Quidco cashback website review – is it real or fake?
This article is written from several years of personal experience and just over £5,500 of cashback rewards earned since joining the site in 2016. Personally, I love a bargain and I’m a major advocate of anything that helps us consumers to get the very best deals on our purchases.
There are several main cashback websites in the UK and the biggest of all of them are Quidco.com and Topcashback.co.uk. Consumers like me have been regularly using cashback websites for around 10 years, and these sites have been around in the UK for over 15 years.
In this article, I’ll share some personal insights of my own experiences of using Quidco and some background to explain how it all works. The big question that everyone asks is “do these websites work or are they fake and potentially risky?”.
QUICK SUMMARY – Quidco cashback review – deal or no deal?
Millions of British consumers subscribe and regularly use cashback wesbites, such as Quidco.com and Topcashback.co.uk. These sites help us to earn £1,000’s in cashback rewards for our regular and one-off purchases.
- What is Quidco and how did it start? We’ll look at the background of the Quidco.com website and how it came about, to where it is today as one of the biggest cashback sites in the UK.
- Is Quidco real or is it a scam? The top concerns with any of these casahback websites are what happens to my data and personal information, especially bank or financial information.
- Are there any hidden fees or charges for using Quidco? Often, cashback websites like Quidco will charge a monthly or annual fee to be a ‘member’ and to benefit from the cashback rates that it offers.
- Who owns Quidco.com? It wasn’t particularly well publicised, even to us long-standing Quidco members, the site was acquired by MoneySuperMarket Group in October 2021.
Quidco history and background
Quidco was the first ever cashback website and was founded by Paul and Jennifer Nikkel in Sheffield in May 2005. The concept for the site came from an idea they had whilst studying at the University of Sheffield and looking for ways for students to save money with their online shopping.
The first official offices were opened in London in 2007 and since opening they have shown incredibly rapid growth in members and employees. By 2013 it was suggested that the site had over 3.5 million members with more than 100 employees in the business. The site then grew to a reported 7 million members in November 2018, more than double in 5 years.
Quidco put in a proposal to merge with Topcashback.co.uk in 2018, which was then formally withdrawn in March 2019 following an investigation by the Competition Watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The website is now 100 percent owned by the MoneySupermarket Group as it was acquired in a full in October 2021.
What is Quidco?
Quidco is currently the UK’s second largest cashback website, with more than 10 million active users and 5,000 merchants. The average user on Quidco will make around 11 transactions per year through the site.
The website is an affiliate network that uses its buying power from over 10 million active users to arrange cashback deals with its merchants. Quidco sellers then pay an amount of cashback which can be a percentage of the purchase price or a pre-set payment, to the buyer within several months.
How does Quidco work?
In reality, Quidco and all other cashback websites are just affiliate networks that use their buying power from millions of users to negotiate better deals for consumers. Cashback websites originated from Quidco which was the very first of its kind in the UK back in 2005.
When you subscribe to Quidco, you get instant access to a list of over 5,000 merchants offering cashback deals worth £1,000s potentially. The amount of cashback that you earn depends on the retailer % and the size of the purchase that you’re making.
Unfortunately, in my experience the current Quidco deals aren’t as good as some of the older cashback rewards and the partners have changed significantly over the years. My personal favourites on Quidco are travel cashback rewards for hotels, car hire and airport parking, which all tend to be pretty consistent.
Is Quidco owned by MoneySupermarket?
Like me, you may be surprised to learn that MoneySupermarket Group acquired 100 a per cent ownership of Quidco for £101million in October 2021. The deal did not appear in the press and was not publicised at the time, for obvious reasons from MoneySupermarket‘s perspective.
Quidco was latest of a number of major acquisitions of trusted consumer brands by the financial giants, MoneySupermarket.com. Maple Syrup Media Ltd. (t/a Quidco) had reported a revenue of £59.2million in the year ending July 2021, and a pre-tax profit of £7.6million.
It’s hardly surprising that MoneySupermarket Group would want to acquire Quidco to continue to expand its growing suite of consumer brands.
How does Quidco make money?
Simple, every time that you purchase something through Quidco.com you are generating revenue for the cashback website itself. This model is fairly standard in all cashback websites and affiliate websites who use their buying power to generate revenue.
Of the amount that we as users earn, Quidco will have a standard payment or percentage that that earn from each of its merchants. This is written in to the standard merchant agreement that a seller would sign up to when they join to feature deals on the site.
They also have a ‘Premium’ membership which I am also on, which offers higher levels of rewards and bonuses that costs £1 of the cashback you earn each month.
Does Quidco charge fees?
No, Basic members don’t pay any fees to use Quidco.com and they have access to the same 5,000+ retailers as Premium members. As a basic member you can use the site for free to get cashback on your purchases from the affiliate network.
Premium members don’t actually physically pay a fee for using Quidco.com, but there is a monthly charge of £1 which is retained from your monthly cashback earnings. If you don’t earn any cashback within a month then you don’t pay £1, it’s only for the months where you are active and earning cashback.
Is Quidco safe to use?
One of the main concerns with using cashback websites like Quidco, is the information that you are required to share. We’re all suspicious about anything where we need to share personal data and information, especially when it might seem too good to be true.
Quidco is now owned by MoneySupermarket Group which might help to reassure some users. The website itself is an ‘Appointed Representative’ of MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 303190).
What information do I need to share with Quidco?
When you ‘Sign up’ to Quidco.com, you will need to set up an account which requires you to provide the following details:
- Email address
- Set password
- Bank details or PayPal account (to withdraw cashback)
This is all that you need to set up a ‘basic’ user account and then you would be able to start to earn cashback for purchases.
