Topcashback, the website which pays its members the commission it receives for linking them to vendors such as Tesco, has driven more than 20,000 new customers to online supermarkets in 2012, resulting in sales of more than £1.3m.

The popularity of cashback websites including Topcashback, Mysupermarket and Quidco is soaring as shoppers explore new avenues to save money. All are partnered with major multiples including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

Topcashback pays shoppers a one-off £5.05 payment if they are first-time shoppers to Tesco, on top of any other ‘first-time shopper’ promotions Tesco has running. Other cashback payments are for a limited time only - for example a seven-day cashback offer on Tesco wine. But some run indefinitely, such as a 3.03% cashback offer on Tesco Direct.

“So far in 2012 we have driven more than 20,000 new customers to buy groceries online, equating to them spending in excess of £1.3m at the supermarkets,” said Topcashback head of communications and PR Natasha-Rachel Smith.

“These customers have saved close to £100,000 in cashback, with an average saving of close to 7%. Online shopping is cheaper for supermarkets, which is why they are incentivising more people to shop online. And it’s extremely important that we’re partnered with supermarkets as they are huge name brands that consumers instantly recognise.”

Topcashback membership has doubled since 2010 and the website is now linked to more than 3,500 sellers, with more than 1.7 million users. More than £4m cashback is earned by its members every month and it processes £400m worth of transactions every year. The website makes money by vendors paying to highlight their cashback rates on the main carousel on the homepage, and banners on the different category pages.

In September, Topcashback became the first money-saving website to launch an above-the-line prime-time TV campaign, sponsoring Modern Family on Sky One.

MySupermarket introduced a ‘cashback shelf’ service last month, offering 100% cashback on certain items, effectively offering products such as Kelloggs Rice Crispie Squares for free.