What Is Cashback And How Does It Work?

Want to know more about what cashback is and how to get the most out of your money? We've got you...

Written byHolly Barrow
Published on
Read time4 min read

Cashback has recently emerged as a popular way of stretching your budget further. But what exactly is cashback, and how does it work?

Cashback schemes provide you with a virtual or physical card, letting you earn cashback rewards on your purchases. When you use your card to shop with a participating retailer, you’ll earn money back!

From the weekly shop to booking a holiday, it’s an easy way of ‘earning’ on your everyday purchases. But it isn’t free money – you only receive a percentage back of the amount you spend. As an example, if you spend £100 at a participating retailer with a 3% cashback rate, you'll then earn £3 back on your card.


Essentially, every time you spend money using a cashback card, a percentage of the amount spent is returned to the cardholder's account!

Depending on the retailer, the money you earn back can take up to 12 weeks* to show up in your account – it won’t immediately be earnt, and it won’t go into your normal bank account. This makes it perfect for those who want to stick to a monthly budget, and get a little extra back too!

Types of cards

Is a cashback card the same as a debit card?

While both involve transactions, cashback credit cards work differently to debit cards. A debit card draws directly from your bank whereas a cashback card offers a percentage of the amount spent back to the cardholder as an incentive.

Depending on how you plan to use it, there are two main types – cashback debit and cashback credit:

Cashback Credit cards

Cashback Debit cards

Typically for all retailers

Typically for participating retailers

Usually the same percentage amount across all retailers

Usually a different percentage amount per retailer

Typically have a higher cardholder annual fee

Typically have a lower cardholder annual fee

Fees can be incurred if you go over your credit limit/No barrier for going over limit

Usually requires a ‘top-up’

Are cashback cards worth it?

Ultimately, this depends on your individual spending habits. If you’re adverse to having another credit card or struggle to budget, a cashback visa card could be a great option as it allows you to ‘top up’ a monthly budget that can’t be exceeded whilst giving you rewards on the things you’re already buying.

On the other hand, a credit card could be better if you plan to regularly spend a lot. Nowadays, some banks will include perks as standard with certain types of accounts.

How do I spend the money I earn back?

This depends on the type of card you have, but with TOTUM Cashback, once you've loaded money to your card and started spending with participating retailers (which include Asda, M&S, Sainsbury's, John Lewis, Waterstones, Ikea, B&Q and many more), you'll start earning money back.

The money you earn back on your card can then be used towards your purchases with these retailers as soon as your balance has updated!

Why choose TOTUM Cashback?


Our prepaid visa card means you won’t need a credit check! Simply load your desired amount onto your card each month and earn money back on your everyday spending.

Unlike other providers, TOTUM's scheme integrates with our existing range of 600+ member discounts to provide even more value by ‘stacking rewards’. By combining the perks of cashback with exclusive discounts and offers, TOTUM maximises savings potential.

Is a TOTUM Cashback card worth it?

From textbooks and groceries to indulging in a weekend treat, every purchase with a TOTUM Cashback card earns you money back in your pocket.

This presents an enticing option for everyone who wants to stretch their budgets further. And as mentioned, TOTUM's scheme is unique as you're also able to stack up your rewards by taking advantage of big brand discounts AND earning money back onto your card!

What do our members have to say?

“Love my TOTUM Cashback card. It cost me £3.99 and I’ve already made £60+ back after only four months!”

“I never go to M&S without it! It’s amazing how quickly it adds up.”

“I keep my card loaded and use it every time I do my grocery shopping, I’ve also used it to do my latest DIY project!”

And here's how to save up to £2,400 per year with TOTUM - happy saving!

Join the TOTUM club!

Join TOTUM Student for FREE to access hundreds of student discounts on big-name brands like ASOS, Apple, MyProtein, boohoo, Samsung, and more!

Sign up for FREE, download the TOTUM app, and enjoy the latest offers, vouchers, coupons and more at your fingertips. Find out more.

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