If you have searched for passive income ideas or ways to make extra money online, you've probably heard of Rakuten. Or perhaps you hear this weird Rakuten name on social media and have some important questions about this money-saving app. This Rakuten review will tell you everything you need to know about this cashback site.
Rakuten offers legit ways to get better deals, lower prices, and earn cashback on your everyday purchases. Despite this sounding too good to be true, Rakuten is not a scam and will pay you cashback rewards for online shopping.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten, formerly known as the website Ebates, is a website that rewards users with cashback for online shopping. Ebates has been around since 1998, and Rakuten acquired the brand in 2014. The Japan-based company is an affiliate marketing company, which means that Rakuten uses affiliate links to send shoppers to other websites.
An affiliate link – also known as a “referral link” – is a way for the company to track who is referring the customer to their site. These websites pay Rakuten a commission for referring customers to their site, and Rakuten passes on a portion of that commission to the user in the form of cashback.
Is Rakuten Legit?
Yes, Rakuten is legitimate and, according to its website, the largest, free member-based savings program in the United States.
- Rakuten was founded in 1997
- Ebates was founded in 1998
- Rakuten acquired Ebates in 2014
- Rakuten has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Over 10 million people use Rakuten
- Rakuten partners with more than 3,500 retailers
- Rakuten has paid out over $1 billion from their cashback program
So, Rakuten is not only trusted by millions of users but is also trusted by the BBB. Moreover, the company has had satisfied customers for about two decades and still boasts increasing revenue.
How Does Rakuten Work?
First, sign up for Rakuten on their website or mobile app (available in the Apple app store and Google Play store) using your email address. After creating your Rakuten account, you can download the Rakuten browser extension to your Chrome web browser so you don't miss great deals.
Next, you want to claim your $30 welcome bonus. When you spend your first $30 with Rakuten, you'll get $30 deposited into your account! In addition, you can earn $30 each time you refer a friend to Rakuten. It is important to note your referrals must make a qualifying $30 purchase within 90 days of signing up to receive their bonus.
Once signed up, you can search for your favorite online retailers using the search bar at the top of the page on the Rakuten homepage. When you visit the Rakuten website on your desktop or use the app on your mobile device, Rakuten will open a new “shopping trip” – this is how it tracks your purchase and knows when to credit your account with the cashback you earned.
Next, select or search for the specific store where you want to shop. For example, if you want to order something from Walgreens, you can enter “Walgreens” in the search bar or browse the tabs on the menu bar to see if Walgreens has any active promotions.
You can then select coupons, promotions, or cashback options and Rakuten will take you directly to Walgreens' website, where you will shop as you normally would. The promotional credit or cashback offer is automatically applied to your qualified items. Likewise, if you earn cashback, the money will be added to your Rakuten balance once your purchase is processed and posted to your account.
Your cashback balance will continue to grow in your each time you make a purchase through a cashback offer or receive a referral bonus.
Using the Rakuten App
The Rakuten app is simple to use. Download the app to your device and create an account or login to your existing account. The easiest way to shop is by choosing a deal on the homepage or using the search bar to find a particular store.
You can also use the “Categories” and “In-Store” tabs at the bottom of the app to browse in-store offers.
Using the Rakuten Extension
Installing the Chrome browser extension is the best way to ensure you never miss the opportunity to earn cashback when shopping online.
When you land on a website with an active cashback offer, the Rakuten extension will alert you by flashing red. Clicking on the notification will immediately open a new shopping trip and begin tracking your purchase. Once you checkout, the purchase will be sent to Rakuten and posted to your account.
What is the Downside to Rakuten?
Rakuten doesn't have a “downside” per se. The only thing you may consider not necessarily a good thing is the process of cashing out, which works differently with Rakuten than with many cashback apps.
Most cashback apps have a minimum threshold you must meet before you can cash out. Rakuten, however, will pay you your full account balance on a quarterly basis, as long as you have at least $5 in your account. In addition, this is done automatically without you needing to request a payout.
Rakuten offers three different payout options:
- Receive payment to your PayPal account
- Receive a physical check to your mailing address (called a “Big Fat Check”)
- Get paid in the form of American Express Membership Rewards points
How Much Can I Make on Rakuten?
There are a few ways to earn cash back and make money with a Rakuten account with online purchases, and your payments can add up.
Suppose you are using the website to shop for items you were already planning to buy. Then, Rakuten is an easy way to generate a bit of passive income.
Here are a few different ways that you can earn and save money with Rakuten:
Earn Cash Back – Many stores will offer cashback opportunities on the Rakuten website as a way to make money. First, select the deal you want to shop for and complete your purchase. Then, Rakuten will automatically place the cash back credits in your account. Sometimes, you can earn over 12% cash back on your online purchases.
For example, users have reported using Amazon Pantry to stock their shelves at home. Using Rakuten, their $70 purchases earned up to $8 in cash back.
Coupons – You can also save money by shopping with Rakuten because they offer customers upfront discounts for shopping through the site. For some, this is better than waiting for cash back because they save money immediately. For example, users may find a 10% off coupon for clothing or up to 40% off pet food. Of course, coupons are reliant on the retailer and the coupons available. Still, savvy Rakuten users can save a lot of money upfront.
Refer Friends – You can receive up to $30 for referring friends who start using Rakuten. Those same friends will also receive $30, so it might seem like a no-brainer to have your friends start signing up. However, new users must make their first purchase on the Rakuten website to receive their welcome bonus as well as for the person who referred them to receive their referral bonus.
Is There a Monthly Fee for Rakuten?
No, Rakuten charges no monthly or annual fee to use its service. It is a free way to reward you for shopping at your favorite online stores.
Is Using Rakuten Worth it?
Yes, since Rakuten partners with thousands of stores, it's one of the best apps to use when shopping to score hot deals and earn cashback on your online and in-store purchases.
In addition, if you notice Rakuten missing cashback you have earned, you can navigate to the help center on the website to report missing cashback.
When Does Rakuten Pay?
Rakuten pays at the end of each calendar quarter – or every three months. At the end of each quarter, you will be paid for all transactions and bonuses earned throughout the quarter.
Payments are sent on the 15th of the second month after the quarter ends.
- Purchases posted from January 1st – March 31st will be paid on May 15th.
- Purchases posted from April 1 – June 30 will be paid on August 15th.
- Purchases posted from July 1 – September 30 will be paid on November 15th.
- Purchases posted from October 1st through December 31st will be paid on February 15th.
Does Rakuten Money Expire?
No, the money you earn on Rakuten does not expire. If your earnings are five dollars or more, you will receive a Big Fat Check on the next payment date. If your earnings are less than five dollars, they will roll over to the next payment period.
In addition, if you opt to get paid via a paper check and your check is lost, destroyed, or expired, contact Rakuten customer service, and they will replace it.
Start Earning Today
Rakuten is a reputable way to earn money online simply by shopping for items you plan to buy. While the payouts only happen quarterly, Rakuten can be a great way to rack up some extra cash when leveraged well.
Overall, Rakuten is easy to use, reliable and helps you save a lot of money. While Rakuten won't make you rich, it will help you to save money over time. If this sounds like the right shopping tool for you, sign up below to receive a $30 sign-up bonus and start earning cashback every time you shop.