Other information that you can add to improve your experience with Quidco:
- Car insurance renewal
- Home insurance renewal
- Mobile phone contract renewal
You can then opt-in to newsletters and emails to receive offers or cashback deals from the Quidco affiliate network. Your information will be used to provide you with deals and basically to sell to you.
How long does it take to get my Quidco cashback?
Over the years, this has gradually taken longer and longer to receive your cashback payments to your account. Some retailers or merchants take several months to pay your cashback payments to your account, or do they? We’ll never truly know when the payments are actually received by Quidco and how long it takes them to release it to you.
Often you’ll get a notification by email that your cashback has been paid, which can be as little as several weeks, or as much as months later. There are some justifications for this however, for example if you’ve earned cashback for a holiday then you’d need to wait until after your holiday and you’re out of any refund period.
How can I withdraw my money from Quidco?
It’s actually quite simple to withdraw your cashback bonus from Quidco once you’ve had the payment to your account. There are three options for withdrawing cashback, including:
- Pay your cashback directly to your nominated bank account
- Transfer the funds to your PayPal account
- Exchange the cashback for vouchers (see selected retailers) and get a voucher bonus
You can add and update your payment methods in your Quidco account and there is a standard 48 hour holding period to carry out security checks.
Is Quidco cashback free money?
No, you need to spend money to earn cashback and essentially the money that you earn is paid back to Quidco by the merchant from the purchase amount. Each payment will go through a standard set of checks by the retailer and Quidco to make sure that the purchase has completed and you are out of any refund period.
Note: This means that you can’t earn money and then return the goods to get a refund.
Is Quidco worth it?
It’s up to you but I personally like using Quidco because it’s pretty simple to use and the only issue is remembering to check for deals before you buy something online. Searching for merchants and retailers is pretty simple to do by using the Search facility in the top of the website.
Or you can search for potential deals by searching for a specific item or a type of retailer in the search function.
What are the best cashback deals on Quidco?
You can use Quidco for all sorts of online purchase and you can also use the Quidco Compare for Car Insurance, Home Insurance, and Energy deals. My personal favourites on Quidco are:
- Hotels (e.g. Expedia, Last Minute, Hotels.com etc.)
- Home and DIY (e.g. Screwfix, Wickes, Tool Station etc.)
- Car hire
- Retailers (e.g. Nike, Adidas, Quiksilver etc.)
My top 5 Quidco cashback retailers in the past 12 months are:
- Holiday Extras (airport parking)
- Expedia (hotels)
- Holiday Autos (car hire)
- Sports Direct
As with any cashback website, you’ve got to remember to check it first of all and then you’ve got to know what you’re looking for.
Is cashback guaranteed with Quidco?
No, I’ve had it quite a few times where cashback has been declined or unpaid for absolutely no reason whatsoever. You should be very careful about making purchases with any cashback website and I’d avoid making purchases just because of the cashback.
Example of declined cashback with Quidco
If you’ve got a cheaper deal elsewhere without the cashback then I’d definitely recommend using that deal rather than risk the Quidco cashback route. There is an appeal process for Quidco if your cashback is declined, but I’m not convinced about this from personal experience.
Warning: You shouldn’t make purchases specifically because they’re on Quidco and it’s better to just use cashback sites as an extra bonus rather than specific reason for making a purchase.
How do I make a claim on Quidco?
If you use Quidco then you’ll be used to seeing ‘Declined’ on your list of cashback activity in your account. There are often good reasons for a cashback payment being declined or refused, such as:
- Purchase was returned to retailer
- Cancellation (e.g. hotel booking)
If you’ve received a refund from the retailer or merchant then you’re not going to be able to claim cashback on your purchase, pretty obvious. There are a quite a few occasions when my cashback payments have been declined and I don’t understand why.
Warning: Your cashback payments are not guaranteed so be very careful when making specific purchases via Quidco or any other cashback website.
You can submit a claim if you feel that you have been refused or declined a cashback payment unfairly. Apparently, Quidco then reach out to the retailer and then try to work out why your payment was refused or to try to get your payment authorised.
There are three main ways to submit a claim:
- Raise a cashback claim via Quidco (Create a claim)
- Visit Quidco chat on Quidco.com
- Via the Quidco app
Do Quidco claims work?
In my fairly limited experience, Quidco claims rarely result in the payment being recovered and paid to you. Having submitted a number of claims over the years that I’ve been using Quidco, I can only remember one or two successful claims.
Does the Quidco app work?
The Quidco app is currently on version 8.0.4 and is rated 4.8 from over 107K reviews on Apple’s App Store. Having had fairly limited experience of using the app (personally I prefer the desktop version and shopping on desktop) I can say that it is clear and pretty easy to use.
App chart: 104th (shopping chart)
Developer: Maple Syrup Media
App size: 73.2MB
The app gives you access to all of the retailers and merchants on the app network and will divert you to the retailer website (not their app) when you select the cashback.
What’s better Quidco or Topcashback?
It’s difficult to say which is better out of Quidco or Topcashback, simply because there are thousands of retailers and deals on each site. If you compare the two cashback sites directly to each other then there isn’t much to split them apart.
Topcashback is suggested to be the number 1 cashback website in the UK currently, so if you compare the services you’ll see that both sites have comparison tables for each other. You should take all this with a pinch of salt and obviously one is always going to say that it’s better than the other.
Firstly, the comparison tables on Quidco have not been updated since November 2019 which means the figures aren’t recent.
Basic account features
|Up to 160%
|Up to 165%
|Up to £30
|Split payouts function
Premium and Plus paid account features
|Up to 160%
|Up to 165%
|Up to £12
|Up to £5
Personally I prefer to use Quidco, but that’s just from personal experience and my own personal preferences. I would honestly say that it’s extremely difficult to separate the two services based on the value of the bonuses and the website experience.