Sadly, there are very few ways to genuinely make easy money online, in my experience. When I see a potential new opportunity, my default thought is, it’s probably not legal, a scam or there’s some kind of hidden drawback. The ones that are genuine often disappoint. Most I’ve tried have been time consuming, and tedious and don’t pay well, if at all and some require an upfront payment. However, there is a well established way of making free money with minimal effort. I’m talking cashback sites.
I opened my first cashback account in 2008, after reading an article about cashback sites and how they work. As per usual with anything offering easy money online, I was dubious to begin with. It really did sound too good to be true. I didn’t have to make any upfront payment. All I had to do was shop online as I normally would, but instead of going directly to the retailer, I would go to the cashback site and click through to the retailer via a link. Then I would complete my purchase and the cashback site would pay me a commission. Ok, I’m thinking… so what’s the catch?
It took a few purchases for me to accept there actually wasn’t a catch. Ok, the commission can sometimes take months to hit your account and occasionally the retailer would reject your claim. In the vast majority of cases, it does work, though.
Since opening that first account in 2008 I have made nearly £5000 and I’m not a big online shopper. A lot of those earnings have come from switching home and car insurance and utilities. These are all purchases I had to make anyway, so I haven’t bought anything extra to obtain the cashback.
Every time one of my energy contracts or insurance policies is approaching renewal, I go on a comparison site to search the market for the latest prices. I then see how much cashback I could receive from the best deals. Then once I’ve decided on the deal I want to buy, I just click through to the supplier via the cashback site and complete the purchase. Cashback rates vary and payment is not guaranteed, so it’s never a good idea to base your purchase purely on any potential cashback you may receive.
The principle of how cashback sites work is actually quite simple. Retailers pay the cashback sites commission for each customer they refer to them, who goes on to make a purchase. The cashback site simply pays the customer a proportion of that commission.
The sites I currently use are Topcashback and Quidco, they’ve both been trading in the UK since 2005 and list around 5000 retailers. They are the two big heavyweights in this field. I recommend signing up for each of them and always checking each site before making a purchase. Although their list of retailers and cashback rates are similar, sometimes only one will list a particular retailer or one will be offering a better deal than the other.
When your cashback becomes payable you can withdraw it as cash, or alternatively, you can take a gift card which includes a bonus uplift. Each has a list of retailers you can choose from.
No, cashback sites are not too good to be true, they’re very real and they can earn you a lot of money, for very little effort. Kerching!
Quidco is currently offering new customers a £5 bonus when opening an account via our referral link. To apply for this, please just click on Quidco anywhere on this page. Offers are subject to change. T&C applies.
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