I’ve been a loyal Quidco member since 2007, and have earned a fair bit of cashback through them. But over the past few years, I’ve been hearing more and more about their main competitor, TopCashBack. I never really felt the urge to try them out until recently when I heard about their new Spend’n'Save feature. This enables you to earn cashback by buying certain products from participating retailers and uploading a picture of the receipt via the TCB mobile app.
The Snap’n'Save process itself was very quick and easy and definitely something I’ll be using again. It took less than 24 hours for the receipt image to be approved and for the cashback to show in my account. In this case it was 50p cashback on a £1 4-pack of Mars Bars – bargain!
On first impression, the TCB site doesn’t look as polished or well-designed as the Quidco site, and this carries through to the mobile app. Like the Quidco app, it’s not yet optimised for the iPhone 5, so it appears vertically letterboxed. Also, the In-Store section is a bit of a pain to use: it shows the available offers as a carousel that you have to navigate by swiping right to left, rather than a simple list. It’s a universal app, so works on the iPad, although it’s clearly designed to be used in portrait mode only – it looks very strange in landscape.
Unlike Quidco, which retains the first £5 cashback you earn each year as an admin fee, there is no charge to use TopCashBack. Also they have a unique “top-up” feature, so as a new member you earn 101% of the cashback that TCB receives from the retailer. The extra 1% is funded by sponsorship and advertising on the site (in contrast, the Quidco site is ad-free). As you earn more cashback, the top-up amount increases up to a maximum of 10% (i.e. you earn 110% of the cashback). I did a quick straw poll of a few of my favourite retailers, and generally the TCB rate was 101% of Quidco’s and occasionally even higher. However, Quidco do sometimes have limited-time exclusive rates that TCB seem to be unable to beat.
I will keep my Quidco account for those occasions, and also to take advantage of a couple of features than TCB doesn’t yet have – instore cashback (you securely register your credit/debit card numbers on the Quidco site and then automatically receive cashback for card purchases in participating retailers) and check-in cashback (you receive a small amount, typically 5p-25p, for pressing a button in the Quidco mobile app when you’re near to participating stores). Apart from that, I look forward to using my new TCB account.