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TopCashback Review- Too good to be true?

This TopCashback review looks at one of the latest tools that I’ve added to my money-saving arsenal. While I’ve known about cashback sites for years, I was always very sceptical.

I couldn’t believe the stories of people making hundreds and even thousands of pounds, so I thought I would test it out myself. It turns out the stories were true and in the space of a few short months, I made over £150. However, there are a few things you should consider and just because cashback is offered, it’s not always the best deal.

How do cashback sites work?

Cashback sites act as a marketing arm for retailers. The cashback sites are paid by retailers to bring in new customers.

When you purchase a product using a cashback site, it receives a commission from the retailer. This can range from a small percentage to a decent chunk of change for more expensive products and services. That commission paid from the retailer is then passed on to you, the customer.

Here is TopCashback’s official explanation.

There are two big players in the UK:

This article focuses on TopCashback however both sites work in a similar way. We compare the differences towards the end of this article.

TopCashback Review - Rachel Riley

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

How to start getting cashback

First, you need to set up a TopCashback account. You can use this link to register your email address and choose a password. If you do use the link once you earn your first £10 in cashback, TopCashback will give you an extra £5 bonus!

The signup process only takes a few minutes and is totally free. Once you’ve signed up and logged in you’ll have access to all the retailers and be able to see the TopCashback offers available.

Start getting cashback quickly

To earn cashback when you make a purchase, you must access the retailer you want to buy from through TopCashback. By doing this, you register that TopCashback has referred you to the retailer. This needs to be done first, you won’t be able to claim cashback after you’ve made a purchase.

In the example video below, I wanted to buy a new TV, which I found for sale at AO.com. Here are the steps I went through:

  • Log in to TopCashback.
  • Find the retailer by using the search bar. I searched for AO.com.
  • Click on the deal I want.

Sure, it takes a few seconds longer than Amazon one-click, but you are getting free money, so for me, I feel it’s worth a few seconds of my time. A little green bar should show at the top to say your visit has been tracked.

If this sound’s like a hassle you can use the Chrome plugin to shortcut the process. We describe this in more detail further down.

That’s it! Go through your normal buying process and within a few hours your purchase will show up on the earnings page of your TopCashback account.

TopCashback Review - Get cashback

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Which retailers offer cashback and how much can I expect?

TopCashback claims to have over 5,000 retailers from who you can claim cashback. These change from time to time but below are a few of the big ones.

Most of the large brands have offers on TopCashback. Some will also offer special promotions from time to time, so keep an eye out for promotional emails.

Retailer Cashback offered*
Currys Up to 25%
Ebay Up to 5%
John Lewis Up to 2%
Nike Up to 10%
ASOS Up to 11%
Boohoo Up to 10%
JD Sports Up to 7%
Gap Up to 12%
Just Eat Up to 25%
Dominos Up to 3.3%
Booking.com Up to 10%

* Cashback amounts change and are often limited to certain items or new customers only. Please check the TopCashback website for the latest offers and terms.

TopCashback – Amazon cashback

TopCashback has currently suspended it’s Amazon cashback program due to COVID-19. While the site states this is only a temporary measure, Amazon has been cutting referral cashback consistently over the last few years so we might not see this back again.

Amazon does still offer 2.5% cashback on it’s Echo, Kindle and Fire TV devices.

TopCashback Review - Amazon cashback

If you want to earn something back from your Amazon purchases, why not try smile.amazon.co.uk. Smile.amazon.co.uk is exactly the same as normal Amazon, but it allows a small fraction of your purchases to be donated to a charity of your choice.

You’ll pay the same price but you can also help a good cause. Most charities are available however, I have even chosen my children’s primary school to donate to.

All may not be as it seems…

While these offers look great, the numbers above don’t tell the full story. For example, the 3.3% cashback on Domino’s Pizza is for new customers only. If you have ordered from them before, it drops to a measly 1.1%.

Also, the best cashback deals are often limited. For example, the 25% cashback at Currys is only on certain products. While this can be frustrating, there is usually some cashback on the product you want. It just might not be as high as it first appears.

Furthermore, you may not get your cashback if you use other promotions or if someone other than TopCashback refers or links you to the site.

It can also take time to access your cashback. Retailers take time to pay TopCashback and so you won’t get your money until it’s been paid by the retailer. This can be 3 months or even longer for certain deals. While this can feel frustrating I’ve not had a site that hasn’t paid out (but I do have a few pending).

If you return or cancel your purchase then your cashback will be reversed. I had a hotel booking that was cancelled due to COVID-19, this cashback got cancelled as my purchase was refunded.

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How to not miss cashback deals

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably only remember you should have checked for cashback deals after you have already placed an order directly with a retailer.

Luckily, TopCashback has a solution. There is a cashback tool that you can install in your Google Chrome web browser that reminds you if you go onto a site that offers cashback. The plugin has helped remind me on multiple occasions when my mind was on autopilot.

Installing the plugin means you don’t have to log in to TopCashback and search for retailers or deals. Instead, the plugin pops a little box to remind you. If you want the cashback, you click the box and that’s it.

The plugin is called ‘Cashback Notifier’ and can be found here. I would highly recommend the plugin to ensure you get the most from TopCashback.

