Does imutual offer 100% cashback?

Yes and no! Perhaps the best one word answer is "mostly". Now here's the more detailed answer...

Firstly, the phrase "100% cashback" is potentially misleading to a newcomer; it does not mean you can earn 100% of what you spend at a retailer! It is used to describe a cashback site that gives you 100% of the commission it receives for your transaction. It's a phrase we have used from time to time in the past, as it helps regular users of cashback sites to understand our model. But it's not entirely accurate; not just for imutual but for any other site we know of that uses the phrase.

Firstly, even the most efficient cashback website (and we like to think that's us!) cannot give all of its income away. It has to cover some basic overheads in order to operate as a proper and reputable organisation. So a cashback site has to be making its money from you somewhere. In this FAQ, we'll try to be transparent and explain why and when we might do that.

In general, we do set our rewards to be 100% of the commission we are expecting to receive. But the instances in which we might end up being paid more than we pay out to you include the following:

- We have purposely set the reward to less than what we get paid in order to minimise the level of poor quality / fraudulent transactions being sent to the merchant. Ultimately, merchants fund the cashback model and want to receive good quality transactions in return. If a merchant receives a large number of poor quality leads they may refuse to pay out and/or withdraw their offer from our site. Classic examples of "100% cashback" that can lead to lead quality problems are "Earn £50 for making a loan application" and "Earn £30 when you deposit £10 at this gaming site". By offering a lower reward in these instances, we not only make a profit (which helps to fund the rest of the offers) but we are also likely to enjoy a longer, better relationship with the merchant - which means more chances for our members to earn cashback!

Another reason we might offer purposely offer less than 100% is if the merchant offer requires a fair amount of manual processing e.g. verifying transactions with the merchant, downloading and manipulating transaction data. We have to "make a bit" on each transaction in order to justify the work involved; otherwise, we (and you) would effectively be subsidising members who take up that particular offer.

There are some merchants who are unable to provide us with reliable reports on which members have generated which transactions. This can mean that we have to pay out some members "on trust" even though we may not get paid by the merchant for their transaction. This is another scenario where we might offer less per transaction than the merchant has agreed to pay us.

- We end up getting paid more than we expected. It's not always practical to keep our 1500+ offers exactly in line with what merchants are paying us. Sometimes they might change our commission offer with no prior notice or fail to communicate the change clearly, other times we just don't get around to updating our rewards in time. This can, of course, work the other way around; we end up getting paid less than we were expecting (and less than we promised to you). In such instances, we still pay out what we promised even if it means making a loss.

- The merchant offers bonuses and/or increased commission levels conditional upon generating a certain volume of transactions. For instance, they might say "We'll pay you £5 for each signup this month but if you generate 1000 signups we'll increase that to £7". We can't know in advance how many sign-ups we'll generate so it's not safe for us to offer £7 as a reward to you. Of course, we might take that risk and offer more than £5 anyway but we can't make your reward conditional on a certain number of your fellow members also signing up!

The phrase "100% cashback" has another flaw - at any one time, different cashback sites may get paid different amounts by the same merchant. This could be due to the volume of transactions they generate or because they have negotiated a special deal with a merchant. As one of the leading and longest-established cashback companies in the UK, we are able to negotiate pretty good deals with our merchants. But no cashback site can ever guarantee to be earning more than any other cashback site for every merchant.

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