Rakuten Review: Earn Cash Back On Your Purchases ($20 Bonus)

This is a Rakuten review for 2021. In this post, you’re going to learn how you can earn up to 40% cash back on your everyday purchases with Rakuten Canada and Rakuten US.

By signing up for Rakuten, you’ll be joining millions of other members that have been earning a few hundred dollars every year by shopping at participating stores.

Ready to make some extra money on your purchases? Let’s dive right in…

What Is Rakuten

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a service that gives shoppers some cash back for their purchases at partner stores – as long as they complete the purchase through a Rakuten link.

Through its portal (accessible online, on mobile app or via a browser extension), it connects shoppers to merchants and brands for everyday purchases or luxury items – both online and in-store.

Since its launch in 1997 in U.S., Rakuten has helped over 12 million members (and another 6 million in Canada) earn more than $1 billion in cash.

Some of the big merchants on Rakuten include Walmart, BestBuy, Amazon, Dell and many more.

With over 2,500 merchants in the U.S. and 750+ in Canada, there is a wide variety of stores to shop from and earn cash back.

sample of the merchants on Rakuten

How Does Rakuten Work?

The process is simple…

Step 1: Sign Up for Rakuten

Simply sign up with your email and a password to start earning money with Rakuten.

And you don’t even have to link a credit card to your account for online shopping. Though you’ll need to link your credit card for in-store offers.

Rakuten Canada has a welcome bonus of $5, while Rakuten US offers $10. You need to make a purchase of at least $25 within 90 days to activate the bonus in Canada or $20 in U.S.

Sign up for Rakuten Canada ($5 Bonus)

Sign up for Rakuten US ($10 Bonus)

Step 2: Start your shopping on Rakuten

Once you’re registered, simply start your shopping from Rakuten each time you need to make a purchase.

You have the option of going through the online portal or through the mobile app.

Rakuten US lets you search by brands, products or coupons. But product search isn’t available on Rakuten Canada.

For example: If I need to buy a laptop, I can simply search for Dell to bring up this page…

Rakuten shop by merchants

Clicking on the “Shop Now” button will take me to Dell’s website where I will complete my purchase as usual.

Or I can keep my options open and search for “Laptop”…

Alternatively, you can install Rakuten Button to be automatically notified of any cash back offers when you visit a qualifying store.

Rakuten Button is a browser extension that is available on Google Chrome.

Rakuten button is a google chrome browser extension to make earning cash back easy and stress free

Step 3: Complete Your Purchases

Once you get to the merchant’s store, simply complete your purchases as you normally would.

That is, select the items you’re interested in, add to your cart and check out.

Step 4: Earn Cash Back

After your purchase, your cash back will be automatically added to your accounts within a day or two.

Step 5: Get Paid

Your cash back accumulates throughout the quarter and will be paid through one of the available payout options.

How do you get paid on Rakuten?

You can cash out your cash back earnings from Rakuten Canada using one of the options below

  1. Cheque mailed to your address
  2. PayPal direct deposit
  3. Amazon e-gift card
The 3 payment options on Rakuten for getting the cash back earnings

The Amazon e-gift card isn’t available for Rakuten US.

Getting paid is free irrespective of the option you choose, and payments are issued out in line with their quarterly payment schedule:

Purchases Posted BetweenBig Fat Cheque Sent
Jan 1 – March 31May 15
April 1 – June 30Aug15
July 1 – Sept 30Nov 15
Oct 1 – Dec 31Feb 15

But note that the minimum amount Rakuten pays out is $5.01. If your earnings within a quarter is less than $5.01, it will be carried over to the next quarter.

Is Rakuten A Scam?

The answer is a big NO. Rakuten is clearly legit.

The business model is quite straightforward. Each time you make a purchase through Rakuten, the stores pay a commission for the referral.

And Rakuten simply gives you a share of the money as cash back.

it’s a win-win for all the parties.

Is Rakuten Worth The Effort

So is Rakuten worth it or is it a complete waste of time? The answer would be Yes for many people.

First, getting started is very straightforward and you don’t need to go through any stressful steps or actions to use it afterwards.

It’s not going to make you rich or replace part of your income, but it’s free money.

And who would say no to free money, especially if it is cash back on purchases you would have made anyway?

Besides, every dollar here and there counts.

Rakuten Referral Bonus

You can make even more money through Rakuten when you refer your friends to join.

You’ll get a referral bonus of $25, while your friends will get $10 in the US or $5 in Canada.

To activate the bonus, your referrals simply need to make purchases of at least $25 within 90 days of joining.

Make money by referring your friends and family to earn cash back through the Rakuten Referral bonus

Dec 2020 Update: Rakuten US is currently paying $20 for every referral. Both you and your friend will both earn the bonus when they spend at least $20.

Go here to learn more about the Rakuten Referral Bonus Program.


Pros and Cons of Rakuten

Benefits (Pros) of Rakuten

  • Earn cashback on your regular purchase: And this can be in addition to any rewards or cash back you already receive on your credit cards.
  • A wide selection of stores: With the huge selection of stores on Rakuten, you are almost certain to find a deal for most of your purchases.
  • Easy to Use: I find Rakuten very user-friendly and straightforward to use. Getting cash back on purchases is stress-free and can be automatic if you install the browser extension.
  • Double Your Cash-back: Rakuten cash back is in addition to any other rewards on your credit card.

Disadvantages (Cons) of Rakuten

  • You must spend to earn: It could be argued that this is not really a disadvantage. But unlike other ways of making money online, you must spend before you earn some cash back.
  • It may encourage impulse spending: Cash back are best when you earn them on your everyday purchases, that is, on items you would have bought anyway. You should never buy stuff because they are on promo or have higher cash back offers.

If you bought a $100 item you don’t need, even if it’s 40% off, you didn’t save $40. You’ve simply spent $60 that could have gone towards other goals.

So if you’re concerned about buying things you don’t need, simply unsubscribe from the emails and disable notifications from the app. That way, you’ll only login when you really need an item.

  • Payouts are issued quarterly: Not really a big deal but it’s worth noting.

Some FAQs

When will cash back be credited to my account?

Usually within 48 hours. But some stores wait until after the return period to confirm your purchases, so getting credit for the cash back may take longer.

Can I use Rakuten for in-store purchases?

Yes. Just add a VISA credit card to your Rakuten profile, link it to any available in-store offers and use it to shop as usual. You can add as many credit cards as you like.

What are the payout options available on Rakuten?

Members can get paid through PayPal, gift-card or check/cheque. All the options are free to users.

When does Rakuten pay earned cash back to members?

Payments are made once every quarter: February 15, May 15, August 15 and November 15.


Final Verdict: Rakuten Review

My Rakuten review is positive. It is arguably the best cash back app out there for both Canada and US residents.

It is free to start so you have nothing to lose and works seamlessly.

You can start earning today by using the links below and take advantage of the welcome bonus.

Sign up for Rakuten Canada ($5 Bonus)

Sign up for Rakuten US ($10 Bonus)

Related Post: 45 Creative Ways To Save More Money

Rakuten US & Canada Review
4.8

Summary

Rakuten lets you earn cash back on your everyday purchases – both online and in-store. With over 2,500 merchants in U.S. and 750+ in Canada, there is a wide variety of stores to shop from and earn cash back.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

Leave a Comment