Quick Links: 👉 Are cashback sites worth the hassle? 👉 How does a cashback site make money? 👉 Which cashback sites should you be using? 👉 Quidco 👉 Airtime Rewards 👉 TopCashback 👉 Cheddar 👉 Jam Doughnut 👉 Mad About Money 👉 Honey 👉 Kids Pass 👉 Kindred
Why you must use cashback sites this Christmas to reduce your festive costs, and which cashback sites you need to be using!
Every year, the nation spends an obscene amount of money on Christmas (and, of course, the Black Friday sale )! We spend our hard-earned money on everything to make Christmas a special time for the whole family, and that means we splash the cash on lots of yummy festive food, and of course, we treat our friends and family with lovely gifts to show them how much we love them, but there is a way to help claw back a little of what you've spent, and that's cashback! The easy way to reduce your expenditure on your Christmas shopping is to make sure you've used a cashback service when making your purchase. It doesn't matter if you are purchasing in a physical store or doing some online shopping; it's very likely that at least one of the cashback sites and apps can offer you cashback to save you some extra money.
Christmas is when most retailers make their profit for the year; it's their bread and butter, and so not only will you find that on top of using your store loyalty card to earn discounts, bonus points or reward points, to get the best deals and prices, and grabbing what is often heavily discounted items as retailers fight each other to offer the best deals so they can benefit from your Christmas gifts spending, and not be left with excess stock at the end of the festive buying period, you'll also find cashback websites and cash-back apps increasing their cashback rates and/or offering special deals so you use them to not only earn yourself some cashback but for the cashback services to earn some decent money as well, after all they are a business! Cashback is big business these days; we all use these services for our everyday purchases, be it at a grocery store, restaurants or clothes shops; even when we shop around for car insurance quotes, we all use these services as we know we can save so much money by shopping savvy! This is why shopping using cash-back apps and sites at Christmas is so important; you're spending more, therefore you should be saving, right? Millions of us use cashback services, yet millions of Brits are still not using cashback sites every time they shop; in fact, millions are using them at all, and it's such a waste of money, as it can be so easy, yet even during a cost-of-living crisis, a way someone can save the most money on their expenditure is overlooked, and to me, that makes no sense!
My dear old mum is one of the people I'm talking about; she is great at making sure she uses her loyalty card when she heads off to Morrisons with her shopping list, never forgets to use it and likes the discount she can get from it and the free £5 every couple of months, but I speak to her about using cash back apps to save even more, but she wants nothing to do with it, as its all too complicated and she's worried about getting scammed, and I've spoken to her until I'm blue in the face, but with no luck, so I've given up; but I'm not giving up on you; read on as why you should be using a cashback service and most importantly, which ones I recommend you to be using! I'll tell you which ones are the most reliable and offer the best deals and the best ways to earn cash back, no matter if you are shopping in your local convenience store, a big high street retailer or your shopping from one of the hundreds of online retailers you could be earning cash rewards from!
Basically, the message I'm trying to get across is if you have to spend money, spend it at a retailer who will give you money back from your purchase as a thank you for your business - if you went into a shop and the cashier didn't thank you for your purchase, you'd think them rude and may not return right? It's the same with retailers who don't offer cashback via a cashback site; I take it as a personal slur that they don't appreciate me spending my hard-earned money with them, and so I'll spend my money with a retailer who will financially compensate me for shopping with them as a thank you, and so with Christmas coming up, now is the time to sign up with ALL the cashback sites to make sure you have the best chance to be able to earn cashback this festive season, plus signing up with different sites means you may also be able to earn a sign-up bonus adding to your cash-back rewards! Don't forget that all your receipts can also earn you money via receipt scanning apps as well, which we covered on the blog HERE.
Millions of UK shoppers use these sites, so is it worth the hassle?
Damn straight it is! Think of it this way: if you went into a shop, selected some products, and went to the till to pay, and saw two tills open and available, but one of the sales assistants shouted to you that if you went to their till, rather than their colleagues, they would give you a 5% discount on your purchase, even though you were still buying from the same shop, and paying the same way as you would have done at the other till, how likely is it that you would say no? I guess that 99.9% of customers would say yes and be pretty happy about the deal they just got, right? It would be a great way to save so much cash!
