As many of my friends know, I’m a professional cheapo when it comes to shopping. Anytime someone’s looking for a good lobang, they come to me:
“Eh Sonia, where to find this dress for cheap ah?”
“Eh Sonia, how to save money on groceries”
“Eh Sonia I’m looking for cheap active wear, you got lobang?”
and so on. My lobang knowledge extends far and wide, across any number of needs that need satiating.
When ShopBack approached me to review their site, just a day after my friend Monica introduced me to the concept, I was ecstatic.
I got tasked to share what I love sharing most: Easy tips on how to save money in Singapore!
What is cashback?
Cashback is when you’re returned a certain amount of money from what you’ve spent. You can think of it as a kind of after-sales discount.
Cashback and I, we’re old pals. I first discovered the term when I started shopping around for a credit card that would best suit my lifestyle to “spend smarter”.
Credit cards have tons of benefits, like miles, free luggage bags and whatever else, but my favourite credit card benefit was cashback.
Why cashback in particular? Because it’s the most straightforward way to understand what you’re earning on your expenses, as opposed to some kind of ambiguous ‘points’.
So ShopBack’s offer of cashback for online shopping was perfectly down my alley.
How does ShopBack work?
Many online sites give commission to sites that refer users to them (referring sites) – therefore, ShopBack is able to give you cashback by sharing their referral commissions with you.
There are several points of the online shopping process that consumers can get value from the involved ‘seller’.
I break this down in a fancy SmartArt diagram below using the purchase of a flight through Expedia as an example:
Here’s an example of the stackable benefits I might get by hacking the above process of a single purchase:
- From the referring site, ShopBack:
Cashback of up to 8% on hotels or 1% on flights
- From the retailer, Expedia:
Discount of $50 from a flash sale
- From the payment method, credit card:
Rebates from using my OCBC 365 card
Up till now, I was only benefiting from stages 2 & 3 – but with ShopBack, by sharing their referral commissions with the user, I can now earn at stage 1 as well. Woohoo!
Bonus: Get discount vouchers on ShopBack PLUS cashback!
The super bonus about using ShopBack and it having a big customer base is that asides from giving you cashback, partner retailers also woo you with exclusive discounts.
You can frequently find a voucher and save at ShopBack – which means you get cashback on top of offers. Here are some examples of the vouchers I received in my email recently:
What kind of cashback offers can you find on ShopBack?
The best part is, ShopBack honestly does have most of the sites I regularly shop online with, so it’s not a big change from my usual spending habits.
If you’re like me and spend most of your money on booking travel online, ShopBack lets you enjoy discounts on your travels with a voucher code for hotels, flights and things to do.
If you’re aiming to take over Carousell with your own preorder business, you may be keen to know that you can shop at Taobao Singapore and earn a whopping 10% cashback!
You may also find my guide with tips for selling on Carousell useful 😉
There are a ton of other categories as well, including Lazada and Luxola, as well as various online groceries like RedMart and iHerb.
With GSS season coming up, do your online shopping during the Great Singapore Sale on ShopBack and get even more bang for your buck!
Here’s a video that illustrates the whole cashback process – even when you’re already shopping in the 70% off outlet section in ASOS ♥:
Are there things that will prevent you from getting your cashback?
Sounds too good to be true? Yes, there are some annoying points. If you don’t read the T&Cs, you may miss out on earning any cashback at all.
- If you don’t click in directly from ShopBack to your retailer, you won’t earn cashback.
- Using different devices (eg laptop to mobile) or different browser tabs won’t work either.
- Retailers have different T&Cs, some more difficult to get than others – eg minimum spending, being a first-time shopper, desktop purchasing – so make sure to read them carefully
- There is a minimum amount before you can withdraw the accumulated cashback – but it’s pretty easy to get to ($10).
- Waiting time before you can redeem your cashback
- Your cashback dollars do expire after a year, so be alert!
Overall, cashback with ShopBack is tied to a variety of terms and conditions, and it’s not immediate money back in your pocket.
So is ShopBack really worth all that effort?
Despite all that, the site does try hard to make life easier for you.
A key benefit is that withdrawing your money from ShopBack is painless and can be done to your bank account or paypal free of charge.
You can also download the ShopBack Cashback Buddy and install it as a browser extension (chrome and safari) to automate and discover cashback opportunities for you.
The video below explains how this extension works!
If you’re careful and take care to read the T&Cs – and the site does make every effort for the T&Cs to be transparent with an easy UX, big font and even videos – there’s only upside for you.
All in all, though, it only costs a few minutes to get on ShopBack and since cashback is free money, why not?