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Friday, 28 January 2011

Money saving - Guide to cash back websites

Hands up girls if you like to shop.

Now, (other?) hands up if you want an excuse to shop without feeling guilty?

Hands up…okay, hands down and read on if you’ve ever shopped or like to shop online at Debenhams, Asda, Marks and Spencer’s, Next, Very, New Look, Ann Summers, La Senza, Republic, Cath Kidson, Miss Selfridge…phew! And lets just say a lot more places then that!

What if you could shop at all these places and actually earn money for doing so? What would you do? Okay, don’t leave my blog assuming this is a scam because trust me, I bloody hate scams as much as the next person. 

Let me just begin by saying that as mad as it sounds, I’m going to ramble on about this for a while because it’s completely legit, takes no effort, loads of people do it! I felt like laughing once when people were amazed at how I got paid £12 for two cinema tickets. That’s right. I got two tickets completely free, and got £12 cash back for applying for them.

If you’ve never heard of cash back then you’ve been missing out on a lot. Cash back is my saviour! It even helps my relationship when my boyfriend demands to know why I’ve wasted more money on shopping online.

It works like this. You sign up to a cash back website, most of which are completely free. Some do take an annual charge from you, something like £5.00 which is taken from your earnings, not from you bank account. So you sign up, you browse, you find something to buy, you get cash back for it. It’s as simple as that.

You won’t get loads of money for each item you buy. But if you shop online often, it all adds up. You just have to remember to use the websites!

Cash back websites are becoming more and more popular because they’re so easy to use and can make such a difference in the long run. They are reported to be very popular among students and stay at home mums who already use the Internet to bargain hunt anyway! A lot of cash back websites also offer vouchers for their affiliate shops and often give away points for free.

It’s not easy, however, choosing the best cash back website to suit your situation, and its always important to remember you get back what you give. So, obviously somebody who has spare time on their hands to browse online and take time to earn the free points on a number of different websites will see more benefit from someone who shops online only from time to time. But no matter how often or to what extent you use these websites, you can earn money back.

There are two types of cash back websites. Those that offer money for your purchases right away, i.e. Miss Selfridge offers 5% cash back on, which means 75p cash back from a £15.00 purchase, will be tracked. The other kind, is cash back websites that offer you points per purchase rather then money. These points can then be exchanged for vouchers or cash. An example of this is making a purchase through Ebay on pigsback ; pigsback offers 3 piggy points for each pound spent.

Personally, my favourite cash back website to use is

The link above is my personal referral link and will automatically give you £1.25 in your account upon signing up. If you wish to just go to the website without this sign up bonus then use

Quidco was formed in 2005 by married couple Paul and Jen Nikkel. The website promises 100% cash back and a 24 hour customer service response.

This is one of the most popular cash back websites used and it follows your basic cash back format. It will take £5.00 of your earnings once a year (this is what keeps the website running) but after that, all 100% cash back goes straight to you.

The website is very easy to use, you can search a store yourself or have a look through the different categories such as ‘Fashion’ or ‘High Street’, which means if your just browsing you can see a variety of different shops with different deals and different cash back values. Even better, the website has a tab called ‘Hot Deals’ which lists the shops with the highest cash back amount, and lists deals where you don’t have to purchase ANYTHING to receive cash back (i.e. deals like signing up to receive a free simcard or a free trial of an offer). also offers vouchers for different shops as well to save even more money!

Cash back is paid monthly, on the 1st and the 15th (working days) of every month. You can set up your payment account to only receive cash back if it is over a certain amount too which helps space out your payments if you’re hoping to put the money as savings!
However, like every other cash back website, you cannot expect to receive your cash back straight away. Each purchase has what is called a ‘Validation period’ which means the time between the purchase and when the money is ready to be paid. This is usually time used for the retailer to confirm you have purchased your product, or to confirm that you haven’t signed up for something then cancelled immediately to receive the cash back. Validation periods can take anything from a day to a few months, but your purchase amount will most usually be tracked within 3 days. So off course, with cash back websites, it is an ongoing thing and you cant expect to buy a product and get your cash back paid into your account the following day. But what’s good is that while your waiting for things to validate, you can continue to browse and shop and in a couple of months time you’ll see the cash piling up!

