Due to Covid-19 lockdown, I like everyone else, am spending all my time at home. This led to spending a lot of time on Instagram. I have now started following a lot of freebie and money saving accounts. From looking at these accounts it really does feel like everyone has a side hussle on the go.
This got me thinking about ways to save or earn a few quid. I do a lot of online shopping. A LOT! So I thought why not try Topcashback again. So many UK Youtubers have this in their description box or have videos sponsored by them. I signed up in 2018 and have never used my account. However due to being at home I have been doing even more online shopping than normal so I figured why not get a few bob back for it all.
So what is Topcashback all about?
It claims to give you a percentage of the total cost of purchases back. It offers various cashback rates for different retailers. Instead of ordering directly from the retailer as your first port of call, you go via the topcashback website first.
Once you have signed up and signed in to your account, you use the search bar to search for the retailer you plan to buy something from. If it is listed it will come up on your screen telling you the cashback % they offer. You click on the search result and it will take you to another page with a red button on it saying “Get cashback now”. You click on that button and it will take you to the store webpage as normal. You shop on the retailer site as normal and your purchase through that website will register in your Topcashback account. You then get the cashback credited in to your Topcashback account.
The site offers cashback on so many things from buying clothes, to shopping on Ebay, to booking hotels and renewing insurance.
You can convert your cashback into gift cards to spend in lots of well known stores. You can’t withdraw your earnings as cash to my knowledge. If you can, I haven’t found this function yet.
Sign up is easy and straightforward. The usual process. Generally speaking, it’s pretty straightforward to sign up and purchase through the site even if the website isn’t the most sleek and user friendly.
You will however automatically be signed up for a Plus Account. This will charge you £5 per year from your cashback earnings. You are paying for higher rates of cashback than what you would get with their free Classic account. I did not realise this until a few weeks ago when I signed back in. Presently, I am a tenner in debt, to them! I have been charged £5 for the Plus account for 2018-2019 and then another fiver for 2019-2020. Crackin’ start.
I have since downgraded my account to a Classic Account and turned off the auto renew function. From what I have researched, once the Plus account has started you can downgrade, but you will have to see out the full year of the Plus account before it will downgrade your account for the following year.
I haven’t found a way to sign up with a Classic Account initially. I signed up with another email address and it signed me up automatically with a Plus Account that would run until June 2021. Downgrading only allowed my other account to be downgraded after June 2021. If anyone knows how to sign up with a Classic account or if there is an option to downgrade to Classic instantly, please comment and let me know.
Downgrading can be done from the “Account” option along the top of the screen once you have created an account and signed in. It will also tell you in a side bar on the right hand side of the screen in your account options what account membership you have.
You do get enhanced cashback rates from the Plus Account however I can’t comment on whether the rates are that much better than a Classic Account. It would be worth doing some research before you sign up and downgrade your account. What account is best for you will depend on the type of purchases you make.
It’s a pretty busy website by way of functions and navigation. I haven’t figured out what everything does. I have worked out the things that matter such as downgrading and turning off auto renew, how to search for a retailer and purchase through it to get cash back and how to submit a claim when you don’t get your cashback.
I will cut a long story short and say that this website is not an easy or quick way to earn cashback. There are a lot of glitches with Topcashback recognising your purchase through their site. Topcashback has put this down to the retailers not verifying the purchases.
I have made a 7 purchases through the website and so far to date I have earned 80p. This is due to only one purchase being verified by the retailer. I spent £40 on Lookfantastic and this purchase was verified in my account. It stated £2.80 cash back however it can take weeks for the cashback to be authorised and be acknowledged in your earnings. For example, this £2.80 went from £2.80 to 80p a few weeks later when it was verified.
Let’s be real, the money earned from this site is not enough to retire on but when you buy as much online as I do a few quid for every purchase would add up. If I could get the purchases verified…
So out of 7 purchases, only one has been recognised on the site and that wasn’t recognised correctly. If after 7 days your purchase has not logged in your account, you will need to submit a claim, like I have had to do for all of mines. I have purchased from Lookfantastic, Superdrug, Wayfair x2, Dunelm, Notino and Boots.
It only takes a few minutes to log a claim once you have figured out how to do it!
Click on Customer Service
Click on “continue” under Missing Cashback.
Click on “I understand” at the bottom of the disclaimer. (You can also click on the “Start a claim” option in the side bar on the right but that will take you to the screen you are already on.)
Click the option that is appropriate for your issue (whether that be missing cashback or wrong cashback amount for example).
It will then give you a drop down menu of all the sites you have visited through Topcashback. If you have visited a site several times within a few days or minutes (i.e. clicking back screen or going to basket and then out again) it will log the times and dates. You will need to know the exact time and date of the purchase in order to click the correct option. You don’t want to be clicking the wrong date and time as if that was not when you made the purchase, it won’t have a record of it. After that it will ask for the order number and amount and it’s plain sailing from there.
It can take between 1-3 months for a purchase to be verified. I am still waiting for any to be verified so I can’t comment right now on whether your purchases will be verified and what to do if they aren’t.
Once a claim had been made you can check on the progress…
Click on Customer Service
Under the “Missing Cashback” box is a link saying “View Existing Claim”. Once clicked on it will have a record of the claims you have submitted You can add additional information and send a nudge to give them a wee reminder.
If the site had a better agreement or algorithm on the go with retailer sites I would recommend the site. I have had to claim every purchase’s cashback individually and it can take up to 3 months for it to be verified. Right now, I would probably say to give the site a miss. I am only persisting with it now out of interest so I can let ya’ll know how it works. I also want to clear my £10 ‘debt’ so that if I do decide to make any bigger, worth my while purchases through the site, I’m not losing any of the cashback.
If you plan on making large purchases it might be worth checking the site to see if a decent cashback rate is available. For everyday purchases of a couple of items from Boots with a cashback rate of something like 3% (if that), it’s more time and hassle than it is worth.