The top cashback websites
Filed under: Shopping & Deals
If you had the chance to get paid for your online shopping would you take it? Of course you would and this is exactly how cashback websites work.
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How do cashback websites work?
There are several cashback websites around and Quidco and Top Cashback are two of the largest. If you buy anything on the internet, through a cashback site, you'll earn a certain amount of money on this.
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It works because the retailer in question has paid the cashback website to advertise the company and effectively you're getting the advertising fee which would normally be kept by the company.
Some (or all) of the fee may be passed on to you. If you don't get the full amount there may be an annual membership fee - which is usually taken from your cashback earnings – to pay.
Some sites allow you to build up loyalty points instead which can be traded in for vouchers that can be spent like cash in certain retailers.
The major downfall to cashback websites is you don't get the money isntantly. This puts many people off and is the reason they're not as well known as they should be.
Most websites take around a month to pay you the cash as this means they're covered should a customer return something they've bought online or if something goes wrong. However, after this time the money either goes straight to your bank account, or into your cashback account and even though it's not instant it is still a worthy saving.
Are they any good?
Earning around 3% for not much output seems like a no-brainer to us but it's also important not to spend money just because you earn cashback or points. As there are a few cashback sites it's also worth checking several before you buy something to make sure you're getting the best deal.
It's also worth spending time reading the small print as although a retailer may be promoted as having 10% cashback, this might only be for certain products or services.
The top cashback websites
All of the schemes work in a slightly different way. Let's take a look at a few of those on offer:
One of the biggest sites around with more than 3,300 retailers on board, it's our favourite because it makes getting cashback easy and straight forward.
Along with getting cashback on your purchases, it also has a tool bar you can download to your browser so you'll never miss out on cashback and a smartphone app.
What makes Quidco a bit different is the app which lets you 'check in' to a store and earn cashback without actually buying anything. For example, right now the lovemoney team could earn 20p by checking in at Carphone Warehouse, 10p at PC World and 20p at Phones 4U. It doesn't sound like much but it does add up and it's basically free money.
Top offers right now include; up to £96.88 cashback with the iPhone 5 on 3, up to £60 cashback through Expedia and £100 cashback with npower.
The only drawback wih Quidco is the annual £5 charge – which is taken from your cashback earnings.
Top Cash Back
It's free to join Top Cash Back and it sits close to Quidco with around 3,500 retailers signed up. Although there isn't much in it, Top Cash Back promotes itself as 'the most generous cashback site' and it does seem to pay the highest amount of all the cashback websites and doesn't take any fees.
Along with all the standard retailers, there are also vouchers to download and free cashback offers available.
Top offers right now include; up to 10.1% cashback with Tesco delivery, up to 8.8% at Boots and 15.15% at The Body Shop.
Kidstart is a cashback website aimed at families. By shopping at its retailer partners you can earn up to 20% cashback which is deposited into your Kiddybank account. When you have earned £10, it can be transferred.
However, rather than send it to your own bank account, the point of Kidstart is that you can only earn money for your kids. You must therefore link to your child's savings account or Child Trust Fund (CTF). Anyone can save for your kids using Kidstart (friends, family etc) so the amount earned can build up quite quickly.
Top offers include, up to 1.2% cashback at Waitrose, 3.5% at Boden and 2% at Marks and Spencers.
Kidstart takes a portion of the referral fees so there's no annual fee.
Although Giveortake only has around 1,000 retailers the cashback offers are competitive. It also has the option for you to choose how you earn money - to be sent directly to you as a cheque, or paid into your bank account.
Before any money can be transferred you need to earn £25 – which unless you use the site regularly could take some time.
There's also a £5 annual fee (which is deducted from the first £25 you earn).
Alternatively, you can choose to donate the money earned to charity. If you choose to "give" rather than "take", you only need to earn £10 before it can be transferred and no annual fee is charged.
Top offers include; 4% cashback at Avon, 1.5% at Dell and 3% at Boots.
Here's a comparison of the cashback that can be earned by shopping through seven popular retailers:
Anyone who spends money online should consider signing up to a cashback website - there's money to be made, for free. If you want to earn more cash you could sign up to a cashback credit card as this could bag you and extra 5% more cashback on top.
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