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Get paid to shop at your favourite stores

Cashback website Quidco's mobile app pays you to visit your favourite stores – you don't even need to buy anything. Annie Lew takes a look. 


by Annie Lew on Jul 03, 2012 at 00:01

Get paid to shop at your favourite stores

A mobile phone app that gives you free cash just for stepping foot in a shop? It sounds unlikely, but that’s exactly what cashback website Quidco’s app claims to offer. You aren't even obliged to buy anything.

Launched last year with a choice of seven retailers in 1,000 high-street locations, the app has now been revamped, offering some 70 retailers including Argos, Debenhams and Vodafone in a whopping 22,000 locations.

Intrigued to see if getting money for nothing really is as easy as it sounds, I took to the streets to test it out.

Sign up for free

First, I had to sign up to the Quidco website – which was free. And after a quick scout around I was excited to see a number of offers for some of my favourite high-street stores and the promise of cashback in return for shopping there.

The next step was to download the free app. But after searching for a Blackberry app I found out that it's only compatible with iPhones and Android phones. I was not off to a great start.

Luckily, I could get the app on my iPod Touch, though I was forced to carry round a pocket wi-fi machine as it’s virtually impossible to find an unsecured internet connection on the go.

Checking in for cashback

I saw I could check in to stores and receive 5p or 10p cashback. And although this is quite a stingy reward, it’s still free money, and could add up over time.

So I set off iPod in hand, using the app’s GPS-controlled map – which told me how close I was to free cash – to locate my nearest offers.

Upon arrival at the nearest Tesco I walked through the aisles pretending to look busy as I checked in. I left momentarily with a 10p cashback souvenir.

Bagging discounts

Once I’d checked in to as many shops as I could without having to stray too far – sadly there is a limit on how many times you can check in to the same store in one day – I looked to see if there were any discount vouchers up for grabs.

Success! I managed to get 40% off a Body Shop item after noticing on the app that a few feet away from me was a ‘hot offer’ promising 40% off everything in the entire store. All I had to do was take my item to the till, recite the discount code and I was off with my very own cut-price product.  

However, a quick look online later indicated that this wasn't an exclusive deal for app users, which was a little disappointing.

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10 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Lee Whitehead via mobile

Jul 03, 2012 at 05:42

A first for the UK, but old news in tech terms as already have this running internationally and were first to market - the difference with theirs is it's auto checkin by prescence using RFID.

That said, it's not for me as it's further allowing the use o your data and movements to be tracked, stored and sold to other companies, big brother or minority report?

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Alan Tonks

Jul 03, 2012 at 13:13

Anyone who doesn’t mind giving all their details to these information vampires, go ahead

Your rewards will be negligible, but people who are on facebook and twitter will love this.

We have enough problems keeping information about oneself private these days.

This is without trying to tell everyone the minutest detail about your life.

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Freddy Blaine

Jul 03, 2012 at 13:26

I disagree with you ALan, I've earned over £5000 from Quidco and Topcashback ( over the last 6 years. Certainly not 'negligable'.

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Adam Eve

Jul 03, 2012 at 14:22

Freddy is that £5000 WITHOUT spending a single penny?

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Alan Tonks

Jul 03, 2012 at 17:23

Freddy, I make that £2.28 a day I would call that rather negligible I am afraid.

This miserable sum would have cost you in other things a great deal more, sorry about that.

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Roger Savage

Jul 03, 2012 at 23:38

"Information vampires" - haha, I love it! So very true too. They'll have made a lot more than £5000 a year out of selling on Freddy's personal details, buying habits, etc... I just wonder what exactly the mobile app is tracking. If it's tracking your movements by GPS, that's fantastically valuable information and very invasive. What about real offers in the past - Cut them out, hand them over, money off, job done. Nobody tracking you or selling on your details - just real, anonymous, offers.

To be honest, just shopping around can yield better benefits than Quidco - earning cashback on overpriced goods and opening yourself up to big brother is the modern equivalent of penny wise, pound foolish...

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Mike Mentzer

Jul 04, 2012 at 09:05

I really couldn't care less if a company knows I shop in Tesco or Sainsburys.

Personally dont use these quidco systems, but I know others who have and have earnt similar sums to Freddy. It works by whenever you do online shopping money is added to quidco account, small amount like a few pounds but it adds up. You dont shop around and go into shops to get money onto your account, if you do that then I think you may have a problem with shopping!

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Roger Savage

Jul 04, 2012 at 23:03

Mike, I fear you may be quite naive so no wonder you don't care about companies selling data about your shopping habits.

The point I made about shopping around, which I can appreciate might have been a bit taxing for you, was that often it pays to shop around to save money rather than trying to earn money/cashback on purchases that may be overpriced in the first place.

Didn't you notice that the story mentions high street locations and Quidco? Put simply for you Mike, this story isn't about shopping online. You'll find that shopping online is cheaper than shopping on the high street, hence my point. Get it yet? Oh dear, I hear the rustling of tumbleweed and a distant church bell...

The app will be tracking people's movements and that data will be sold on - I'd be certain of that.

Mike, there are a lot of simpletons out there who aren't bothered about information on their movements being sold on. They're just what big brother ordered and are the same sort of simpletons that will enjoy the TV show of the same name, no doubt.

Alan's information vampires comment was spot on.

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Bryan Jefferson

Jul 05, 2012 at 19:02

The worst thing about Quidco is they make you wait several months before crediting your bank account with the cashback you have earned. I wonder how much interest they make on this scam?

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Roger Savage

Jul 05, 2012 at 21:55

Bryan, the amount of interest they make will be nothing compared to the value of the data that they mine.

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