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Surrey Extra FAQs

What is Surrey Extra?

Surrey Extra is an externally hosted benefits website available to all Surrey County Council employees. This is an element of MyBenefits which is contracted to us by a company called Sodexo (previously P&MM). The site offers a wide range of discounts on everyday shopping, such as: supermarket shopping, holidays, household goods, gifts for family and friends, cinema tickets, weekends away and much more.

Why was Sodexo chosen as an employee benefits scheme provider?
In November 2012, the council began the procurement search for a new voluntary benefits provider, offering staff discounts which were over and above what was already available through MyBenefits. We went out to tender and three organisations put forward an application. In January 2013, we met with all providers and they were asked to give a presentation and answer our questions. After evaluation, it was decided Sodexo were by far the best value and were able to provide us with discounts and offers which met and exceeded the existing system.

How much does this cost the Council?
The system is entirely funded by the tax and national insurance savings the council makes through the salary sacrifice Childcare, Cycle2Work or Lease-car schemes. This means we can provide a full and exciting range of discounts at no cost to the council and, at the same time, ensure the entire discount is passed on to staff.

Is this replacing Kaarp Benefits?
Our contract with Kaarp Benefits ceased on 20 May 2013. The offers previously available through Kaarp are still available through Surrey Extra, under 'Surrey offers and discounts'. These include:

  • Local health club and gym membership discounts
  • Local health and beauty offers
  • 20% off a new mobile phone contract with EE
  • Access to Costco Wholesale
  • Discounted Silentnight mattresses
  • Corporate rates at Hilton Hotels Worldwide

How much can I save?
With over 9,000 discounts available we are sure everybody will be able to make some significant savings. Supermarkets and high-street chains are offering up to 15% off reloadable gift cards and vouchers.

Typical savings may be:

  • £20 each month/£240 per year on supermarket shopping (based on £400 monthly spend)
  • £60 a year on petrol (based on £100 of petrol bought from a garage in Morrison's a month).
  • £48 on a holiday (based on £800 spent at Thomas Cook)
  • £40 on a new computer (based on £500 spent at Curry's or PC World)
  • £40 on home improvements (based on £400 spent in B&Q)
  • £20 on a weekend away (based on a £200 break)

Using Surrey Extra

How do I register?
Visit Surrey Extra and click on 'join now'. Then simply follow the 3 steps below:
Step 1. Enter your primary payroll number and surname
Step 2. Enter the 4 digit security code shown in the white box
Step 3. Click on 'create account' and complete your registration

What is my payroll number?
Your payroll number is the same as your personnel number. This can be found on your payslip.

What if I have more than one payroll number?
You will need to enter your primary personnel number, which can be found on your payslip. If you are not sure what this, please call MyHelpdesk on 020 8541 9000 and they will be happy to advise.

What is my username and password?
You will be asked to create a username and password of your choice when you register on Surrey Extra.

Who should I contact if I can't register on Surrey Extra?
If you are unable to register with Surrey Extra, please call MyHelpdesk who will check that you are entering the correct personnel number and details. If they are not able to resolve the issue, they will put you in touch with the Surrey Extra team.

What should I do if I have forgotten my username or password for Surrey Extra?
Simply go to Surrey Extra and click on 'Forgotten Username / Password'. You will need to input your email address and click on 'send me a new Password' button. A password reminder will be emailed to you.

Please note that your reset password e-mail will expire after one hour, so you will need to reset your password within this time.

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Reloadable Cards, Shopping Vouchers and Cashback

What is a reloadable shopping card?
A reloadable card works by preloading money onto a card bought through Surrey Extra, at a discounted rate. The card is sent to you securely through the post and then you use the card to pay for your shopping at your chosen retailer. Keep hold of the card and you can load it again, ready for your next shop.

Does the money on a reloadable card expire?
Yes, normally 12 months onwards, however, please check the terms and conditions per retailer for the expiry date.

Can I automatically top-up a reloadable card each month?
Unfortunately we are unable to offer this facility at the moment, but it is very quick and easy to top-up through Surrey Extra. This gives you the flexibility of topping up as and when you are ready.

Can I buy a reloadable card for other people?
Only registered users can buy reloadable cards, but users can certainly pass them on to a friend or family member. They can be given as gifts or passed to children.

How many reloadable cards can I buy?
There is no limit to the number of reloadable cards you can buy.

How do I pay for my reloadable card?
You can pay using a credit or debit card. There is no charge for paying with a debit card, although credit cards incur a fee of 1.25% of the value of your order.

Why am I being charged 1.25% to pay using a credit card?
This charge is unfortunately fixed by the banking institutions and therefore cannot be waived. Our supplier has negotiated the lowest credit card fee in the marketplace of 1.25% which they are passing on to all staff. All transactions by debit card are free of charge.

How will I receive my reloadable card?
Reloadable cards are sent securely through the post, and postage is free. When you receive your card you will receive instructions on how to activate your card through the retailers website.

What is the difference between a reloadable card and shopping vouchers?
Reloadable cards can be used over and over again by being topped up. Shopping vouchers are paper based and are for one off use. Most retailers will use reloadable cards but there are still a few using paper vouchers.

Can I receive double discounts?
Yes, if you use your reloadable card to pay for an item that you can also receive cashback through Surrey Extra on, you could receive both savings. In the same way, you will also be able to use in-store promotions or collect loyalty points when spending your reloadable card - double the discount and savings!

