Getting money back when you shop online might sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what cashback websites are designed to give you.
In these exceptionally tough times, many of us are looking for ways we can bring in a bit of extra cash, and although use cashback sites won’t make you rich, average earnings amount can amount to around £300 a year.
Here, we explain how they work, and what to watch out for.
How do cashback websites work?
Cashback websites are able to pay you cashback because they are paid a referral fee from the retailers you shop from, provided you’ve gone through them first.
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The two biggest cashback websites, Quidco.com and TopCashback.co.uk, both pay out up to 100% of the referral fees they get. They are both free to join, although you can pay £5 a year for Plus Membership with TopCashback or £1 a month for Premium membership with Quidco, which will get you extra cashback when you shop.
When shopping online, you use the cashback site you have chosen to search for the retailer you want to shop with. You’ll then be shown the cashback offers available from the retailer you’re shopping with, and whether any restrictions apply. You then simply select ‘get cashback’ and you then make any purchases you’d planned as normal on the retailer’s website. Any cashback you’ve qualified for will then be paid into the account you have with the cashback website.
When you want to take money out of your account you make a withdrawal request, and your cashback is usually paid in the form of a BACS transfer, PayPal credit or as an e-gift card.
Bear in mind that cashback isn’t guaranteed, so there’s no protection if, for example, a cashback website goes bust. Ideally you should take your cashback out as soon as possible, although there’s usually a minimum amount you can withdraw.
Other ways to earn cashback
Using cashback websites isn’t the only way you might be able to earn cashback. For example, Santander recently announced the launch of a range of fixed rate mortgages which give borrowers £500 cashback. The deals also come with a free standard valuation. Bear in mind though that your mortgage is likely to be your biggest monthly outgoing, so it’s important to look at the overall cost of any deal to make sure it’s right for you, rather than being tempted to sign up just because cashback is on offer.
Mobile network provider Three, which claims it is the UK’s fastest 5G network, is offering up to £250 cashback when customers switch to its network before July 7. Cashback will be issued through a pre-paid Mastercard. Customers can choose between a virtual card which can be used online anywhere Mastercard is accepted, or a plastic physical card which can be used online and instore and is subject to a £5 shipping and handling fee which will be deducted from the card balance.
You can also get cashback when you spend on various credit cards. For example, Lloyds Bank’s Mastercard credit card gives you £20 bonus cashback when you spend £1,000 or more using the card in the first 90 days after opening your account. After that, you’ll earn 0.25% cashback on all spending up to £4,000 a year and 0.5% on spending above £4,000.
Make sure you’re able to pay off what you owe in full though each month if using a cashback credit card, otherwise any interest you’re charged could outweigh the cashback you earn.