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. Here’s more on how it works.
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.
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Become a premium member
You don’t need to pay to use either Topcashback or Quidco, but with both if you pay a little extra 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
The Quidco offering has just changed. Rather than £5 a year, as you do with TopCashback, you now pay £1 a month – but only in the months you use it. So it could be £12 a year but could also be a lot lower.
- Cost: £1 for every month you use the site
- Up to 10% top-up on cashback rates
- Payout bonus: yes
- Double the difference guarantee
- Faster paying with 650+ selected retailers
- Occasional opt-in bonuses exclusive to Premium
Which is best?
The big factor that goes in Topcashback’s favour is that it’s only £5 a year. So you’re more likely to get your money back if you use it all the times, especially with the 5% cashback bonus which means you’re getting a little extra most times you shop. This can quickly add up. Often it’s just pennies, but if you use the site enough there’s enough to justify the £5.
The increased price for Quidco does seem a bit steep, but if you’re an occasional user you could pay less overall. Also, it does give the flexibility to pick and choose when you shop. For instance, you might just want to use it when you’ve got a big purchase such as broadband. It also promises double the difference if you find a higher rate elsewhere. Again this could be a big earner on big purchases.
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.
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. Sadly the Zeek payout option has disappeared but you can still increase your payout. 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.
- iTunes ( 3% / 7%)
- Amazon (1% / 2%)
- Argos (3% / 6%)
- M&S ( 3% / 5%)
- Costa (5% / 10%)
- All Bar One, Harvester and various pubs ( 15%)
These rates are higher than standard Plus membership rates.
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.
- Love2shop card useable at Boots, Argos and loads more (6%)
- Tesco (5%)
- Ticketmaster (10%)
- Amazon (2% / 2.5%)
- Marks and Spencers (5%)
- Currys PC World (10%)
- Uber (5%)
Which option is best?
It really depends on which retailer you’re likely to shop at. For example, there’s a higher Tesco and Ticketmaster boost at TopCashback, but iTunes and Argos are exclusive to Quidco.
Remember you can usually use gift cards alongside 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.
Use a browser plugin
One of the reasons so many people miss out on cashback is they forget to check! Both Quidco and TopCashback have extensions you can add to Google Chrome (TopCashback also works on Firefox). Once you’ve installed them, which takes just a couple of clicks, you’ll get notifications when cashback is available.
So for example you could be on the Asos website, and you’ll see a reminder that cashback is available and how much. You then simply click to activate the offer and you shouldn’t need to even go via the cashback site itself.
You can add both, which gives you a quick chance to compare the rates too.
Check for semi-regular opt-in bonuses
A few times every month both Topcashback and Quidco have additional bonuses for existing members. Sometimes they’re exclusive to Premium/Plus members. These usually range from 50p to £5, with a minimum spend between £1 and £10. I tend to spot them more with Quidco than Topcashback.
This is basically extra free money on top of any cashback you earn from the retailers. I’ve probably made an extra £27 or so this way over the last 12 months.
To find these you usually need to check the homepage for each cashback site. Then you need to click an opt-in button. Once you’ve done that use the site as normal. The deals are often limited and tend to last just one day.
Get cashback in physical shops
This fourth 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 to as high as £17 (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.