What will happen if I return an item to the shop?
If you return an item to a shop, the credit will be refunded back onto your reloadable card or you will receive a credit-voucher from the shop. The money will not be refunded onto a credit or debit card.

What is cashback?
Cashback is a percentage of your spend given back to you when you shop online. The calculated percentage accrues automatically within your cashback account once you have completed the online transaction. Cashback will then be credited to your bank account automatically once it has been approved. You will therefore need to enter your bank account details into your Surrey Extra account. This can be found under 'My account' on the Surrey Extra website.

There is a retailer I would like to see on Surrey Extra, how can I suggest this is added to the site?

Please get in touch with the Reward Team by emailing MyHelpdeskHR and we will do our best to progress your suggestion.

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Spree Card

What is a Spree Card?
The Spree Plus is a pre-paid Visa card (debit card) which allows shoppers to accrue cashback savings between 4% -15% at well known retailers. It is a more convenient way to save as you will only need to carry one card. A full list of retailers and their savings can be found on Surrey Extra, although the card itself can be used at any retailer accepting Visa. Please be assured this is not a credit card and you cannot accrue any debt.

How much does a Spree card cost? Will the annual fee be taken from my bank account automatically?
There is a one-off fee which is £4.99 for the first two years and then £9.99 for each additional year you continue to use the card. You may also purchase an additional card for your partner, which will cost £9.99 per annum.

Note: You may top up your Spree card via your debit card at anytime which will take 4 days with a top up fee of £0.50 pence or free if over £200.  Instant top ups are available and will cost £2.50 per top-up.

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What is salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is giving up part of your cash pay under your contract of employment, in return for some form of non-cash benefit. Through MyBenefits, Childcare Vouchers, Lease cars and Cycle2Work are available as HMRC approved salary sacrifice. The monthly amount is deducted from gross pay, which reduces tax and national insurance contributions. Further information can be found on the Money Advice website.

Does salary sacrifice affect my entitlement to state benefits and tax credits?
A salary sacrifice may affect your entitlement to state benefits and tax credits and you should carefully consider the possible effects before you decide to go ahead with a change in your monthly net-pay. The information that follows is based on the rules that apply at the time of writing.

As your entitlement to some state benefits is based on NI contributions, and others on the amount of annual earnings, entering into a salary sacrifice may affect your current or future entitlement to a range of benefits. There is a calculator on Surrey Extra which calculates whether or not you are eligible to apply for salary sacrifice schemes. Alternatively you can contact MyHelpdesk on 020 8541 9000 who will be able to answer any questions.

Minimum Earning Requirement

From 1 April 2016 it is a requirement of HMRC for all approved salary sacrifice schemes that, if you are aged over 25, your gross basic pay does not fall below the new higher National Living Wage (NLW). The requirement for those aged between 18 and 24 remains the lower National Minimum Wage (NMW).

  • To comply with HMRC requirements the remaining gross salary is calculated after taking all salary sacrifice deductions into account, not just that for an individual scheme. Compliance will be monitored by Employee Services.
  • If you are currently between 22 and 24 years of age you should bear in mind that the earnings requirement will tighten with effect from your 25th birthday. This may be a particular issue if you are considering entering into an arrangement to lease a company car, over a period of up to 36 months, and/or if you enter into more than one salary sacrifice arrangement that will combine to reduce the amount of your gross salary.

What happens if I leave Surrey County Council part-way through a salary sacrifice agreement? 

Childcare vouchers: If you leave the council whilst enrolled with the Childcare voucher scheme, the usual monthly deductions will cease after your final pay. You will then be able to access and use any balance in your childcare voucher account, after you have left employment.

Lease car: If you leave the council whilst participating in the car lease scheme, you will be required to return the car at the end of your final month of employment. The council is covered by early termination insurance so there will be no fees payable, unless you leave the scheme outside of the agreed terms and conditions. These terms and conditions can be found on the Leasedrive website.

Cycle2Work: If you leave employment part-way through a bike lease, the outstanding balance will be deducted from your final pay and you will be able to keep the benefit for the remainder of the contract. The balance is deducted after tax and NI has been paid as you will not receive any tax and NI savings whilst using the benefit outside of employment. If applicable, the benefit provider will be in touch at the end of the agreement to make arrangements to return the bike.

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Childcare Vouchers

When can I apply for childcare vouchers?
You can join the scheme anytime, but under HMRC ruling you cannot receive childcare vouchers the same month you apply for them. So, for example, if you applied in May you will not be able to receive the vouchers until your June pay.

I am a new employee, when can I apply for childcare vouchers?
Usually you cannot apply for childcare vouchers until the month after you start with us. The reason for this is that you will not be able to register onto the employee benefits portal, Surrey Extra, to access the Childcareplus link until our employee benefits provider has updated your payroll number onto the system. However, if you require access to childcare vouchers straight away, then you should contact MyHelpdesk by telephone: 020 8541 9000 or by email: and they will arrange for you to access the system within 3 working days.

Can I alter the value of childcare vouchers I receive at anytime?
Yes you can. If you alter/cancel your order before 10th of the month Employee Services will process your request by that month's payday. Any amendments after the 10th will be processed by the following payday.

For further FAQ's and to apply for childcare vouchers, please log-in to Surrey Extra.