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Enjoy a highest cash-back guarantee with this online shopping portal

Aug. 25, 2022
9 min read
Young Couple Shopping Online On Laptop With Multi Colored Shopping Bags On Sofa
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If you aren’t earning points or extra cash back on your online purchases, you’re likely leaving serious rewards on the table.

Thankfully, it’s as simple as a couple of extra clicks before you buy your next lawnmower at HomeDepot.com, jeans from Gap.com or decorative dish towels and must-have home goods from Target.com. And with inflation remaining a serious concern for many Americans, every little bit helps.

There are lots of online shopping portals out there. In addition to most major airlines and several hotels having their own portals, there are several independent cash-back rewards programs you can join.

These sites award points, miles or cash back on almost everything you buy online. At the most basic level, you start at one of these portals and then click through to the retailer’s website to earn extra rewards (rather than starting at the merchant directly).

Here at TPG, we often talk about Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates. This is for good reason, as it’s essentially a hybrid program, allowing you to earn either cash-back or American Express Membership Rewards points on your online purchases. But no one program always has the best return. After all, different portals often have varying earning rates for the same retailers.

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into a different cash back portal — TopCashback. While it doesn’t award points and instead lets you redeem rewards for cash or gift cards, it has one valuable feature that no other cash-back portal has: a “Highest Cashback Guarantee.”

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What is TopCashback?

TopCashback is an online shopping portal that partners with nearly three thousand online retailers, including big names like Adidas, Apple, eBay, Macy’s and Sephora, as well as some travel brands like Marriott, Vrbo and Hilton. You can use the portal to earn cash-back on certain gift card purchases and also place curbside pick-up orders.

The site prides itself on being what it describes as the world’s most generous free cash-back site. That’s because it passes back 100% of the day-to-day commission it gets from merchants back to members. The site explains that it makes money through advertisements and sponsored links which are labeled as “zero cashback.” Merchants also pay the site bonuses from time to time.

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How to sign up for TopCashback

Signing up for TopCashback is easy. Just head to its website, enter your email and choose a password.

Once you’ve joined, you can start earning for your online purchases immediately — and you can also earn cash back for every friend you refer.

How to use TopCashback

TopCashback works just like any other online shopping portal. Once you have an account, head to the site before making any online purchases.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

There’s a search box at the top of the website which you can use to search for the merchant you want to shop with.

Then, click through to the retailer’s site to complete the purchase.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

When you click the “Get Cash Back Now” button next to a store, a new window or tab will open up, indicating that you’re being redirected to the merchant’s website. You must complete your purchase on that window so that TopCashback can track how much you spent and reward you.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

Alternatively, if you want to make your life a bit easier, you could download TopCashback’s browser extension.

It’s available for Chrome and Firefox and will automatically notify you when shopping with a participating retailer. So, all you’ll need to do is click “Activate Now” to earn cash back, as opposed to going through the main portal. It will also show you any coupons available for that site.

(Screenshot from expedia.com)

Transactions should show up on your earnings page within seven days. First, they’ll appear as “pending,” meaning that your transaction has been recorded, but the retailer hasn’t yet confirmed that all criteria have been met for cash back. Then, within a month, your transaction will switch to “confirmed” status. The final step is to wait for your transaction to become “payable.” This usually occurs within a few weeks, once the affiliate network invoiced the retailer, though can take up to 90 days.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

You can claim your cash back at any time once it reaches payable status. TopCashback allows you to cash out through PayPal, ACH transfer and a variety of gift card options with retailers such as Amazon, Disney or Sephora.

Unlike some cash-back portals, there are no minimums to request a payout. You can usually get up to a 5% bonus when you request your payout as credit with certain merchants or as a Visa or American Express prepaid card.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

Cash-back guarantee

What makes TopCashback stand out from the other online shopping portals is that it offers a “Highest Cashback Guarantee.” Plain and simple, if you find a better cash-back deal on another site, you can file a claim and TopCashback will match the offer once it’s been reviewed and approved. This is the only online shopping portal we are aware of to offer a guarantee like this.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

The higher rate must have been offered on the same day that your transaction took place. Also, TopCashback will only match cash-back rates from the following competitors: Befrugal, Rakuten, Gocashback, Mr. Rebates and ShopAtHome.

In other words, you can’t match non-monetary rewards, such as airline miles.

To file a claim, you must fill out a form via the customer service page. It must be submitted within seven days of the actual transaction date, with the transaction visible in your account. Although there’s no option to attach files to the initial claim form, TopCashback suggests retaining a timestamped screenshot of the higher offer.

(Screenshot from topcashback.com)

Your best bet for maximizing this feature is to use a shopping portal aggregator like CashBack Monitor. It allows you to search for retailers and see the earning rate you’d get across all applicable shopping portals. So, even if TopCashback isn’t offering the highest rate, you’ll be able to see who’s offering a better rate so you can match it.

Related: Use a shopping portal aggregator to maximize online purchases

In fact, it’s best practice to use an aggregator like CashBack Monitor before you make a purchase so you can start with the portal that will be most rewarding for your purchase.

Important reminders

As you can see, using TopCashback is relatively straightforward, but there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • For TopCashback to track your shopping trips, you must have cookies enabled on your browser.
  • Only use promotions or promo codes found on the portal; if you use others, they may void your rewards.
  • Be sure to read the restrictions for each merchant. Many won’t count gift cards as eligible purchases for earning bonuses, and others will exclude certain products.
  • Remember to pay with a credit card that will offer the best earning rate on your purchase. Most online merchants don’t fall into the traditional bonus categories, so you’ll probably want to stick with a card that’s good for everyday purchases.

Also, remember that the Highest Cashback Guarantee is only useful if you’re only trying to earn cash back. If you’re flexible, you can sometimes get a greater return by going through a portal that earns points or miles — even if the earning rate is lower.

For instance, with Rakuten, you can opt to earn American Express Membership Rewards points. TPG values Amex points at 2 cents apiece, effectively doubling your return over the same amount of cash back. If you had to choose between earning 3% cash back via TopCashback or 2 Amex points per dollar spent via Rakuten, you’ll get a higher return with Rakuten if you value Amex points similarly to TPG.

(Screenshot from cashbackmonitor.com)

Bottom line

You should always go through a shopping portal when making online purchases.

If it’s cash-back rewards you’re after, then TopCashback and its highest cash-back guarantee are a great tool to bookmark.

However, you can sometimes get greater value by going through a portal that earns points or miles, so it’s important to do the math and see what makes the most sense.

Additional reporting by Nick Ewen.

Featured image by (Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees