Money doesn't grow on trees—so they say—but it is possible to earn a little cash back on your purchases with cashback websites, just follow these tips.

What is Cashback?

Shopping doesn't always mean parting with your money, especially when it comes to shopping online. We are long familiar with loyalty cards but cashback websites are a revolutionary new concept. Simply log on to a cashback website and gain access to popular shopping websites. It really is very easy and one occasion when "it sounds too good to be true" can be uttered without disappointment. 

How Does Cashback Work?

Visit a cashback site to access an online store (Boots, Debenhams or Tesco are just three) and you can make money every time you shop. Although, 3% is the most you can expect from retailers, you can earn £50-plus on energy, finance and mobile deals, and some expert customers collect hundreds every year.

Once you have clicked the link to your favoured shopping site, your visit will be tracked which means when you buy something, a certain amount will be put back into your cashback account. From there you will be able to withdraw the cash you've earned.

Why does it work? It's actually a very simple and common system. The cashback provider is paid to provide traffic to the website through certain links, or to particular products. Cashback websites are giving customers a portion of this. 

 

Cashback tips

  • Always read the small print. Stores often limit the ranges eligible for cashback, which makes it hard to build up reserves, especially as sites often don’t pay out until the retailer pays them or you’ve earned £20. Most also deduct an annual £5 admin fee.
  • Don’t disable cookies. Cash-back sites use these footprints on your computer to track purchases. If the sale’s not registered, you won’t get paid.
  • Use a cashback credit card. The Amex Platinum pays between 5% and 1% on purchases, but it only pays out once you’ve spent £3,000 (and once a year at that). Treat it as a debit card and pay the amount you owe each month to escape the hefty (almost 20%) interest charges.
  • Do the maths. “Never let the cash-back tail wag the dog,” says Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert.com. “Treat it as a bonus—it may not be the cheapest deal.”
  • Bank your cash fast. If the retailer goes bust, you’ll lose everything in the cashback account.
  • If the cashback website isn't free, avoid it!

 

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