Incahoot PLUS: a new way to earn cashback and save money on your shopping
New Incahoot PLUS membership scheme gives shoppers access to employee discounts and cashback.
A new scheme has launched, promising to take on the failings of cashback schemes that don’t deliver and discounts that are often too fleeting.
Incahoot PLUS will allow users to tap into employee benefit schemes, no matter where they work, delivering savings of more than £1,000.
But to get the most out of the membership you may have to completely rethink the way you budget and confront your spending habits.
How it works
If you have ever worked in retail you may recall the great staff discounts you were entitled to as a member of the team.
Incahoot has opened up this concept in partnership with People Value, an employee benefits provide, and has opened up all the best deals workers at big high street names have been indulging in and made them available to the rest of us.
In order to get started you need to become a member of Incahoot - which has been offering members groupbuying discounts for some time now on utilities like broadband, iPhone contracts and car insurance - and then upgrade your membership to Incahoot PLUS.
How much it costs
Incahoot PLUS is a premium membership scheme, so you'll have to shell out an upfront fee of £29.99 for a year.
Paying a fee in order to access savings is hard to stomach, but is hardly an alien concept. For example, many of us shell out a bit to save more on things like cinema membership and railcards. With the right scheme, you can recoup the initial cost within no time.
Paying the fee for Incahoot PLUS gives you access to over 1,600 cashback deals, discounts and vouchers at masses of retailers across the country.
Reloadable Retail Cards
Once you become a member as well as printing vouchers (like restaurant two for one deals or money off days out) and purchasing discounted vouchers (10% off at New Look means you could pay £18 for a £20 voucher), you can earn cashback on a variety of Reloadable Retail Cards.
These basically work like pre-paid card, except that you can only use them in the specific store. There are loads to pick from and you can apply for five at a time.
On my list would be Sainsbury’s, Costa, Boots, Argos and Habitat. The cards are then posted to you (for a fee of £1.99) and you can start making cash back by loading each one up using your debit or credit card and spending as normal.
Cashback is credited as soon as you spend, which makes a change from some schemes that have a mile long list of terms and conditions meaning you usually end up waiting three months for any money.
Offers on cahback range from 4% to 10% dependent on where you shop. Once you have earned £5 or more in your account you can either transfer the funds into your bank account (for a small processing fee), or back onto a reloadable card of your choice.
The great thing about the service is that the deals are ongoing, so no more “with your first shops” or “when you sign up for our newsletter” gimmicks; these offers can make or save you money every day and can be used in conjunction with other offers.
Confronting your spending
This sounds great, but in order to use the Reloadable Retail Cards effectively you need to confront the amount you spend on things.
For groceries this is fine as money is already set aside in most people’s budgets, but for other luxuries it can take a bit of courage to admit to just how much you spend on clothes or coffee in order to get the most back from the membership.
Your budgeting may be revolutionised and become more strategic and less impulsive. In the long run but this can only be a good thing.
Remember, one easy way to keep on top of your budgeting is with lovemoney.com's free MoneyTrack tool.
Pros and cons
If you believe Incahoot, this service could potentially revolutionise the way we spend, save and earn cashback. However, the scheme is in its early stages, so it is hard to see the long term gains and any pitfalls clearly. Here's the pros and cons to the scheme in my view.
- You can earn cashback instantly on money you would have spent anyway.
- It could also act as a budgeting tool to control your spending.
- The savings you make with each of your reloadable cards are in addition to any offers on at the time, which could make a real difference if you time your spend right.
- Incahoot promises the cards are safe to use as each will have a unique PIN so your money is protected.
- The cashback in your account could be reused on the reloadable cards for free.
- Cashback is localised and easy to manage- meaning you can keep track.
- Having to get a separate card for each store and predict what money to load on is a bit complicated.
- Loading each card with money means that your bank account looks a bit bare.
- You could end up with a lot of plastic in your wallet.
- Distributing money in this way could be dangerous if you lose the cards.
- There is a small fee to transfer your cashback to a bank account.
What do you think? Will you be giving Incahoot Plus a try?