Use Topcashback and Quidco to your advantage and get even more money back. Here’s what you need to know.
Cashback seems too good to be true. You’re essentially getting paid to shop. And though there are a few things to watch out for, it’s an easy way to generate some extra money.
Pretty much everything I buy is via a cashback site. The main exceptions are really Amazon and John Lewis who rarely offer deals through the sites. But most other retailers do – and I make hundreds of pounds each year doing it.
Hopefully you’re doing the same (if not, why not? Here’s how to get a fab new member bonus of at least £10). But are you getting as much cashback as you can?
I’m not talking about comparing rates on the two sites (you should) or paying with cashback credit cards (again you should). No, there are actually a couple of simple ways you can boost the money you earn and the money you get paid that are well worth looking into.
1. Become a premium member
You don’t need to pay to use either Topcashback or Quidco, but with both if you pay a fiver you can get upgraded to a premium account. In return you get bonus cashback, as well as things like priority customer service and no ads. Both also offer exclusive promotions and competitions – though I can’t say I’ve noticed either.
Here’s what they offer:
- Cost: £5
- Typical cashback bonus: 5%
- Payout bonus: yes
- £2.50 higher member referral bonus
- Cost: £5
- Payout bonus: yes
- Faster paying with 650+ selected retailers
The big benefit with Topcashback is the cashback bonus. You’re getting a little extra most times you shop, which quickly adds up. Often it’s just pennies, but I made £2 extra earlier year just from home insurance and there’s been enough to justify the £5.
I’ve not signed up to the Quidco scheme, but if you are likely to earn £250 in cashback in a year and get the extra 2% payout at Zeek (for example) you will break even. So anything on top of that is extra free money.
As I use both TCB and Quidco I’ve actually made £222.55 in the last 12 months from Quidco. That makes it touch and go whether Premium would have been worthwhile doing.
Why it might not be right for you: Pretty simple really. I wouldn’t sign up for these premium memberships if it’s unlikely you’ll get the investment back.
2. Get paid in gift cards
If you need cash it’s always a better option to get your cashback paid to your bank account or Paypal. However, you can boost your earnings a little if you get it paid instead as a gift card or gift voucher. Both Quidco and Topcashback have this feature.
You might need a minimum amount to withdraw with some cards, ranging from £1 to £10.
There are a fair few options in both. TopCashback tends to have higher rates, and both boost what you get if you’re a premium member. Here’s my pick of the best top-ups:
These rates are first for standard membership and then premium membership.
You simply select your payout option from your dashboard and the gift card will be emailed through in a few days.
- Zeek (13% standard boost / 15% premium boost)
- iTunes (3%/ 7%)
- Amazon (2% / 2.5%)
- M&S (4% / 6%%)
- Primark (3% / 6%%)
- Arcadia – TopShop etc (4% / 8%)
- All Bar One, Harvester and various pubs (10% / 15%)
Rates are the ones shown in my account so could be boosted slightly as I’m a Plus member.
To get these extras you first need to transfer your cashback into a reward wallet. Once it’s there you can’t take it back out for a cash payout. Instead you select one of the retailers and a digital gift card is sent. It can take a few days for this to be emailed to you.
- Zeek (16% extra)
- Virtual prepaid Mastercard (8%)
- Love2shop card useable at Boots, Argos and loads more (5%)
- Tesco (7%)
- Ticketmaster (6%)
- Amazon (2.5%)
- Marks and Spencers (6%)
- Currys PC World (10%)
- The Entertainer (10%)
- Uber (4%)
- Costa (10%)
Which option is best?
Whether Topcashback or Quidco, I always get my payout via Zeek, not just for the high 16% bonus, but for the additional discount you can get when exchanging that Zeek credit for a gift card there. If you’ve not used Zeek before, it’s a marketplace for people to sell and buy unwanted gift cards.
The prices on Zeek aren’t as good as they used to be, but you can often get a couple of per cent off John Lewis and M&S e-vouchers, and sometimes a fair bit more at cinemas and restaurant gift cards. There’s also the option to buy non-discounted cards from Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Here’s my full Zeek review, as well as a code to save £5 on your first purchase. Here’s an example of how this much more you can make this way
- 1. Earn £50 cashback on Topcashback – Earnings £50
- 2. Boost by 16% as a premium Topcashback member with a Zeek credit payout – Earnings = £58
- 3. Buy a £60 John Lewis gift card at Zeek with around 3% off for £58
- Overall saving on the John Lewis gift card is 16.6%
Alternatively, the Premium member iTunes payout from Quidco is particularly decent, especially as the deals to save on iTunes codes and cards haven’t been particularly strong this year.
Meanwhile at Topcashback the Prepaid Mastercard or Love2Shop payout options give you more money back and you can use it in dozens of shops. You can also get paid in Avios points.
Remember you can usually use gift cards along side other promotions too, as they’re treated by most retailers as cash.
Why it might not be for you: Gift cards are great in lots of ways, but there are downsides such as forgetting to use them before they expire. If cash is better for you, get paid in cash. Here are my rules for using gift cards.
3. Get cashback in physical shops
This third option isn’t as good as the others but it’s handy to know about. Both sites also allow you to add certain cashback deals to your debit or credit card, meaning you can still claim the money back if you shop in store rather than online.
You’ll need to register your card and then both sites require you to activate each offer. Some are specific to a Visa card or a Mastercard, and there are only selected retailers. You’ll probably get better rates online too – but it’s a good extra if know about.
Not signed up to a cashback site?
Right, before you just go over and enter your details… STOP.
New members can get some fantastic sign-up offers, ranging from £10 or £12 and going as high as £15 or £16 (hint: sign up for my weekly newsletter for the latter). To help you get the best bonus I keep an updated list of the new member best deals.
Once you’re signed up you can also refer your friends, earning yourself between £5 and £15 a go – once they’ve earned £10 cashback themselves.