- Please note, although you will still have to wait for your purchase to be confirmed, are in the process of changing the transactions so that once you make a purchase your cash back will be with you in three easy steps rather then the previous five – making it even easier to use!

You can be paid directly into your bank account or, if you’d prefer not to use your bank details, you can be paid with paypal.

Every purchase you make can be viewed under ‘Transactions’ which means if you do have a query by not being paid enough or not being paid at all then you can easily refer to where something has gone wrong and get it fixed quickly.

To conclude, works for me because it’s easy to use, it’s legit, it has a wide range of different shops and offers and it pays you straight cash rather then vouchers. I have had Quidco since March 2010 and have earned £50.67 from it so far. This is the only cash back site I regularly use at the moment, except if it doesn’t offer cash back on my shop of choice which is when I use another website.

Here is an example of my earnings.

Another cash back website which is considered to be one of the best is topcashback, and was voted the best cash back website on Martin Lewis’ I personally do not have much experience with the website, but its said that topcashback, on average, pays the most cash back to you compared to others i.e. a higher percentage than other websites.

Again, this is my personal referral link but you can go directly to the website here

The website is simple, and easy to use and also boasts a community message board where members discuss the best deals, offer help and which offers a guide to people using the website for the first time.

Topcashback was launched in 2005 and has since won awards such as the web user gold award. There is no fee to sign up and no annual fee so the website is completely free to use. Topcashback also offers a ‘Topup Cash back loyalty scheme’ where depending on how much cash back you earn that month, you will get more than 100% cash back – going up 1% the more you earn that month. So, again, like all the other cash back websites, you follow the same routine of browsing the cash back website, clicking through to the store from the website, buying what you want and expecting the cash back in your account soon.

It also has discount deals for various different shops, websites and much more! I won’t be posting an example of my earnings from this website as like I said I don’t use it often, but if anyone would like to see an example in a few months time then I will happy post one.

So, there you have it, the three most popular cash back websites on the web at the moment and how to use them. You’ll also find that when you earn cash back or points, every website gives you the option to donate this money to charity if you feel like doing a good cause while shopping too.

You just need to remember some basic rules about cash back ;

  • You get what you give. The more you buy, the more money you’ll get in return, but progress will best be seen over a few months. Don’t expect a massive pay out immediately.
  • Despite the fact that you’ve read this guide, read around too. You may find you only have the patience for one website and would like to find out what is best and some websites are best for different things.
  • Be quick on the ball. You can find really excellent deals that are usually only available for a couple of days (sometimes you’ll find offers that have typos – i.e. someone has accidently typed a bigger cash back amount then they should have! This is completely legit and if you’re one of the first you will get the money but often a website realises their mistake quickly and removes the offer within hours). I’d recommend having a look at these threads thread is a guide to the best offers available and you can even request a day to day guide on what you should be clicking on from what site each day to earn a steady £3.00 every day (at last check). thread lists all the click throughs for the pigsback website, so you can just check this thread everyday, click on the links posted and earn points everyday.
  • Remember to always use cash back websites and shop around for the best deals. It may be useful adding the websites to your bookmarks bar to remind you to check them. Also have a look on a few before you make your purchases as some sites may offer more cash back then others and some offer discount codes too.
  • If you decide to do daily clicks, clear your cookies before you go from one website to the next. This is because some websites have the same offers and may reckonize you as already having the offer/link clicked.

Although this has been a long post, this is pretty much the basics. As daunting as it sounds, you’ll soon get used to thinking to yourself ‘Ooh I wonder if I can get cash back for this from’ and similar thoughts before you purchase. What’s surprising is that people who are unaware of what cash back websites are still consider it to be a scam, even though its clear to see that money is earned over time, rather then websites offering a large lump sum of money upon signup (which is usually a scam!). So remember to have some fun with it and let me know how you all get on. I am not an expert but if anyone has any questions to how it works or how to get started then just let me know!

And please let me know what you think of the guide, I've tried to make it as simple and basic as possible while trying to tell you about the important things you need to know.

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