Four popular cashback websites

Four popular cashback websites

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Over the last few years, cashback websites have become much more popular, with millions of people registering to use them. They work by giving you money back when you shop through their sites. So, which cashback websites are the most popular?

How cashback websites work

The way cashback websites work is quite simple:

  1. You go onto the cashback website and register.
  2. You find the retailer that you want to buy something from.
  3. You click a link that takes you to that retailer’s website.
  4. You pay for the items or services you want and you get ‘cashback’ on some or all of the things you’ve bought.
  5. You’re paid the cashback, normally after a few weeks.

Say you want to buy something online at Marks and Spencer, instead of going straight to the M&S website, you shop via a link from a cashback website and you may be able to get up to 8% of the amount you spend as cashback.

SAVVY TIP: It may sound odd that you can get paid to buy something via a cashback site when you can’t get this money if you go direct to the retailer’s website, but lots of retailers let other websites sell their goods and pay a commission for doing so. What cashback websites do is give you some or all of that commission back.

Four popular cashback websites

TopCashback is free to join, or you can pay for Plus membership, which is £5 of your annual earnings. It is the UK’s highest paying cashback site and has over 4,770 stores listed and eight million members worldwide.

Cashback rates
TopCashback says you’ll typically get at least 5% more cashback with them than anywhere else in the UK, and if you do find a better rate elsewhere they’ll beat it. They pass 100% of the cashback onto their members.

When do you get paid?
TopCashback says that it can take up to 90 days for you to be paid. That’s because it takes time for them to receive the cashback from the shops and then pay it to you.

You then have the option to withdraw the cashback via BACS, PayPal, Amazon Gift Certificate, Love2shop card, M&S e-gift card or several store gift cards.

How quickly do merchants pay out?
The site has tracking statistics of the percentage of users who were happy with their transaction and displays the tracking and payment times. For example, Boden tracks purchases in less than an hour and has an average payment speed of nine weeks and six days.

It also has a list of faster paying merchants who typically pay quicker than others on the site, within 21 days of your transaction being confirmed.

Membership
There are two membership levels: Plus membership (the most popular), where you’ll get higher cashback rates and bigger bonuses in exchange for £5 of your annual earnings (if you don’t earn over £5, they will deduct the lesser amount). Or Classic membership, which is free.

Getting cashback on the high street
You can earn in store as well as online with OnCard. You need to register your debit or credit card with TopCashback to use it.

Mobile app
You can download the app on iPhone and Android and, available exclusively on the app, as well as other functions, you can earn cashback on everyday grocery items by taking a photo of your in store receipt.

Trustpilot: 9.3 out of 10

Quidco is free to join, or you can pay £5 to join the Premium service. They have over 4,500 retailers listed and seven million members.

When do you get paid?
Quidco says that it can take three to six months for you to be paid. That’s because it takes time for them to receive the cashback from the shops and then pay it to you. You can get your payment via PayPal, BACS or store specific gift cards.

How quickly do merchants pay out?
The site has reviews of how quickly individual retailers pay out and includes the average speed in days. It also has a list of faster paying retailers, however you need to have a Premium account to access this.

Membership
There are two membership options: Basic membership, which is free, and Quidco Premium, which includes extra features such as faster paying retailers, no advertising and bespoke promotions, for £5 of your annual cashback earnings.

Cashback on the high street
You can register a debit or credit card with Quidco and, when you use it for high street shopping with nominated retailers, you’ll get cashback. However, the list of retailers is currently quite limited.

Mobile app
You can download Quidco’s app on iPhone and Android. Here you can make easy withdrawals to your bank or PayPal account and access personalised special offers.

SAVVY TIP: You can earn £10 cashback every time you successfully introduce friends and family to Quidco.

Trustpilot: 8.7 out of 10

Swagbucks is free to join and you can earn gift cards or get cashback for shopping online as well as taking surveys, watching videos and more. It’s a US company that has over 15 million members and 1,500 online shopping retailers.

When do you get paid?
It can take three to four months for you to be paid. That’s because it takes time for them to receive the cashback from the shops and then pay it to you. You can get payment in the form of a £5 – £25 gift card or cashback into your PayPal account.

Mobile app
You can download the app on iPhone and Android.

SAVVY TIP: You can get a £3 signup bonus by earning 2,500 Swagbucks within the first 60 days of membership. The bonus will be awarded within one day after you qualify. If you refer a friend, you will earn 10% of their referral earnings.

Trustpilot: 8.6 out of 10

20 Cogs is free to join and lets you earn money for completing competitions, offers, gaming and surveys (hence the name). It has over 300,000 users.

When do you get paid?
It pays three times a week via BACS or PayPal and, on average, you can earn just over £200, although the highest ever pay out was over £700.

Membership
It’s free to become a member, but it’s a bit different to the other cashback websites, as you have to clock up a number of offers (20) before getting a pay out. Once all your offers have been confirmed, you will be paid via BACS or PayPal.

SAVVY TIP: If you refer a friend, you get a bonus amount of 5% of what they earn and a £20 bonus if they have 20 confirmed cogs subject to various criteria. You can find out more about this on their website.

Trustpilot: 7.7 out of 10

If things go wrong
Cashback websites say that the vast majority of their customers get paid with no problem, however it’s worth bearing in mind:

  • Cashback is not guaranteed. Most sites display a warning that says you should not make a purchase decision on an expected cashback, as it is not guaranteed (if you type these words into a search engine you’ll see this disclaimer appears on many sites).
  • Untracked transactions. If there’s a dispute about a transaction, it may mean you lose out if it can’t be resolved. Some users have complained that their transactions have not been tracked when they say they’ve done everything correctly. Bear in mind that a cashback website is only as good as its complaints service. If you type in the name of the cashback site and ‘complaint’ ‘problem’ or ‘not paid’, you’ll get an idea of how many unhappy customers it has.

SAVVY TIP: Cashback websites say, not surprisingly, that most complaints are resolved satisfactorily.

  • Make sure you check when transactions can be disputed. Quidco says you must raise your claim within seven weeks of making the purchase before submitting a claim and TopCashback says if your claim is over 100 days since your transaction, then they can’t normally chase up your claim. Swagbucks says orders placed over 180 days from the time of purchase cannot be further investigated with the affiliate merchant, though some exceptions may apply, and 20 Cogs doesn’t mention a claim deadline.
  • If the site goes bust. Some cashback sites have stopped trading or disappeared. If you have unpaid cashback in your account, you could lose that if the site goes bust.

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