Online cashback sites
Discount vouchers and reward schemes are so yesterday. Now there are sites that can save online shoppers up to 30% on purchases.
It’s no surprise that, when it comes to retail, the internet is rapidly replacing the shopping centre. Last year the number of Aussies shopping on their phones shot up by 25%, according to the latest Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, taking the total of regular online shoppers to almost 80%. And with our shopping habits evolving so rapidly, so too are the ways in which we can save.
Cashback sites such as Cashrewards and PricePal are to online retail what loyalty cards and reward schemes have long been for Australian in-store retail.
However, instead of the accumulation of points that must be redeemed for prizes or store discounts, cashback sites offer the promise of cold hard cash for purchases made. They are worth, in some cases, up to 30% of the asking price.
“Traditional reward schemes like Flybuys and Everyday Rewards were launched decades ago and it shows,” says Rob Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Incent Loyalty.
“It’s such an outdated notion that you should have a different reward scheme for every store you shop at. Cashback sites are here to change that and allow everyday Aussies to earn real rewards that actually add up – no more cards or meaningless points.”
How do they work?
Essentially, they operate as an upfront discount in reverse, says Bessie Hassan, money expert at Finder.com.au. “Unlike existing loyalty systems at chemists or supermarkets, cashback sites give cash back to shoppers instead of discount vouchers or rewards. That cash is essentially a delayed form of discount on your online purchases.”
Each cashback site follows the same process. Once logged into the site or app, simply click on the product you fancy and you’ll be directed to the retailer to shop as you would normally. The cashback company then tracks your purchase and pays a cash rebate (for the percentage advertised) directly into your nominated bank or PayPal account. So, for example, 10% off Australian Post travel insurance (RRP $205, comprehensive) through Cashrewards would earn you $20.50 back.
Where does the cash come from?
The concept is fairly simple, says Rebecca Maher, a financial adviser and women’s money coach. “Basically, these cashback providers have gone out to various retailers offering an incentive for purchases made through their website. The retailers pay for the privilege, allowing the cashback site to pass on a saving to their customers. Essentially, it’s just putting themselves between you and the ultimate purchase, which gives you a reward.”
How many sites are there?
Shoppers may already be familiar with Cashrewards, Cashback Club and PricePal but in the past few months we’ve also seen the arrival of newcomers Incent Loyalty and ShopBack. However, comparing these platforms in terms of savings is virtually impossible. Many cashback sites offer roughly the same cashback percentages for many of the same retailers. For instance, almost all of the above offer cashback for fashion retailers ASOS and The Iconic, with percentages fluctuating between 3.5%-7% (ASOS) and 7%-16% (The Iconic). You’ll need to do your own research for the best deals on a particular day.
What sort of retailers are involved?
You’ll find big brands for everything from travel, fashion and tech to food and booze, including Expedia, Bonds, Apple, Woolworths and BWS. These tend to overlap between cashback sites. With over 1200 stores, Cashrewards currently has the highest number of retailers but the others aren’t far behind. As a point of difference, Cashback Club also claims to collect your trailing commission payments for financial products, including super, insurance and home loans.