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Cashback Credit Cards

5% cashback for first 3 months

Martin

Updated Weekly

Cashback credit cards pay you every time you spend on them, possibly £100s a year. The top card pays 5% cashback for the first three months, others give up to 1% on fuel and supermarket spending.

There are also some good fee-free, near-cash reward cards which come close to what cashback cards can offer. We analyse the pros and cons of all.

How long will these cards last? This guide is fully up to date. However, there is a chance some card firms could cut cashback, as the EU has capped the charges providers can levy on shops each time you use their plastic, which funds cashback. Capital One, Tesco, M&S & RBS have already stopped or downscaled their schemes. So enjoy it while you can.

How to use cashback cards

Cashback credit cards are a form of reward scheme, yet rather than giving points, you get cold hard cash, tax-free, every time you spend on the card. Cash is totally flexible - you can spend it on anything - and it's easy to compare, so it comes up trumps for almost everyone.

Use your cashback card for ALL normal spending

Not sure you can repay in FULL every month?

Sort out debts before going for cashback

Never use cashback cards to withdraw cash

Don't use these cards to set up recurring payments

Avoid balance transfers on a cashback card

But before you start mentally counting the cash, ALWAYS follow...

The Golden Rule

Set up a direct debit to repay the card in full each month, so you never pay interest, which would outstrip any gain.

The reason card companies offer cashback or reward schemes is simple. They want to encourage you to spend on the card and pay them interest. The interest cost of all cashback cards dwarfs the cashback you'll earn.

The easy way to pay off IN FULL
Paying off the price tag

The best way to pay off in full each month is via a direct debit. It allows the card provider to take a variable monthly amount to correspond with what you owe it (see the Direct Debit guide).

Sadly, some providers deliberately omit the 'pay off in full' option from direct debit forms, as it means they'll make less money. If so, just write in 'pay off in full' yourself. The firm should honour it, but call after a week or so and check it's worked.

By doing this, you've effectively made your credit card a debit card, but one that pays you every time you spend on it. Always make sure you have enough cash in your account to cover the direct debit.

It may sound obvious, but always stay within your credit limit, else you'll pay charges for busting your limit, which can often be £12 each time.

Best buys The top cashback deals

If you've not had a cashback card before, or are about to embark on some big (but planned-for and affordable) spending, you've a choice between a card that pays the highest short-term bonus rate of cashback (then a decent rate after), or one that pays good long-term cashback.

One thing to consider is whether you want an Amex or a Visa/Mastercard (the former is accepted by fewer retailers). You also need to think about whether you want to pay a fee - the cards with the highest cashback tend to have an annual fee.

Pre-apply to check eligibility with NO credit file mark

You'll see that most cards in this guide have a link to our eligibility checker tool, which we've designed to allow you to see the probability of getting the card.

We do a 'soft' credit search which YOU can see, but lenders CAN'T, so it has no impact on your future creditworthiness - and lets you see the chance of you getting the card without applying for it.

We map the details you give us against lenders' criteria, and show your chances for all the cards on this page that we can do so for. A new development allows us to check without you following a link from a specific card.

Best BuysFee-FREE cashback cards

American Express logo

5% cashback for first 3 months + up to 1.25% after

Amex Platinum Everyday*

The American Express* Platinum Cashback Everyday card is the top fee-free card, especially if you've big spending to do in the next few months, as it has a great introductory rate, then tiered ongoing cashback.

Need-to-knows
  • To get the maximum £100 intro cashback, you need to spend £2,000 within three months.
  • After the intro offer's over, you'll automatically be put onto the tiered spending rates: £0 to £3,500 gets 0.5% cashback (the initial £2k spend counts towards this). From £3,501 to £7,500, you get 1%. All spending above £7,501 gets the full 1.25% cashback.
  • You need to spend at least £3,000 in the year to get any cashback at all.
  • The introductory 5% rate is not available to existing Amex Card members.
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 22.9% representative APR which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
  • Always carry a back up card, as Amex isn't accepted everywhere, especially in a lot of smaller retailers.
  • If you want a card offering 0% on purchases, you can get Amex's* 21 month 0% card (eligibility calculator), which also offers up to 1.25% cashback. However, this card doesn't have an intro cashback offer.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: 3mths 5% (max £100) | Tiered up to 1.25% after
  • Paid out: On card anniversary
  • Max cashback/year: N/A
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: £3,000 per year | Card issuer: Amex
  • Rate: 22.9% representative APR (See Official APR Example)
  • Min income:N/A
Key questions

How much cashback is possible? Well, there's no maximum, but how much you will get depends on how much you spend...we've listed cashback in this table for different spending amounts.

