Referral schemes can be a great way to make few extra pounds. All you have to do to get paid is recommend products and providers to your friends and family – if they take up your suggestions, you're in the money.
Here are some of the latest offers you might be able to take advantage of.
Nationwide has extended its 'recommend a friend' scheme, to allow all mortgage and savings customers the chance to earn up to £500 for referring people to its current accounts.
Previously, the incentive was limited to just existing FlexAccount, FlexDirect or FlexPlus customers that recommend a friend or family member to sign up. The extension now means an extra 8.3 million customers can cash in.
If that person switches their main account to Nationwide using the Current Account Switch Service, both sides receive £100 tax-free.
Nationwide will allow up to five referrals every 12 months, meaning it's possible to earn up to £500 a year through the scheme.
A number of credit card providers also offer rewards for referrals.
There’s a referral bonus scheme on most American Express credit and charge cards. For example Platinum Cashback Credit Card customers can get £25 cashback for themselves and for the person they introduce once the cardholder has spent at least £1.
Savings and investments
People using peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle can net £50 if they recommend a friend or relative who goes on to lend at least £2,000. Normally, Zopa investors can earn up to £50 if the person they recommend lends £2,000 with the platform. They’ll receive £50 too. However, at the time of writing Zopa isn't accepting any more investors due to high demand. You can added to a waiting list and notified when applications re-open.
Elsewhere, Alliance Trust Savings will give existing customers a £50 Marks and Spencer voucher when they get a friend or family member to open an Investment Dealing Account, ISA or Select SIPP. Your friend will get £25 worth of vouchers, too.
Mutual Scottish Friendly is offering two £25 MyRewards card to their customers – that's one for the customer and one for the person they recommend.
Some mortgage providers also have schemes in place to encourage existing customers to recommend them to people they know.
Leeds Building Society, for example, is offering existing members the chance to earn a £50 bonus for referring up to four friends or relatives for a mortgage. Those that take out a deal will also get a cheque for £50. Anyone who signs up will need to complete their mortgage by 31 December 2017.
Newcastle Building Society is offering £100-worth of M&S vouchers to existing members who recommend a friend that goes on to take out a mortgage. The friend is also rewarded for signing up with a £50 M&S voucher.
Cashback websites are also using cash incentives to encourage people to spread the word.
Quidco is offering a £10 cashback bonus when members recommend the site to someone they know. The scheme works through sharing a personalised referral link in an email or via social media. Once someone the referrer knows uses the link to sign up and earns at least £5 cashback they’ll receive the bonus.
Rival TopCashback also operates a referral scheme. It offers £5 (jumping to £7.50 for Plus members) for each person a member introduces. Again members just need to share a personalised referral link through email or via social media. Once someone they know signs up using the link and earns at least £10 cashback they’ll receive the bonus. Their friend will also pocket a £5 Amazon voucher.
TV, broadband and phone
One area where recommending friends is particularly popular is the broadband market.
Some are offering discounts on bills.
Plusnet, for example, runs a referral scheme, which gives broadband and phone customers a monthly discount for every person who joins following their recommendation. It varies on the product they sign up for, but is normally 50p or 75p off their bill for each month the friend stays on as a customer. Please note that it doesn't apply to mobile customers.
Elsewhere Virgin Media offers a £50 bill discount to existing customers that refer a friend to its broadband and TV service. If that person signs up they also get a £50 bill discount.
Other providers are offering vouchers to encourage customers to spread the word.
The Co-operative Phone and Broadband is offering referrers £10 credit for every one that becomes a customer. They’ll bag a cool £10 in credit, too.
Sky TV customers that recommend a friend will get a prepaid MasterCard worth £50 for themselves and the person they introduce.
Gas and electricity
You could also earn a reward by recommending your energy company.
Ovo Energy is offering a £25 Argos, M&S or Amazon voucher to both referrer and friend.
Unique furniture website Made.com is offering a £15 voucher for the referrer and every friend they recommend, up to a maximum of £300. Friends must spend a minimum of £100.
You can even earn money through referring friends for cosmetic procedures.
Laser eye surgery clinic Optimax, for example, pays £50 for every friend or relative you get to have treatment.
Meanwhile Harley Medical Group, which provides a range of cosmetic treatments, gives you money off skin and laser treatments over £150 if you refer a friend.
In some industries referring your friends for jobs can also result in a cash payment.
For example, Corecruitment, which operates in the service industry, pays up to £500 for every recommendation that results in someone being placed in a position and staying there at least three months.
When it comes to jobs it’s best to check out what your company offers if you recommend a friend for a position – but remember it might reflect badly on you if things don’t work out well after they’re offered a job!
If you don’t have many friends or at least don't have enough who are in the market for a new broadband provider or bank account there’s a website that offers to pair up referrers and “friends”.
Refer Me Happy lists the latest referral schemes from various companies. Top deals on the site at the moment include Next, Tesco and Plusnet.
There’s undoubtedly money to be made from these schemes, but are they a good idea?
In general, when it comes to current accounts, mortgages and credit cards, what’s best for one customer might not be ideal for another.
Essentially, before signing up to a contract for any type of service, it’s a wise move to shop around and be sure the product is right for you, rather than being swayed by incentives or a friend's recommendation.
Referral offers also come with a number of terms and conditions. Inevitably most only pay out if your friend actually buys, rather than just enquires about, the service in question.
This article has been updated from an earlier version