TopCashback is one of the latest tools that I have added to my money-saving arsenal. I’ve known about cashback sites for years but I was always very sceptical. I couldn’t believe the stories of people making hundreds and even thousands of pounds, so I thought I would test it out myself. It turns out the stories were true and in the space of a few short months I’ve made £150, but there are a few things to consider first.
Cashback sites act as a marketing arm for retailers. Cashback sites are paid by retailers to bring in new customers.
When you purchase a product using a cashback site, it receives a commission from the retailer. This can range from a small percentage to a decent chunk of change for more expensive products and services. That commission paid from the retailer is then passed on to you, the customer.
Here is TopCashback’s official explanation. There are two big players in the UK: TopCashback and Quidco. We discuss them both further down.
How to set up a TopCashback account
To log in and set up an account, you will need your email address and to choose a password. Like setting up any other online account, you will also need to supply your regular details like address etc. The signup process only takes a few minutes and is totally free. You can sign up for free here.
Start getting cashback quickly
To get cashback when you make a purchase, you must first access the retailer you want to buy from through TopCashback. In the example video below, I wanted to buy a new TV, which I found for sale at AO.com.
I logged in to TopCashback, found AO.com and clicked on the deal I wanted. Sure, it takes a few seconds longer than Amazon ‘one-click’, but you are getting free money, so for me, I feel it’s worth a few seconds of my time. A little green bar should show at the top to say your visit has been tracked.
That’s it! Go through your normal buying process and within in a few hours your purchase will show up in the Earning page of your TopCashback account.
Earn cashback from your favourite retailers
TopCashback claims to have 5,000 retailers who you can claim cashback from. These change from time to time but below are a few of the big ones.
Up to 20%
Up to 12.8%
Up to 8%
Up to 10%
TopCashback – Amazon cashback
TopCashback has currently suspended it’s Amazon cashback program due to COVID-19. While the site states this is only a temporary measure, Amazon has been cutting referral cashback consistently over the last few years so we might not see this back again.
If you want to get cashback from Amazon, why not try smile.amazon.co.uk. Smile.amazon.co.uk is exactly the same as normal Amazon, but it allows a small fraction of your purchases to be donated to a charity of your choice. You pay the same price but you can also help a good cause. Most charities are available however, I have even chosen my children’s primary school to donate to.
All may not be as it seems…
While these offers look great, the numbers above don’t tell the full story. For example, the 4.8% cashback on Domino’s Pizza is for new customers only. If you have ordered from them before, it drops to a measly 1.6%.
Also, the best cashback deals are often quite limited. For example, the 20% cashback at Currys is only on certain Microsoft products. While this can be frustrating, there is usually some cashback on the product you want. It just might not be as high as it first appears.
You may not get your cashback if you use other promotions or if someone other than TopCashback refers or links you to the site.
It can also take time to access your cashback. Retails take time to pay TopCashback and so you won’t get your money until it’s been paid by the retailer. This can be 3 months or even longer for certain deals. While this c feel frustrating I’ve no had a site that hasn’t paid out (but I do have a few pending).
If you return or cancel your purchase then your cashback will be reversed. I had a hotel booked that was cancelled due to COVID-19, this cashback got cancelled as my purchase was refunded.
Never forget about Cashback deals again
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably only remember you should have checked for cashback deals after you have already placed an order directly with a retailer.
Luckily, TopCashback has a solution. There is a cashback tool that you can install in Google Chrome web browser that reminds you if you go onto a site that offers cashback. The plugin helped remind me that AO.com offers cashback when I was buying a new TV.
Installing the plugin means you don’t have to log in to TopCashback and search for deals. Instead, the plugin pops a little box to remind you. If you want the cashback, you click the box and that’s it.
The plugin is called ‘Cashback Notifier’ and can be found here. I would highly recommend the plugin to ensure you get the most from TopCashback.
There is a TopCashback app that acts the same as the website. All you need to do is open the app, find the retailer and then click the get cashback button. The TopCashback app is easy to use and it looks and feels nearly identical to the website. You cannot withdraw money from the app, instead, the app redirects you to the web login.
One drawback when using your mobile is you don’t get a popup to say cashback is available. This means you need to remember to open the app and jump to the retailer before you purchase something.