Annual spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Year one cashback (incl bonus) £49 £88 £178 £303
Years 2+ cashback £15 £32 £88 £213

How does this card compare to the Amex Platinum? This card is very similar to the Amex Platinum below, but differs in the fact that it has no annual fee. While the Amex Platinum pays an ongoing 1.25% cashback after the intro period, this card has tiered rates of cashback up to 1.25%.

This means the Platinum Everyday card beats the £25 annual fee Amex Platinum if you spend £5,000 or less, but for higher spenders, the card with the fee works out as more profitable.

Is more cashback possible? Users of cashback sites (which are free to join) may be able to get even more cashback when they sign up. If you're new to cashback sites, read the Top Cashback Sites guide for an explanation and key warnings.

Another way to maximise the cashback is - if you're in a trusting relationship - to give someone else an additional card on your account. For example, Janet applies, making John 2nd cardholder so both get the intro 5% cashback. John applies, doing the same, to bag another three months' 5%. After that, mainly use one person's card for the 1.25% cashback - though spend at least £3,000 on each as that’s the min to get ANY cashback.

I've heard Amex isn't accepted everywhere? Amex tends to charge retailers more for accepting their cards when you pay than Mastercard or Visa. This means it can afford to give you more cashback, but also means it's accepted less, especially by smaller businesses.

amex

Shopping at Asda can earn you 1% cashback, get 0.5% elsewhere

Asda Money* up to 1% cashback

The Asda Money* card offers a reasonable cashback rate, especially if you're an Asda shopper. You can also earn more cashback if you take certain insurance products with Asda, but never use this as an excuse to get these with the store. Instead, always check if you can get these cheaper elsewhere as the cashback bonus isn't that great.

Need-to-knows
  • Earn 1% cashback on all shopping done instore and online, or on Asda fuel. All other spending attracts 0.5% cashback.
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 18.9% representative APR which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
  • Asda has confirmed it will continue to keep its cashback rate despite the change in EU regulations on interchange fees.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
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(at lender site)

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Stats box
  • Cashback: 1% in Asda, 0.5% elsewhere
  • Paid out: Monthly
  • Annual fee: None
  • Min income: £10,000 household income
  • Max cashback/year: None
  • Cashback expiry: N/A
  • Rate: 18.9% APR (see Official APR Example)
Key questions

How much cashback can I actually earn? We've worked out how much cashback you'd get from different levels of spending. Bear in mind that your credit limit's likely to be low, so this will limit the cashback you can earn.

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Vouchers earned per year £22.50 £37.50 £75 £150
Assumes 50% spend in Asda and 50% elsewhere.
Aqua Reward Cashback Card

For those with poor history: 0.5% cashback

Aqua Reward*

The Aqua Reward* is one of the few cards that has the cashback perk, but that also allows people with a patchy or limited credit history to apply for it. It does pay a lower cashback rate than some other cards in this guide, though.

Plus, our eligibility calculator can now tell you if you're pre-approved for this card.

Need-to-knows
  • If you've a poor credit history, defaults and CCJs need to be more than a year old.
  • Credits limit are low; you'll get between £250-£1,200 so it's difficult to earn lots of cashback.
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 34.9% representative APR which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: 0.5%
  • Paid out: Annually
  • Max cashback/year: Unlimited
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Rate: 34.9% representative APR (See Official APR Example)
  • Min income: N/A
Key questions

How much cashback can I actually earn? We've worked out how much cashback you'd get from different levels of spending. Bear in mind that your credit limit's likely to be low, so this will limit the cashback you can earn.

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Yearly cashback £15 £25 £50 £100

Best Buys Cashback cards with a fee

American Express logo

Big 5% intro cashback, then 1.25% on everything, but £25 yearly fee

Amex Platinum*

Get the American Express* Platinum Cashback card, and you'll get a max of £125 cashback in the first three months (5% on up to £2,500 spending). After that, all spending attracts one flat rate of cashback, but there is an annual fee you'll need to factor in.

