Reviews

TopCashback Review: How It Works + Tips for Maximizing Cashback

A woman shops online from home
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TopCashback is an online shopping portal with a unique business model that enables it to pay some of the best cashback rates you can find.

For this TopCashback review, we crunched the numbers to figure out just how well the site stacks up to the competition, sampling the rates from 10 top merchants on the four biggest cashback platforms.

Let’s get started!

What Is TopCashback?

TopCashback is a cashback website, similar to Rakuten, Swagbucks and BeFrugal. It helps you save money by giving you a percentage back on your online purchases.

All you have to do is sign up for a free account, visit TCB before shopping, and click a link to go to the merchant’s website. 

Sites like these earn a referral fee for sending customers to a merchant, and the cashback you earn is a portion of that fee. However, TopCashback is primarily supported by on-site advertising, which means it can give you a bigger slice of the pie.

I love cash-back sites and use them regularly. They’re an easy way to save anywhere from 1% to 10% on almost everything you buy online.

In most cases, they take only seconds to use — so not taking advantage of them is like throwing money out the window.

TopCashback has partnered with more than 4,000 brands, including most major online retailers as well as many smaller outlets. You’ll also find travel partners on the platform, including Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline and others.

How to Use TopCashback

Using the site is straightforward and easy.

  1. Create a TopCashback account.

    You only need to provide an email address and choose a password.

  2. Search for a store.

    You can browse by category (travel, electronics, fashion, etc.) or search by store name. You’ll see the percentage of cash-back each retailer is offering right in the search bar.

  3. Click “Get Cash-Back Now”.

    You’ll be redirected to the retailer’s website.

  4. Shop as you normally do.

    Clicking the “Get Cash-Back Now” button allows TopCashback to track your purchase on the site, so you don’t have to do anything else to get credit. TopCashback automatically calculates the amount you’re owed and deposits it into your TCB account within 30 days.

  5. Collect your earnings.

    You can cash-out your earnings via direct deposit to your bank account or via a transfer to your PayPal account. Or you can get gift cards.

Most cashback offers are between 1% and 10%, but you can sometimes find promotional rates as high as 40% or more.

You can also earn additional money using the membership referral code you’ll receive when you create your TopCashback account. When a new member signs up using your code (and earns at least $10 cashback for their purchases), you’ll receive a $10 cash referral bonus.

TopCashback Browser Extension

TopCashback also has a free browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. Once installed, you’ll see a notification whenever you visit a website that offers cashback, as well as the cashback rate.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

The TopCashback browser extension on a site that offers rewards.

After clicking the “Get 6% cash back” button, you’ll be temporarily redirected to TopCashback, before being returned to the merchant. This takes about three seconds and is necessary for tracking. 

Once you’re back on the merchant’s website, you’ll be notified that the offer has been activated. You can verify this by clicking the extension icon, as shown below. 

Doing so will also show you important information about the offer, such as any excluded items or product categories. 

Click the extension icon to see the offer terms and exclusions.

Unfortunately, some partner merchants are only available by going through the main cashback portal; you can’t access them in the extension. So while it can help make sure you never miss an opportunity to save, it does not serve as a total replacement for visiting the TopCashback website. 

How TopCashback Compares to Other Sites

Cash-back shopping rates vary widely from site to site, and they change all the time. Plus, sites regularly offer bonuses and promotions, such as Rakuten’s “Triple Cash-Back” days.

So the only two surefire ways to find the best rates available at any moment are to check multiple platforms or to use Cashback Monitor, a rate aggregator.

Learn how to use Cashback Monitor.

But to give you a sense of how TopCashback fares against the competition, we sampled the rates from 10 popular online retailers on four of the biggest cash-back portals. 

We chose these merchants because they represent a variety of shopping categories, and because they’re examples we’ve used in other articles. The data was collected on a single day, so what you see on each site now may be different than the numbers below. 

Our research found that:

  • TopCashback had the best available rate for all 10 merchants that we sampled, or was tied for the best rate.
  • On average, TopCashback’s rates were approximately 2.6% higher than other platforms.
MerchantTopCashbackBeFrugalRakutenSwagbucks
Best Buy2%0.5%1%2%
Expedia6%5%3.5%3%
Gap8%4%6%6%
Home Depot8%8%0%1%
Lego.com3%2%2.5%1%
Lululemon5%5%2.5%2%
Macy’s12%12%10%8%
Nike6%3%1.5%6%
Petco6%4%2%4%
Sephora7%5%2%2%
Data collected on October 28, 2020.

The data above suggests that TopCashback’s advertising-powered business model does make it the highest-paying cashback website in most cases.

Editor’s Note: BeFrugal has a “Highest Cash Back Guarantee,” which promises to pay you 125% of the cash-back you could have earned through an offer on a competing site. However, the scope of the program is limited and the requirements are onerous, meaning that TopCashback may still be the better choice in most cases. You can learn more about the guarantee here.

When Do You Get Your Cash-Back?

I have two pet peeves when it comes to money making websites: sites that reward users with points but require NASA-level math to calculate how much you’re actually earning, and sites that have absurdly high minimum payout thresholds.

What good is earning cash-back if it’s locked up in your account for ages?

TopCashback is a winner on both of those fronts. 

First, the site is completely transparent and allows you to see how much cash-back you’ll earn on every purchase in clear terms. 

Second, there is no minimum threshold for cashing out your earnings — you can withdraw your funds whether your account has $1 or $1,000.

