Lyoness has seen a fair bit of controversy over the years, even though you wouldn’t know it simply looking at site. Essentially, Lyoness is a program that offers money back for money you spend. One part of the site is a cashback card. It’s basically a loyalty card that you swipe to earn some of your purchase back and shopping points with the company.
In practice, this means that you accumulate money on the card, and once you reach a certain value ($10), you can then have that money transferred to a bank account. So, it isn’t actually as convenient as it first seems.
The locations where you can earn cash from are also limited.
Specifically, you can only earn on companies that are affiliated with Lyoness, called Lyoness Loyalty Merchants. Additionally, the companies vary in how you can earn cash back, with some allowing you to use the card from Lyoness, while others force you to use online shopping or other approaches.
Out of the list of companies that the cashback process works with, some are well-known, while many others are relatively obscure. So, despite the large number of merchants that the company supports, you may struggle to find ones that you actually want to buy from.
The other main part of the company is shopping points. Basically, you can earn shopping points as you spend money and these can then be spent on deals. However, there are very few deals on offer and most of them don’t seem all that appealing.
Judging by the many reviews online, the company has significantly changed in recent years. At one point it operated under a MLM-type structure and incorporated a paid membership. Additionally, any money earned was in the form of vouchers or discounts, rather than actual money.
Under this structure, you could earn money by referring others to the company and getting them to take on the paid membership. Theoretically, this could allow people to earn money through the company, rather than simply get a little bit of money back from purchases.
That structure is common to MLMs, and it relies on people recruiting a number of people into the company, and then those people recruiting others, and so forth. That approach always ends up with a lot of fans, because it sounds like you can earn a huge amount of money.
However, the process of recruitment and income is always much more difficult than it seems and most people don’t end up being all that successful.
Either Lyoness has stopped this approach altogether, or the company has stopped promoting it, because there is no mention of it at all on their website and also no mention of a paid version of their membership. Likewise, most of the reviews online that mention this part of the site are from last year or earlier, suggesting that the company went through some changes recently.
Indeed, the company has even been through legal battles as the result of claims that their program was too similar to a pyramid scheme (also called Ponzi). Most MLMs do have a structure that resembles that type of scam, and Lyoness was actually a particularly significant example, because you get relatively little for any money you pay in (aside from the potential to make more money).
This type of company isn’t really about earning money, but about saving a little bit here and there. After all, any money you actually get is just a proportion of money you actually spent.
The approach only ever works well if you are able to get money back from purchases that you would have made anyway. For example, if you happen to frequently shop at one or more of the companies that are part of the program, it might be worth the effort.
Even then though, the amount of money you earn back is pretty low. Theoretically, it goes up to 5% of your purchases, but most of the time the amount seems to be 1% or 2%. So, if you were getting 1% cash back, you would have to spend $1,000 just to be able to cash anything out. That’s a lot of spending for little reward.
You also have to be careful, as it is easy to spend more than normal because you are part of a rewards program. Because of that, people often find that they end up spending more than they actually make from programs like this, which defeats the purpose.
Even when the MLM program was in place, Lyoness was still not a particularly good approach for earning money, simply because of the nature of that program and the challenges it involved.
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