One of my favorite ways to save money on online purchases is through shopping portals. By clicking on a referral link to your favorite online retailers from the portal, you are able to earn points or cash back on your shopping purchases.
There are many portals that offer cashback for online purchases. My favorite, and the only one I use, is TopCashback.
It’s completely free to use. After signing up with your e-mail address, you search for an online retailer where you’d like to shop, click on the referral link, and then shop as you normally would. You’ll earn cashback for all eligible purchases.
I use TopCashback for all of my eligible online purchases. Since joining in September 2015, I’ve earned over $430 in cashback through TopCashback.
While it might seem strange to go to a third-party website to help get cashback on purchases, the TopCashback portal is 100% legal. TopCashback has negotiated the cashback rates with the individual retailers. Some retailers, such as Airbnb and Costco, have chosen not to offer cashback deals to customers. Other retailers have clearly worked out deals with TopCashback to be featured more prominently on the website. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and they offer cashback on select departments. Not every purchase is eligible for cashback on Amazon; the departments eligible for cashback changes frequently, so you need to check TopCashback on a regular basis to see which departments are eligible for cashback. Sometimes it’s worth holding off on an Amazon purchase to wait for Amazon to offer a TopCashback rebate on purchases in that department.
Walmart and Target are behemoths in the brick-and-mortar retail world. If you’re a regular shopper at one of these retailers, here’s a neat trick to supercharge your savings. Go on TopCashback and click through to Walmart or Target’s webpage. Shop as you normally would, and then click the “Ship To Store” option and select your local brick-and-mortar store. You can then walk up to customer service and pick up your goods. You save a few percent on your purchase with cashback, and you don’t have to run around the store to find you. You also don’t have to pay shipping costs because you’re picking up the items in-store.
TopCashback is a great way to save extra money on hotels. You can often get 5-10% cashback on hotel rooms, on top of the deals you already get. You still are eligible for most hotel points program even if you use TopCashback. I’m a big fan of IHG (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn) when I stay at hotels for medical conferences. Currently, I can get 8% cashback, on top of the 20 IHG points per $1 I earn when I use my Chase IHG Credit Card.
Many airlines and travel websites (e.g. Expedia or Priceline) frequently offer cashback on flights. Given the competitive nature of flight prices, the cashback rates are not very high. My favorite retailer for cashback on airline tickets is Priceline, which currently offers $5.00 cashback for every ticket purchased (so if you’re buying plane tickets for a family of 4, you will get a total of $20.00 cashback).
Many people buy their computers or other electronics online. For example, Dell is offering 5% cashback and Lenovo is offering 4% cashback. For big purchases like computers or TVs, an extra few percentage points in cashback saves you some pretty big money.
My favorite online retailer for jewelry is Blue Nile. TopCashback currently offers a 5% cashback on jewelry purchases. There is currently a $7,500 transactional cap on transactions, so if you buy that $20,000 engagement ring on TopCashback, you’ll only get the cashback on the first $7,500.
Tips for Using TopCashback
Read the terms and conditions of each offer
Each retailer sets its own terms for how it will offer cash back. While some retailers give you a flat rate for any online purchase, others will have restrictions on what can get paid. For example, Amazon only offers cash back on select categories that change regularly. Most travel sites will offer different cashback rates based on what kind of travel you book through their site. It’s important to read the fine print before clicking on the referral link.
Take advantage of coupon codes (but only those endorsed by TopCashback)
TopCashback will list several coupon codes that can be used on top of the cashback that you receive from TopCashback. For example, when I purchased jewelry on Blue Nile, they had a coupon code for 15% off, on top of the regular 3% cash back.
But you must only use coupon codes that are listed on the merchant page at TopCashback. If you use other coupon codes that aren’t specifically listed (such as those found on coupon sites like RetailMeNot), you may not receive your cashback.
Earn credit card miles and points on top of cashback
You can still earn credit card miles and points while receiving rebates from TopCashback. I recommend the Citi Double Cash or the Fidelity Visa Signature card for people new to the credit card rewards game and want a simple, one-card solution. Each of these cards offers 2% cashback on all purchases with no limit on the amount of rewards you can receive.
Cash out with certain payment methods and get another bonus
You can receive your cashback through one of many payment options, including Paypal, ACH, Amazon gift cards, American Express gift cards, or specialty retail gift cards. You can get a bonus of up to 3% if you receive your cashback as an Amazon or American Express gift card.
Using TopCashback is a great way to save money on your everyday online purchases. I make sure to use the portal every time I make an eligible purchase online.
What do you think? Do you use TopCashback or a different shopping portal for online purchases? Do you have any other tips or tricks about online shopping portals to share?