This Rakuten review actually goes back to when it was Ebates, because that’s how long I’ve been getting cash back for my online shopping. It really works, or I wouldn’t be telling you about it. Read on to find out how you get cash back, too – plus, a $10 bonus just for signing up!
My Rakuten Review and how to
I’m going to give you both a review and a how-to in this article. Rakuten works so well for me, but instead of just telling you that, I want to show you how well it can work for you, too.
It’s really easy to use. There are even browser extensions and mobile apps for Android and iPhone to make shopping with Rakuten as easy as it can be.
Let’s start with a couple of questions: how can they afford to pay you money when you shop online? Do they really pay you? And how does it work?
Is Rakuten for Real?
Rakuten may sound too good to be true, but the way it works is really simple. They are an affiliate for all of these online shopping sites.
That means whenever you buy something through them, the company that sold it pays Rakuten a little commission, and they pass some of that money on to you. The percent you will get ranges from about 1% to 8%.
By the way, this is exactly how I, and many other bloggers, make money, too. We tell you about products and services that we love, and when you sign up through the links in our posts, we get a little affiliate commission.
Wait, is this just Ebates with a new name?
Basically, yeah. And that’s a good thing! Ebates was bought in 2018 by Rakuten, the company they’d been working with to get you your cash back offers. They promised nothing would change, and it hasn’t.
Rakuten is one of those companies I mentioned that bloggers like me use to create affiliate marketing offers for our readers, too. SnappyLiving has used them for well over a decade and they’ve always been fair and transparent, and stuck to their word.
How does Rakuten work?
Once you sign up for an account, you just need to visit Rakuten every time you make a purchase online. It’s easier to understand with an example.
You can also use the search bar at the top of the page. Once you’re on Container Store’s page, take a look at the special coupons and deals through Rakuten.
Click the red “Shop Now” button by any offer you like. If none of them apply to your order, just click the big red “Shop Now” button.
Then you shop like normal on Container Store’s website, complete your transaction, and Rakuten will credit your account within a few days. I’ll explain later how and when you get paid.
But it’s even easier to shop this way if you use a browser extension or mobile app. Using the Chrome extension, for example, all I have to do is go to the Container Store website, and look what happens.
I get a little pop-up in the top right corner telling me to activate 4% cashback. I click it, my browser automatically gets rerouted through Rakuten and then back to Container Store. Now I shop and earn my cashback.
This is great because you don’t have to worry about forgetting to visit Rakuten first.
The Mobile App
With the mobile app, you just shop through the app instead of going to stores in your browser.
How many stores?
Rakuten works with about 1800 stores. This list includes Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, QVC, Ancestry.com, Home Depot, Sephora, Harry & David, Hotwire.com, the Microsoft store, etc.
It’s a huge collection of both brick retail stores with websites and companies that were never anything but a website. So far, I’ve been able to use it for all my online shopping except some departments at Amazon.
What if I have coupons or discounts?
You can absolutely still use coupons and discount codes when you’re shopping through Rakuten. Once you’ve activated the cash back, the rest of it is between you and the store.
You just shop like normal, and whatever amount you end up spending is what Rakuten will base your cashback percentage on.
Do they really pay? On time?
I’ve never had any trouble getting my payments. The payment options are:
- Paypal account
- Charity/friend (basically, you can send the payment to whomever you like)
You are not charged a fee for any of these methods. You get every penny you have earned in your account through whichever method you like. I’ve always used PayPal.
Normally, you get one payment per quarter, unless your balance is lower than $5.00. They have a chart showing you exactly when you can expect to be paid.
For example, all purchases between January 1 and March 31 won’t be paid until May. That may sound like quite a delay, but remember: Rakuten isn’t getting paid by the shop immediately.
They need to give themselves time to get paid first. They also need to wait and make sure I don’t return what I bought.
Personally, I don’t mind the wait. It’s money I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
What about support?
The one problem I have had is when sometimes vendors don’t communicate with Rakuten. It’s only happened to me twice.
Somehow, the shop just didn’t report what I had spent like they should have. I contacted Rakuten support and let them know about it.
They contacted the vendor and started working to figure out what happened. In one case, they resolved it within a week, easy peasy.
In another, the vendor was pretty useless, so it ended up taking a couple of months for me to get my cash back, and then maybe another month to get paid.
But throughout the process, Rakuten stayed on top of things. They even emailed me on their own several times to let me know where things stood with the vendor.
I’ve had much worse support from companies where I was a paying customer! But don’t worry – again, this has only happened to me twice in probably hundreds of transactions.
The Tell-a-Friend bonus
There’s one other way to make money with Rakuten, and that’s by referring friends, like an affiliate. And yes, the links in this post are my referral/affiliate links.
If you click them and sign up, I’ll get a bonus. And then you can do the same thing by sending your referral link to friends and family. You can also post it on social media.
How much can you earn through the referral bonus? It depends because they have different seasonal specials. It’s usually about $25 per friend, but it can be more or less.
Right now (April 2019), the promotion is that you get $25 for each friend you refer, and your friend gets $10 for signing up and spending $25.
If you refer just two or three people a month, you can earn a lot of those extra referral bonuses. It’s not “quit your job” money, obviously, but Rakuten can bring in a significant amount of extra money.
Why I recommend Rakuten
I’ve told everyone I know who shops online to sign up with Rakuten. It’s a great service that has worked for me over and over.
Their support, like I mentioned above, is better than I get with some stores where I’m the one paying them money instead of the other way around.
I’m on my sixth year with them, and I saved so much money on most of my online purchases in that time. I do wish they did more with Amazon, but they’ve added Amazon departments over time, and I think they’ll keep adding more.
And that’s as close to a negative thing as I can say about them.