Do you love using tools that help save you money practically effortlessly? If you do you will love this Rakuten review.
The only downer is many money-saving programs and apps make empty promises, and very few actually live up to the hype.
Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a completely FREE app and website that claims to provide its users with a so-called “simple and hassle-free way to save money on your everyday purchases that you frequently buy”.
Does that not sound like an amazing opportunity? BUT…is it too good to actually be true? Let’s find out.
Inside this, in-depth Rakuten review I am not only going to give my opinion on Rakuten, but I am also going to show you how it works, why it works so well, and I’ll even show you exactly what you are missing out on.
You’re Probably Wondering How Does Rakuten Work?
Basically Rakuten is a website that allows you the opportunity to earn real cash back on almost anything you buy while doing your shopping online.
Ever heard of a cashback credit card? Well, Rakuten can be somewhat compared to a credit card because you get cashback, except Rakuten is better! This is because you do not have to pay any interest fees to use Rakuten!
As an added bonus to using Rakuten instead of only receiving a measly 1-2% cashback with credit cards, you will actually be getting up to 40% cashback.
All you have to do is be sure that you actually click on the Rakuten link, and then continue your regular shopping.
Did you know that there are over 2,500 retailers on Rakuten that you could be claiming rebates for shopping on?
Once you sign up and make your first purchase through them you have the option between a $10 cash bonus or a FREE $10 Walmart gift card.
Is Rakuten Legit? Or Is It A Scam?
This is the first question everyone is dying to know. Is Rakuten Legit? Or is it a well-cooked up scam?
First props to you for asking the hard questions and wanting answers. It’s better safe than sorry.
There are many sites popping up out there claiming to be one thing but are really another, sites that make empty promises or worse, they are just wanting to steal your personal information.
Let me assure you, Rakuten is a legit company, and I know first hand that they deliver on their cashback promises.
Did you know that Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is one of the oldest coupon/cashback sites currently out there? They launched back in 1999 which is pretty much ancient in internet years.
There is no way that they would still be around if they weren’t top-notch and legit. Don’t you think?
A+ Better Business Bureau Review
I know the feeling of feeling unsure on how legit a company is but, did you know that Rakuten actually has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can be rest assured that they are not some pop-up a company that is here today and gone tomorrow. You can head on over to the Better Business Bureau to check it out for yourself.
The customer reviews truly speak for themselves, and they have to remain high in order for Rakuten to achieve and even maintain an A+ rating. In my opinion, they have got to be doing right by their users in order to keep their rating so perstean.
An A+ rating is the best rating that a company can get, Rakuten has the highest rating possible. Let that sink in.
They also happen to have a 4.5/5 star review. That is a rating of over 300+ reviews. You can even head on over there now and read them for yourself. You will clearly see that any complaints that have been made have been resolved. They have great customer service.
So What’s With The Name Change?
Back in 2014 Ebates (the original company) was purchased by Rakuten, However, even with the name change, not much else has changed. In fact, according to Rakuten, their acquisition only means that they offer a more prominent and stronger loyalty program, resulting in many more retailer options for you!
I’m actually very eager to see how they continue to develop and what other benefits they will be offering in the years to come.
How Do I Use Rakuten And Earn Cashback?
Short and sweet, here is my rundown:
- Visit a participating Rakuten website while you are logged in to your Rakuten account.
- Go ahead, shop just as you normally would.
- In each quarter of the year, you will receive your “big fat check” with all of your cashback rewards.
It is actually your choice if you want to receive a check or get your cash through a PayPal deposit, or possibly a transfer to a friend, family member, or a charitable cause that you choose.
Remember just because you shop at one of the 2,000 participating retailers, you MUST be logged into your Rakuten account if you want your purchased tracked, and earn cashback.
It doesn’t much matter if you shop using the app or website. Then all you have to do is simply click on the store you wish to shop at, and you will be taken directly to that companies site.
From that point, you can browse and go about your shopping like you normally would online. Nothing will be different for you, in fact, your shopping experience should be the same as before, with the exception that now Rakuten is tracking your cart and giving you cash back rewards.
Remember Rakuten earns a certain commission on your purchase from the retailer directly, and your cashback comes from Rakuten giving you a percentage of their commission.
For me, it wasn’t just my makeup addiction at Sephora that earns me money. Rakuten has also partnered with many other sites, such as Expedia for example. Which is great because you will get money back on car rentals, flights, and hotels.
How Do I Ensure I Get My Cash Back?
Uh oh! What if you started shopping and forget to use the site or app?
I assure you there is no need to worry. As long as you install the Rakuten extension on your browser. You can install whether your browser in Safari or Chrome.
The extension takes only seconds to install and is FREE to use.
How it works is when you go directly to a retailer’s site to shop and don’t click through using Rakuten, you will get a pop up that looks something like below:
In this example, I went over to Sephora and this is the message that I received. All I did was activate the cashback and continued shopping like normal.
A green confirmation message will pop up, and just like that, you will be on your way to earning your cashback.
How Do I Join Rakuten?
You can actually join for free super easily!Just click on this link.
You can sign up by simply providing an email address and creating a password. Or if you want to sign up a different way you can use either your Google or Facebook account.
As soon as you sign up and make your first purchase you will receive your $10 sign up bonus if you are a new member and your order qualifies (must be at least $25) within your first 90 days of signing up.
Wondering why 90 days?
This is to make sure you don’t return the item that you bought.
What Are The Added Benefits?
“Hot Deal” is a newly added section to Rakuten.
In this category, it allows you the opportunity to browse strategically for stores that are offering BOGOs, free shipping, free gifts, or cashback on gift cards, and possibly even stores that give you the option by online from anywhere and pick up later at the store.
