How to cash in on cashback websites

Getting free money every time you shop may sound too good to be true, but cashback websites will do exactly this. Here we explain how to use these sites to make the highest return.

Cashback websites can earn you hundreds of pounds if you know how to use them.

These websites work by giving you some of the cash they get from the retailers listed on their sites every time you shop with them. It's typically around 3% of the value of the stuff you buy but it can be as much as 20%.

The money gets paid straight into your bank account but it often takes two months before you get your hands on it. This is to allow enough time for you to return a product if you're not happy with it.

When choosing a website, look at how many retailers it lists. As a rule of thumb, the more it has the bigger the discounts. Most of the well-known sites have more than 2,000 retailers, from clothes shops and supermarkets to financial services providers.

The amount of money you can make depends on what you're buying. For example, Quidco currently gives you £50 cash back when you buy an insurance policy from More Than, and 3% cash back on anything you buy from Marks & Spencer.

So are there any drawbacks?

Not really, apart from the hassle of having to go through one of these websites before you want to buy something. Oh, but some take a membership fee from your earnings so this is something to watch out for.

But once you know how they do work, they're an easy way to get free money. 

Many sites have toolbars you can download to your web browser that will alert you to items you could get cash back on when you're shopping online. Some also have cashback apps. Quidco even has one that allows you to earn money simply by walking into a shop – without having to buy anything!

And you can earn more money by recommending friends. Top CashBack, for example, will give you a tenner for every friend you refer.

Using cashback sites is a no-brainer. They're easy to use, and by a few clicks of your mouse you can start cashing in on free money. Now that's not to be sniffed at!