Cashback websites allow users to take advantage of affiliate marketing schemes, by taking the commission they receive for sending customers to online shopping websites in volume, and passing this fee back on to their users. Are they worth spending time on? Money Dashboard explores the pros and cons.
You can buy a surprising number of different products and services through cashback sites, including groceries, entertainment, dating services, online banking, flights, and breakdown cover.
You can earn even more cashback by referring others. Some sites will even give you a percentage of their purchases.
Some cashback sites are free so you get 100% of the cash you are awarded.
Cashback sites sometimes have communities of users, who are often savvy buyers willing to share their own experiences and savings tips.
If you find a better deal on another cashback site, some will match these rates, so if you are diligent, you can make sure that you are always getting the best cashback deals.
The cashback deals are not always the best deals available. Sometimes coupons or exclusive deals can offer savings better than the cashback rewards.
Some cashback sites take an annual fee from your earnings. If you’re spreading your use between several sites, you may be hit with multiple fees.
Visiting multiple product sites or cashback sites can confuse the cookie trail, and the cashback site may not be able to track when you make a purchase. To avoid this you must clear your cookies before making any purchases from which you intend to claim cashback.
There are fake cashback sites and scams taking advantage of money-smart shoppers. Watch out for expired deals or unsecured websites.
Cashback sites can take a long time to pay out; often up to six months for large retailers.
The business model of cashback sites involves dealing with vast numbers of users and small amounts of money, so customer service on cashback sites is often minimal.
Not all requests for cashback are approved, and there is no system to appeal a rejection. As much as 1 in 20 claims are not successfully paid out.
Although, from the lists above, the disadvantages seem to outweigh the reasons to join, in reality careful shoppers with a little bit of time to research before buying, can utilise cashback sites for saving money on almost anything they buy.