What are cashback websites?

Andy Stevens / 11 March 2015

Read our guide to help you find out how cashback websites can benefit you, how they can save you money and what pitfalls to look out for when you use them.

How do cashback websites work?

Cashback websites are a way in which you can make sums of money when you buy online, by making your purchases via a cashback website, rather than directly from a retailer.

How do you choose cashback websites?

You can search online for cashback websites which offer discounts and cashback.

It's important to do your research; take time to read customer feedback and ask your friends and family about their experiences if  they have used cashback websites.

Choose websites which are both easy to use and offer simple and crystal-clear steps for the customer purchasing process. And don't be loyal to one site. Try to spread your options. It's best to choose two or three so you can compare, mix and match the best deals.

Read our guide to finding discounts here...

How much money can you make from cashback websites?

The amount of money you make by purchasing goods in this way varies from site to site. This can be just a few pennies at a time, right up to a significant number of pounds, perhaps in the low hundreds, over the course of a year. This is usually worked out as a percentage of your purchase price.

When do you receive money back from cashback websites?

This can vary wildly, depending on the website. But as a rule don't expect to get your commission straight away, or even very quickly.

And it may sound obvious, but you will only be eligible for cashback once your purchase is completed. Not all so-called 'discount' websites offer cashback either, so don't get caught in the trap of thinking you're guaranteed money back whichever site you choose to use.

It's worth noting, too, that some cashback websites' terms and conditions state that the purchaser has to rack up a certain amount of cashback credit in their account before a withdrawal can be made.

12 ways to make some extra money.

What should you do with cashback payments once received?

Once you've received a payment from a cashback website, don't just leave it sitting there. Don't think of your cashback credits as a type of savings account; withdraw the funds and put them into one of your other bank or savings accounts.

What should you do if you don't receive your cashback payments?

If money you expected to receive from a cashback payment never appears, you should contact the website in writing via its cashback payment claim link. All the big well-established cashback websites will have a cashback claim link, more often than not in their 'Contact Us' section.

Where to find discounts for the over-50s.

What other essential tips should you take into account when using cashback websites?

Ask yourself this: are you really making your purchase through a cashback website because it's offering the best possible deal? Or are you simply chasing a bit of extra cash for the sake of it? The purchase must always be paramount - the promise of additional cash is merely a bonus.

If a cashback or discount website ever asks you for an upfront fee to join, then ignore it and look elsewhere. Cashback websites should be free to use.

Always clear your cookies on your tablet or computer when using cashback websites. These are the bits of data which can be used by websites to target you with advertising and marketing information, and which let them know things about you, such as your online shopping habits.

Go to your internet settings to clear your cookies (a quick search online will also show you how to do this). As a rule it's best to start afresh without cookies every time you make online transactions; this will also remove or minimise any annoying messages, misinformation or other potential pitfalls while you purchase. 

Read our online security guide.

Did you know? Saga is offering £40 cashback exclusively to new Saga Car Insurance customers that purchase a policy through www.topcashback.co.uk. Click here for more details.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.