Woman in pink dress sitting on a white floor with a laptop on her lap.

Top cashback sites

Cashback websites pay you when you go through them to spend with retailers or providers. You can make £100s a year using them properly. Here are the top cashback sites, along with some serious rules to make sure you protect yourself. You can also earn an extra 5% on top using a cashback credit card.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest guides, deals and loopholes, simply sign up today – it's spam-free!

How do cashback sites work?

Close up on man's hands as he types on a laptop while sat at a table or desk.

If you want to buy something online or sign up to a finance product, rather than going direct, click to the company via a cashback site and you get paid for it (but don't choose cashback over the best deal). The sums range from pennies for groceries to more than £100 for some mobile or broadband contracts.

You'll have to sign up to the cashback site, which should be free. If it's not, avoid it. Then simply log in and search for the online retailer you want to buy from, such as Argos or BT. If it's listed, click the cashback site's link to visit that company.

Your visit is then tracked. If you buy something, an amount is put into your cashback site account once the transaction's processed. You can withdraw this once it arrives, which can take a few weeks, or even months. For some cashback sites, you need to reach a set threshold before you can withdraw.

The following table gives you an idea of the possible savings – though remember rates fluctuate every day and differ between sites:

Typical cashback site payments

Asos 1.6%-8.5% of purchase's cost
BT broadband
£59.50-£165 per package
Clarks 3.2%-5.1% of purchase's cost
Co-op home insurance £40-£47.50 per policy
Currys 1%-25% of purchase's cost
Hastings Direct car insurance £26.40-£55 per policy
New Look 0.8%-6% of purchase's cost
O2 mobile £7-£81 per contract

Last updated November 2021. Based on rates from Topcashback and Quidco, which may differ based on product/spend and customer type (new or existing).

Why do they pay out?

Cashback sites take advantage of the way commercial payments from one website to another work. They use affiliate links, which allow the retailer to track where the traffic is coming from and then pay the cashback sites for the lead.

This is a common system, used by sites that send people through from comparison results, unique content (MSE does this – see the foot of the page for more details) or using links on advertising promotions. Cashback sites simply drive traffic by giving their users some of the money they're paid.

The amount of money depends on what's spent on what as well as the commercial deal, so can vary widely. The cashback site may earn its money per click, transaction, application, or accepted applicant.

The technology's simple. Ready-made paying links are available from 'links warehouses'. Big cashback sites also have direct relationships with companies, which means they can offer a wider range of providers, earn more and negotiate their own exclusive deals.

The 5 MAJOR cashback safety rules

Pound coins overlapping one another from left to right

While cashback sites can generate some users £100s a year, it's very important you understand there can be substantial pitfalls in using these sites – and you need to understand them BEFORE you begin.

  • Tracking problems occur for many people using cashback sites. There are times when you'll expect to be paid but won't be.

    If you do have problems, remember you need to contact the cashback site directly, not MSE – we just tell you what the top-paying sites are.

    However, problems don't only arise with cashback sites. They get the money from retailers and service providers. Disputes in this area are common, so sometimes the cashback site doesn't get the cash either.

    Plus, unlike when you get cashback from a retailer, which is part of the product T&Cs, here you've fewer rights. The best way to approach this is to consider cashback as a bonus if you get it, but not to let it drive your purchasing decisions.

  • Never count on the cashback as being yours until it's in your bank account. This isn't just because of tracking and processing issues. Cashback sites are easy to set up and many are small companies which can go bust (and some have done just that).

    If it happens, you've little protection. You may count as a creditor to the company but in all likelihood, your money will be gone.

  • Close up of a hand entering a PIN into the keypad of an ATM.

    Most cashback sites set a threshold which you must reach before you can withdraw cash. The best practice is to withdraw as soon as you hit that level.

    Never leave cash building up in a cashback site account when you can take it out. Not only are you missing out on interest, but if the company goes kaput or changes its payout policy, your money could be lost.

