The ultimate guide to cashback

Student Cashback Offers

If you love shopping then using cashback is a no-brainer, it’s money back on almost anything you can buy online, and you can even earn cashback shopping in store with your credit or debit card.

Unfortunately a lot of people either don’t know about cashback, or assume that it’d be too much effort to use. We’ve had it for a few years and have made close to £500, just through making a few extra clicks before we press ‘buy’.

cashback explained

The basics

The two major cashback sites you need to know about are Quidco and TopCashback. Both fundamentally do the same thing, but there are subtle differences in the services each one offers as well as exclusive deals you’ll only be able to get on one site or the other. It’s definitely worth signing up to both, but be aware that you can’t earn cashback for the same transaction on both sites, so choose well!

How cashback works is by retailers like Topshop, eBay, Tesco etc. offering a percentage commission on sales, and this goes to voucher sites like us, or bloggers, or magazine websites, but cashback sites offer that money back to you, the customer. It’s a great way to cut out the middleman, but you have to remember that the commission will go to whoever’s link you click through last before you make a purchase, so we recommend doing one final click through a cashback site before you check out to give you the best chance of earning that money back.

You’ll earn the most money for big purchases like broadband and mobile contracts, with some retailers paying as much as £80 for a sign up, but even the odd 2% back on clothes shopping can soon add up.

Unfortunately cashback isn’t guaranteed, and sometimes it won’t work alongside voucher codes or exclusive offers from specific websites. However we’ve found that most of the time our cashback always comes through, even when we use discount codes.

what is cashback

How they pay out

Both TopCashback and Quidco offer you the option of paying out through BACS bank transfer, PayPal or Amazon vouchers, but TopCashback has a number of other ways to earn too.

Using our TopCashback payout is our favourite way to earn Clubcard vouchers, and you can also get up to a 5% bonus by paying out as a gift voucher instead of cash, and there are lots to choose from including Starbucks, Boots, River Island and restaurant vouchers.

Is it worth upgrading your account?

Quidco and TopCashback both have the option of upgrading your account to “Plus” or “Premium” for £5 a year. Payment is taken from the first £5 cashback you make in a year, so you don’t actually have to “pay” for it, but if you’re a low earning cashback user then it’s probably not worth it, just keep the fiver for yourself!

As a bonus for becoming a Premium member with Quidco you get no ads, exclusive offers and a 2% bonus when you cash out for an Amazon voucher, so to make it worth it, monetarily you’ll need to be earning £250 cashback a year (and want Amazon vouchers).

For TopCashback Plus members you also get no ads and exclusive offers, but you get a 5% cashback boost on everything you earn, so if you’re bringing in £100 a year then it’s definitely worthwhile. You also get an additional 10% boost on Cineworld payouts, so it might be worth it for cinema fans.

best cashback deals

Ways to get extra cashback

Sign up bonus

If you’re new to TopCashback or Quidco you can get an initial ‘freebie’ for signing up. It’s usually a 100% cashback offer worth around £10, and it could mean a free pizza, DVD or box of chocolates for you. Keep an eye on our Quidco and TopCashback brand pages, as well as the freebies section for offers like this.

Friend referrals

You’d be surprised how many people have never heard of cashback at all, even some of the savviest shoppers will have never been tempted to sign up. The amount you’ll get for referring a friend from both cashback sites goes up and down, so wait until you get an email telling you that it’s boosted - you could get £15/£20!

Free cashback

Check out the free cashback sections on TopCashback and Quidco for ways to get cashback for doing things that are 100% free like requesting a sim, or getting a car insurance quote.

Get cashback in store

You can also earn cashback when you use your credit or debit card in store, just go to TopCashback and Quidco, enter your card details and activate some of the offers for shops you always go to. Quidco is our favourite for this, there’s a massive range of shops you can earn in store cashback for, including Argos, River Island, Caffe Nero and Halfords. Check out our article on Quidco High Street.

We usually forget that we ever signed up for it, then it’s a nice surprise when we receive cashback for it!

Get cashback at the supermarket

You can use Quidco ClickSnap and TopCashback Snap and Save to earn cashback on groceries by scanning in your receipts into the site. There are plenty of freebies to pick up each week, and it’s quite painless to use because the money goes in with the rest of your normal cashback and there’s no fiddling with external apps.

Be cheeky

If your family is anything like our’s, then they’re probably always asking you to do stuff for them online. And guess what, every time your Mum wants you to get something on eBay for her, or your Nan asks you to help her book a hotel online, you can rinse them for the cashback. Just think of it as commission for your technical know-how.

Although, if you were really good, you’d refer them and get the bonus that way!

Remember to use it

The hardest thing about getting cashback is remembering to actually use it! But you can solve this problem by downloading cashback reminder browser extensions from Quidco and TopCashback. Then when you go onto a site that offers cashback you’ll get a little pop up reminding you to click through and earn some extra money!