So as well as doing surveys to get a bit of extra cash, I’m also trying to get money back for purchases online, or Nectar points.
Sites like Top CashBack and Quidco (referral links) get commission through referral links to online retailers, but choose to pay that commission to their users so you effectively get cashback for purchases you make through their links. Top CashBack is just one such site, but as it makes its money through advertising on its own site, it pays 100% of the commission received back to its users, so theoretically gives better returns. It’s also one of the larger and more well known sites and is therefore more reputable. Cashback rates vary but you generally get around 5% of the cost of the item.
If you can’t get cashback from the site (and not all sites offer it), but have a Nectar loyalty card, you can visit the Nectar website first and follow their links to get bonus Nectar points, even from companies that are not formally part of the Nectar scheme such as Amazon. You can usually get 2 points for every £1 spent, which isn’t much but better than nothing.
There are some things to bear in mind. Firstly, you need to make sure that you don’t have your cookie controls set too high – affiliate links often don’t work properly if you block third-party cookies and some cookie blacklists include services which allow referrals to be tracked. You’ll need to assess this against the ‘risk’ of tracking cookies, of course.
Secondly, you probably aren’t going to get rich quickly with this. It is possible to get decent amounts of cashback from some things, such as taking out a new mobile phone contract or changing energy supplier, but don’t expect big returns from day to day purchases. Still, getting 3p back for every song bought on iTunes is better than nothing.
Thirdly, points and cashback won’t be credited to you straightaway – in fact, it can take weeks or months. For iTunes purchases, 10 weeks is typical. And with some sites if your referral isn’t tracked correctly, you won’t get cashback and won’t be able to take it up with anyone.
Still, taking all this into account, it’s possible to get a bit of extra pocket money just by visiting a site before buying things online as you would normally.
On a related note, there’s bonus Nectar points for installing and using the Nectar Search Toolbar – an addon for Firefox and Internet Explorer which adds a Yahoo! search box to your toolbar. Although Yahoo! search is a bit rubbish, you get 100 bonus points for installing it and 1 point for every 2 searches done, up to a maximum of 50 points (100m searches) each month. Plus, it’ll notify you if you visit a site where you could get bonus Nectar points by visiting the Nectar web site first.