Did you also know you can now use Rakuten while shopping in-store?
It is simple really, all you have to do is visit your Rakuten portal, then you find an offer you want, you click the offer button to easily link the offer to your credit card. It’s as simple as that! Just make sure you store your credit card info on Rakuten before shopping in-store.
Once your credit card is linked, you will automatically get your cashback.
It is even possible for you to directly link your card while in the store too.
Tip: if you are using a debit card, you will have to use it as a credit card transaction, and make sure you sign a credit card receipt. This is an important thing to remember.
Is There A Catch?
You’re smart, in fact, I commend you for asking this.
Most people feel like once they join they will be required to take unwanted online surveys, collect points, go on a telemarketers list, or fill out endless forms.
The good news is none of the above is true. I showed you above how easy it is to get started, and really I’m not hiding anything, it is as simple as that.
You will not be required to give out your personal information. The truth is you don’t even have to give them your mailing address (unless you want to receive your earnings via a check in the mail).
Why Does Rakuten Even Do This?
Don’t be silly, Rakuten is not simply handing you free money because they are nice people. It is true we get a lot of benefits by being a Rakuten shopper but money is never free.
Out of the cashback you get back, they keep a portion for themselves.
Typically the exact amount is completely dependant on Rakuten’s contract between them and the retailer. To give you a rough example say its a 40/60 split, say you spend $100 you will get $4.00 and maybe Rakuten will get $6.00.
Do you think it’s fair? Possibly.
Although some argue that it isn’t and that Rakuten isn’t providing actual value to the retailer.
But the cold stone fact is that until these retailers decide to offer their own rewards, I see Rakuten as a gold star. They are the company offering rewards that give shoppers the reward for making a purchase. And while it may not be much, retailers are still gaining exposure to their customers at a very reasonable rate.
The Rakuten App
You can download the app to your IOS device or Android device by heading over to your app store, this will allow you the opportunity to shop online from your phone or tablet easily and still earn rewards on your purchases.
Once you have downloaded the app you, you can go in and activate a Rakuten shopping trip by clicking on any Rakuten link.
What I love about the mobile app:
- You have the ability to scan UPC’s and compare prices, this allows you to get the best deal.
- It is very easy to bookmark your favorite stores to shop at and view their offers effortlessly.
- You will receive daily announcements, that will allow you to stay on top on where you can find the hottest deals and best sales available.
- You will have access to your account portal where you can find your pending cashback, your cashback history log, and the details of your upcoming check.
- You have the option to turn on alerts so you can stay informed and up to date.
After you have started a Shopping Trip, you will see a window pop up within the app. The app will let you know that the cashback is running and active for your trip. The pop up will also let you know if there is cashback available or not.
Comparison Shopping Using Rakuten
If you need an added benefit of using Rakuten then having the ability to do price comparisons is a huge bonus.
For example, when you are looking for a specific item, you should check out what kind of cashback rebates the site is offering using Rakuten. This will give you a good idea of which one is worth making your purchase from. If they are the same price on both sites, then you should compare this.
The Rakuten Referral Program – You Receive $25 Per Referral
I found out about Rakuten from a fellow finance blogger. They displayed on their blog a nice “big fat check” for over $100.
This blogger continued on saying that they receive a check around that size every quarter, for simply doing your shopping online.
They promoted it to me that if I signed up using their link I would get myself a $10 sign up bonus and he would get a $25 referral bonus. Remember you do have to make your first purchase in order to have your bonus show up.
There really is no need to do anything over top that is salesy to get your friends and family to sign up. If you are genuinely happy using Rakuten then it will naturally come up in conversation because you will want to share it with others.
Once someone is interested you can share your referral link with them so they can get the $10 sign up bonus.
It is super easy to share you link to because you can send it in a text, an email, through social media, or any other way that is easy for them to click and sign up.
It isn’t as simple as signing up to earn cashback. Nope, your friend will have to sign up through your unique link only and make their minimum purchase.
Then your referral bonus will be paid to you within 60 days of when your friends make their purchase (this makes sure that they don’t return the item).
If you are curious if your friends have signed up you can head over to the refer-a-friend page, from there you can head the section called “Your Referral Activity”.
How Does Rakuten Actually Make Their Money?
Basically they are an affiliate for many (thousands) online stores. How it works is once someone clicks on a link from Rakuten heading to an online store, Rakuten will receive a commission for referring you to the store. The Rakuten gives you a percentage of the commission as a cashback bonus for using their link. In my opinion, it is a solid win-win for all parties involved!
Here are a couple of popular stores that you can shop on through Rakuten:
- JC Penny
- Old Navy
- Bed Bath & Beyond
It is true, whether you buy clothing, furniture, makeup, travel, flights, electronics, and much more you will be able to earn yourself some actual cashback on pretty well anything you may purchase online. Just make sure you are purchasing through your Rakuten account.
A 2019 Review Of Rakuten – The Verdict
Yes, Rakuten is absolutely worth your time, and they are legit, and it would be a good idea for you to sign up if you love saving money.
Personally I have tried a few other cashback sites over the past couple years and Often times they left me with mixed feelings on them. Don’t get me wrong there were a couple of other good ones, however, Rakuten is still my main go-to cashback site.
Plain and simple, the fact of the matter is they have been around so long (20 years to be exact) they have an incomparable advantage.
They have nurtured and grown long-term relationships with literally THOUSANDS of retailers, which is a clear bonus for consumers because this gives them options. Also, the fact that they have millions of users cashing in on the rewards they are able to offer their retailers the offers they need to continue offering lucrative and generous rewards.