Used properly, cashback can be a way to build up huge sums through essential purchases.
Take Sam Shelford, a young mum who saved £5,000 in cashback from supermarket shopping, or Lauren Hay and Darren McWilliam, who used cashback to fund the trip of a lifetime.
There are more and more cashback websites, cards and schemes to choose from, with insurer MoreTh>n launching its own cashback scheme for loyal customers.
Many banks including Barclays, Halifax, RBS and NatWest also have cashback schemes.
Keep in mind that cashback isn’t ‘real money’ until it reaches your bank account. While long-established providers have built up good reputations, there’s no guarantee you will receive the cashback you’ve been promised.
Always compare prices online, to check you’re not overpaying by going through a cashback site.
You'll need to be a MoreTh>n home, pet or car insurance customer to join (excluding More Th>n Smart Wheels policies). You can have the money paid into your bank account or used to offset the cost of renewing your insurance.
Pros: you can earn cashback at the big supermarkets: Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, among other retailers. You can also connect it to your Mastercard or Visa to earn cashback on in-store spending, such as your weekly groceries shop.
Cons: you need to be a MoreTh>n customer (we recommend shopping around), you can only withdraw your cashback around the renewal date and you'll get charged a hefty £35 fee to withdraw if you didn't renew your policy.
Retailer offers could change, but you'll have already paid for the insurance.
Free to sign up to, although higher cashback rates are offered to Plus members, which costs £5 (paid from your cashback).
Pros: Founded in 2005, this is one of the largest cashback websites and guarantees to beat cashback rates found elsewhere. Its internet browser plugin will notify you when a website is offering cashback, so you don’t miss out. You can earn cashback for some in-store purchases.
Cons: Whilst you can withdraw your cashback at any time, some retailers take longer – sometimes weeks – to pay cashback.
Similar to TopCashback, Quidco offers to levels of accounts: Basic, which is free and Premium, which costs £5, paid from cashback.
Pros: Quidco is one of the biggest cashback sites and has a rate guarantee and an internet browser plugin and in-store cashback. Some of the large cashback bonuses for new members can make your purchase effectively free. Bigger friend referral bonus (£10 each) than Top Cashback (£7.50).
Cons: Quidco has slightly fewer retailers than TopCashback (4,600 compared to 5,350).
This cashback site allows you, your family and friends to earn cashback, that gets paid into your children's’ saving accounts or Junior ISA. It’s free to join.
Pros: A whole family earning cashback, plus generous Junior ISA interest rates or investments, can really add up over the years. Kidstart also has a reminder internet browser plugin.
Cons: the number of retailers is far lower than the other sites, at 1,500, and the rates aren’t always as high, plus there’s no in-store cashback. There’s nothing stopping you transferring cashback from other sites to your children, although KidStart makes this process easier.
Started in the US, with this scheme you earn ‘Swagbucks’ which can be exchanged for awards, such as PayPal cash or gift cards.
It’s free to join.
Pros: It’s not just for purchases: you can earn Swagbucks through taking surveys, watching videos, adding the browser plugin and even online games.
Cons: Swagbucks are worth very little: it takes 4,000 to get a £25 PayPal transfer. The number of retailers and cashback rates may be lower than other sites and there's no in-store cashback.
A new entrant, having launched last year, OhMyDosh is free to join and you could make money from purchases, taking surveys and entering free competitions.
Pros: You can earn a surprisingly generous amount of cashback on free trials – just remember to cancel if you don’t want the service.
Cons: You have to earn £10 in cashback before you can cash out, the selection of retailers isn’t as wide as other sites and there's no in-store cashback.
You could earn even more cashback by combining a cashback site and cashback credit card.
While the cashback rates on these cards are relatively low – up to 5%, but generally much less – they have the advantage that they earn you cashback on all purchases, including in-store.
It’s crucial you pay off your full balance every month, otherwise, the hefty interest rates on these cards will quickly wipe out any earnings.
It’s even possible to earn cashback from a cashback website when you apply for a cashback card… and so the cycle continues.
You could earn 5% in the first three months (max £100), then 0.5% ongoing with this free card (APR 22.9%). You’ll have to wait a year to get your cashback, however.
You could earn 5% in the first three months (max £125), then 1% ongoing, albeit with an annual fee of £25 (APR 22.9%). You’ll have to wait a year to get your cashback, however.
You’ll earn 0.5% for every purchase above £1 in the UK and abroad – this free card also has no fees for foreign spending or cash withdrawals (APR 18.9%).
Bank cashback schemes
Whilst the retailer cashback offers on these schemes are relatively poor, it's possible to get ongoing cashback for your bills, which none of the above sites or cards can offer.
You'll get £3.50 a month for each of your first two direct debits (max £7), although there is a £3 fee. The retailer cashback selection is very poor, with no supermarkets.
Halifax Cashback Extras
Limited retailer selection, but includes Morrisons and can be used for in-store spending with your debit or credit card. Halifax's reward account also pays you £2 a month and has a £135 sign up bonus.
You get 2% cashback on seven types of bills paid by direct debit, including Council Tax, water, gas, electricity, mobile, landline TV package and broadband, albeit with a £2 monthly fee.
It's worth waiting until these banks offer a cash switching bonus, as happens every few months. Unfortunately, the retailer cashback offers are extremely limited.
As an added incentive, you can currently get £175 for switching your bank account to NatWest – head this way to see if you're eligible and, if not, what other switching bonuses are available.
You earn 1% on water and Council Tax bills, 2% on gas and electricity and 3% on mobile, landline and broadband bills. There's a £5 monthly fee but you do earn 1.5% interest on balances up to £20,000.
The Lite account has the same cashback but only a £1 fee.
The retailer selection is limited but can be used for in-store spending.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.