My trick is to put a product in my basket for the chosen retailer and then jump to the app and see if that retailer offers cashback. If they do, just click the ‘Get Cashback’ button and it will pop a new webpage. The good thing is usually your basket is still there meaning you don’t have to find your products all over again. From that point just check out as normal.
The best cashback deals
The largest payouts on TopCashback are usually found on financial products or subscription services. These are typically things like Life Insurance or switching contracts like Broadband, Mobiles or gas & electric.
My largest cashback deal was from TalkTalk when I moved my broadband package. I found a deal with TalkTalk and went onto the TalkTalk website to sign up. Luckily, my Cashback Notifier popped up to say I could earn cashback! That notification made me £90 in cashback (or saved £5 per month for the contract, if you prefer to look at it that way).
Some deals are often only open for a limited time. Be careful as these sites are designed to make you buy things you don’t necessarily need. The cashback can be attractive but I wouldn’t go searching through the site for deals unless you actually need something new.
How to get cashback for free
There is a section in TopCashback where you can get ‘free’ cashback.
The free cashback offers are usually from survey or product testing sites. Some of the free cashback offers actually require you to sign up to a service like Match.com. With Match.com you will only get the cashback if you sign up for at least 1 month.
I have tried a few of these and they can be quick and easy. I earned cashback from Experian for setting up a free account to check my credit score. At the time there was a promotion to boost your cashback but ultimately Experian hopes you will sign up for the monthly paid service.
I would stay away from 20Cogs. I felt 20Cogs was too much work for minimal rewards. I didn’t feel it was worth my time, especially compared to how easy it was to get cashback from other TopCashback offers. Most of the free cashback offers are for very small rewards.
TopCashback vs Quidco
These two cashback heavyweights dominate the UK market and each offers some great deals. Both players claim to be the best and offer the highest cashback.
In addition, they both also offer to match a higher cashback offer from their competitor. However, Quidco says it will double the difference if you find a better deal. In reality, no one is going to bother doing a full comparison on everything they offer so I feel like we are really splitting hairs on this one.
Both offer a browser plugin that reminds you to claim cashback on a website if it is on offer. This is a great feature and well worth installing whichever you choose.
Personally, I have enjoyed using TopCashback and I imagine the Quidco experience will be very similar – who doesn’t like free money?!
My £150 TopCashback experience
I signed up to TopCashback in November and since then (5 months) I’ve made £150 with very little effort. The browser plugin has helped me a few times as it’s difficult to remember to go to TopCashback before ordering something.
While I thought I was doing well, one user in our Facebook Community said she had made over £1,000 from TopCashback! I can totally believe this as it’s been extremely easy to build my cashback pot.
I withdrew money once I got to £50 and I plan to keep withdrawing the cash each time a good chunk of money clears. I’d prefer to have this money in my account rather than TopCashback’s.
Furthermore, you can get additional cashback if you withdraw your money in vouchers for other shopping sites, which I may try in future.
When I withdrew my first £50 I paid £5 to TopCashback for Plus membership. You don’t have to do this but it seemed like the only way to get cashback paid into my bank account. It doesn’t say this anywhere so after doing more research, I don’t think this was necessary. However, if I continue to make good cashback I don’t feel that this is a high price for the service. The £5 is payable annually, so I will review it next year when it comes up to see if it’s necessary.
Top Tip: I have found discount vouchers which provide a better discount than using TopCashback. When this has been the case, I go via TopCashback but also use the discount code. This should according to the terms prevent you from getting cashback but so far I have always got something.
TopCashback should be a tool in every money-savvy saver’s kit. It’s easy to use and your pot can build quickly if you use the tools to remind yourself.
One word of warning – just because it’s on TopCashback, it doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. Make sure you look at the total contract value of things like Life Insurance or contracts like mobiles and broadband. The cashback may look great but always work out if it is the best deal for you.
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EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.
I've spent years investing, saving and budgeting in order to build a better financial future for myself and my family. I bought and renovated my first home only to break even when I sold it. I've house hacked, been an accidental landlord and even considered living on a boat! All of this has led me to Eat Sleep Money, a site where I can share some of the tough lessons I’ve learnt over the years so you don't make the same mistakes.