Everyone seems to be talking about how they can earn cash rewards simply from buying everyday items. But what is cashback all about and can you really make money from these sites?
What is cashback and how does it work?
Basically, cashback works by giving customers back a percentage of their overall purchase price. It’s designed to reward you for shopping in certain stores or spending with certain companies. While you can get cash returned to you, you can also be offered gift cards or Amazon vouchers, usually with the value being increased if you choose these options over cash.
The two main cashback websites in the UK are TopCashback and Quidco. Both of these sites offer cash, either paid through BACS into your bank account or through Paypal, or gift cards that are then emailed to you.
The sites are very similar, each with their own cashback offers. You shop online but instead of going directly to the site where you’ll make your purchase you go to either TopCashback or Quidco and access the site or store through their links. This way the cashback sites can track your purchase and can then reward you with cashback.
What’s the catch?
The only catch is that you need to shop through the cashback sites in order to receive any cashback, which may be more time consuming than simply heading to the site you want and making a purchase.
However, you need to be careful that you don’t end up paying to use the cashback sites. Both Topcashback and Quidco have premium membership options, but they will charge a £5 annual fee, which is taken from your cashback earnings. So while you’re not really paying the fiver yourself, it does get deducted from your earnings.
You don’t need to buy anything different from what you would normally be buying. By clicking through these cashback sites you will simply be getting a little bit back in return. However, not all cashback promises are rewarded, as sometimes issues can arise that the sale isn’t registered with the site, so don’t let this be your main reason for buying something. And it’s still always a good idea to shop around before you commit to buying anything, as there could be a better deal out there.
Also, it’s worth noting that when you’re using a cashback site, this often means you can’t use any other discounts, such as student discount. So make sure you can’t get the same thing cheaper elsewhere first.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the cashback sites tend to need you to reach a certain amount of cashback rewards before you can have it paid into your account. But keep an eye on it and as soon as you’ve earned enough get it paid out, as there can be extra charges and interest, just for keeping it in there. So watch out for this and be savvy enough to withdraw it quickly.
How do you get paid?
Cashback sites will often offer to pay your rewards through cash or gift cards. Sometimes they will have special offers when you choose gift cards, such as doubling your rewards. But you can also choose to have the money paid into your bank account or into your Paypal account.
The reason why you get paid is because the big brands advertise on the cashback sites and then when you click through to their websites, the advertising commission is passed on to you after you make a purchase.
Sometimes you can also receive an extra bonus simply for signing up or for referring a friend to sign up. Although in order to receive the bonus you will usually need to make a first purchase, which could mean you get the equivalent back as cashback if it’s a low amount, meaning your purchase was free. And for you to receive your bonus from having a friend sign up, you will often have to wait for them to make a purchase before you see your cashback reward.
Before you click through to the offer, it will normally tell you how much cashback you can get by making a purchase - sometimes 5%, sometimes as much as 30%, depending on the offer. So whatever you buy after you click through to the store’s website you get, for example 5% of your purchase price, back as a cash reward in your Topcashback or Quidco account.