Here’s a comparison of the payment rules and timelines for each of the four main cash-back sites: 

TopCashbackBeFrugalRakutenSwagbucks
Minimum Payment$0$0$5$0
How Long for Points to CreditUp to 30 daysUp to 7 daysVaries by merchant10 days.
How Long to Receive PaymentUp to 4 days24 hours or lessPays once every 90 days10 days.
Payment OptionsACH
Gift Card
PayPal
Visa
ACH
Gift Card
Check
PayPal
Visa
Venmo
Zelle
AmEx Points
Check
PayPal
Gift Card
PayPal
Visa

Once the cash-back hits your account, you can withdraw it by going to the “Payouts” page, selecting your preferred payout method, and following the on-screen instructions.

The Best TopCashback Hacks

The cash-back offers on TopCashback are pretty generous, but there are a few insider online shopping hacks to help you earn even more.

  1. You can earn up to an additional 10% when you choose select payout methods. These are specials that run for a few weeks at a time, and the payout methods that are eligible change. Recent bonus offers included an extra 5% back for Gap gift cards, an extra 3% for Hotels.com gift cards, and an extra 5% for Nike gift cards.
  2. If you’ve already visited a retailer’s website, either clear your cookies or use a different browser before clicking from TopCashback to the retailer. This will help ensure that TCB’s “cookie” properly tracks the transaction.
  3. When you click on a retailer, TopCashback will often show you a coupon code you can use for additional savings. A recent example was a 9% cashback offer at Converse. When I clicked on it, I got a coupon code for an additional 30% off on select clearance items. Checking this first can help you save money on top of your rebate.
  4. Always browse the “Top Tips” section of the sidebar. You’ll see really good offers there. Some recent ones included 20% off hotel stays through Booking.com and a $30 off coupon code for spending $150 at Nike.
  5. Check out the “Taxes & Financial” section, which you can find under “More Shopping.” You can find some good savings on personal finance products here. Recent deals included up to 15% cash-back at TurboTax and 10% at Quickbooks Checks and Supplies.

TopCashback FAQ

How long does it take TopCashback to pay out?

The company says you should receive your payment within four days of requesting it. However, there’s also a “pending” period, during which you’ll see the cash-back in your account but be unable to withdraw it. This period may last for up to 30 days.

Does TopCashback offer physical gift cards as a payout option? 

Yes. You can request your payout as an American Express Rewards Card, which is a physical card that will be mailed to you. It takes about an extra 10 days to be shipped and delivered, on top of the standard payout timeline.

Can you use TopCashback in-store?

While the UK version of TopCashback has in-store cash-back promotions called “OnCard” offers, the American version does not. Based on our testing, Rakuten has the widest selection of merchants that offer cash-back for in-store purchases, while Ibotta is the best choice for in-store cash-back on groceries.

Does TopCashback offer a mobile app? 

Yes. The TopCashback app is available for iOS and Android devices, and features the same features and functionality as the website.

Does TopCashback work with Amazon?

As a general rule, Amazon does not provide cash-back via portals. The exception is Amazon devices and services, such as Kindles and smart home products. You can usually earn between 5% and 10% back on these products. Because cash-back options are limited on the site, try these other ways to save money on Amazon, and these easy ways to earn a free Amazon gift card.

Can you combine TopCashback with a cash-back credit card? 

Yes. Credit card cash-back is awarded by card issuers, not merchants, so you absolutely can stack these two types of rebates. Our favorite general cash-back credit card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which you can read about in this review.

Does TopCashback work in all countries?

Technically, cash-back offers on TopCashback.com and its associated apps/extensions are only available to residents of the United States. However, the company’s website says that TopCashback users from Canada and Mexico may be able to utilize the site — though cash-back is not guaranteed in these cases.

Residents of the United Kingdom must use TCB’s UK cashback portal, which can be found at https://www.topcashback.co.uk/. The company also has dedicated sites for China, Germany and Japan.

TopCashback Review Summary: It’s Often the Best-Paying Cashback Site

There are many good cashback apps and websites, and you should take advantage of them. If you were going to make an online purchase anyway, taking a few seconds to click an affiliate link is like getting free money

Personally, I aim to earn the signup bonus on each of the major sites, then use whichever one offers the highest rate on a particular purchase.

Right now, the signup bonus on each of the four sites we’ve discussed in this review are as follows. You can click the name of each platform to read our review of that site. 

  • TopCashback: $10 after earning $10 in rewards.
  • BeFrugal: $10 after earning $10 in rewards.
  • Rakuten: $30 after spending $30.
  • Swagbucks: $10 after spending $25.

Our research suggests that more often than not, the cashback site with the highest rate will be TopCashback.

But as noted earlier in the review, the only way to make sure you’re always getting the best rate is by checking multiple portals or by leveraging Cashback Monitor, a free site that keeps track of the best cash-back offers on all the major platforms.

That said, here are a few more of my favorite platforms (and why I like them). The links below will take you directly to the sign-up portal.

  • Swagbucks: It’s the best all-around online rewards site. In addition to cashback shopping, you can earn extra cash by completing surveys, watching videos and more.
  • Rakuten: Formerly called Ebates, Rakuten is the most transparent and easiest-to-use of all cashback shopping sites. You can see a record of every shopping trip you take through the platform, as well as whether or not you earned cashback. And it shows you exactly how long the cash will take to credit to your account for each merchant.
  • Ibotta: A cashback app aimed primarily at helping you save money on groceries.

When choosing which sites to sign up for, TopCashBack.com should be at the top of your list. The bottom line is that it’s an easy and legit way to save extra money when shopping with online retailers.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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