In Depth

Five ways to get paid to shop

From cashback on your purchases with plastic to mystery shopping, you can earn money even as you spend it

Inflation may be rising, taking the cost of your shopping with it, but there are ways you can offset its effect. One option is to change the way you shop so you are paid to do it.

Here are five ways to earn while you shop.

Cashback credit card

If you pay your balance off in full a cashback credit card can be a neat little earner. Every time you pay for something with your card you’ll earn a percentage of the purchase price as cashback.

That money is then paid to you, typically as a credit on your account, once a year.

The American Express Platinum Cashback credit card pays the highest cashback rate of five per cent for the first three months, then 1.25 per cent thereafter.

However, it has a £25 annual fee and the interest rate is a whopping 22.9 per cent. So, only get this card if you are going to clear your balance in full each month to avoid the interest rate - and you will earn enough cashback to make up for the annual fee.

TSB Current Account

Open the TSB Classic Plus account and not only will you earn three per cent interest on balances up to £1,500 you’ll also be paid to shop.

The account pays £5 every month that you use your debit card 20 times. On top of that you’ll get another £5 every month you pay two direct debits.

Some other current accounts including ones provided by Nationwide and Barclays also offer cashback, but you have to shop via their rewards websites.

Cashback websites

As well as earning cashback when you pay with your plastic, you can also earn cashback on top of that money by shopping via a cashback website.

All you do is register with a cashback website such as Quidco or Topcashback, then when you want to shop with a specific shop or company search for it on that website. Offers range from a percentage of your shopping total in cashback to a fixed sum that can be hundreds of pounds with some insurance firms.

You then click through to the store from the cashback site and your shopping is tracked and your cashback paid at a later date.

The websites pay you from the ‘click through’ revenue the shop or company pays them - like a "finder's fee" - for driving people to shop with them.

Savvy shoppers can make hundreds of pounds by making the most of cashback websites.

Become a mystery shopper

Quite literally get paid to shop by becoming a mystery shopper. Sign up with a mystery shopping company and you will be assigned shops to visit in order to test the retail experience – were you asked the right questions, did someone find the right product for you etc.

Fill out a report on how your shopping trip went and you’ll be paid around £12 per shop visit. The amount varies on the amount of detail needed in the report.

Use loyalty schemes

Just about every shop on the high street has a loyalty scheme of some sort. If it costs you nothing to join and you can earn points off your shopping or a free drink from time to time it can be worthwhile.

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