What is cashback and how does it work?

Free money back on your spending - there has to be a catch, right? It’s really just admin and patience. Here’s how to pocket hundreds using cashback sites, apps and more.

1 - 14 of 14
Name Product Fee Retailers Minimum payout Payout methods Key benefits Table description
RATE MATCH
TopCashback (free)
Free
5,000+
No minimum payout
Bank account, PayPal account, Gift card, Charity donation, Avios
Highest Cashback Guarantee: TopCashback will beat higher rates found on any other UK cashback site
Quidco (free)
RATE MATCH
Quidco (free)
Free
4,500+
£1
Bank account, PayPal account, Gift card
Highest Cashback Guarantee: If you find a higher applicable cashback rate for your purchase on any other UK cashback site, Quidco will match it and it'll add a little extra on top
Kidstart
Kidstart
Free
2,300+
£10
Bank account, Charity donation
Kidstart lets you build your children’s savings whenever you shop.
Airtime Rewards
Airtime Rewards
Free
150+
£10
Mobile credit
JamDoughnut
JamDoughnut
Free
100+
£10
Bank account
OhMyDosh
OhMyDosh
Free
Top brands inlcude: Boohoo, Boots, JD Sports, New Look, PrettyLittleThing
£10
Bank account, PayPal account
Shopmium
Shopmium
Free
Top brands inlcude: ASDA, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose
No minimum payout
Bank account, PayPal account
Loyalbe
Loyalbe
Free
Top brands inlcude: ASDA, ASOS, Primark, Starbucks, Superdrug, Tesco, Zara
N/A
Gift card, Charity donation
ZIPZERO
ZIPZERO
Free
Top brands inlcude: Amazon, Argos, ASDA, ASOS, Boots, Currys, eBay, Sainsbury's, Tesco
£5
Bill credit
KarmaVouchers
KarmaVouchers
Free
Top brands inlcude: Amazon, Argos, ASDA, ASOS, Costa Coffee, Primark, Sainsbury's, Tesco
No minimum payout
Bank account, Gift card, Charity donation
GreenJinn
GreenJinn
Free
Top brands inlcude: Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose
£1.50
Bank account, PayPal account
Daali
Daali
Free
Top brands inlcude: Amazon, ASDA, Boohoo, H&M, Primark, Sainsbury's, Tesco
N/A
Gift card
Quidco (Premium)
RATE MATCH
Quidco (Premium)
£1 per month
(waived if account has been inactive)
4,500+
£1
Bank account, PayPal account, Gift card
Highest Cashback Guarantee: If you find a higher applicable cashback rate for your purchase on any other UK cashback site, Quidco will match it and it'll add a little extra on top
RATE MATCH
TopCashback (Plus)
£5 per year
5,000+
No minimum payout
Bank account, PayPal account, Gift card, Charity donation, Avios
Get access to cashback bonuses, enhanced Tell-a-Friend bonus rates as well as additional features and deals exclusive to Plus account members. TopCashback also guarantees to beat higher rates found on any other UK cashback site.
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Cashback is typically a small percentage of your spending that you get back after buying goods via a cashback site, although you can also get it in other ways. If you’re canny, you can get double cashback, just by buying what you were going to get anyway but using a cashback site and paying with a cashback credit card or current account. You can earn hundreds of pounds – one major site, TopCashback, says its users get £345 a year back, on average.

In this guide, we cover general sites and apps, specific deals from certain stores, plus credit cards and current accounts that give cashback on your spending.

Cashback sites: How do they make money?

When you click on a store featured on a cashback site and go on to make a purchase, the cashback site gets a commission. It shares this with you in the form of cashback which you can withdraw by moving it to your bank account or PayPal account, or as a gift card.

To use these sites, you have to sign up and become a member, which is usually free, although there are some premium options. Once signed up, you can browse offers or search for a store and click through to it. When you’ve made a purchase, this gets logged in your cashback account. The only hitch is that it can take months for the money to be confirmed, at which point you can withdraw it.

