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Rakuten Cash Back Review for 2024: Is Rakuten Worth It? ($30 Bonus)

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu
Written by Enoch Omololu
Updated on

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Are you a frequent online or in-store shopper who enjoys using cash back tools and apps while shopping?

Then, Rakuten should be at the top of your list. Its numerous cash back opportunities and options let you earn extra money without effort.

Members can earn up to 40% cash back on purchases made through the Rakuten website or by activating the cash-back button.

Read on to learn how to use Rakuten cash back to earn money and to find out if the app is worth it.

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten is an online portal that lets you earn cash back on online and in-store purchases at over 2,500 stores.

Aside from rewarding members with cash back, Rakuten also helps find active promo codes that you can automatically apply to your purchases.

The company started in 1997 as a Japanese e-commerce site. In 2014, it acquired Ebates, a cashback and rebates online platform, and kept the Ebates name until 2019. Today, Rakuten is one of the leading online shopping portals and cashback sites.

Averaging 544.3 million visits per month, Rakuten is second to Amazon, with 555.8 million. As the largest savings program in the US, Rakuten has paid over $2 billion in cash back to its more than 15 million members.

Rakuten has been offering cashback opportunities via its Cash Back Button, browser extension, and app. It is free to download, easy to use, and has no hidden fees.

Some of the stores at Rakuten include Best Buy, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Priceline, and Target.

Rakuten

rakuten logo

$30 sign-up bonus when you spend at least $30

Earn up to 40% cashback

Features 2,500 stores and retailers

Redeem earnings by PayPal & check

How Rakuten Works

When you make a purchase, Rakuten gets a commission from retailers, who pay the company for referring shoppers to their stores. In return, Rakuten shares its commission with members through cashback.

Rakuten is open to individuals who are at least 18 and residents of the US and Canada. To sign up for a membership, provide your email address or use your Facebook or Google account.

After signing up, you will get a $10 Rakuten cash bonus, particularly after spending your first $25. In addition, you can get a Walmart gift card worth $10. 

To start earning cash back, browse the stores at Rakuten.com. Click the link to the store where you want to make purchases. When shopping to earn cash-back, follow these steps:

  1. Activate Cash Back.
  2. Apply coupons automatically.
  3. Use Rakuten’s Price Magic feature to see lower prices.

To know if you are earning cash back, click on a Rakuten link, either on Rakuten.com, through the Cash Back Button, in an email, or via the Rakuten app.

A confirmation pop-up will appear when you activate the cashback feature on the store you are browsing.

Rakuten provides several options to earn cash back when shopping:

  • Double Cash Back Store Offers – Double Cash Back Stores is a feature on Rakuten wherein shoppers can find stores that double the cash back on purchases for a limited time.
  • Rakuten Cash Back Button – Rakuten provides a Cash Back Button that lets you activate Cash Back directly at store sites.
  • Rakuten Chrome Browser Extension – Install the Rakuten Extension and pin it to your browser to earn cash back while shopping and to find coupons that help you save more.
  • Rakuten App – Download the suitable app for your device to enable you to shop on the go, access app-exclusive deals, and earn cash back anytime, anywhere.
  • In-store Cash Back – When you shop in stores, link the credit card you want to use to pay for your purchases and use it to pay for the items at the register.

Here are other ways you can earn bonuses and rewards from Rakuten:

  • Referral Sign-up Bonus of $30 – Invite your friends to Rakuten using your link to get a $30 referral bonus for each friend who joins and purchases eligible items worth at least $30 within 90 days of membership.
image showing rakuten referral bonus
  • Influencer Program – When you join this program, you get rewards as a Rakuten ambassador and enjoy flat fees for qualified referrals, invitations to events, and more. Spread the word to earn a $50 bonus after ten referrals.
  • American Express – If you are an American Express cardholder and you join Rakuten, you can receive 3,000 Membership Rewards points. To earn the rewards, make eligible purchases totaling $25 or more within 90 days of your Rakuten membership.
image showing rakuten american express

How to Use and Redeem Rakuten Cash Back

If you want to know how to get Rakuten cashback after a purchase, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Rakuten account and go to “Account Settings.” On the app, go to “Choose How to Get Paid.”
  2. Add or update your current mailing address.
  3. To check the status of your cash back, go to “My Account.”

