The Modest Wallet is a free digital publication delivering its readers simple personal finance solutions. We regularly partner with brands that have products and services that will help our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read our full disclosure.
Do you like online shopping? How about getting paid for your purchases? Rakuten gives you the opportunity to earn significant cash back on the purchases you make at a large number of retailers, online and otherwise, that you already know and love. Sound enticing? Keep reading to learn more through our Rakuten Review and see if it might be a great way for you to save money on the shopping you already do, in-store and online.
Quick Summary: Rakuten (formerly eBates) allows you to earn cash back at 2500+ stores such as: Macy’s, Groupon, Wallmart, Amazon, Overstock and more. You can also shop the marketplace for electronics, clothing, games, sporting goods, and more. Rakuten is completely free.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten, formerly known as eBates, is a free to use website that rewards you with cashback on nearly all of the purchases you make online. The company has also partnered with a number of companies to offer cashback on in-store purchases through points programs and the use of the Rakuten credit card.
The most interesting thing about Rakuten as a service is that unlike other rewards programs or cards, you can get as much as 40% cashback on purchases you make through sites you already use like Amazon, Macy’s, Walmart, and Sephora, as well as on services like those provided by TurboTax and GoDaddy. Even better, you’ll find that most of your purchases are eligible for additional rewards and offers, including free gifts from the retailer.
How Does Rakuten Work?
So how is it possible for Rakuten to offer such generous cashback rates and rewards on your purchases? Rakuten receives a commission from the retailers it partnered with when you do your shopping through their app, website, browser extension, or with the Rakuten credit card. The company tracks your shopping up to the point of purchase and sends you a portion of the commission they receive as compensation for your use of their platform.
Is Rakuten Legit?
The question of Rakuten’s legitimacy is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Such high cashback rates and great rewards probably sound a little too good to be true, especially since all you need to do to cash in is to complete your online shopping as you normally would, but you can rest assured that Rakuten is completely legitimate and on the level.
The company has been around and paying out rewards to its users out since 1999, though it previously operated under the name eBates. Since its launch, it has paid out more than $1 billion to its users in the US alone.
If that wasn’t enough, the company also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau backed by numerous positive user reviews. You can trust that Rakuten will pay you out for all the rewards you earn and that the company will keep your information secure.
Where is Rakuten available?
Rakuten operates in a number of countries around the globe, with Canada and the United States being the two main markets the service operates in.
Over the years, Rakuten has begun expanding to international markets and now operates in countries like Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
Which Stores Does Rakuten Work With?
Rakuten works with different stores in each of the regions it operates in, there are too many to list them all.
The company has more than 2000 partnered retailers in North America alone, some of the notable North American retailers include Amazon, Apple Refurbished, Autodesk, ASOS, Avis, Best Buy, Best Western, Barnes and Noble, Canadian Tire, Crate and Barrel, Davids Tea, Dell, eBay, Etsy, FedEx, Footlocker, Gap, Garmin, GoDaddy, Groupon, HelloFresh, Home Depot, HP, Hudson’s Bay, JCPenney, JCrew, JYSK, Kohl’s, Lego, LOFT, Lowe’s, Lenovo, Macy’s, McAfee, Microsoft, Nike, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Old Navy, Pandora, PetCo, QVC, Rakuten Global, Ralph Lauren, Rent The Runway, Saks, Samsung, Shutterfly, TJ Maxx, Target, TurboTax, Ulta, Urban Outfitters, and Walmart.
As you can see, you can earn cash back through Rakuten in almost every category, and you’re probably already shopping with more than a few of its partners, meaning you could already be making money on your purchases.
How Can You Make Money?
Making money with Rakuten is simple. Log in to the Rakuten app or website, or use their browser extension or credit card to shop at any of the partnered retailers in your market and earn cash back that you’ll get paid out once every quarter.
How Do You Get Paid?
Rakuten will send you a payment of all your earnings once every quarter, more specifically on the 15th of May, August, November, and February. You have the choice to receive this payment as a Paypal deposit, having a cheque mailed to you, or to transfer your balance to a friend, family member, or charitable cause. No matter what you choose, you will never be charged fees on your Rakuten deposit or transfer.
How Can You Maximize Earnings?
If you are looking to maximize your earnings on Rakuten, you have a number of options that don’t involve increasing your spending. The platform offers a lot of exclusive deals and incentives that can quickly add up to significant rewards, here are some of the best ways to make the most of your spending through Rakuten:
Look For The Best Reward Rates
Using their app and website, you can actually see the offers and cash back percentage currently offered by each retailer, so if you are shopping for something you can get at a few different places, compare the offers to make sure you are getting the best rate available.
Use Rakuten Coupons
Rakuten has more to offer than just great cash back rates, the platform also offers exclusive coupons for its retailers so you can get a better deal on your purchase upfront, and potentially unlock additional rewards or free gifts from the retailer.
Shop During Events
Sign up for the Rakuten mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on announcements about upcoming promotional events like double cash back or increased reward percentages.
Take Advantage of “Hot Deals”
The Hot Deals section on Rakuten allows you to specifically browse partnered retailers that are currently running special offers, including BOGO deals, and lots of freebies including free gift cards, free shipping, and free gifts with your purchase.
