Nationwide debit and credit card customers can now earn between 1% and 35% cashback both in-store and online at selected retailers, bars, restaurants, travel, and accommodation websites.
The building society has today revamped its 'Simply Rewards' scheme, which first launched in October 2011, and previously offered discounts on major brands rather than cashback.
The switch to cashback sees Nationwide competing against the likes of Halifax, Santander and RBS, which already offer cashback incentives to hold your current accounts and credit cards with them.
Here's what's happening:
Who's eligible for Nationwide's new cashback scheme?
All Nationwide debit and credit card customers can join the cashback scheme, although those who have both a debit and credit card with the building society can only register one card to earn cashback on. Nationwide says it's looking to update this so cashback can be earned on multiple cards.
Visa pre-paid card customers can't earn cashback on spending.
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What can I earn cashback on?
Once you've joined the cashback scheme – we explain how to do this below – you can view the cashback offers available to you online at Simply Rewards, which are based on where you spend using your Nationwide debit or credit card.
When we tried it, offers ranged from 20% off Savile Row, to £15 off £75 at Shoeaholics (Kurt Geiger's web outlet store), 10% off any purchase at Argos and 2% back on purchases at Toby Carvery.
New offers are updated every week, so you'll see a mix of old offers which are still valid to use, as well as new ones.
There's also a thumbs up and thumbs down tab on each offer, which you can select to say whether you do or don't want to see similar offers in future.
How do I earn cashback?
Most cashback offers are automatic. This means that once you log-in to your Simply Rewards account to find out where to get cashback, you can go to the high street store, click through to the online site via the Nationwide Simply Rewards page, or go direct to the retailer's website where you'll earn cashback using your Nationwide debit or credit card.
However, some cashback offers need you to opt-in before you spend. Nationwide says these will be clearly signposted with a red 'start activation' button. It adds that it has "no immediate plan" to switch these opt-in cashback offers to an automatic basis.
If you have any discount vouchers or codes to use at the particular retailer, you'll get cashback on the total amount after any reductions. Nationwide confirms that cashback is paid on the entire transaction, so if delivery's part of the transaction, you'll get cashback on this; if it's charged separately, you won't get the cashback.
If you buy an item and then need to return it for a refund, Nationwide says "Visa will be monitoring refund transactions" and "where necessary, will claw back the discount applied".
Once earned, cashback is paid into the account that's registered to your card, usually within five working days, and it will have the reference "Visa cashback". You can view the total amount of cashback earned in the redemption history tab of your Simply Rewards page.
The building society confirms that cashback is not taxed.
OK, so how do I join?
To start earning cashback, you need to register or log-in to the Nationwide Simply Rewards site. If you're new to the scheme, you'll receive an email asking you to activate your account and to provide a new password for the account.
It's completely free to sign-up, and you don't need to pay a monthly fee in order to get the cashback deals.
I'm not a Nationwide current account customer, is it worth switching?
It's not worth switching to Nationwide's current account simply for the new cashback scheme. However, Nationwide offers a range of current accounts, two of which appear in our best buy guides – the FlexDirect* account offers 5% interest (AER) for a year, and 1% after on a maximum £2,500 balance, while the FlexAccount* offers free European travel insurance when you pay in at least £750/month.
But you can earn up to 5% in-credit interest, cashback at retailers and switching bonuses of up to £150 with other banks; which account is best for you depends on what you're looking for; see our Best Bank Accounts guide for a full breakdown.
I'm not a Nationwide credit card customer, is it worth switching to?
Nationwide's Select* credit card is currently one of our top picks, but it's only available to Nationwide current account holders. It pays unlimited 0.5% cashback on all UK spending (paid out annually in December). You'll get this cashback on top of the Simply Rewards cashback at retailers. Plus, any Nationwide current account customers applying for a Select card before 31 March 2016, will get a 'free' £25 when they spend at least £25 within the first 60 days of opening the credit card.
If you're an existing Nationwide current account holder, the Nationwide Select credit card could work for you. However, it's probably not worth switching your current account just for this credit card.
You can earn more cashback elsewhere. The American Express* Platinum Cashback Everyday card, for example, is our top fee-free card, especially if you've big spending to do in the next few months. It has a 5% introductory cashback rate for the first three months and up to 1.25% after (22.9% rep APR), although not all retailers accept Amex cards.
Remember, if you're thinking of getting a credit card or already have one, ALWAYS repay it in full every month.
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