Well, cashback services can be thought of in the same way. You're online and looking to buy something from your favourite retailer, but rather than going directly to the retailer, you click onto a cashback site first and search for the retailer; you find it on the site, and they are offering you a 5% cashback rate if you click a link, which will take you to the same retailer website you were going to go to anyway and make your purchase. You've just ordered from the same retailer you were about to order from anyway and earned 5% of the purchase cost, which you will receive and can spend however you want... Realistically, it's a no-brainer for 30 seconds of effort; who wouldn't take advantage of these great deals?
How does the cashback site make money?
Every time you use a cashback site to make a purchase, the cashback site will receive a commission from the retailer, and they share this with you, although some cashback companies, such as TopCashback, actually pass 100% of the cashback on to you, and instead make their money from site advertising and fees from the retailers. The more significant cashback sites work directly with the retailers to grab you exclusive deals and offers. In contrast, the smaller cashback companies use referral schemes and affiliate companies, which pay them a commission they share with you.
It's a relatively simple concept; the cashback sites earn money through commissions from the retailers and/or the retailer advertising their services on the cashback site/app. The retailers get extra business from the cashback sites advertising the retailer's services, and you get a cut of the action as well!
I always wondered why retailers would want to pay a commission to a cashback site and you, but having spent a long time using cashback sites, I realised that I am a prime example of why retailers are in on the cashback action! Here is an example of what I mean. Let's say I wanted to buy something that's sold by lots of different retailers; let's say, for example, I want to buy a pair of Levis Jeans. Most retailers are likely to have these jeans at a pretty similar price (and you can check Google shopping to see who is the cheapest), so you might buy from your usual supplier; after all, why not? It's the same price, and you know the retailer, so it's all good, right? So what you might do instead is head on over to Cashback Angel, which is a free website and also a handy Chrome extension that compares cashback rates, miles, points, rewards & vouchers from the leading cashback sites and apps and shows you which is the best deal, plus any special retailers discount codes as well, which is fab! Below is an example from this site for the retailer Boots:
Now, chances are you will purchase from the highest cashback offering cashback supplier instead of buying from your normal retailer. You've saved money, and it's pretty likely that instead of buying from your favourite retailer, you purchased from one of its competitors, giving them the sale and allowing them to get future business from you potentially, which they wouldn't have got if you hadn't wanted cash back, so for them, it's good business sense, and money well spent!
So, which cashback sites are the best ones to use?
The simple answer is that whichever site gives you the best cashback rate is the best cashback site to use at that point in time! I'm very disloyal, not in a to my partner kind of way, but to my cashback provider, my allegiance is to my wallet, and if you aren't helping to keep cash in my wallet, I'm going elsewhere.
So, which cashback sites should you be using? Here is my guide to the best cashback apps you need to be using right now. Don't just use one or two; sign up for all of them to make sure you have the maximum amount of cashback options for your purchases!
An app and website-based cashback site offers competitive cashback on a range of goods and services and is one of the more prominent cashback services in the UK. It's free to join and offers a premium service, giving you a better cashback rate, more promotions, exclusive offers, plus other benefits; it costs you £1 of your cashback earned each month. I like it removes pesky adverts from the site, which can be annoying!
You can earn cashback on physical goods services such as home and car insurance. It compares the cost facility on specific services, plus cashback on phone contracts, TV services, utilities and holidays and nights away, so an extensive range of cashback options. You earn your cashback in the 'conventional' cashback manner, so search for a retailer on the Quidco site or app, click the link to take you to the retailer and then earn cash back on purchases made.
Quidco is a decent cashback service and offers some strong offers, which can often sway me to them from its competitors. You can sign up HERE for the service; using our referral link will earn you a £5 bonus when you earn £5 of cashback!
Airtime Rewards is another of the more unique cashback services! This service offers cashback from many UK retailers, available in your cashback account balance once cleared. Once you hit £10 of payable cashback, you can withdraw the £10.
The withdrawal process is slightly different; rather than withdrawing the cashback to your bank, the app sends the cashback as a payment on your mobile phone bill, reducing your next bill! This is the 'Airtime' part of the Airtime Rewards name!
