(Scroll down for a New Year's giveaway!)
These days Pigsback operates as a discount service in Ireland but, fear not, plenty of other companies stepped in to fill the void.
How does it work?
Something for nothing sounds too good to be true, and it would be. But everyone in the process is getting something out of the arrangement. The retailer gets a sale. The cashback service gets paid by the retailer for getting them that sale. And you get a cut of the proceeds for keeping the system afloat.
On a technical level, when you click on an offer your visit is tracked from the cashback site to the retailer. When you make a purchase it is logged, the cashback is calculated, and you receive the money or points in your cashback provider account. You can then cash out via paypal, BACS, or vouchers, depending on the site you're using. This is not an infallible operation however, and if it fails you could lose out. Money Saving Expert warns that you should see cashback as a bonus rather than a certainty, so don't let it be the main factor behind any purchasing decision.
With that in mind, here are my favourite cashback and loyalty services...
This is my favourite cashback site and the one I use most often. When buying online I typically search for the current cashback deals on both TopCashback and Quidco (more on them in a moment), and TopCashback usually comes out on, er, top. For instance, today I made an exciting purchase of 4 toothbrush caps on ebay for 99p. Quidco were offering 1% cashback, but TopCashback were giving out 1.1%. Okay, so maybe I won't get rich quick, but - as the saying goes - every [percent of a] penny counts!
For £5 per annum you can become a 'plus' member and earn an extra 5% on your cashback. You can pay out in cash via paypal or your bank account, or via vouchers for various stores. They often offer more bang for your buck, aka up to 25% extra, as an incentive to choose store vouchers. Another nice thing about TopCashback is their regular competitions. By working out the brand from a given clue, you can win big. Or, more likely, between 1p and 10p here and there throughout the competition period. Sign up with this link and you can get a £5 bonus.
Quidco works in almost exactly the same way as TopCashback, right down to the option to pay £5 pa to become a 'premium' member. Sign up using my referral link and you can kickstart your account with a £5 bonus.
This one is a bit different in that instead of claiming the cashback for yourself, you can only pay out into a child's saving account. But the nice thing is that a number of accounts can be linked to save for the same child, meaning parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc, etc, can all contribute. The reason I love it is that they are one of the (very!) few services offering cashback on everyday Amazon, Next, and John Lewis purchases. So, even if it's not instant in-hand cashback gratification, it's still very satisfying to get a return on my Amazon bargains.
Oh My Dosh
This one is more like the Pigsback of old - you fill out surveys, enter competitions, and sign up for free trials to earn cash. Even if you don't use the site long term it's well worth joining because it is such a breeze to reach the initial £10 payout limit.
If you use this link to sign up you'll get £1, then you can quickly earn 50p for a social share, 75p+ for completing a survey, and £5 for signing up to an Amazon prime trial. (For example!) There are plenty of no spend offers available, and a few where the cashback is higher than the outlay - eg. a Which magazine trial for £1 which nets you £7.
This is another site that lets you earn cash without actually spending any money. You can earn swagbucks (SB) for everything from downloading free ebooks to finding SB codes on social media. Swagbucks is a US company but you can redeem in pounds or dollars for vouchers or cash via Paypal, and it does mean that there are always plenty of offers available. Sign up via my referral link and you can get a bonus 300 SB.
(Browser extension that will automatically find the best discount codes for various retailers.) Get 500 points ($5) when your referral makes their first qualifying purchase. Minimum payout is 1400 points, in the form of a £10 voucher.
If you shop anywhere with a free loyalty scheme, it's probably worth signing up. Free is free, after all. The difference with Nectar is that you can collect and spend points in a whole range of places - over 450, in fact. I principally use mine for ebay; by connecting your accounts you automatically earn Nectar points on every purchase, and when you've collected 500 you can get a £2.50 voucher to put towards your next ebay splurge. It's win-win!
HuYu / Receipt Hog / Shoppix
Everyone and their dog seems to have their own app these days, but some of them can be pretty useful. Just about every website on this list has one. There are a few app only services which are worth using when it comes to cashback though, and these three are prime examples. They all work in the same way, offer basically the same rates of return, and you can use the same receipts on each app.
You just need to take photos of your till receipts in exchange for points. These points can then be exchanged for vouchers and / or cash - eventually. It will probably take a while to build up enough to cash out with these, unless you get lucky with the regular competitions for more points, but as you've already bought the stuff it's still worth giving it a try! (And if you sign up to Shoppix with my referral code - 031JVTJD - you can get a bonus 200 tokens.)
Other apps worth checking out for cashback in exchange for snapping receipts (enabling you to claim free or discounted grocery products) are Shopmium (code: yc7c5), CheckoutSmart, and GreenJinn.
(Formerly iPoints) With this one you earn points from purchases, filling out surveys, entering competitions and more. You can then exchange your points for products - ranging from 1880 points for a DVD to 62000 points for a PS4. Sign up with my referral link to get a bonus 1,000 points when you earn your first 1,000 with surveys.
UK based cashback site. You can earn £2 per referral and the cash out minimum is £3.
And The Rest....
Other UK based cashback sites - and US based which pay out into paypal - worth checking out include: BankRollBucks, Cashback Kingdom, Cashbackearners, FroggyBank, 20Cogs, Inbox Pounds, iMutual, Pouring Pounds, Qmee, Zoombucks, iRazoo (my invite code is XEM7W8), Megabonus, Get Paid To, Grab Points, Extrabux, Giving Assistant, BeFrugal, Mr Rebates, Slice the Pie, Prize Rebel, Paid To Read, Send Me Cashback, Treasure Trooper, InstaGC, Rewards4Racing, and Wildilo.
In the spirit of looking after our pennies, I'm giving away a cute little panda money box to help you along. You put the coin on the white plate, then the box opens up and the panda's paw reaches out to swipe the cash. Just for safe keeping, of course! For your chance to win, fill out the Gleam widget below to get up to five entries. :)