  • It's easy to be seduced by £50 cashback for buying an insurance policy or a 7% discount when shopping for clothes. Yet never let the cashback tail wag the purchase dog. Not because of the warnings above, but simply because it may not actually be the cheapest option.

    Regardless of the cashback, you want to get the best deal possible. If you've chosen something purely because of the cashback on offer, and the cashback doesn't happen, you could find you've dug yourself a hole.

    Example 1: You want a new telly. A cashback site brings up Korma Electrical World, offering 5% cashback, which means a £20 discount on a £399 TV. Yet two minutes using a price comparison site would've found you the same TV on sale at £299.

    Example 2: Your car insurance is up for renewal. You spot the Commodore Insurance £100 cashback offer on a cashback website, so grab its £540 policy via the site. Yet if you'd used car insurance comparison websites, you'd have found an equivalent policy from Chamberlain Insurance for £370. As Chamberlain is also on a cashback site, you could've got a further £25 off, saving £95 in total.

    This is especially important for bigger transactions, where the cost of making the wrong purchase can dwarf the cashback received. So read our relevant guides first, like Balance transfer credit cardsCheap car insurance, Cheap breakdown coverCheap home insuranceBest bank accountsCheap broadband deals and Cheap mobile tips.

  • Cashback sites track your visits by putting cookies (little bits of info that identify you) on to your computer, tablet or smartphone. Many other sites, like comparison sites, also use cookies.

    So when making your purchase, make sure you click through from the cashback site and not from anywhere else, as the general rule's 'the last cookie wins'.

    To be doubly safe, especially if you're expecting a lot of cashback, clear your computer's cookies first to ensure the cashback is tracked. Learn more about controlling and deleting cookies at AboutCookies.org.

The top-paying cashback sites

Don't think all cashback sites pay the same. When we checked in November 2021, we found big differences, for example, up to £40 vs up to £55 on Hasting Direct car insurance, 1.6% vs 4.25% on Etsy. The best cashback sites are those that pay out up to 100%, so ostensibly give all the money they earn to you. Here, we focus on those.

  • In 2005, Quidco launched the first 100% cashback site. On the surface, the system doesn't seem sustainable, yet actually it's a very clever way to work. It's earned Quidco, and fellow 100% operator Topcashback, a massive share of the cashback market.

    These sites do exactly what they say on the tin. They give you 100% or more of the cashback allocated to you, meaning you get a bigger payout. It's been hugely profitable for many customers, but that doesn't mean these sites don't generate income.

    • They may keep a fiver or up to £12 a year. If you join their 'premium schemes', some retain £5 of your cashback earnings each year, while others keep £1 of your cashback earnings per month that you're active. There's nothing wrong with this – it's far better than charging a membership fee upfront. And of course, it means £5/year or £12/year from every active member, which helps sustain the sites.

    • They get 'bonuses'. Let's say a retailer pays a cashback site 5% of every transaction. While that money is passed on to customers, many retailers will also pay affiliates bonuses – for example, if they generate £10,000 of sales, they get a bonus. These aren't and can't be allocated to customers, which is how 100% cashback sites earn a living.

Topcashback logo.


Often pays the best rate

If you want the site that pays the most, Topcashback* usually seems to be the one.

When we spot-checked rates for 20 big brands in November 2021, Topcashback offered the highest rate of cashback for 15, Quidco for three. Yet given rates vary so much – and depend on what exactly you're buying – it's always best to check Quidco too, especially when making larger purchases.

Topcashback is free to use and pays out up to 160% of the cashback it receives from the merchant. That might sound strange, but it's able to do this as it passes on some of the bonuses it gets for generating lots of sales.

How do I join & get cashback?

  • Choose its free membership. Topcashback has no annual administration fees. New users are signed up to a 30-day free trial of its 'Plus' membership – remember to downgrade before the trial is up (which you can do at any time), otherwise you'll find you're automatically charged for a year's membership (deducted from your earnings).

  • You can choose to pay a £5 membership fee. The Plus membership* gives a 10% bonus on non-exclusive cashback rates, for example, a £100 cashback deal would net you £110 as a Plus member.

