GENERAL: Getting free money (Cashback) from normal online purchases

Would you believe a stranger if they told you that you can easily earn money if you do any shopping online?  Or would you laugh, think it is a scam and too good to be true?  If you do any form of online shopping and have never used “Cash-Back” sites, then read on…

The financing of the Internet

The Internet is full of websites with adverts, and typically, if you click an advert to a particular shop and then buy something, then the person showing the advert gets the commission.  This can range from a few pence to a fair few pounds.  Even comparison sites, like the famous Meerkats simply do some work and then earn commission if you follow their links to an insurance company and then purchase insurance.  Insurance commissions can be anything, even up to £100 or so, hence they can afford lots of TV adverts and “free” cuddly toys.

Cashback Sites

Cashback sites are one of the Internets best kept secrets.  As an IT guy, it frustrates me no end that I see people buying things online every day and literally throw money away by not using them.

Put simply, Cashback sites have adverts for 1000s of online shops.  So, when you want to buy something, if you use the Cashback sites adverts/links the Cashback site gets the sales commission.  But then, they pass the commission back to you!

A few Cashback sites have come and gone, but the two I recommend are TopCashBack and Quidco.  The latter is more famous but takes £5 per year as an admin fee, whereas TopCashBack is totally free.  I tend to use TopCashBack more nowadays especially as they also give 5% extra if you take your earnings in Amazon vouchers!

So how does it work?

It isn’t complicated, so if you’ve registered and bought something from any online website, you are more than capable of using Cashback sites.

You need to go to TopCashBack and create a free account.  Once you have joined then you can search for the company you want to buy from, and then you will be told about particular Cashback rates and any vouchers that may apply.  You then follow their links to your usual shop and complete your purchase as normal.

All being well, TopCashBack will track your purchase commission, and then after a few weeks it should be validated.  After a month or two once they get the commission paid, you will be given the commission into your account.  Once you have been paid commission you can withdraw it into your bank or as Amazon vouchers.  Sadly, it isn’t a quick process, and it is never guaranteed to work as, for example if you followed an advert a few days prior to the same shop, then the person who showed the first advert would get the commission instead.  Also, Cashback may not be compatible with some voucher code deals you may find elsewhere.

But, with practice and not clicking other adverts, you will get used to it and start enjoying free Cashback!  Personally I have received over £1,000 over the last few years on purchases I would have made anyway.

Is it worth the effort?

Is it worth it? Well yes – it all adds up.  Whilst I am a firm believer in buying local where possible, there are times when you cannot procure what you need locally and as such buying online is the easiest option.  Some local chain stores, such as Tesco and Argos also pay Cashback on reserve-and-collect type services, which both earns you Cashback and keeps the local stores busy.

At the time of writing, you can get over £95 Cashback with a car insurance policy from RAC;  £60 with Aviva home insurance policy; 9% back on some Dell computers;  8% from Boots; and 3% on M&S to name but a few.  You can also get £101 if you change your gas & electricity supplier to nPower – now you know why the door salesmen can be pushy!

If you have time, it is certainly cost effective to change utility providers and insurance providers annually, but even without this the Cashback adds up – and is effect free money to you.

What would you prefer?  A free Meerkat toy?  Or £50 Cashback in your pocket?

If nothing else, take a look at the Cashback websites and read their FAQs.  What do you have to lose?  Apart from your free money….!

Website links:-


* Please note, the links to TopCashBack and Quidco are my refer-a-friend links, and as such if you join and earn cashback then a small bonus is paid to me.  This refer-a-friend bonus has no impact to you, nor does it influence my views or this article.  Quite simply, Cashback is almost is to good to be true – but in this case it is not!

If you need more testimonials, see where you can see the mainstream press have also recommend this approach!