Install The Rakuten Button
The Rakuten button is a browser extension that can help maximize your rewards by making sure you never miss out on a deal. The button will notify you every time you are on a site that you can earn cash back through and of any specials offers, deals, or coupons available.
The extension also has the added benefit of making sure you never miss out on rewards, so if you are someone who forgets to go through Rakuten to make your purchases, or you have a shared family computer, the button has you covered.
Refer Your Friends and Family
Referring your friends and family can get you an additional $25 of rewards per person! All you have to do is invite them to try Rakuten, and if they sign up through your referral link and make a purchase at any time, you’ll receive the $25. Even better, they’ll also get a $10 welcome bonus just for trying the platform.
Rakuten Review: Pros
You don’t operate for 20+ years, maintaining a great reputation and a loyal and happy user base if you aren’t something right. Rakuten’s solid long term track record speaks volumes about the company, but if your still not convinced, check out some of the countless positive reviews on the companies Better Business Bureau page. You can trust that you will get paid for the shopping you do with Rakuten, and that your user information will be kept safe and never sold.
Easy To Join
Signing up for Rakuten is quick and easy, you can sign up for a new account and start earning rewards within minutes.
No Personal Information Required
You don’t need to share your personal details with Rakuten to join, all you need to get started is your email, unless you want to be paid with a physical cheque, then you’ll need to provide your address as well. Either way, your information is kept safe by the platform and will never be sold.
Cash In On The Shopping You Already Do
One of the biggest draws of Rakuten is that you are making money on the shopping you’d already be doing. You don’t need to do anything special or shop at a niche retailer to cash in.
Earn Rewards Automatically
When you shop with Rakuten, you don’t need to remember any rewards codes or use a special members code to collect your rewards, they are automatically applied whenever you make a purchase.
Invite Your Friends and Get Paid
What’s better than making easy money? Sharing the opportunity with your friends of course! Even better, Rakuten will pay out $25 for every friend you refer that makes a purchase.
Rakuten Review: Cons
Referral Bonuses Aren’t Equal
While you get $25 for each friend you recruit that makes a purchase through Rakuten, they receive less than half of that, only getting paid out $10 for signing up and shopping on your referral. Free money is great no matter what, but the inequality feels a little unfair.
Rewards Can Be Slow To Process
While this isn’t an issue every time, there are definitely instances where it takes a little longer for the rewards you earn to post to your account. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s not fun to be kept waiting and wonder if your transaction was successfully processed.
Payments Are Sent Out Quarterly
If you were hoping for a quick cash out, you won’t find it here. Rakuten doesn’t offer on demand payments and will only pay you out the rewards you’ve earned once per quarter on the 15th of May, August, November, and February.
Rewards Are Voided On Returns And Exchanges
This one might be a no brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. If you cancel, return, or exchange a purchase you’ve earned rewards on, Rakuten will void the rewards and you might not qualify for the same deals on your exchange or repurchase.
Who is Rakuten For?
Anyone Who Shops Online
If you already do any shopping online and you aren’t using Rakuten, you are missing out. But if you’re like most people and regularly order from Amazon and other online retailers, Rakuten is an absolute must. It costs nothing and is incredibly easy to get started with, and you could be earning as much as 40% back on all your purchases, not including additional deals and promotions. If you make a purchase even once a week, the savings are significant.
Who is Rakuten Not For?
People Who Want A Quick Payout
As we have already touched on, you don’t have control over your Rakuten payments, so if you aren’t prepared to wait for the quarter to end to collect your money, Rakuten probably isn’t for you.
There are plenty of websites that pay you a commission for doing your shopping through their platform, but Rakuten’s high reward rates and cash payments make them pretty unique. Here are a few of the best alternatives available.
BeFrugal is probably the best Rakuten competitor out there. Just like Rakuten you can earn up to 40% cash back on the purchases you make through their platform, but they actually have even more partnered retailers with over 5,000 online stores signed up with their program, giving you access to even more places to earn.
The platform offers you the same additional savings through coupons and deals which you can sign up to receive through email so you don’t miss out.
Be Frugal is a better platform for shoppers who want control over their payouts as you control your withdrawals, the only catch is that you need to earn a minimum $25 in rewards before you can request a payment. You have your choice of being paid directly to your bank account or through gift cards.
Shopping with Dosh is a little different than using Rakuten or BeFrugal. The basics are the same, just link the card you want to use to your Dosh account and shop at any of their partnered retailers and earn money back on every dollar you spend.
But their rewards aren’t quite at the same level, and you’ll need to earn $25 before you can withdraw as either cash rewards or gift cards. Dosh is still a great option if you like to shop online, and they are partnered with some retailers the other options don’t cover, like Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Pizza Hut.
A free online platform that offers cash back rewards when you shop at retail partners. There are currently more than 2500 stores available.
Rakuten is a must for anyone who shops online. The company has a long history of reliability and there are no risks or drawbacks with signing up. Joining the platform takes next to no time, costs nothing, and doesn’t require any personal information for you to get paid.
If you haven’t already made an account and you are buying anything online, you are missing an opportunity to make money and cash in on exclusive discounts and free gifts.
Download our FREE
“Side Hustle Handbook” eBook
Learn the best side hustle strategies so you can multiply your income sources and fast track your journey to financial freedom