recommend signing up to both Quidco and Topcashback, as one sometimes has higher rates of cashback than another. It is nice to be able to choose the best for what you’re about to buy!

Anything else I should know?

Our tips for being successful with cashback are:

  • Disable your adblocker – many people turn to adblockers so they can enjoy the internet more freely. However, these adblockers can usually stop cashbacks from tracking your purchase, so it is important to turn these off temporarily. Once the purchase is done, turn them back on!
  • Clear your cookies – before visiting the retailer, clear your cookies so you appear as a new or ‘clean’ visitor to the website you are about to buy from.
  • Avoid using discount codes – using discount codes are OK, as long as you found them on the cashback website. If you found them via Google, somebody else somewhere will probably be getting a commission instead of you getting the cashback.
  • Install the browser extension or toolbar – Both Quidco and Topcashback have an extension for Chrome, Firefox and other popular browsers that remind you to use cashback websites. If you browse to a website and haven’t gone via the cashback website, it’ll pop up and remind you to click through so you can earn your cashback.

A nice little bit of extra money…

Many people treat their cashback as a little bit of a bonus. When cashback is paid into a bank or PayPal account, you’ll get sent an email and can have a little celebration knowing that some extra money is just around the corner!

However, if your cashback is pending, but hasn’t arrived yet, and you’re in need of some cash now, then we might be able to help. Our short term finance comparison is perfect. There’s no need to apply at dozens of different sites. Just put your details in once, and we’ll find someone who can get you the cash you need today. Click here to find out more.

In the meantime, go ahead and sign up to Quidco and Topcashback.