Changes by Quidco – good or sneaky?

There have been two recent pieces of news from Quidco, one of the main British cashback sites. If you don’t use any cashback sites at present, they are a way of getting some money back when you shop online. You pay the retailer the normal price and then get your cashback later through Quidco. The amounts can be significant, just picking a few current offers at random: 12% off Expedia hotels; 4% off iPads at Apple; £60 off car insurance at Aviva for new customers.

Cashback from Amazontoppled coins small

A couple of months after a lot of annoyed Nectar points collectors found they could no longer get points at Amazon, Quidco is rightly pleased that you can now get 5% cashback on some Amazon items. The snag (and it’s a big one) is that it only applies to certain categories of purchases – the current categories are listed here – and they aren’t the ones that I use a lot. The categories are likely to change every few weeks, which is tedious too.

Premium membership has been introduced

All current members who have used Quidco in the last year have been moved onto this. It costs the same as before – Quidco keeps the first £5 you earn each year – and has a list of whizzy extras none of which interested me very much, but here they are if you want to have a look.

Basic Members now don’t pay anything – no £5 deduction a year. New members can join as Basic Members and current users can downgrade to Basic, but not if you have bought something during your current membership year so you will have to wait until your membership anniversary.  Rather sneaky I think: you can’t sign up now to downgrade and many people won’t have realised that they can or may forget to do this. The date of your membership anniversary is under ‘Settings’ for your account – so if you aren’t fussed by the Premium offerings, make a note in your diary and downgrade then.

Some people have a lot of trouble with their purchases being ‘tracked’ – you will only get the cashback if the you follow the Quidco link to the shop so the retailer can track you as a Quidco user. The way to eliminate most of these problems I have found is to use a separate browser to actually make your purchase, so you hunt around for what you want in your regular browser (Firefox in my case) and then when you have decided what to buy and where, you go to another browser (Chrome say) , open up Quidco, get the link to the retailer, follow that, put what you want in the basket immediately and buy it.

The golden rule for all cashback sites is never buy anything only because of the cashback, because you can’t be 100% sure it will arrive. But almost all of it does if you are careful.

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