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Cashback: Not the Supermarket Kind

Posted by [email protected] on June 1, 2016 at 5:45 PM

If you frequently buy things either online or in real life at a regular shop, then you will probably have heard of the term cashback before at some point. You may have been offered it when buying your weekly food shop, starting a new mobile phone contract, or even when just buying yourself a nice new pair of shoes online.

What exactly is Cashback?

Although the cashback that is offered to you in the supermarket has the same name, it is actually something quite different to that offered when taking out a new phone contract or buying something online. The cashback offered at the tills is just a service that allows you to withdraw up to or sometimes over £50 from your bank account. This is your money and cashback at supermarkets can pretty much be treated in the same way as when you use a hole in the wall or ATM.

However the cashback offered online when you go to purchase a new mobile phone contract, item of clothing or whatever you like is completely different. Rather than taking some of your own money and giving it to you, the retailer in which you are purchasing from actually gives you some of their money.

It sounds absurd but in the ever increasing competition that online retailers are facing due to the ease of opening a new store online, retailers are having to offer more and more incentives in order to win your business. Even the larger, more reputable retailers such as Argos are finding that they have to offer incentives such as discount codes.

How Does Cashback Work?

In a nutshell, cashback is the same as a discount. If something costs you £100 and you are offered £5 cashback then it is really only costing you £95, which is exactly the same as a 5% discount. The way it works is often slightly different to a regular discount, in the sense that although in the example above you would get £5 off of the total cost of your purchase, you won’t get it immediately at the checkout like you would had you have used a promo code.

Instead the cashback provider – which can either be the retailer themselves or a third party – records your order and offers you the cashback at a later date – usually within the next 30 days. The reason that this is done is to prevent someone buying £1000s worth of goods with cashback and then returning them the very next day at full price.

There are a few leading websites in the UK that offer cashback such as Quidco and Top Cashback among others. All you need to do in order to start benefitting from the cashback is register an account with them, and then clock on the links that they provide in order to redeem the cashback on any purchases that you make.


The cashback provider earns commission on everything that you buy because you are using their affiliate links to order. As a token of their appreciation (and to get you to do the same thing again next time) they then offer you some of the savings. Depending on the store this can range from 2% of the total cost of the order all the way up to 10% and occasionally even more.

Why Cashback Websites Rule

The great thing about cashback websites is that once you’ve registered you can still continue to save money on every order that you make online. Unlike voucher codes, cashback deals tend not to have an expiry date so you can save every single time you shop.

It’s worth noting that different cashback websites may vary the percentage in which they offer you. As a result it’s often a good idea to register with all of the leading UK cashback providers and check which offers the best deal at the time in which you want to make your purchases.

Be wary of smaller cashback websites offering cashback percentages that sound as though they may be too good to be true. The chances are that they are. Sometimes these rogue websites may not actually honour their promise of the cashback which means that you’ve paid full price for something and it was too long ago to return it and order it again from a legitimate cashback website due to the time in which they usually take to pay the cashback (typically 30 days) – leaving you well out in the cold.



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1 Comment

Reply Thomas Wilkins
9:13 AM on November 23, 2016 
Excellent blog. Everyone likes "Cash Back". This is good information, thank you