Recommend a friend: how to make money for yourself and someone else

Recommend a friend: how to make money for yourself and someone else

You could earn £100s by recommending deals to friends, but there is definitely a right and wrong way of doing it explains Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

loveMONEY Expert Panel

Saving and Making Money

loveMONEY Expert Panel
Updated on 18 September 2019

Friends aren’t worth their weight in gold, but thanks to recommend-a-friend deals the could be good for a few quid at least.

Alongside advertising and marketing, some firms spend a fortune on commission to price comparison sites and money blogs, who will work hard to encourage more people to sign up.

If you’re bringing your family and friends to businesses directly, they can give this money to you instead.

In most cases, the process is fairly straightforward. You simply send your friends a code or a link. When they sign up, or spend money with that specific business, you both get a reward.

This may come as either a discount on your bill, vouchers, or cold, hard cash.

More (friends) the merrier?

Most companies set an overall limit on the number of people you can send their way, but even so, if you have plenty of acquaintances, you may be able to make hundreds of pounds.

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Group of young friends. (Image: Shutterstock)

A handful of financial companies have taken this approach, but it’s important to realise these deals tend to come and go so you'll often have to act fast.

At the time of writing, you can get £100 for recommending a current account and £25 for recommending a credit card.

Utility companies are also big fans of this approach. So, whichever you use, it’s worth checking the website to see if there’s a deal available at the moment.

Pay TV firms, broadband providers, breakdown companies and mobile phone operators also regularly offer rewards for friends.

An interesting offer at the moment is from Virgin Mobile, which lets you split rewards worth up to £100 with your friend ­– if you want.

So, you can give them all of it, share the reward equally or keep the lot for yourself.

There’s one kind of recommend-a-friend deal everyone should consider – a cashback website.

Once you sign up, you simply shop as usual and earn cashback on everything from holidays to groceries. The deals mean when your friend reaches a certain level of cashback, you both get a reward. 

For example, if you get someone to sign up to and they spend £40 at Sainsbury’s, they could get £12.60 cashback although this deal ends in only three days. 

Once your friend earns their first £10 in cashback, you’ll get up to £7.50 in free cashback.

TopCashback, Quidco or credit card: what's the best way to earn cashback?

Before we jump to the incentives on offer, it’s best to be aware of certain rules before recommending your friends.

Man looking at phone. (Image: Shutterstock)

Three golden rules you must follow

It’s essential not to let this sort of thing sour a friendship, so before you share your recommendation, make sure you’re doing the right thing.

  1. It may be a good deal for you, but it might not be ideal for your friend

For example, if they’ve had trouble with debts before, ask yourself whether you really ought to be sending them in the direction of a credit card.

Likewise, if you know they are short on cash, should you be suggesting upgrading their mobile phone or buying a media package?

Will they really benefit from switching to a specific new current account? Consider their needs rather than simply focusing on your own gains.

  1. Avoid putting your friend under any pressure

Similarly, they should feel that this is something they could take advantage of if they really want to.

But equally, they should be confident they can shop around and buy the right product for them.

Even if they decide to go with the company you’re suggesting, they’re not duty-bound to use your recommendation link or code.

Your friend shouldn’t feel they have to pick between getting a good deal and making you happy.

  1. Don’t be ‘that’ friend who spams everyone's timeline

You can put a handful on social media, or email one or two a year to each friend. Any more than that, and you risk your friends feeling exploited.

No one wants to be friends with that person, so promote in moderation or consider joining specialist groups where people match up with others for recommendation bonuses.

Get £10 cashback bonus at Quidco

Bank notes. (Image: Shutterstock)

Three golden rules for your friends

If you’ve been referred by a friend and you’re unsure whether to take them up on it or not, the following rules below might be able to help.

  1. Don’t spend money that you wouldn’t without the discount

If you weren’t going to sign up for a new mobile phone, a £50 incentive may end up costing you a great deal more in the long run, so don’t be tempted to spend purely for the reward.

This is particularly vital when it comes to credit cards, because if you’ve overspent and then paid interest, the cashback will be a tiny fraction of the money you wasted.

  1. Don’t commit to bad value for a reward

Mobile phones, broadband and energy all vary enormously in price, so don’t sign up without comparing deals.

You could easily be tied into a contract for a year or more, so overspending by just a few pounds a month may wipe out any cashback or rewards.

  1. Make sure there aren’t better discounts elsewhere

Before you sign up, check whether you can get a better deal by going direct as a new customer. Friends and family discounts aren’t the only game in town, and you may be able to save more in other ways.

You might get more money back through a cashback website – AA and RAC currently offer better deals this way.

Or you could get an exclusive discount or rewards from a money blog, website, or money off through a discount scheme run by your employer.

Compare broadband deals at Broadband Genie

If you’re too keen to make money, you can end up devaluing your friendships.

But as long as you follow these rules, you can make your friendships even more rewarding.

Ways you & your friends can make money

We have listed 18 ways you (and often your friends) can get rewarded for recommending them.


Reward for you

Reward for them

Additional information

Nationwide current account



You can recommend up to five friends a year and earn up to £500


£100 pre-paid Mastercard

£100 pre-paid Mastercard


OVO Energy

£75 M&S, John Lewis or Amazon gift card

£75 M&S, John Lewis or Amazon gift card






Octopus Energy

£50 credit

£50 credit


Shell Energy

£50 Amazon gift card

£50 Amazon gift card


Virgin Media

£50 off bill

£50 off bill


Virgin Mobile



You get £100 reward you can either keep, give to your friend or share with them

Vanquis credit card




Three Mobile

£25 Amazon gift card

£25 Amazon gift card



£25 Amazon gift card

£25 Amazon gift card

Reward applies when they sign up to a pay monthly contract


£25 M&S gift card

£25 M&S gift card



£20 Amazon or M&S gift card

£20 Amazon or M&S gift card


Tesco Mobile

£20 off your bill

£20 off your bill


American Express credit card

£20 per friend (up to £150 a year)


Reward varies depending on the card you hold. This is for Cashback Everyday Credit Card

£7.50 cashback  

Paid when your friend earns their first £10 of cashback


£5 min

£5 min

Cashback varies depending on the advertised rate when your friend signs up. Paid out when they earn £5 cashback

Plusnet broadband

75p discount per month per friend


There’s no upper limit on how many friends you can recommend, so technically you can be paid for having broadband

*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.

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