Need-to-knows
  • After the intro period, you get a good 1.25% cashback.
  • There's an annoying £25 annual fee.
  • If you spend over £10,001 in a year, you'll get 2.5% cashback in your anniversary month.
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 22.9% interest rate which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
  • Always carry a back up card, as Amex isn't accepted everywhere, especially in a lot of smaller retailers.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: 3mths 5% (max £125) | 1.25% after.
  • Paid out: On card anniversary
  • Max cashback/year: N/A
  • Annual fee: £25 | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Amex
  • Rate: 28.2% representative APR incl £25 fee - spending is charged at 22.9% (See Official APR Examples)
  • Min income:N/A
Key questions

How much cashback is possible? Well, there's no maximum, but how much you will get depends on how much you spend...we've listed cashback in this table for different spending amounts.

Annual spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Year one cashback (after fee, incl bonus) £41 £84 £194 £319
Years 2+ cashback (after fee) £13 £38 £110 £245
Assumes spending equally split over 12 months

How does this card compare to the Amex Platinum Everyday? This card is very similar to the Amex Everyday above, but differs in the fact that it has an annual fee, plus higher rates of cashback on spending after that. This card pays an ongoing 1.25% cashback after the intro period, the Amex Everyday has tiered rates of cashback up to 1.25%.

And, while the flat rate after the intro rate is a bonus, the annual fee wipes away some of the gain. If you spend less than expected, you'd still be hit with the fee, making it less profitable. If you're not sure you're going to spend big, then try the Everyday.

Is more cashback possible? Users of cashback sites (which are free to join) may be able to get even more cashback when they sign up. If you're new to cashback sites, read the Top Cashback Sites guide for an explanation and key warnings.

Another way to maximise the cashback is - if you're in a trusting relationship - to give someone else an additional card on your account. For example, Janet applies, making John 2nd cardholder so both get the intro 5% cashback. John applies, doing the same, to bag another three months' 5%. After that, just use one person's card for the 1.25% cashback.

I've heard Amex isn't accepted everywhere? Amex tends to charge retailers more for accepting their cards when you pay than Mastercard or Visa. This means it can afford to give you more cashback, but also means it's accepted less, especially by smaller businesses.

Best Buys Cashback cards linked to bank accounts

Some cards require you to have the issuing bank's current account to be eligible for the card. But it's usually not worth switching just to get the cashback on the credit cards - however, the two cards below are associated with some of our top pick bank accounts, so if you're switching anyway, see these cards as another perk on top.

TSB

TSB current account customers: Get up to £10 each month you spend £600+

TSB Platinum Purchase Card

Those with a TSB current account – one of our top-pick interest-paying bank accounts – can also get the TSB Platinum Purchase credit card. It gives 1% cashback on spending each month up to a maximum £5 and you can get another 5% cashback for Apple Pay payments, again up to £5 per month.

Need-to-knows
  • To qualify for cashback, you need to hold or switch to a TSB current account.
  • You need to spend £500 each month (excluding Apple Pay payments) to get the full £5. If you spend less, you'll still get 1% of it as cashback.
  • You can get a further 5% cashback on Apple Pay payments up to a maximum £100 spend (so a maximum £5).
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 18.9% representative APR which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
APPLY
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: 1% on spending (max £5/mth); 5% on Apple Pay (max £5/mth)
  • Paid out: Monthly
  • Max cashback/year: £120
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (See Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: N/A
Nationwide

Nationwide customers: Earn 0.5% unlimited cashback

Nationwide Select*

If you already hold a Nationwide current account then you could also get Nationwide's Select* credit card which gives 0.5% cashback on all your UK spending. But it's not worth getting the current account just for this card as the cashback is matched or beaten by other cards in this guide.

Need to knows
  • To qualify, you need to hold a Nationwide FlexAccount current account and pay £750 a month into it (and have done so for the last three months). Alternatively, you need to hold the Nationwide FlexDirect (no fee, pays interest) or FlexPlus (£10/month) current accounts.
  • The Nationwide FlexAccount comes with free UK and European travel insurance.
  • This card also gives fee free spending abroad, meaning it's also a top pick Travel Credit Card.
  • Ensure you pay off in full every month, or you'll be charged 15.9% representative APR which'll quickly wipe out any cashback gain. The easiest way to repay in full is to set up a direct debit.
Stats box
  • Cashback: 0.5% on all spending
  • Paid out: Annually in December
  • Max cashback/year: Unlimited
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Visa
  • Rate: 15.9% representative APR (See Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £5,000

Best Buys 'Close to cashback' deals

Some reward credit cards come close to cashback cards, especially those where you can spend points in huge stores that stock a wide range of goods. These are the best, where the returns get close to cashback cards.

Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card

Spend £2,000 and get £100 back in vouchers, fee waived in the 1st year

Amex Gold*

Surprisingly, this is a charge card, not a credit card. But if you're accepted for the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold* card, and spend £2,000 within the first three months, you'll get a bonus 20,000 rewards points, equal to £100 in vouchers.

Need-to-knows
  • Because it's a charge card, you HAVE to pay it off each month, there's no credit facility.
  • If you don't pay it off, you'll get a £12 late fee, and a mark on your credit file.
  • The card usually has a £140 annual fee, but for now is fee-free in the first year. To avoid paying £140, diarise to cancel before year two starts.
  • You earn 2 points per £1 spent directly with airlines or in a foreign currency and 1 point per £1 spent on day to day spending.
  • You can convert your points into vouchers for Amazon, M&S, Homebase, House of Fraser, PC World and more, though retailers vary.
  • Alternatively, you can convert them to frequent flyer or hotel scheme points and add them to your current stash.
  • You can also now use your points to pay off purchases, effectively working as cashback. However, you receive slightly less than you'd get exchanging for vouchers; 1,000 points gives £4.50 'cashback' vs £5 in vouchers.
  • Amex says that you get the points as soon as you hit the spending trigger, though they can take up to a month to arrive in your card member account.
  • Always carry a back up card, as Amex isn't accepted everywhere, especially in a lot of smaller retailers.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: Vouchers equivalent to up to 1% (plus 20,000 bonus points)
  • Paid out: Monthly
  • Max 'cashback'/year: Unlimited
  • Min spend: £2,000 for bonus | Card issuer: Amex
  • Annual fee: No fee in year one, but £140 from year two onwards
  • Min income: N/A
Key questions

What rewards can I get from this card? We've analysed how much you might get back from different levels of spending...

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Points earned, incl bonus 24,500 27,500 35,000 50,000
Converting to vouchers £100* £125* £175 £250
Assumes 50% of spending on air travel & abroad and 50% elsewhere
* = doesn't use the entire points total

How can I further boost points? You get a 10,000 points bonus on the anniversary of taking out the card if you've spent more than £15,000, but remember if you keep the card into a second year, you'll pay the £140 annual fee.

You can also boost your points by getting a supplementary card (for a partner/friend), whose spending will then earn points. The first card is provided free, though any more will cost £45.

Plus, if you have a friend who has the card, get them to recommend you, and both you and they get 2,000 bonus points.

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card

Up to 1% back to spend on days out, restaurants, hotels, mags & more

Tesco*

The Tesco Clubcard Credit Card* gives Clubcard points when you spend on it. This can't be converted into cashback, but can be converted into such a wide range of rewards, that we've put it in this 'close-to-cashback' section.

Need-to-knows
  • You get one Clubcard point for every £8 spent, or 1 point per £4 if shopping in Tesco (plus the 1 point per £1 you get with a standard Clubcard).
  • One point is worth 1p if spent in-store at Tesco, but boosts to up to 4p if redeemed for some of Tesco's special Clubcard Rewards vouchers. For more details on boosting Tesco Clubcard points, read the Loyalty Points guide.
  • You get 21 months 0% on spending, but after this the representative rate is 18.9% APR, so ensure you've cleared any balance or the interest'll wipe any rewards gain.
ELIGIBILITY CHECK NOT AVAILABLE
APPLY*
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Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: Clubcard Rewards equivalent to up to 1%
  • Paid out: when redeemed
  • Max cashback/year: Unlimited
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (See Official APR Examples)
  • Min income: £5,000
Key questions

What rewards will this card give me? One point is worth 1p, which gives a 0.125% return on spending done outside of Tesco, and a 0.25% return on Tesco spends. You can boost the vouchers to 4p per point using certain rewards, so can get up to 1% return on shopping done at Tesco.

We've analysed what you'd get in vouchers for different levels of spending...

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Vouchers earned per year £5.63 £9.38 £18.75 £37.50
Assumes 50% spend in Tesco and 50% elsewhere. Remember, for some Rewards, vouchers can be redeemed for up to four times their face value
M&S Credit Card

Get M&S Rewards while you spend

M&S*

If you're a die-hard M&S shopper, this could be the ideal card for you. This M&S* credit card gives reward points when you spend anywhere, though you get five times more points if you spend at M&S.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll earn 1 point for every full £1 spent in M&S stores (equivalent to 1% back) and 1 point for every full £5 spent elsewhere (equivalent to 0.2% back).
  • You'll receive 500 bonus points, worth £5 off on your next spend in M&S stores, when you first spend in food, clothing or home at M&S with your card.
  • Points are converted into Marks & Spencer vouchers four times each year.
  • After the 0% period ends, all spending is charged at 18.9% interest, so ensure you've cleared any balance or the interest'll wipe any rewards gain.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: Vouchers equivalent to up to 1%
  • Paid out: Quarterly
  • Max cashback/year: Unlimited
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Mastercard
  • Rate: 18.9% representative APR (See Official APR Example)
  • Min income: N/A
Key questions

What rewards can I get from this card? We've analysed how much you might get back from different levels of spending...