It's a simple enough process to get your cash back, and in fact, it's probably one of the easiest ways to earn cashback! This is due to the way the cashback service is set up.
Once you have registered with the service, you add all your debit and credit cards to the app (yes, this is safe; I wouldn't recommend this app if I didn't have the utmost trust in it!), and then every time you spend at a retailer that's partnered with Airtime Rewards and pay using one of the debit/credit cards you have registered on the app, Airtime Rewards will detect the purchase and automatically apply the cashback to your account, so it runs in the background, so you need do nothing, other than checking the app from time to time, to see if you have cashback to withdraw to your phone bill, so it's hassle-free!
I seem to earn around £100 a year using this app, and recently, I seem to be buying from more of the retail app partners; and have found that for the last few months, I've had £10 available every month to withdraw, which is super helpful being that I changed tariff recently, to a sim card only offer, which costs me £10 a month. So the £10 monthly withdrawal has meant I'm paying zero for my mobile phone contract every month, which is pretty amazing!
With over 300 brands partnered with the cashback service, you will find a retailer to earn from! The app isn't compatible with every mobile phone carrier in the UK; if you find your carrier isn't compatible, contact their customer services, as I'm aware of several people who spoke to them and now receive Amazon vouchers instead of phone credit so it is well worth talking to them.
You will find monthly promotions offering you bonuses when you spend X number of times at its retailers and other bonus events that suddenly pop up out of nowhere!
You can sign up HERE for the service, and if you use our referral code of Q8FWLDQB, you'll get a 50p welcome bonus and another £1 if you spend at a retail partner within seven days.
TopCashback is the most extensive cashback service in the UK, possibly the world, as they have a site in the UK, USA, and India!
TopCashback has over 4,400 retailers on its service, meaning it's pretty rare not to find cashback available from the retailer you want to purchase from; I find it's the smaller, more independent retailers that aren't offering the cashback to its customers the more significant the retailer, the more likely you will discover cashback opportunities!
That said, the likes of Amazon only offer cashback for its own devices, such as Alexa products, and to be able to grab Amazon cashback, you would need to use JamDoughnut or the receipt scanning/cashback app ZipZero.
So, back to TopCashback, which is the market leader, and for that reason, it often has to fight with rivals such as Quidco to offer the best cashback deals so it can offer some cracking deals and stay at the top!
There is the standard/basic membership, which is free and offers competitive cashback, and then also has a premium service, which costs £5 per year (which it takes from your cashback balance annually), and this offers a higher rate of cashback, plus special offers and payout bonuses.
You can withdraw your cleared cashback to your Paypal account or bank account, but depending if you have a specific plan when withdrawing the cashback, you can also withdraw the cashback to a reward wallet. Once you have done this, you can then get a bonus by withdrawing your earnings to a gift card, which you can then use at your favourite retailer, (I tend to withdraw my earnings as supermarket vouchers, as it helps with the food budget!), and make sense as you can get up to a 25% bonus, (my supermarket bonus is 4%, 25% is generally for a more obscure brand!), which can't be sniffed at!
You can, in a similar way to Quidco, earn cashback on goods and services, as well as a Snap & Save facility, which is infrequent but offers you cash back on items purchased in a supermarket, such as £1.50 back on a pumpkin at Halloween, £1.50 back on an Easter Egg at Easter, which is free so worth doing!
Keep your eye out for special competitions and promotions, with popular Christmas and Halloween promotions, where you can earn cash prizes, having a big following, with whole Facebook groups set up dedicated to help give you advice on where to find clues and answers to riddles!
Keep your eye out for their 'Global Bonus' events, where they will offer a one-day bonus when you spend a certain amount via their site /app. Usually, this is a spend £5 and get a £2 bonus type promotion. If you don't need to buy anything, purchase a £5 supermarket gift card, as this will give you cash back on the £5 gift card as well as the £2 bonus, so your £ then turns into £7.30 ish, which isn't to be sniffed at... I always take advantage, as free money is free money!
