Cashback sites are nothing new, yet a surprising amount of online shoppers do not take advantage of them despite an overwhelming percentage of shoppers now choosing online over physical department stores. It’s no surprise; the benefits of shopping online are numerous with many sites competing by offering free delivery, regular special offers, and no hassle returns. However, you can make further gains by purchasing through cashback sites where possible.
This post explains how cashback sites work, why you should use them, why I prefer Topcashback, and how I made £521 by making purchases online via Topcashback.
I was introduced to Topcashback by an ex-colleague and friend, Abi, a staunch advocate of cashback sites – she’s even installed a browser extension so she continually earns while she surfs online. Abi explained how she regularly gets 3-5% cash back on purchases (sometimes up to 15% and often lump sum offers), even on Amazon where I love to buy all sorts of stuff. It sounded too good to be true, but is it?
How does cashback work?
Essentially, cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback earn commission off retailers for sending referrals to their sites that successfully complete a transaction (you can earn £2 by simply signing up to Quidco using this link). They then share a percentage of their commission with us, so it’s a win-win for all. It’s a great way for retailers to reach new customers while being a far more cost-effective method compared to other types of marketing.
How I made £521 in 15 months
The best deals are for subscriptions or larger purchases, particularly as a new customer. Around the time I signed up to Topcashback (Nov 2016), I had secured my mortgage as a first-time buyer so had plenty to prepare from arranging home insurance, white goods to broadband and choosing my energy suppliers. Prior to making any online purchase, check on Topcashback for current deals and cashback offers first!
Another great way of maximising your cashback payout is to exchange your cashback in the form of a giftcard – I will often opt for an Amazon Giftcard payout as you will receive an additional 3.4 % of your payout total.
This cashback was for signing up for an 18 month broadband deal with TalkTalk, and I believe the monthly contract was around £17 on the most basic broadband with no TV deals.
A selection of white goods from ao.com including an under counter fridge freezer, washing machine, and tumble dryer.
Accommodation in Alfreton for a weightlifting competition, back when I was actively competing :)
I believe this was the hotel I stayed at last year when I competed at the 2016 British Weightlifting Championship in Birmingham.
I received this cashback for referring a friend to use Topcashback who in turn saved a good deal on his new broadband deal along with a £100 M&S voucher!
More Th>n Insurance & Book People
I bought a great selection of books off the Book People website, a collection of shortlisted 2016 Man Booker Prize novels [The Sellout, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Eileen, His Bloody Project (currently reading), All That Man Is].
MoreThan home insurance, which finally paid out a year after I purchased the insurance. Normally cashbacks don’t take so long to pay out, but this one took forever.
Booking.com, Laterooms.com & Referral
The trip last December was a short break in Oslo with my mate Tom Finn, the booking.com was for an apartment we stayed in during our time in Bergen (amazing place btw but we never did catch the Northern Lights). Laterooms.com for a hotel I’d planned to stay in for the weightlifting competition I had planned to compete in, the English Championships – but pulled out of due to injury.
Finally got my sister Monica involved with cashback and received a nice referral cashback.
AA Breakdown Cover
After being fortunately rescued by a friend when my car suffered a breakdown, I no longer wanted to risk driving without breakdown cover so went ahead with AA’s UK Breakdown cover via Topcashback. The annual cost of £129 was offset by the £60 cashback. Come November, I will cancel the breakdown cover as there is a cheaper option through one of my banks, Nationwide.
I’ll be honest, there were a few signups to online gaming sites at the beginning as they were offering enticing deals for new members. Having a keen interest in gambling I could not resist taking a few up on their offers.
How gambling offers generally work is you sign up and deposit a minimum amount then you must wager X times the amount of the deposit before you are able to claim the cashback or merchant cash offer. As you can see below, I was not always successful and sometimes it cost me (especially on William Hill!) but overall I did ok.
It’s not an activity I condemn – providing you know what you’re doing and gamble sensibly and in moderation, I think it’s fine.
Why I prefer Topcashback over Quidco
I found that there are more merchants I shop with on Topcashback over Quidco, plus they generally pay out much faster and have better cashback rates than other cashback sites (other people have also confirmed this). However, it’s worth trying both out – you can earn £2 on Quidco by simply signing up using this link.
Things to be mindful about
A successful purchase can now and again not get logged for various reasons, so just to be on the safe side it’s worth taking a screenshot for proof.
Also, remember not to engage in impulse purchases! The temptation may be greater with cashback offers, but remember to ask yourself “do I really need this?” before buying. Besides the silly gambling signups above, I would have made those purchases with or without Topcashback, so that is something worth bearing in mind :)