Rakuten Review 2023: Easily Earn 1% to Over 20% Cash Back on Your Spending

I don’t know why it took me so long to start using Rakuten, but now I don’t make any online purchase without first checking to see if Rakuten offers cash back from the store.

By using Rakuten, you can save 1% to +20% on online and in-store purchases at both major retailers and smaller online businesses, they currently partner with over 3,500 stores.

The cash back earned from Rakuten is on top of the cash back or points you can earn from your credit card on this spending.

The cash back you earn can be paid to you in cash or you can receive your payouts as American Express Membership Rewards Points.

Here's how I paid only $2.16 for a pair of Nike gym shorts that would have normally cost $37.10 by signing up to Rakuten with a referral link and then making the purchase at nike.com.

What is Rakuten

Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is a website, mobile app and browser extension that pays you cash back when you use their link to make a purchase at over 3,500 stores.

Rakuten’s goal is to help you save money on purchase you’re already planning to make while

Rakuten also notifies you of offers (free shipping, new products, additional cash back) from the stores they works with.

The cash back and other offers can change from day to day.

As a new user, you can earn $10 after spending $25 or if you use a referral a friend link, you and the person who refers you can earn $30 when you spend $30 (a better deal). Fell free to use my referral link if you don’t know of a friend that can refer you.

How Does Rakuten Work

Rakuten partners with stores to help them generate more sales through affiliate marketing. When you follow a link to visit a store that store will pay a commission to Rakuten on anything you purchase. Rakuten shares part of that commission with you in the form of cash back.

Affiliate marketing in this case is win-win-win, the store gets an additional sale, the publisher (Rakuten) earns a commission, and you, the customer, pays less for products you want to purchase.

Is Rakuten Legit or a Scam?

Rakuten is safe, it not a scam, it is a legit way to save money on both online and in-store purchase.

I have been using Rakuten for several months now and friends and family of mine have been using Rakuten for years enjoying cash back on their purchases.

You don’t have to take my word for it tough, here’s Rakuten’s page with the Better Business Bureau, they have a rating of 3.79 out of 5. There have been 401 complaints over the last 12 months and Rakuten has responded to 100% of the complaints and, in almost every case, resolving the issue satisfactorily with the person who filed the complaint.

How and When Rakuten Pays You Cash Back

Rakuten pays cash back to its members once every 3 months, you can receive a “Big Fat Check” in the mail, get paid with PayPal or to potentially earn an even higher value for your spending you can choose to receive Amex Points and redeem your points for travel.

Here’s Rakuten’s 2023 cash back payment schedule:

  • Q1 spending (January 1 to March 31), paid May 15, 2023.
  • Q2 spending (April 1 to June 30), paid August 15, 2023.
  • Q3 spending (July 1 to September 30), paid November 15, 2023.
  • Q4 spending (October 1 to December 31), paid February 15, 2024.

You must earn over $5 of cash back to be paid from Rakuten, if you don’t reach $5 by the end of the quarter, you will be paid for the quarter after you cross the $5 cash back threshold.

Rakuten $30 Referral Bonus

By signing up to Rakuten with someone’s refer a friend link, you and the person who’s referral link you use earn $30 after spending $30 with Rakuten. The Rakuten referral bonus of $30 for spending $30 is much better than just signing up on your own. If you just go to rakuten.com and sign up, you will only be offered a $10 bonus for spending $25. I’d rather spend an extra $5 and receive another $20 cash back bonus by signing up as a referral. Here’s my referral link if you’d like to support my website.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card

Unfortunately, as of July 2022, the Rakuten credit card is no longer accepting applications and existing cardholders are being transitioned  another Synchrony credit card.

Best Credit Cards to Use for Rakuten Purchases

You can earn cash back (or points/miles) from your credit card on top of the cash back you’ll be earning from Rakuten. Here are a some of my favorite credit cards to use for your online shopping:

  • US Bank Cash+: Earn 5% cash back on two categories of your choice up to $2,000 per quarter. Category options: department stores, clothing stores, electronic stores, sporting goods stores or furniture stores.
  • US Bank Shopper Cash Rewards: Earn 6% cash back at 2 retailers of your choice up to $1,500 per quarter. Retailers available for 6% cash back and Rakuten cash back: Anthropologie, Best Buy, Chewy, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target and Walmart.
  • 2% cash back credit card. A few options: SoFi Credit Card, Citi Double Cash or Wells Fargo Active Cash.
  • Capital One Venture X or Venture card where you earn 2 points for every dollar spent.

In Summary

Rakuken is a really easy way to save money on things you want to purchase. By visiting Rakuten’s website or mobile app or having the browser extension installed, you can save 1 to over 20% cash back from over 3,500 stores.

I won’t be making any online purchases without first seeing if I can get get some of my spending back as cash back from Rakuten.