One of our all-time favourite ways to make money is through cashback: money that is given to you for spending with certain retailers or through certain providers.
Assuming that you only spend money that you would have spent anyway, cashback is one of the closest things to free money, since you can get it simply by carrying on with business as usual. There aren’t loads of options for collecting cashback, but there are a few good ones – we’ve rounded up some of the best.
Use a cashback bank account
Some bank accounts give you money back on your bills, which is a nice way to feel a little less downbeat about paying for gas and electricity. At the time of writing banks including Barclays, NatWest and Santander were all offering cashback on direct debits for customers with certain accounts. Do be aware that several of these accounts also charge a monthly fee, so you need to calculate how much you’ll be earning. Other accounts offer a kind of cashback in the form of rewards – for instance, M&S bank allows some customers to collect M&S points through their account.
Get cashback for switching
You can also get money for switching to a new bank account. If you don’t like the service from your current main account, consider switching to someone new – and see if you can make some money from it. You’ll have to make your new account your main one, and not all providers offer switching incentives, so you’ll need to check first.
Sometimes, you can also get cashback when switching your utility bills. This happens if you go through comparison sites, which will often promote deals giving you a small amount of cashback if you choose certain providers. We suggest ensuring that you’re happy with the cost and reputation of the provider first, with cashback being a secondary consideration.
Join a cashback site
The two major cashback sites in the UK are Quidco and TopCashback. Both are legitimate sites that offer their members the chance to get money back when shopping with a range of popular retailers, and sometimes even when switching to different utilities or internet providers.
The deals offered can vary quite a lot, with some offering small amounts and others being quite generous. If you’re planning a big purchase, it’s definitely worth checking these sites to see if you can get what amounts to a discount. One caveat: this cashback is never guaranteed. That means it’s very important not to use it as an excuse to make purchases that you don’t need.
Use a cashback credit card
The final option but potentially the most lucrative, if you do a lot of your spending through credit cards. Rewards cards are good if you shift all of your general monthly shopping onto them (e.g. food shopping and luxuries), and then pay the balance in full each month. This way, you are effectively shifting your monthly spending from your debit card onto your credit card, and maxing out your rewards as a result – without risking high interest payments. It does require a lot of financial discipline, though, so we recommend it only for people with a healthy credit score and plenty of willpower. This tip is good for those who already feel in control of their finances.