Shoppers using cashback site Quidco to max their gains when buying online can now earn rewards on top of cashback, but you have to actively opt in to get them.

Cashback websites pay you when you click through them to retailers' or product providers' websites and spend. See our Top Cashback Sites guide for more on how they work.

But one of the biggest sites, Quidco, has recently launched a free-to-join rewards scheme enabling members to earn virtual 'coins' on certain transactions, which can then be redeemed for cash when you reach certain reward levels.

This isn't a reason to use Quidco; you should first always benchmark the cheapest price online first, and then see if you can get cashback, as tracking problems can occur and cashback is therefore never guaranteed.

However, for those who know they're getting the best price and the most cashback via Quidco, here's how the new rewards scheme works:

Can I earn coins on every transaction?

No. Currently only 165 of the about 4,300 retailers offering cashback via Quidco give coins on transactions, although Quidco says it hopes to add more retailers to the programme in future.

Participating retailers include Boots, House of Fraser, Morrisons, New Look, Phillips and Thomas Cook. You'll know if they're part of the scheme as this will be marked with a coin symbol on the retailer's online page.

You also need to spend at least £10 at a qualifying retailer to earn coins.

How many coins can I earn per transaction?

You can typically earn between 10 to 20 coins per purchase. Quidco itself sets out how many coins you earn, but it says this varies depending on the cashback deal and the retailer.

There could, for example, be an instance where one retailer offers 10 coins on one offer, but 20 coins on another.

You'll earn the same amount in coins whether you're a premium member who pays £5/year in return for certain benefits, or a standard, non-fee paying user.

What are coins worth?

Coins are worth the following amount in cash:

  • 50 coins = £2.50 for basic members and £5 for Premium members. Dubbed the 'Silver' award.
  • 150 coins = £7.50 for basic members, £15 for Premium. Dubbed the 'Gold' award.
  • 500 coins = £25 for basic members and £50 for Premium. Dubbed the 'Platinum' award.

However, it's not quite as simple as earning 150 coins to reach the 'Gold' level and 500 coins to reach 'Platinum'. This is because each time you reach a level, the amount in coins falls back to zero and you have to start earning from scratch.

So in reality, you need 200 coins to earn the Gold award, and a hefty 700 to reach the Platinum level as you'd first have to have completed the Silver and Gold levels from scratch.

Quidco launches rewards scheme: how does it work?
Quidco launches rewards scheme: how does it work?

How long do I have to complete each reward level?

You have a year to complete all three reward levels. If you successfully do this, on the anniversary of when you first opted in to the scheme you'll get the chance to re-do the Platinum level again – this will repeat on the anniversary of your opt in every year. 

If you don't collect enough coins in the level you're on in a year, you'll lose the progress on your current level and drop down to the level below. So if, for example, you are halfway through the Platinum level one year on from joining the loyalty scheme, you'll lose the Platinum coins and will have to start again from the Gold level.

How do I join the rewards scheme?

To join the scheme, sign in to Quidco online and you'll see a banner on the screen, which says "Quidco Rewards. Earn even more cash each time you shop. Learn more & opt in." Click on this to start collecting.

Coins are then automatically applied to your Quidco account. When you have collected the necessary amount of coins, the cash bonus will be paid directly to your Quidco account. You then request the cash as normal.

Remember, Quidco "paused" its weekly automatic payment option in September and instead, shoppers now have to manually request cashback payments, which you can do up to twice a week.