It’s nice to be able to make money when you are just going about your every day business, every time you shop. What could be easier than that?
With the best cashback websites you can do just that. And, you can now earn cash when you shop instore as well as online.
It’s not hard for you to make a few hundred pounds a year if you shop smartly!
What is Cashback
Cashback sites have been around for a while now but if you’re not familiar with them, here’s how they work.
Rather than go directly to a retailers’ website to buy something, first go to a cashback site, login and search for the retailer. Then, click through to the retailers’ site from there to make your purchase.
You can buy pretty much anything from any type of retailer through a cashback site, from clothes to groceries to phone contracts, so cashback can be earned from most things you would buy anyway. All you need to do is remember to go to the cashback site first, and link from there to the retailer for the tracking to work.
The end retailer pays the cashback site a fee for sending you to them, and they pass on some of that fee to you.
It could be a set amount of cash, say a £10 bonus, or a percentage ranging anywhere between 1% up to 10% of the value of the items you’ve purchased. Offers vary by retailer. So that’s how you make money every time you shop.
Why do these companies give you free money, for something you were going to purchase anyway?
Well, if a store can reward you personally with a small amount of money for a purchase, that is much better for them than spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a fancy TV advert that you might or might not see.
It does feel personal too – psychologically we get a warm fuzzy feeling about the brand that rewards us, like it’s a gift – and so we’re more likely to return to them to purchase again.
The money itself comes from their big advertising budgets – you are just receiving a slice of advertising revenue. It’s one of many tools’ brands use in their marketing toolkit to attract and keep customers.
The best cashback sites
There are two big players in the cashback field – Quidco and TopCashback.
Quidco launched in 2005 and over 10 million people in the UK have joined them since then, earning over £400 million between them. That’s around £300 each on average each year!
They have 4500 retailers on their books, so almost everything you want to buy is likely to earn you some cashback.
TopCashback was also born in 2005 and also has 10 million members. They have over 5000 retailers and can pay 101% of the commission it receives from the retailer (all the money they receive plus a small bonus).
Both are free to join and both offer a premium account which unlocks higher cashback offers.
Use both sites, or use the one you prefer.
It can often pay to search for the retailer on both sites and compare offers before buying.
How to get cashback when you shop online
You decide you want to buy something. You head over to the Cashback website and search for the retailer that sells the thing you want to buy. You click through to that retailer and make the purchase. The cost of the item is the same, you don’t pay anything extra.
Your purchase is then tracked through fancy computer code from your cashback account, to the retailer, to the order completed page. After a few weeks, the money you earned from the purchase is sent to your cashback account and is yours.
How to get cashback when you shop instore
You register your debit or credit cards to your account, select an offer online to activate it, then use a registered card instore to make your purchase. It’s then tracked and paid in the same way.
There are less opportunities to get cashback for shopping in store than online right now, but both sites are adding new retailers to this feature all the time.
A word to the wise
Free money for buying something you would have bought anyway, is brilliant. And there’s no doubt smart shopping can net you a few hundred pounds each year.
But you should still exercise a bit of common sense when using cashback sites.
- Only purchase through a cashback site items you were going to buy anyway
Don’t get drawn into buying something just because of the cashback incentive – if you didn’t need it in the first place, don’t buy it.
- Check out the deals carefully
Is a £30 cash deal for an item better or worse than an 8% deal? Work it out against the purchase price before you buy. Also check whether the item is available for a cheaper price elsewhere – the saving from a retailer not giving cashback might be more than the cashback you’d receive from the retailer on the cashback site.
- When you have money in your cashback account – take it out
Withdraw any money you receive as soon as it hits your account so that you are earning interest on it, not the cashback site.
- Sometimes the cashback doesn’t get paid
As with all thing’s tech related sometimes there are issues, and the tracking links don’t work properly. If cashback is refused, you can open a dispute with the cashback site. But if the retailer isn’t prepared to pay them, there is nothing to pass on to you.
- Scams exist
Wherever making money is involved, scammers will try their luck. If a new cashback site appears and you need to pay to sign up, or it promises you crazy high returns – run.
Consider cashback a bonus – something extra you receive when shopping as you normally would – not as guaranteed extra money. Until it’s in your bank account – it’s not yours!
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