TopCashback mobile app

The TopCashback mobile app acts the same as the website. All you need to do is open the app, find the retailer and then click the cashback button. The TopCashback app is easy to use and it looks and feels nearly identical to the website. You cannot withdraw money from the app, instead, the app redirects you to the web login.

One drawback when using your mobile is you don’t get a popup to say cashback is available. This means you need to remember to open the app and jump to the retailer before you purchase something.

My trick is to put a product in my basket for the chosen retailer and then jump to the app and see if that retailer offers cashback. If they do, just click the ‘Get Cashback’ button and it will pop a new webpage. The good thing is, usually your basket is still there, meaning you don’t have to find your products all over again. From that point just complete your purchase as normal.

How to get the best cashback deals

The largest payouts on TopCashback are usually found on financial products or subscription services. These are typically things like Life Insurance or switching contracts like Broadband, Mobiles or gas & electric.

My largest cashback deal was from TalkTalk when I moved my broadband package. I found a deal with TalkTalk and went onto the TalkTalk website to sign up. Luckily, my Cashback Notifier popped up to say I could earn cashback! That notification made me £90 in cashback the equivalent of a £5 per month saving on my 18-month contract.

Some deals are often only open for a limited time. Be careful as these sites are designed to make you buy things you don’t necessarily need. The cashback can be attractive but I wouldn’t go searching through the site for deals unless you actually need something new.

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You can earn cashback for FREE

There is a section in TopCashback where you can get FREE cashback!

The free cashback offers are usually from survey or product testing sites. Some of the free cashback offers actually require you to sign up for a service like Match.com. With Match.com you will only get the cashback if you sign up for at least 1 month.

I have tried a few of these and they can be quick and easy. Setting up an Experian account to check my credit score, earned me £4 and gave me access to my credit rating from one of the largest agencies. There is a catch, ultimately Experian hopes you will sign up for the monthly paid service.

I would stay away from 20Cogs. 20Cogs felt like too much work for minimal rewards. I didn’t feel it was worth my time, especially compared to how easy it was to get cashback from other TopCashback offers.

As you would expect, most of the free cashback offers are for very small rewards.

TopCashback vs Quidco

These two cashback heavyweights dominate the UK market and each offers some great deals. Both players claim to be the best and offer the highest cashback.

In addition, they both also offer to match a higher cashback offer from their competitor. However, Quidco says it will double the difference if you find a better deal. In reality, no one is going to bother doing a full comparison on everything they offer so I feel like we are really splitting hairs on this one.

Both offer a browser plugin that reminds you to claim cashback on a website if it is on offer. This is a great feature and well worth installing whichever you choose.

This is why each player thinks they are the best:

Why Quidco think they are better

Why TopCashback think they are better

Personally, I have enjoyed using TopCashback and I imagine the Quidco experience will be very similar. I don’t want to use both and I definitely don’t want to be spending my time chasing extra pennies in cashback, I feel it’s best to choose one and stick to it. For me, that’s TopCashback.

My £150 TopCashback experience

In the five months since signing up to TopCashback, I’ve made £150 with very little effort. The browser plugin has helped me a few times as it’s difficult to remember to go to TopCashback before ordering something.

While I thought I was doing well, one user in our Facebook Community said she had made over £1,000 from TopCashback! This, I can totally believe as it’s been extremely easy to build my cashback pot. I hope to reach this magnificent milestone at some point too!

TopCashback Review - cashback earnt

I withdrew my cashback once I got to £50 and I plan to keep withdrawing the cash each time a good chunk of money clears. I’d prefer to have this money in my account rather than TopCashback’s.

Furthermore, you can get additional cashback if you withdraw your money in vouchers for other shopping sites, which I may try in future.

When I withdrew my first £50 I paid £5 to TopCashback for Plus membership. You don’t have to do this but it seemed like the only way to get cashback paid into my bank account. It doesn’t say this anywhere so after doing more research, I don’t think this was necessary.

However, if I continue to make good cashback I don’t feel that this is a high price for the service. The £5 is payable annually, so I will review it next year when it comes up to see if it’s necessary.

Top Tip: I have found discount vouchers that provide a better discount than using TopCashback. When this has been the case, I go via TopCashback but also use the discount code. This should, according to the terms, prevent you from getting cashback but I’ve found sometimes it still goes through. Doing this ensures you get a good discount and potentially some extra cashback.

TopCashback review - final thoughts

TopCashback should be a tool in every money-savvy saver’s kit. It’s easy to use and your pot can build quickly if you use the tools to remind yourself.

One word of warning – just because it’s on TopCashback, it doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. Make sure you look at the total contract value of things like Life Insurance or contracts for services like mobiles and broadband. The cashback may look great but always work out if it is the best deal for you.

Make sure you use the Cashback Notifier plugin in your Google Chrome browser. Most of the time my brain is on autopilot so this has helped me get free money with a handy little pop-up.

If you do make some great cashback, we’d love to hear from you. You can join our Facebook personal finance group and learn other tips and tricks to improve your personal finances for free.

Open a TopCashback account for free today

Here’s to Financial Fitness

EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.

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