There is also a free cashback section on the site/app where you can grab free cashback for signing up for competitions and survey sites, downloading apps, registering on gambling sites, comparing insurance prices and similar, which can be rewarding; I know I made £55, (well £45 actually, after losing the tenner), on a gambling site by registering, wagering, and losing £10, but got £55 added to my TopCashback account, which was pretty easy and profitable!
The Top Gift Card section of the site works similarly to JamDoughnut, where you can purchase gift cards for use at retailers and earn cashback on the purchase, and the cashback on the gift cards is instant.
Like most cashback sites, the system has browser extensions you can install that will notify you of cashback rates and deals while you are browsing, which is helpful as it can be easy to forget about cashback while browsing and getting into the buying zone! Use these as a reminder to get cashback, but also remember to use something like Cashback Angel to make sure you are getting the best cashback rate, especially for more expensive orders!
You can sign up HERE for the service; using our referral link will earn you a £10 bonus when you earn £10 of cashback!
I've earned nearly £1500 cashback via TopCashback alone! It just shows that it's not that hard to earn cashback! The beauty of cashback is making money by spending money you would spend anyway! Be savvy and think outside the box!
For example, if you know you will spend £200 a month at your local supermarket, buy £200 of gift cards for the supermarket when you get paid, you still have the £200 to spend (they don't expire for years) but also you've earned cashback on the £200 as well, and that could be an extra £8, which over a year is £96, all for spending 2 minutes a month grabbing the cashback!
Cheddar is an absolute must of a cashback site, purely because it's automatic! You sign up, register your bank account to the app, and then when you spend with Cheddar partners via your debit card for your bank account, you will automatically earn the cashback, so you don't need to remember to go to cashback sites before buying, simply shop and save!
The app works with the following banks:
Chase, HSBC, Monzo, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank Of Scotland, Tesco Bank, AIB, American Express, Bank Of Scotland, Barclays, Danske Bank, First Direct, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Revolut, Santander, Virgin Money, Wise & Starling Bank,
To set it all up, download the app and add your bank accounts, which is done by connecting the Cheddar app to your banking apps, which then talks to the Cheddar app, and this link allows Cheddar to see when you've spent with one of its partners, and this will then reward your cashback to your Cheddar account.
It's not dissimilar to Airtime Rewards, where you register your cards to the app and earn when you spend; however, Airtime Rewards earn you cashback you can put towards your mobile phone bill (which, if you don't have, you should get, as it saves me well over £100 a year!), but Cheddar pays you in cash you can transfer to your bank, rather than putting it towards your phone bill, which is handy!
The app is free to download and is SAFE, which I appreciate may have been your first thought when you read you need to register your banking apps to the app, but you can sign up with confidence; the service is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The app works for both online and in-store purchases, and you also benefit from frequent offers, which will save you even more!
The app also works in conjunction with other cashback apps, so you might use TopCashback to make a purchase pay using your Cheddar registered bank account to pay, and you should then earn cashback from both cashback services; nice, huh!
The app reckons you could earn over £1,000 a year in cashback, which I see being possible if you are a frequent user of the Cheddar retail partners, and the nice thing is how easy it is: spend as usual and watch the cashback add up, then withdraw it when you could use a bit of extra cash, it all adds up! There is a minimum withdrawal amount of £5, so you don't have to wait for ages to make a withdrawal! Cashback partners include: Just Eat, Trainline, Decathlon, Gopuff, Foot Locker, Sainsbury's, Co-op, McDonald's, Uber, Starbucks, HelloFresh, Avon, Caffe Nero, Boohoo, BoohooMAN, In The Style, Funky Pigeon, Joe & The Juice, Alton Towers, LOVETheatre, ATG Tickets, Tommy Hilfiger, Ted Baker, Greene King, Monki, Western Union, Pooch & Mutt, Weekday, Pact Coffee, Redbubble, Nast Gal, Citizen M, EGO, Wish, Calvin Klein, Task Rabbit, MyFlowers, AllPlants, Clarins, Face The Future, The Dungeons, Grounded, Karen Millen, Bear Grylls Adventure, Madame Tussauds, Ganni, Green Man gaming, Colorful Standard, OPI, Bloom & Wild, Dollar Shave Club & Toolstation, and you may find additional retailers as bonus offers as well. I think the app is worth it just for the supermarket cashback; after all, that's where we all tend to spend a lot of money these days, thanks to the rise in food prices! You can use our referral link to download the app, which will give you an entry into the app's weekly giveaway. The referral code is PINCHER and you'll find more about this app on this blog here.
