What to Expect From the Rakuten Site

FT Contributor  | 

Rakuten is a cash-back shopping site that was formerly called Ebates. When you sign up for an account through Rakuten and navigate from this account to a participating retailer, you earn cashback for your purchase. By linking your credit card to the app, you can also earn cashback for in-store purchases you make through participating retailers.

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, signing up for a Rakuten account may help you to earn cashback from purchases you were planning to make anyway. Learning more about how this popular cash-back site works, including its features and how you redeem the cash you earn, will help you determine if you’ll benefit from signing up for an account.

How Does Rakuten Work?

When you sign up for a Rakuten account and start shopping with a participating retailer through the website, app, or browser extension, the retailer pays Rakuten a percentage of your transaction total. Rakuten shares this percentage with you by adding cash to your account.

The cash you earn is a percentage of your purchase and may vary from 1% to 40%, with the most common cash-back percentage being 10% for most retailers. The percentage of cashback you earn may also vary based on what you purchased. For example, some stores may offer 12% cashback for housewares purchases but only 8% for grocery item purchases.

Rakuten App

In addition to using Rakuten through an internet browser, you can also download the app to your smartphone. If you do most of your shopping on your mobile phone, activating your account on the Rakuten app first will help you save money on your purchases.

The Rakuten app works the same as the website and once you sign in and choose a retailer, your ability to earn cashback is activated. However, with the browser version of Rakuten, you have the option to download a Google Chrome browser extension that runs in the background as you complete your online shopping.

With this browser extension installed, you don’t need to sign into your Rakuten account before you shop to activate the cashback feature. The extension automatically identifies participating retailers and gives you cash back credit when you complete your online purchases.

Rakuten Features

Rakuten members benefit from many features on the cash-back rewards site, including the following:

  • Access to coupons and discount codes: Rakuten members not only earn cash back with purchases at participating retailers, they also have access to coupon codes and discounts to use upon check out.
  • Three ways to use the site: Rakuten makes it easy to activate the cash-back feature, either by signing into your account online, downloading the browser extension, or signing into the app on your smartphone.
  • Smart browser extension: If you download the browser extension, it not only tracks your cash-back purchases, it also alerts you if there’s a better price for an item you’re browsing or if there’s a discount code available.

Benefits of Rakuten

As a Rakuten user, you’ll experience several benefits when you use the app, browser extension, or site to shop, including the following:

  • Cash-back rewards are automatically paid out by check or through your PayPal account payment.
  • Exclusive discounts and coupon codes are offered for many participating retailers.
  • You can earn an additional $5 to $25 in cashback when you refer a friend who participates in the program.
  • You can also earn cashback for in-store purchases by connecting your credit card to your account.
  • When you use a discount code, earn cash back, and use a credit card with a good rewards program, you save extra money.
  • It’s literally FREE money.

Drawbacks of Rakuten

There are a few drawbacks that Rakuten users have claimed to experience, including the following:

  • Without the browser extension, you must remember to sign into your account to earn cashback.
  • Your cash-back rewards are only paid quarterly and you must have at least $5 in your account to be eligible for a payout.
  • You must spend money at participating stores in order to make money, which may encourage impulse spending or over-buying.
  • Stores set their own promotions and may exclude certain products, such as expensive technology, from cash-back rewards.

How to Apply for Rakuten

If you want to sign up for an account with Rakuten, decide whether you shop online at your computer or mobile phone more often so you can choose between the app, website, or browser extension. You may also decide to use the website, browser extension, and smartphone app to ensure you earn as much cashback as possible.

To sign up for an account with the cash-back rewards site, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Rakuten website.
  2. Create an account by providing your email address and creating a password or sign in through your Google, Facebook, or Apple account.
  3. Agree to the site’s terms and conditions.
  4. Browse the site’s exclusive offers and discounts.
  5. Begin shopping with participating retailers.

As you shop with participating retailers through the app or browser extension, or as you’re logged into your account through the website, your cashback will accumulate in your account. To allow the company to redeem your cashback each quarter, you must provide your address for a check or your PayPal account information for payment.

If you’re an avid online or in-person shopper, you may benefit from signing up for a Rakuten account. Not only does the site allow you to earn cashback with thousands of popular retailers, it also provides its members with exclusive coupon codes and discounts so you qualify to save even more money.

At the end of the day, Rakuten works with participating brands to offer you FREE money. So what are you waiting for, sign up now!


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