  • Boost returns by up to 15%. You can take your earnings as cash, but if you prefer it's possible to get a payout bonus by exchanging your cashback for e-gift cards from John Lewis & Partners, Just Eat, M&S and more.

  • Earn cashback in a few stores. Topcashback offers cashback on purchases made in the stores of several retailers, as well as those made online. See below for more info on getting cashback in stores.
Quidco logo.


Can beat Topcashback, so worth checking too

Quidco* is Topcashback's big rival, with the two sites often competing on exclusive deals. While our spot-check in November 2021 found Topcashback was more likely to offer higher cashback rates, it's always worth checking both sites before spending, especially if you're making a big purchase.

How do I join & get cashback?

  • Pick the Basic membership. If you don't pick this, you'll have to pay a fee.

  • There's a Premium membership available. For £1 of your earned cashback per active month, Premium members get an up to 10% top-up on cashback rates, up to 20% higher payout bonuses, a double-the-difference highest cashback guarantee and no adverts on the site.

  • Boost returns by up to 15%. You can take your earnings as cash or get a top-up bonus by withdrawing your cashback in the form of e-gift cards from H&M, Tesco, Uber Eats and many more.

  • You can boost cashback in a few stores. Quidco users can also get cashback in the stores of several retailers, as well as online – full info on in-store cashback below.

An alternative... if you have (or know) a kid

While the sites above offer standard cashback, if you're willing to put your cashback towards a child's savings – even if those savings sit in your current account – then another option may win.

KidStart logo.


Rare cashback on Apple and John Lewis

KidStart lets you earn cashback with over 2,300 retailers in total, including Apple, Argos and John Lewis & Partners (which not all cashback sites do), but you have to put what you earn towards a child's savings.

You don't need to be a parent. The child can be a niece or nephew, a grandchild or a friend's. They don't even need to have been born yet, though you do need their name and expected date of birth to withdraw the cash. You don't need to actually withdraw money to a separate child's account either – you can simply use your own current account.

You MUST be legitimately saving for a child though. KidStart says it has ways of checking and, if it suspects you're not, it could wipe the savings in your account.

How much cashback can I get?

Previously, KidStart's major selling point was that it paid cashback on Amazon purchases, but it no longer does. Yet at the time of writing, it does pay 2.5% on most Apple purchases, which, when we checked, the other top cashback sites didn't cover.

It also currently pays up to 5% on John Lewis & Partners, which the other top cashback sites don't cover (Topcashback does, but only pays cashback in Avios points) and 4% on H&M, comfortably beating the rates offered by both Quidco and Topcashback.

If you're a regular shopper it can quickly rack up, as former MSE Steve N found: "Over the past six years, we've earned a huge £275 cashback for our kids, mainly at John Lewis and Amazon. We started the account before our first child was even born."

That said, KidStart isn't always competitive. For example, it pays up to 2% on Asos, compared with up to 8.55% at Topcashback and up to 7.2% at Quidco, so always compare, especially when making a big purchase.

How do I join & get cashback?

  • Sign up to KidStart (it's free). You don't need to add a child's details to start earning cashback – you can add them later.

  • Log in and click KidStart's link to visit your shop of choice. Your visit and purchase is then tracked and the amount of cashback you've earned is put into your KidStart account once the transaction's processed.

  • You can withdraw your cash once you've reached the £10 threshold or the minimum deposit of the account you're transferring to – whichever's higher. Before you take the money out you must add a child, enter their name and date of birth, then link that profile to a Child Trust Fund, junior ISA or bank account (this doesn't have to be the child's – it can be your own current account).

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest guides, deals and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!

Cashback successes

Plenty of MoneySavers have had huge success using cashback sites. Here are some stories for inspiration:

So far I have got back around £300 from buying things that I would normally have bought and not received anything back for. Things like my garden shed, washing machine, car insurance, home insurance and every day items.

I've made £2,500 from Topcashback alone over the last three years – booked holidays, offered to book hotels for family members for occasions like weddings, and bought all insurance and Christmas and birthday presents.

