TopCashback vs Quidco vs OhMyDosh vs Boom25.
When something seems too good to be true, I’d normally recommend you trust your gut and steer clear. But with cashback you really can get money for nothing.
It’s easy to be confused by the term. For years “cash back” meant (and still does) asking the supermarket cashier to add money to your checkout total in exchange for some notes.
But with the decline in physical cash that’s changed. More of us are referring to cashback as money back on purchases. In fact I’d say this smart shopper’s trick to get more for less has become mainstream.
You can pay by credit cards and get money back. You can pay your bills and get money back. But the method that earns the most money is to shop via a cashback site.
In the last 12 months I’ve earned £458.45 from this last option, and in total I’ve made £4,406.37 over the last seven years or so.
It’s not without pitfalls, but use it as often as you can and you too could be hundreds of pounds better off each year.
Rather watch than read? Check out this video. Or keep reading for more.
How to earn cashback from cashback sites
The leading way to get cashback, and probably the most profitable, is through a cashback website. Rather than heading directly to an online retailer, going via cashback middlemen can net you a tidy return.
To get your money you search within these specialist websites for the retailer you’re after. The cashback rate will be displayed, usually as a percentage. You then click to be redirected to the online shop. Then simply buy as normal, and a few months down the line your cashback account will be credited with the money. Here’s more on how it works.
Which sites offer cashback?
Quidco and Topcashback are the leading cashback sites, but you can also use sites like Boom25 and OhMyDosh. You might also have access to a “work perk” site that offers the feature just to employees.
Here’s a little about each:
TopCashback (or TCB) is the largest cashback site. It says there are over 15 million members, with active users earning an average of £345 a year.
It also claims to have the most retailers on the site, with more than 5,000 shops and brands offering money back.
There’s no minimum payout, and there’s the option to increase your cashback if you cashout as a giftcard.
There’s also a premium option costing £5 a year which will give you boost the rates with some retailers.
Quidco is the other giant, though a little smaller with over 10 million users. No doubt there’s some crossover in those numbers between them and TCB.
In terms of average payout, Quidco claims a slightly lower £300 per year for Quidco members. There are also fewer retailers with 4,500 listed on the site.
The premium option is £1 a month and you only get charged the months you use the site. So that could make it cheaper or far more expensive than TCB.
A long way behind these two is OhMyDosh. It’s much newer but has managed to get just over 500,000 members.
It has a lot less retailers on the site, though there are a few paid offers for new customers and free trials which I’ve not seen elsewhere, such as Yolt and Chili.
For me the biggest downside here is a minimum payout of £10. Though some offers might exceed this, it’s not a great place to rack up small payments.
This site is smaller still, with just under 1,500 retailers listed. Boom25 is also very different to the others as rather than pay money back on each shop, it’s members get a one in 25 chance of getting a complete refund on their purchase.
With some retailers the refund is reduced (eg on eBay it’s 25% back), but the chances are higher (eBay again, and every 12th purchase wins).
It’s a nice idea, and might be worth a shot on purchases where the cashback return on other sites is pennies rather than pounds. But I’d still stick to Quidco or TCB when the money back is larger.
Kidstart pays your earnings into an investment account for your kids (or niece, nephew etc). Of course, you could just take your payout from TCB or Quidco and put it into a separate savings account – and probably get better returns.
However, KidStart is the only cashback site to offer money back on Apple and John Lewis purchases. There are other ways to save at these retailers, but it’s worth knowing about.
Quidco vs TopCashback
Right, let’s rule out OhMyDosh for most purchases. The choice really is between Quidco and TopCashback.
Based on the statistics above on the average payout and the number of retailers, TopCashback would seem to have the edge. But it’s not that simple.
I randomly looked at six different products or shops. And there was little difference between TopCashback and Quidco. In fact, Quidco came out on top on three, practically tied on one and was just under on another.
|BT Fibre 1 Broadband (new customer)||£130||£125|
|M&S existing customer||1.48%||1%|
|ASOS (new customer)||9.9%||10%|
|American Express Platinum Cashback credit card||£20||£10|
|American Express Nectar credit card||£0||£31.50|
|Confused.com home insurance||£30||£32|
You also need to take these figures with a pinch of salt as the rates can – and do – change regularly. One day something might pay more on TCB, then next it’s better on Quidco.
The only way to really know which is best for you is to compare the rates each time you shop. There are plug-ins you can add to your browser to help, but they can be a bit annoying! Personally I find it only takes a minute to quickly check both.
And if you really would rather stick to just one site then both have a price match promise!
New member offers
If you’ve not used either TCB or Quidco before you can get a bonus the first time you shop. At the time if writing it’s £17 back on a £10 spend with Quidco (this is an exclusive offer available when you sign up to my newsletter), or £15 back with a £15 spend at TopCashback (available from my TopCashback deals page).
What to watch out for
Sadly, cashback isn’t without complication. There are a few rules to follow to ensure you get your cashback, with “tracking” the most common issue. This is how the cashback site knows you made a purchase, and it can sometimes not happen.
You need to be careful not to click to any other sites before making a purchase and check your computer is set up to record cookies in their internet browser. You might even want to clear your cookies.
There’s also a danger of using voucher codes you find elsewhere that aren’t listed on the cashback site. Use one and your cashback might be rejected by the retailer.
If either of these happen you won’t get your money back. So it’s best to only buy something you can afford without the saving.
But get it right and you should see a fair amount of money coming back to you.
One thought on “The best cashback sites”
It’s not worth spending an hour or two chasing the occasional £10.
Quidco is almost as bad as TCB. I’ve had to keep a spreadsheet, 5 screen shots per tracking transaction and still they argue the toss and blame it on the retailer who then blame the cashback site. I’m happy to share that if helpful.
I’m currently with Quidco, but am chasing £25 with them and Affordable Mobiles. For the time put in, the “hourly rate” makes cashback uneconomical for me.
I know cashback isn’t guaranteed, but each retailer states cashback tracking success is over 99% for each of the retailers I’ve used; I’m 1 in 100 for a lot of retailers.