If your cash-back total is more than $5, you can instruct Rakuten to deposit it to your PayPal account or send it to your address as a paper check.

If your Rakuten pending cash back is less than $5, it will carry over to the next payment period.

If you think that you have a Rakuten missing cash back, the company provides several reasons for this:

  • Not activating the Cash Back feature before shopping or placing items in the cart
  • Switching to another tab or browser window and not using the initial tab opened by Rakuten
  • Using coupons found outside Rakuten
  • Visiting other sites while in a shopping session
  • Delayed reporting of order information from stores
  • Purchasing products not eligible for cash backs

How Long It Take To Get Rakuten Cash Back

Rakuten pays its members quarterly via PayPal deposit or a paper check mailed to a specified address. To find out when you can get your cash-back rewards, sign in to your account and check the date when your next payment will be.

Rakuten offers two ways to receive payment:

  1. Paypal – Rakuten will deposit your earnings to your PayPal account.
  1. Big Fat Check – You can have Rakuten send a paper check to your desired address every three months based on the schedule below.
image showing rakuten big fat check
  1. American Express Membership Rewards points – Do you have a Membership Rewards-enrolled American Express Card? You can sign up for a Rakuten membership and set your account to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash-back.

Rakuten Promo Code

When you use a valid referral link to create an account at Rakuten, you get a $30 bonus after your first purchase of $30 or more. To activate the offer, simply click on the referral link above to join.

After you sign up, go to the Refer-a-Friend page and invite your friends. Use your referral link and send it to them via email, social media, or text.

When a friend you invited registers using your referral link and makes an eligible purchase within 90 days of signing up, you both get $30. Only new members are qualified for this referral sign-up bonus.

Is Rakuten Legit?

Rakuten is a legit company with a long track record, having paid $2 billion of cash back to its millions of members since 2009. In 2020, Rakuten paid an average of $63.50 in cash back.

Over 2,000 reputable stores and brands have partnered with Rakuten to offer deals and promotions to shoppers.

Rakuten has an average of 4 stars on Trustpilot and in Consumer Affairs, a site that recommends the tool for families, travelers, and budget-savvy shoppers.

Pros and Cons of Rakuten

While Rakuten provides excellent cash-back and rewards features, it also has some disadvantages. Find below some of the pros and cons of this affiliate marketing company.

Pros

  • Cash back earnings on purchases, with some stores offering up to 20% cash back
  • Rewards and referral program
  • Easy-to-use browser extension
  • Free to sign up
  • Numerous deals and discounts
  • Diverse options

Cons

  • Quarterly payout
  • Many products are exempt from cash back
  • Limited customer support
  • Rakuten may disable member accounts without notice
  • Encourages impulsive shopping

Is Rakuten Worth It?

Rakuten is worth it because it can help you save money in at least two ways. One is by giving you a cost of your purchases through cash back rewards.

The second is finding the best active promo codes to use when making purchases. 

Whether you shop online or in person, Rakuten provides a seamless shopping experience and easy ways to earn cash back. Furthermore, you can enjoy referral bonuses, promo codes, and coupons for more savings.

FAQs

Do you really get money back from Rakuten?

Rakuten does let you get cash back from your purchases, which the company pays every three months. You can receive the payout as a deposit in your PayPal or as a paper check.

Is Rakuten owned by Amazon?

Amazon does not own Rakuten. Rakuten started in Japan in 1997 as a small online shopping platform that catered to the Japanese market. After becoming one of the largest e-commerce sites, Rakuten is now considered the Amazon of Japan.

Does Rakuten charge a monthly fee?

Rakuten is completely free to use and does not charge its members for using the service. Its app and browser extension are also free to download, with no hidden costs or fees. Likewise, Rakuten does not take any percentage of the members’ cash-back earnings. 

Can two people in the same house use Rakuten?

The terms of Rakuten’s Referral Program state that it may flag multiple accounts with similar addresses as fraudulent. The company may likewise flag accounts with a similar name and email address. 

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Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert who has a passion for helping others win with their finances. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has been writing about money management for over a decade. Enoch has been featured in several leading personal finance publications including MSN Money, The Globe and Mail, Wealthsimple, and the Financial Post.

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