Have used Topcashback for years and average £300 per year, so very good IMO.

I've been a member with them for almost four years, and I've never had any problems with them tracking or declining any valid transaction ... So far TopCashback has paid me £1,617.88.

Let us know about any success you have using cashback sites, and any other feedback you have, on the Top cashback sites forum thread.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest guides, deals and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!

How to boost your cashback by £100s more

There are a few ways to boost your cashback:

  • You can get money back on in-store spending at a few different retailers with both Quidco and Topcashback:

    • Topcashback. Is our top pick and, by registering your debit or credit card to your account, you can earn in-store cashback*. There aren't a huge amount of offers available through this method though – when we checked in November 2021, examples included Ann Summers paying 8% and Foot Locker paying 7%.

      Previously, the Topcashback app* let you earn cashback on in-store grocery shopping with deals on specific items. Using the app you would unlock the offer, scan the barcode of the product with your phone and then take a photo of the receipt to get the cashback approved, but at the time of writing this has been "temporarily suspended".

    • Quidco. Register your credit or debit card with Quidco, spend on it, and your purchase is tracked. Once processed, the relevant amount is paid into your on-site account. As with Topcashback, there's not many offers available this way – when we checked in November 2021, examples included Sixt (8%) and Richer Sounds (2%). Learn more about in-store cashback with Quidco*.

      An in-store purchase can take up to 21 days to track on Quidco – it recommends keeping hold of receipts until this happens, and getting in touch if your purchase doesn't track.

      In some cases with Quidco, you can only get in-store cashback – or higher rates of in-store cashback – by 'activating' the deal first on the website or through the iPhone or Android app. You do this by pressing the blue 'activate' button. See the full list* of retailers and offers.
  • Illustration of one hand holding up a credit card and another holding up a smartphone.

    Cashback credit cards give cold, hard cash every time you spend on them. Always make sure you pay them off in full each month, so you're not charged interest though.

    There's no conflict between cashback sites and cashback cards, as when you spend on a cashback card, whoever you spend with, the card will give you money back. The top card pays 5% back on spending over the first six months. See the Credit card rewards guide for all the top payers.

  • You don't have to buy anything to earn cash via cashback sites – you can earn cash just for clicking links on the internet. Cashback websites give you a share of their ad revenue, and sometimes get paid just for generating traffic.

    For example, when we checked in November 2021, Topcashback paid £10 for signing up for a free Experian account. Its Free Cashback* section lists the top offers.

    Quidco has a similar page with free cashback offers, which include earning £4.80 for getting your credit score for free from ClearScore.

  • Topcashback and Quidco have guarantees that mean they'll at least match other UK cashback sites if you find a higher rate on the same product or service elsewhere.

    Topcashback will beat the competing rate by 1% (or 5% for Plus members). You have to submit a claim within 14 days of your cashback tracking. Quidco will beat the competing rate by 2% for basic members or those who upgraded to Premium before 13 November 2019, and pay double the difference to newer Premium members. It employs a more strict 72-hour policy for submitting claims.

    Other restrictions and limitations apply, so check all the T&Cs before making a purchase on which you're planning to claim.

  • Some companies pay more cashback than the product itself costs. In the past, cashback sites paid up to £25 for Cahoot savings account applications, even though these could be opened with just £1.

    There are two warnings to heed with this type of cashback though. First, be careful when applying for financial products, especially bank accounts, credit cards and loans. Applications usually add a search to your credit file, which can potentially diminish your credit score.

    Secondly, each cashback site has its own rules. They may ban you if they think you're abusing the scheme, because if too many people do this, they'll lose their links as they're not generating enough money.

  • On a similar theme, it's possible to earn £100s a year without any special skill or talent by stashing cash from filling in online surveys.

    You can earn cash or Amazon vouchers by taking part, and surveys are often short enough to fill in during breaks at work. For a full how-to, see the Top 25 online survey sites guide.

Spotted out of date info/broken links? Email: brokenlink@moneysavingexpert.com