What is Cashback?
Cashback is a fairly modern phenomenon, made popular by the rise of internet-centric affiliate marketing.
Retailers and service providers are often willing to pay small amounts back to websites ('affiliates') that refer successful transactions to them.
Cashback sites are one of the best examples of this, now referring millions of transactions a year in the UK alone.
These cashback sites offer you some/all of the retailer's small payment, after you transact, often for free.
How Does Cashback Work?
The process is surprisingly simple, and it works well in the vast majority of cases:
- You visit a retailer, via a specific website link on your preferred cashback site (this is really important!)
- You make a purchase in that same browsing session (identified using browser cookies)
- The retailer eventually pays the cashback site a small amount, to say thanks for the referral
- Once they've been paid by the retailer, the cashback site passes some/all of that small payment back to you!
- In addition to the cashback amounts, cashback sites earn revenue through advertising (which is how some of them pass on 100% of the cashback to you)
It's important to note that steps 3 & 4 often take months, particularly if you've bought something cancellable, like a holiday, well in advance of the event.
How Much Cashback Can I Earn?
There are three key factors that determine how much cashback you will earn:
- The retailer you purchase from
- The amount you spend
- The type of purchase
If you regularly buy certain big-ticket items, e.g. hotel bookings, you'll accumulate large savings (often around 10% of each booking!). Other expensive items, like flights, earn very little or no cashback. It's a real mixed bag.
They key is to check for cashback every time you buy online, no matter what you're buying; there are no hard and fast rules on amounts, but you will start to see patterns, and regularly earn cashback on anything from clothes to utilities!
The team here at CASHBACK CHOICE have earned over £800 back a year, per person, for the last 5 years... and it's still rising.
Check out our comparison for some examples using some of the largest UK retailers:
How Much Does it Cost?
All the sites we compare are free to sign-up with and use.
Quidco and TopCashback offer a premium membership, which costs around £5 a year.
Paying the membership fee is easy because the small amount is normally deducted, annually, from cashback you've earned.
Why pay that extra fee, you ask?
The answer is simple - you receive certain perks, including better cashback rates in some cases.
As a result, it doesn't take a huge annual spend to make this worthwhile.
Which are the Best Cashback Sites?
Although numerous websites have come and gone over the years, we feel that three are most worthy of your time - TopCashback, Quidco, and KidStart.
We've got you covered with our full comparison.
What About Tips & Tricks?
- Keep an eye on payout periods as they vary from days to months. The payout period will vary based on the nature of what you're buying, and the relationship the retailer has with the cashback site.
- Cashback sites are totally reliant on browser cookies. Don't go deleting them during your purchase process, else your transaction won't register correctly.
- Register on, and always compare cashback rates on the three sites. They aren't always identical, and one exclusive offer can make a real difference on a large purchase.
- Look for good value payout options, including boosted amounts of up to 25% on gift cards.
- Some of the sites offer voucher codes as well cashback, so keep an eye out for more saving opportunities
- Once you've signed up to all three sites, have a good nose around at all the features. You'll wish you had done it years ago when you discover features like 'purchase-free cashback', and cashback for simply using a comparison site like Uswitch or Broadband Genie.
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Cashback Choice is a trading name of Virens Solutions Ltd. Virens Solutions Ltd is registered in England & Wales, number 12354427