Jam Doughnut - Another fab cashback site that has amassed a significant following over the last year because the service has teamed up with so many retailers and offers some great cashback rates, especially when they 'Pump Up' their rates, which is a limited-time period when they will increase cashback rates on specific retailers, for a limited time only. These retailers are often supermarkets that get pumped up rates around a payday weekend, which can be really useful, with rates as high as 5% at Morrisons! Now, this is a gift card cashback site, which means you'll earn cashback when purchasing a gift card from Jam Doughnut. This gift card can then be used to make your purchase at your chosen retailer, both in-store and often online, if the retailer accepts gift cards for online purchases (check before you buy; JamDoughnut usually does tell you if the card can be spent online!).
JamDoughnut links to your banking app (very safe!), allowing you to make a purchase very quickly. You can also pay by credit card; however, you get 50% less cashback paying this way, so paying from your bank account is more profitable. Once you've paid for your gift card, the card typically arrives within 1 minute so that you can use that gift card almost immediately! Now, this is handy as when I go to the supermarket, I usually wait to see my total and then buy a gift card for that amount while I'm at the till, which comes through straight away, and I use that to pay. I've then earned cashback on the purchase, and depending on which supermarket I'm in, and if the cashback is pumped up, that could be up to 5%, and being supermarket shopping is often one of the most significant household expenses, that can really add up!
The cashback you earn is instantly credited to your Jam Doughnut account wallet, and once you have £10 in your wallet, you can withdraw this to your bank.
My favourite part of paying by gift card is that you can often cashback stack your purchase when purchasing online. As long as your chosen retailer accepts payment by gift card online, use TopCashback or Quidco to click through to your chosen retailer, then add the products to the cart, and when you go to pay, use JamDoughnut to buy a gift card for the total price and use this gift card to pay. You will then get your cashback from JamDoughnut AND cashback from TopCashback & Quidco as well! It doesn't work with every retailer, but I'm yet to find one it hasn't worked for me!
The cashback app has hundreds of different retailers you can earn cashback from, including Amazon, at 1%, which is fab as so few cashback sites can offer any sort of Amazon cashback, so it's worth using this app just for Amazon alone if like me you spend a small fortune at Amazon every year!
We've reviewed JamDoughnut on the blog in more detail HERE.
You can sign up for JamDoughnut for free HERE, and if you use our referral code of PPUK you'll get a £4 bonus when you use the app for the first time!
Mad About Money
Mad About Money - This new social app, a handy resource and community talking about everything to do with your finances, debt and mental health, is guided by an army of experts who help with advice and general tips and ideas. The app boasts a discount club where you can purchase gift cards for your chosen retailer, in a similar way to JamDoughnut; however, with this app, you get the cashback as a discount off the price of your gift card, so you don't have to wait for there to be enough cashback in your app wallet to get the cashback to your bank account, this app gives takes the cashback off of the gift card for you, and then delivers the gift card to you immediately, which is super handy! You can download the free app, which will give you access to the discount club with 130 retailers, HERE.
Other cashback sites well worth a mention are:
A really helpful browser extension (owned by PayPal) that automatically applies discount codes to your shopping cart to try and save you money on your purchase. If unsuccessful, it will offer you cash back if the retailer is one of its partners. The discount coupons part is super helpful and has saved me several hundred pounds in the year or so I've been using it, so it's worth the free install!
Even though it's not strictly a cashback service, Kids Pass offers discounts on some big-name brands and exclusive offers. I saved nearly £7 on two cinema tickets plus got two free drinks included, with some pretty decent deals on days out available. There is a £4.99 monthly charge (£1 trial for 30 days you can cancel to get no further charges) for the service, but it's straightforward to earn that £4.99 back if you like to go to the cinema or take kids to restaurants and day trips etc.
Whatever you do, grab as much cashback on your purchases; the savings add up; you owe it to your wallet to be as cashback savvy as possible; think what you can do with extra cash in January!