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Vouchers earned per year £18 £30 £60 £120
Assumes 50% of spend done at M&S and 50% elsewhere
Barlcaycard Freedom Rewards

Earn rewards on everything you spend

Barclaycard Freedom Rewards*

If you're not tied to a particular rewards scheme, you could try Barclaycard's Freedom Rewards* card. While it doesn't offer as much in one specific supermarket as the two cards above, you'll earn more on your other spending, so it could be a good option if you don't shop much in Tesco or M&S.

Need-to-knows
  • You earn points on spending which can be converted into vouchers with over 70 partners including Amazon, Boots and iTunes; 1,750 points will get you a £5 voucher.
  • You'll earn two points for every full £1 spent in supermarkets, petrol stations and with TfL (equivalent to 0.57% back) and one point for every full £1 spent elsewhere (0.29% back).
  • You can redeem your vouchers as soon as you've accumulated enough points.
  • You won't be eligible for the card if you already have a Barclaycard.
  • The card offers 12 months 0% on spending – though just because there's a 0% period, don't feel you need to use it. If you do use it, you'll pay 21.9% interest after, so ensure you've cleared any balance or the interest'll wipe any rewards gain.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE's free tool)
APPLY*
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Cashback: Vouchers equivalent to up to 0.57%
  • Paid out: On redemption
  • Max cashback/year: Unlimited
  • Annual fee: None | Min spend: N/A | Card issuer: Visa
  • Rate: 21.9% representative APR (See Official APR Example)
  • Min income: N/A
Key questions

What rewards can I get from this card? We've analysed how much you might get back from different levels of spending...

Annual overall spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Vouchers earned per year £13 £21 £43 £86
Assumes 50% of spend in supermarkets, petrol stations and with TfL and 50% elsewhere.

If you prefer other schemes, like collecting Avios or Nectar points, then see the Credit Card Rewards and Airline Credit Cards guides for more information.

Cashback cards

Video guide

Video courtesy of It Pays To Watch, Channel 5 Originally broadcast in April 2008

Free cash from credit cards

Can you get more free cash from credit card companies?

Credit card companies throw serious cash at marketing in order to get their cards in our pockets. For those who don't need to borrow, it's possible to ride this wave of freebies to be quids in. There are two other ways to make money from credit cards.

  • Stoozing
    This is an advanced technique where you take advantage of the fact that many credit cards lend money for a short time at 0% interest. Spend on that card instead of your debit card, then stash your salary in a high interest account and you'll be quids in. Full Guide: Stoozing
  • Credit card freebies
    Many credit cards offer incentives like gift cards or vouchers for free flights if you sign up to the card. Therefore, if you've a good credit score, just take advantage by signing up, even if you don't want the card. Full Guide: Credit Card Freebies

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up to some financial products. Do check that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account. 

Full help to take advantage of this and pros & cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

There's extra protection on all spending too...

There's another big bonus to using a cashback card - you actually have far more consumer protection. This all comes about due to what's called Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which says...

75. (1) If the debtor under a debtor-creditor-supplier agreement falling within section 12(b) or (c) has, in relation to a transaction financed by the agreement, any claim against the supplier in respect of a misrepresentation or breach of contract, he shall have a like claim against the creditor, who, with the supplier, shall accordingly be jointly and severally liable to the debtor.

Which, of course, reads like gobbledegook. Yet in a nutshell, it means:

Buy something costing over £100, here or abroad, and pay on a credit card, and the card issuer's equally liable if something goes wrong.

Now, this protection only applies to credit cards, not debit cards or any other plastic and it's hugely important, especially in the current credit crunch climate. If you ordered something and if the retailer went kaput, you'd still be able to claim your money back from the card company.

Also, be aware of using PayPal to pay on a credit card, as you will lose this valuable section 75 protection. Read the full guides to Section 75 refunds and using PayPal to pay on a credit card.