Cashback services are a great way to save a little money while you shop online. They don’t give straight discounts, but instead reward you with - as the name suggests - cash rewards that are credited to your account at a later date. If you’re looking to get the most from your shopping, then they can be a great way to receive a little bonus every now and then. Here’s our roundup of the best cashback services.
What is a cashback service?
When you shop online there are a huge variety of retailers vying for not only your attention but also your money. Cashback sites recognise this and allow you the chance to benefit from the fierce competition. By visiting the cashback site first (after setting up an account), you can then navigate to a huge number of retailers and receive offers for selected items or services. These are tracked by the cashback site and logged in your account. Then, when you accrue the agreed amount, you can have the money paid into your bank account.
Where does the money come from? Well, it’s essentially advertising commission that the cashback sites receive from your purchases and which they pass a portion of back to you. It’s a great way to save a little as you shop.
We’d recommend treating cashback sites as a bonus rather than any income you can rely on, as there can be issues or disputes between sites when it comes to tracking purchases. But if you proceed with this mindset then it can be a great and cost-free way to get a bit of pocket-money when shopping online.
One of the biggest cashback sites in the UK is Quidco. This site boasts an impressive 4500+ retail partners, with the largest names including Amazon, Argos, M&S, Currys PC World, Uber, Tesco, eBay, Lenovo, Nike, Sky, and many more.
Once your free account is set up you simply visit the Quidco site, look for the various deals on offer or retailer that you want to visit, then click on the link. You’ll be notified that your visit is being tracked, which means Quidco can register any purchases that are part of cashback deals.
The service is free, but you can sign-up to the Premium tier for £1 from your cashback balance each month. The benefits are worth it if you do a lot of shopping online, as the cashback rates can be double that of the free account. Quidco also offers its ClickSnap and High Street features which allow you to earn money on items you buy in physical stores by either scanning in the receipt or logging your card details so that Quidco can track any purchases with participating retailers.
Another big player in the cashback arena is Top Cash Back which is not only in the UK but also in the USA as well. Much like Quidco, you’ll find various sections into which participating retailers are placed, making it easy to find the ones you’re after. Partners include all the big names – Amazon, eBay, Sky, boohoo, Gillette – plus a number of credit card, insurance, mobile phone and travel sites. One advantage it has over Quidco is that you can get cashback when buying gift cards for certain brands.
You can have your cashback paid out in a number of ways, including by BACS, PayPal or credit for popular retailers such as Amazon, Primark, GAP, Tesco, and others.
Like Quidco there are free and paid tiers, with the latter offering better cashback rates as well as other incentives. The Plus tier costs £5/$5 of your cashback balance per year.
20Cogs takes a slightly different approach when it comes to cashback. Rather than signing up for an account and then using the service as a springboard onto retail sites, it instead offers various trial deals that you can explore, and from which gain a variety of cash rewards. In our short time we were given the incentives of taking a month’s subscription to Readly, Which, and other premium sites, plus various food, gambling, and survey-based services.
You have to complete 20 cogs to activate a pay-out (hence the name), but as long as you make notes on your calendar to cancel the sites to which you sign up, it’s possible to garner some decent cash for a minimal outlay.
This site has a novel approach in that you get cashback as you’d normally expect from visiting and shopping online, but the pay-outs go into a savings account for your child. You can even invite other family members to participate, so granny and grandpa can contribute to the pot when they’re making purchase at their favourite website.
The range of supporting retailers doesn’t quite match that of Quidco or TopCashBack, but with over 2,500 to choose from - including Amazon, Apple, Currys PC World, Sainsburys, eBay, Groupon, and others - you’re sure to find plenty of places that will send money to your little one’s virtual piggy bank.
Kidstart pays-out to any Child Trust Fund, bank or building society account, but if you want to make the money go further there’s also the Junior ISA account that Kidstart offers.
The Giving Machine
Another way you can make the world a better place while online is to sign up to a service like The Giving Machine. This is a cashback site, but instead of the money coming to your account you can select from around 1,000 charities and have the cash go directly to them instead.
Whether it’s Mind, Shelter, Guide Dogs, Friends of the Earth, or any one of the many worthy causes available, shopping with The Giving Machine makes sure that your contribution to capitalism is offset by a donation to charity. So, feel free to spend like crazy all in the knowledge that you’re helping those less fortunate than yourself.