The apps that pay you to shop on the high street – Money tip #210

2 min Read Published: 08 Feb 2013
shopping bags
Get paid to shop

The advent of the smartphone has changed the way we shop. There are apps that let you scan products and find a cheaper price online or nearby as well as apps that give discount vouchers for shops and restaurants in your vicinity.

But now there are apps that pay you for shopping on the high street or even for just walking into a shop with not intention of buying anything!


Cashback website TopCashback have launched an app which gives you cashback when you buy from their weekly deals list. When you buy an item from their list of 10 weekly deals you then submit a photo of your receipt as proof, via the app. Then the cashback should be credited to your cashback account in 7 days (I say should as I've not had time to test it yet). The current weekly deals are listed below and as you can see it's quite an eclectic mix.

  • Box of Special K Cracker Crisps: Buy 1 and get 20p cashback
  • Boddingtons 12 x 440ml: Buy 1 and get £2.00 cashback
  • Persil Small & Mighty 28W 1 ltr: Buy 1 and get 50p cashback
  • Pringles 190g Any Flavour: Buy 2 and get 40p cashback
  • Clover 500g: Buy 1 and get 40p cashback
  • Kingsmill Rolls 6 Pack: Buy 2 and get 50p cashback
  • Heinz Salad Cream 600g: Buy 1 and get 50p cashback
  • Activia Creamy 4 x 125g: Buy 2 and get 50p cashback
  • Alpro Yoghurt 4 x 125g: Buy 2 and get 50p cashback
  • Whiskas Adult Comp. 950g Any flavour: Buy 1 and get 20p cashback

The price you paid is irrelvant and receipts from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Operative, Morrison’s, Iceland, Asda, Waitrose and M&S are valid. Based on the offers above the maximum amount of cashback you could have received was £5.70. Offers can only be redeemed once.

It's a neat idea if not a little fiddly (you have to submit a picture of your receipt for each item seperately) and assuming that the cashback is paid (which is never guaranteed) it could provide a bit of pocket money.


Quidco have an app that pays you when you 'check in' at over 70 retail stores. Checking in usually involves merely standing in a store and opening the app and selecting the relevant check in offer. The app then checks your location.

You won't get rich off this app but again it's technically free money. Typical offers include

  • 10p for checking in at a designated Tesco store
  • 5p for checking in at WHSmith

Quidco say that they pay between 5p and 25p for check ins but most of the offers I could find appear to be near the 5-10p mark. But to make tracking down stores offering paid check ins easy the app tells you where the nearest ones are to your location. The one catch is that Quidco members have to pay £5 a year membership to the website.

Overall these are clever marketing ploys with which you can make a small amount of money. So why not use them especially if you are going to visit the store and buy a particular product anyway. Plus if you buy the said item with a credit/card paying cashback on purchases you'd be earning even more money while you shop. But always remember to clear your credit card balance by the end of the month to avoid paying interest.

(Image by Lavoview,