As with many of the categories we review at No.1 Reviews, there are lots of products in the UK Cashback market, making it difficult to decide which one is right for you. While our individual in-depth reviews provide all of the specific information you need, many new users find it difficult to compare the features on offer without knowing in advance what they do and why they’re useful. That’s where this buyer’s guide comes in – providing our readers with general information that helps them know what to look out for when they’re deciding which site to choose. We hope it helps!
What are Online Cashback Sites?
Online cashback sites, along with daily deal and voucher sites, are a relatively new type of consumer site that offers cash-strapped shoppers the opportunity to get a little back from their purchases online. While the actual activities users have to engage in at these sites vary considerably from site to site (see “earning opportunities” below and the contents of our individual reviews) for the most part users only have to make small changes to their regular online activity in order to earn their cashback. Most sites are free to join – so how is the money actually generated? Well, many online sites operate targeted advertising and affiliate marketing (through accessing sites through special affiliate links) and both of these methods allow the sites to earn commissions from the sites they send users to. Cashback site members earn by receiving a proportion of any money generated from their activities.
The main activity that these sites encourage their users to engage in is online shopping, although, in reality, sites generally provide their users with a wide range of different earning opportunities. While the range of different activities users can engage in at these sites is very wide, the most common activities include reading paid emails, watching sponsor videos, clicking on adverts, filling out forms, completing surveys, inviting friends to join the site and even playing games. Joining sites that have a wide range of different activities is great if you have the time to have a go at them all, but if you don’t have a great deal of time, stick to a site that offers great commissions on online shopping and you won’t go too far wrong.
Earning lots of cashback using sites in this category is only really useful if you can get it off the web and into your wallet. The process by which users get their hands on the money they have earned is known as ‘cash-out’ and is often offered in a number of different methods. Most sites offer cash-out by BACS payment, cheque or PayPal, while others also offer gift vouchers at major retailers as an alternative to cash. Before joining a site, check out the cash-out options available to see whether they are right for you (this information is, as always, featured in our in-depth reviews for each site so be sure to check those out!)
It’s also worth noting that many sites have a minimum cash-out amount or minimum balance requirement before users can actually access their money. At some sites, this is as small as £5 (and in some cases, is even less), while at others a cash-out balance requirement of £25 is not uncommon. As such, be sure to check out what the cash-out balance requirement is at the site you’re thinking of joining, so you know in advance whether you should expect to wait a while before you get hold of your money. As you would expect from No.1 Reviews, all of the information you need regarding this is included in each individual review.
Usability & User friendliness
It doesn’t matter how great a site is if you can’t work out what’s going on or how to use it. Being user-friendly and having a generally simple structure is another one of our key “must haves” on any cashback site. We expect it to be easy to join, click through to a merchant and make a purchase, and then go back and see how much cashback you have earned. The more user-friendly a site is, the happier you will be to head back time and time again and thus, the more you’ll earn at the site. It’s as simple as that.
FAQs & Customer Service
Although users rarely encounter problems when using the sites we have reviewed in this category, at times issues do occur – particularly relating to late or missing payments. As a result, it’s essential to check that the site you’re joining has a good reputation for customer service, along with the sort of features you would expect in order to get a swift resolution to your problem. Although all of the sites we have reviewed in this category are free to join and use, membership comes to nothing if you can’t cash out when you want to or get in touch with someone when a withdrawal or earning opportunity doesn’t go as planned. Check out our reviews for all the information you need on this issue.
The Bottom Line
Although these sites are all free to join (and most don’t charge a commission throughout the duration of your membership with them), we advise our readers to avoid the temptation of joining all of the sites listed here in order to take advantage of all of the deals on offer. The problem with this is that, given the minimum balance cash-out requirements in place at many of these sites, ‘spreading yourself too thin’ by joining every site on offer can actually have a negative effect on the amount of money you can earn.
Those words of warning out of the way, however, we advise that you decide what you want to achieve from the site and what you would like it to do (just shopping or other activities too, for example), check out our reviews and find a site that matches these expectations. Have fun!