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What if you could get paid to shop online? How about getting paid to visit a store? Do pesky grocery shopping? Cashback websites are just that. How do they work? How much can you earn? Do they really save you cash? Lets take a look at all of the above and then proceed with a review on the biggest Cashback websites around today.
How Do Cashback Websites Work?
Cashback websites earn a profit for each sale they do on behalf of their client. What this means is that if you buy a product or service through them, they will get revenue from the seller; a portion of this revenue is passed on to you. In the real world this means that once you’ve decided on your purchase, you simply need to go to the cashback website and look for the correct offer. Once you find an offer, see the cashback terms and conditions and purchase the product through the link they provide. This means its an extra click for you, but the savings are usually worth it.
How Much Do You Earn Through Cashback Websites?
Typically, industries such as Financial Services, Insurance, Internet, Mobile and Utilities pay a fairly decent sum for each qualifying sale. A qualified sale generally means that you are a first time customer approved and have cleared any internal/credit checks required by the service provider to become their customer. Cashback sites work on the ‘Last Click’ policy. This means that you have to come directly from the cashback website through the link/button on their website and not from another website when you are ready to make a purchase. Thus, even if you look at many websites before deciding on a new phone or a laptop you want to buy, you have to go back to Quidco or Top Cashback, sign in to your account and click the product/deal link from there.
What You Need to Know Before Making a Purchase
- Make sure you are signed into your account
- Do not block cookies, ads or use incognito / private browsing mode when buying.
- Complete the purchase in only 1 sitting so your purchase is very clearly tracked by the system.
- Purchase only 1 item from a retailer at one time. If you buy multiple products then the chances are that your entire order will be tracked at a lower cashback rate.
- Do not make changes to the purchase after buying through a cashback website, if you do, then the cashback will not track for you.
- Do not use vouchers or codes from other websites, do not use gift cards either.
- Complete the transaction completely online. Very few retailers have telephone tracking. Those who do, make it clear on their retailer page.
- Read the terms and conditions of the retailer’s cashback deal carefully and understand it.
- Make sure you know the clearing period of the retailer’s cashback. Typically the length of time expected for each retailer to send payment is mentioned on the retailer’s page.
Now that the list is out of the way, lets take a look at the biggest Cashback providers in UK, USA, Canada, China, India and Japan.
TopCashback offers a range of cashback offers in a variety of industries. From Utilities to mobile phone plans, electrical, travel, insurance and high street shopping, TopCashback has them all. TopCashback offers other benefits as well: you can compare insurance plans for car, home, bike, van, travel and pets across 125 insurance companies in the UK (sadly TopCashback doesn’t offer insurance in the US, Japan, China as yet). If you are not in the mood to shop online but are just browsing through stores and decide to buy an item, all you need to do is find the store in the app and show the voucher code at the time of payment. When grocery shopping, the TopCashback Mobile app is great for getting items at a discounted price. All one needs to do is unlock an offer in the app, scan the product bar code and take a picture of the receipt when you pay for it. Another method to earn cashback is via your registered cards. All you need to do is register your payment cards on the website, activate offers and shop through them in store and you’ll start earning cashback through retail outlets as well. All Cashback is collected and paid out as you reach minimum thresholds of your selected withdrawal methods. TopCashback offers BACS (direct bank transfer), PayPal and many gift card options as withdrawal methods. Mind you, a store gift card usually has a threshold of £10, while the likes of Amazon and M&S have a threshold of £0.01.
TopCashback is the UK Cashback site of the year for 2016 and 2017.
TopCashback – US, India, China and Japan
TopCashback is also active in the US, India, China and Japan. The regional websites are not as versatile as their UK counterpart however, they are a good place to start when buying online from the likes of Macys, Nine West, Reebok, JC Penny, Dell, Jet.com, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Expedia, Hotels.com etc for US.
For India TopCashback is a wonderful option and should be the first stop before buying anything online or in-store. Cashback from popular sites and providers such as Flipkart, Airtel, Ebay, Telenor, Reebok, Swiggy, Pepperfry.com etc. is available at flat rates or ranges from 4.5% to 12%.
Quidco – UK only
Quidco is another great cashback provider in the UK. Going head to head with TopCashback in the UK, it too offers some great features and has the highest cashback offer available. They cover travel, electricals, telecom, fashion, insurance and luxury brands. Quidco Compare works across insurance, energy / utilities and telecom plans. All you need to do is fill in your details / requirements and the best offers from multiple providers are shown to you. You can choose the best offer and complete the purchase via Quidco. If you want some time to think then Quidco will save your quote and you can retrieve it later for easy decision making. The Quidco ClickSnap gives cashback on selected offers in-store and online. All you need to do is upload the receipt within 7 days of your shopping at a participating supermarket in the allotted time-frame. Unlike TopCashback, you don’t need to activate an offer before making a purchase. Quidco High-street allows you to shop in-store and get cashback via your registered cards. You will need to activate retailers prior to shopping though. Other ways to earn from Quidco is via giving opinions / filling surveys. There is also the rewards program where you shop at select Quidco partner sites/stores with coin icons and earn bonuses on top of your cashback.
Quidco offers a variety of withdrawal methods. These include bank transfer and PayPal along with digital gift cards. The minimum balance required for withdrawal is £1 or £5 depending on the withdrawal method. Quidco’s website is easy to use and has an intuitive user interface. It is my preferred choice for a cashback website due to this and for their excellent mobile app. Quidco is always the first one to come up with innovative methods to save while shopping or browsing.
Another popular cashback site from the US and Canada is Ebates. It doesn’t matter if the stores are physical outlets or online, Ebates offers deals / cashback on electronics, vacation, books, office supplies, health, beauty, clothing (men, women, kids) toys, food, flowers and digital media etc. As with TopCashback and Quidco, all you need to do it search for the store you wish to shop from or simply the category you wish to shop from, look at the offers or cashback available, read the terms and click through them. Another method to earn cashback through Ebates is to register your payment cards and activate offers before shopping in-store. They also have double and triple cashback offers that are highlighted under a separate tap on the website. Be sure to look into those before deciding on shopping at Ebates. Ebates also provides you with your very own Ebates Cashback Visa card. Once you apply and get approved, you can earn an extra 3% cashback on qualifying purchases and 1% on non-ebates stores. You also get a $10 cashback bonus on your first purchase through the card. Whats more, the card works with Apple Pay.
The Ebates mobile apps for App Store and Google Play are a tremendous help when shopping on the go and looking through the latest deals. You can get your in-store coupons from it and keep track of your pending cashback and due payments.
Ebates is available in US, Canada, Japan, Korea and China.
Depending on your country it doesn’t matter whether you use Quidco, TopCashback or Ebates; they are all very good and above board. You should always appreciate that a cashback site is always a bonus to your purchase and not a guaranteed payday.