Best cashback sites

You can get a vast range of products and services via a cashback site, from holidays to your weekly shop. However, certain big ticket items, such as cars, don’t feature. Each retailer will apply its own cashback terms – for example, some cashback deals won’t apply to items that are already discounted.

TopCashback

What’s it known for? Get cashback on nearly everything: clothes, electronics, entertainment and leisure, insurance, travel, utilities and more. Sign up for free.
Biggest brands on the site. There are around 4,000 stores on its site including Nike, Asos, Currys, Argos, Amazon, Just Eat, Expedia and BT.
How do I get the money? Click through to a store and shop as normal. TopCashback gets a commission from the retailer which is 100% passed to you. It takes about a month to be confirmed and in your account, then you can withdraw it. Cashback rates tend to be high on TopCashback. It makes money through ads, not commission. So you could get a solid 20%

Quidco

What’s it known for? Quidco says its members earn £300 a year, on average. Sign up and you can begin searching the site.
Biggest brands on the site. There are thousands including Deliveroo and Domino’s, clothing brands like H&M and Asos, beauty names like Boots and LOOKFANTASTIC, plus travel companies, and finance and utilities providers.
How do I get the money? Cashback offers are displayed beside the retailer; click through to the site and pay as you would. Quidco will get a commission and pass a chunk of it to you. You’ll receive an alert when the money is confirmed and ready to withdraw – although this could take 3 months plus. Premium membership costs £1 of your earned cashback a year, and gives you up to 20% extra on your payout bonuses.

KidStart

What’s it known for? Aimed at families, this site pays out in the form of pocket money for your kids. It’s free to sign up and use and it gets commission from featured stores.
Biggest brands on the site. Over 2,300 stores including Iceland and Sainsbury’s for groceries, Currys and AO for appliances, and John Lewis and M&S for clothes.
How do I get the money? Click “Shop now” to access a store, add items to your basket and pay as normal. Cashback should be logged in your account within 24 hours, but it’ll take 2 to 3 months to get the money. This can be moved to your bank account or a child’s savings account, JISA, or child trust fund.

You can still register as a member and earn KidStart savings even if you don’t have kids. You can also save for children of other parents, or donate the money to a children’s charity or a school of your choice.

easyfundraising

What’s it known for? A percentage of money you spend via this site goes to a charity of your choice. Search for a charity you want to register a free account with, like Cancer Research or the RSPCA, then head back to easyfundraising and search for your store.
Biggest brands on the site. Amazon, Tesco, Booking.com and Currys. There are over 7,000 partners in total.
How do I get the money? Click through to a store, buy an item and the retailer will donate to your charity account. For example, if you book a hotel in Madrid through Booking.com, up to 4% of the cost will go to your charity. Some sites will offer a flat rate – Sky can donate up to £15 providing you meet its conditions, for example.

You can only choose 1 cause to donate to at a time, but this can be changed as many times as you like. Donations are paid every 3 months providing the sum in the account is £15 or more, and you will be notified when this happens.

Cashback apps

These are similar to the websites above (which all have apps, too) but some are tailored to supermarket spending and may need receipts. Here’s the lowdown for some key ones.

Airtime Rewards

What’s it known for? Save money every month on your mobile phone bill from O2, EE, Vodafone and others when you shop via this app.
Biggest brands on the site. Greggs, Wilko, Argos, Asda and New Look.
How do I get the money? Download the app, enter your phone number, link your payment card and start shopping online or in store. You should get the rewards within 14 days of making a purchase, then redeem them in the app to slice that bill.

Shopmium

What’s it known for? Get money off certain products in your weekly shop in any of the major supermarkets.
Biggest brands on the site. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose.
How do I get the money? When we downloaded the app, we were rewarded with the offer of a free bag Malteasers…not bad. We had to claim a refund for this in the same way you’d use the app for cashback purchases. You have to scan the barcode of an eligible product (so don’t toss the wrapper or carton into the bin just yet) and take a picture of the receipt. Referring a mate gets you £3 which you can use to buy certain items. Payment should reach your account in a working week.

