imutual is unique amongst cashback sites (and, as far as I know, amongst any UK company) in that its members are also its owners - by virtue of being given free shares in the company. This, of course, raises the immediate question...
What's the benefit of having shares?
The obvious "potential" benefit is that, if imutual is ever sold, you stand to receive a windfall gain - you will be paid for your shares by whoever acquires the company. Another (IMO less likely) scenario is that we float on a stock exchange, allowing you to sell your shares at the "market price".
Aside from the above, there are 'softer' but arguably more important benefits of being an owner as well as a customer. You get full shareholder rights
which means that you can hold the company's directors to account and ensure that they act in members' best interests. Examples of this mutuality in action
- Our track record in dealing with missing/incorrect transactions
- Allowing you to appeal to a vote of fellow members in the event of a rejected claim
- Having an open forum where you can put questions directly to management (not to mention our annual AGM webcast)
- Our minimal overheads, ensuring that we pass on as much of our income as possible to you as cashback
Getting the best deal
We are still a relative minnow amongst cashback sites, with less than 5000 members who have earned cashback at least once. The top two sites boast 5m members between them and are often able to negotiate special deals that we aren't able to match at present. So it's unreasonable to expect someone to always do every transaction through imutual. Savvy shoppers should shop around, and where there is a significantly-better rate elsewhere they can't be blamed for taking it. But where imutual is competitive, I'd urge you to stick with us, benefit from the free shares and help us to build a company which will always have your best interests at heart.
To give members of other sites yet another good reason to join, and to reinforce the benefits of our imutual model, I'm pleased to announce the start of our mutual dividend
The mutual dividend
Over the next week, we will be changing the cashback rates on most of our circa 3000 offers so that in the majority of cases:
- We will be offering more than 100% of our revenue as cashback
- We will beat the rate offered by one or both of the largest two sites
We're calling this extra cashback the "mutual dividend" - a direct benefit of a having a site that's owned and controlled by its members. We'll make a further announcement once we've finished updating the offers.
Admittedly, the differences will be modest initially (between 102-120% cashback). But we are gradually gaining more members and becoming financially stronger, and the longer this trend continues the greater our bargaining power will become. Hence - better deals for you!
Note that we won't be including "easy cashback" offers in this; it just doesn't make any commercial sense to do so. We will also be offering more shares on "% of basket value" offers and less shares on easy cashback offers - as we feel that "purchase transactions" add more to the long term value of imutual.
We hope you think this is a positive move for imutual. Do ask questions and, of course, spread the word