Whenever you’re shopping online, you might be missing out on some cashback (in addition to the 1% from your credit card!) if you’re not going through a cashback site. Cashback sites work by getting you to click through from a website before going through and making your purchase on the retailer you were originally going to go through. You then get the earnings a couple of weeks later.
Whilst the percentages seem small, it all adds up over time: I’ve earned around £250 a year just from making sure to click through before buying online.
There’s only really two ‘100%*’ cashback sites: and there’s only really minor differences between the two. Generally, both will offer the same companies and cashback, but there are exceptions, so make sure you check both before clicking through.
TopCashback: 1% bonus cashback, no annual fee, manual payments, ads
TopCashback is the main site I use for my cashback: it offers an additional 1% cashback versus Quidco, and there’s no £5 annual deduction from your earnings. You do need to request cashback payments manually though, but they do offer payment in Tesco Clubcard points, which you can redeem for 4x the value in restaurants (although in reality, this is probably more like 2x, since most of the restaurants in the offer have 50% off deals with Tastecard, and you can’t use the vouchers with any other offer). There are banner ads on each page – make sure not to click on these if you’re trying to get cashback.
Quidco: £5 annual fee, automatic payments
Quidco was the first cashback site I signed up with a couple of years back, but it’s since been replaced by TopCashback as my main site, mainly due to the annual fee which is deducted from your cashback.
Tips and tricks
- Read the terms and conditions for the retailer – some companies will only pay out for new customers only (e.g. Skype)
- Don’t make your purchases based on the cashback – it’s not guaranteed to be paid out (although I’ve had a pretty good success rate)
- Not all retailers offer cashback. Amazon is a good example of this
- Some retailers may charge more for users clicking through from a cashback site. I’ve only seen this on Vistaprint and Charles Tyrwitt
- Make sure that you don’t click on a banner ad/other link to a website after you’ve clicked through: these will override your cashback provider, meaning that the other site gets your money instead of you – this includes sites such as Hot UK Deals, who make their money by taking the cashback
- Turn off any ad-blocking extensions you use in your browser. These may cause your purchases not to track by blocking the site used to track your purchase
- If you’re using Chrome, it’s probably safest to use “incognito” mode (Ctrl + Shift + N) to ensure that no tracking cookies remain in your browser. You’ll need to log in to the site again though.
- Once you’ve made your purchase, and are through to the final page, wait a few seconds before clicking through elsewhere or closing the window: often the tracking sites are a bit slower to load and are doing so in the background once the purchase is made
- It takes a couple of weeks for the payment to go through, but your purchase should track after a few hours/days. This is so you can’t return the item and get cashback
I earn £10 for TopCashback users who reach £10 earnings, and £2.50 for Quidco users who reach £5 earnings. A donation equal to this amount will be made to a charity.
* ‘100%’ cashback sites refer to the base level of cashback the retailers pay – the cashback sites make additional money from performance related incentives, in addition to the annual fee/advertising revenue from banner ads.