Image description
The sweet welcome gift we received when we signed up to Shopmium.Finder

GreenJinn

What’s it known for? This free app is aimed at the health-conscious among us. It provides customised coupons especially for healthy foods.
Biggest brands on the site. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Amazon.
How do I get the money? Shop via the app, add eligible foods to your basket, take a photo of the receipt in the app and submit it. It’s got a minimum payout of £1.50, which should be achievable, but don’t just buy discounted things if you don’t need them. It should take 2 days to process the receipt, and another 3 to process the cashback into your account.

ZIPZERO

What’s it known for? Receipts. Its tagline is “Let your shopping pay for your bills.” This app says it will cut your electricity, water, gas, phone, internet and even council tax bills. You have to take photos of your receipts from retailers you use via the site, share them on the app and earn 0.5% on each receipt you scan.
Biggest brands on the site. eBay, Booking.com, Tesco, Amazon and H&M.
How do I get the money? When you’ve accumulated at least £5 in “Available” reward units, you can order payment of a bill for your chosen utility provider. In principle this sounds good, but you’ll need to spend £1,000 on 1 receipt to get £5…or have loads of receipts to submit. There is a £50 withdrawal cap each month.

Other ways you can earn cashback

Cashback current accounts

There are some banks that offer current accounts with a cash reward back into that account when you make a debit card payment. You can get cashback on certain categories of spending (like travel and groceries, but maybe not a vehicle) and most will cap the max amount you can get back per month. Chase Bank and Santander are a couple that offer cashback on their accounts.

See cashback current accounts

You can also get a bonus when you switch accounts and some banks offer money when you open a new account. We’ve listed the latest switching and bonus deals in our dedicated switching deals guide.

Cashback credit cards

Cashback credit cards earn you cash in proportion to the amount you spend on them. For example, if you spend £100 on a card with 1% cashback, you’ll get £1 in return. Some cards have an annual fees. The value of any cashback will be cancelled out if you don’t pay off your monthly balance.

Some of the big names in cashback credit cards are American Express, Santander, Barclaycard and Halifax.

Best cashback credit cards

Cashback mortgages

OK, so you’re not going to take out a mortgage just to earn a bit of cashback, but if you’re taking out a mortgage anyway, maybe you can get a little kick-back along the way. Plus these days, it’s generally worth switching the second your fixed rate has expired, and so getting a little chunk of cashback could become a semi-regular thing!

Cashback from a mortgage provider sounds like a good incentive, but it’s generally factored into the overall cost of the product. Still, it can come in handy if you’re oving into a new place and anticipate needing to buy a few things in the process. Ikea wavy mirrors don’t come for free after all. Find out if you could save money with this type of mortgage, in our guide. Some cashback mortgage providers include Progressive Building Society, Nationwide, HSBC and Santander.

Cashback: What’s the catch?

One thing to remember is cashback is never guaranteed. Here are some of the traps to watch out for:

  • Always click through from the cashback site and make sure you’re logged in
  • Allow cookies to ensure sales are tracked correctly.
  • A lot of people grab voucher codes from different places and then go via a cashback site – DON’T. This will lead to you not getting your cashback (unless the code is also available on the cashback site).
  • The cashback amount you earn is minus VAT and any delivery fee so take that into consideration.
  • Try to keep the full purchase online only – calling call centres or using live chat can stop the cashback site being the “referrer” and therefore not getting commission – meaning you won’t get the cashback.

Bottom line

The key to making cashback sites work is to get only items you were going to buy anyway, but just doing it through a free account on a cashback site. The downside is that you will need patience – you could be waiting a few weeks before you actually see the money. But if you don’t mind that, and a bit of admin, you could pocket decent money.

Frequently asked questions

Written by

Reemul Balla

Reemul was a writer at Finder, specialising in product reviews and news. He's a qualified journalist having worked at local papers in the UK covering breaking news, food and restaurant reviews. He has an MA in Film from UCL and a BA in History and French from Durham University. See full profile

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