What is cashback?

If you aren’t already getting cashback, you really should start now! Here’s all you need to know.

I was relatively late to cashback and I haven’t looked back. I started last September and in my first twelve months I’ve earned £1,000. That’s a grands worth of money I wouldn’t have had. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Of course what you get depends on what you buy, but there’s cash to earn for everyone!

If you don’t know what cashback is and how it works, here are my 12 cashback basics:

1. It’s free money

When you click through to an online shop via a cashback site or use a cashback card to buy you’ll either get a percentage of that spend back, or a fixed amount. They can do this as they are paid a commission if they make a sale, and they pass on part to you. It sounds strange but as long as you use trusted sites and cards, it’s perfectly safe and legitimate.

2. You can get it when you shop online

The big cashback sites are TopCashback and Quidco. Recently, Wowcher also started doing it too. You sign up, then when you shop online check to see if they have any deals. My Supermarket also has online grocery shopping offers. Click the links to read our guides. Also, check if your work has a partnership with sites such as MyDeals.

3. And when you shop on the high street

If you use apps from the likes of Quidco, Topcashback and Shopitize you can even get cashback when you spend instore and scan your receipt. They’re especially good for supermarket shops. Save your cards to Quidco and you’ll also earn in some shops without having to do anything more.

4. Banks are offering it on credit cards and current accounts

Depending on who you have your bank account or credit card with you can earn without even thinking. A couple of our faves right now are Santander (3% on travel) and American Express (1% on every £1 spent).

5. You might need to activate it

Halifax & Lloyds customers need to log into their internet banking and activate cashback by merchant. What they offer depends on the customer. American Express often have additional deals and account credits which you also need to activate via your online banking or a special page.

6. Try for cashback on everything you buy

Some cards specialise, but generally you can earn money back on everything from insurance to shoes. If you have a few cards and accounts, you can chose the best deal for you.

7. You can get bonuses on your cashback

TopCashback let you payout £50 a year to Tesco Clubcard, potentially quadrupling your cashback. They also offer small bonuses if you pay out to gift cards from the likes of Amazon and Boots rather than your bank account. Worth it if you are going to spend in those stores.

8. It can take a while to get to you

Banks and credit cards normally credit you at the end of the month, but the cashback sites often vary depending on who you’ve shopped with. It can be months.

9. It’s not guaranteed and it can go wrong

The online sites use cookies to track your purchase. Sometimes they just don’t track, sometimes it’s the wrong amount. You can put in claims but these take a while. They also don’t like you to use additional codes unless they authorise them. The golden rule is not to buy something just because of the cashback.

10. Refer friends for more cashback

Tell your friends! If you have an account with Quidco or TopCashback, they’ll give you money when a friend reaches £5 or £10 of cashback. Keep an eye out for special promotions where that amount is doubled or more.

11. You can combine online cashback and banking cashback

Don’t forget to use your cashback credit card to pay for your purchases once you’ve clicked through from one of the sites.

12. You’re probably already doing it

Got a Clubcard? Nectar Card? In essence they’re the same, you’re just getting points rather than hard cash. So don’t be scared, earn yourself some extra cash!

Photo Credit: Images_of_Money via Compfight cc