Rakuten is a free-to-use rewards program that allows users to earn a percentage of their purchases as cashback when they shop through Rakuten’s platform. You likely have heard of Rakuten — either on social media or from one of their TV commercials. It has increased in popularity over the years because it allows shoppers to earn rewards for their online purchases, effectively giving them a portion of their money back.
How does Rakuten work?
Rakuten is an online portal that has various merchant offers. It is simple to sign up and use. Here is how it works:
- Sign Up: To participate in the Rakuten Cash Back program, you need to create a Rakuten account, which is free and easy to do.
- Browse and Shop: Once you have an account, you can browse Rakuten’s website or mobile app to find various online retailers and stores that participate in the program. These retailers may include well-known brands and online shops.
- Click Through Rakuten: When you find a store you want to shop at, you click on a specific link or button within Rakuten’s platform to be redirected to the retailer’s website. This link or button ensures that your shopping activity is tracked, and your cashback can be calculated accurately.
- Make a Purchase: You then shop as you normally would on the retailer’s website, adding items to your cart and completing the purchase.
- Earn Cash Back: After you make a purchase, Rakuten tracks your spending and calculates the cashback you’ve earned based on the percentage offered by the specific retailer. This percentage can vary among different stores and may change over time.
- Receive Cash Back: Rakuten periodically issues cashback payments to your Rakuten account, typically in the form of a check, PayPal deposit, or Amex Membership Rewards points. The frequency and minimum payout amount can vary. Once you receive your cashback, it is yours to keep!
Is Rakuten legit?
Yes, Rakuten is legit. Merchants pay Rakuten to send customers to their business, and Rakuten returns a percentage of that to their users. All you need to do is click over to a merchant from the Rakuten portal before purchasing. The merchant knows Rakuten referred you — you check out and pay for your order like usual on the merchant’s website.
Here are some of the brands that offer cashback with Rakuten:
- Target – 1% cashback
- Walmart – Up to 6% cashback
- Petsmart – Up to 15% cashback
- Macy’s – Up to 10% cashback
Keep in mind that cashback offers on Rakuten change often – sometimes multiple times per week. It is important to check Rakuten regularly to see what the current offers are.
How to Maximize Earnings with Rakuten
Rakuten makes it easy to earn cashback, but there are ways you can ensure you earn even more when you use their platform.
Check Rakuten Often
Rakuten offers change frequently — sometimes multiple times per week. We recommend checking the portal once a day if possible to see the current offers and saving non-urgent purchases for when elevated cashback is offered. For example, Petsmart usually has 2% cashback on Rakuten, but every so often it is increased to 10% (or higher).
Link your credit card
Rakuten now allows you to earn cashback with some merchants in person, if you link your credit card to their platform first. In addition to retail offers, many local restaurants are also listed in the in-person section of Rakuten. Linking your credit card is easy and can be a “set it and forget” it way to earn additional cashback, especially for dining offers.
Disable your ad blocker
It is important that your ad blocker is disabled when using cashback portals like Rakuten. Why? Well, merchants need to be able to track that you came from the Rakuten portal for them to credit you with cashback. Ad blockers can get in the way of this.
Link your Amex Membership Rewards account
One of our favorite features of Rakuten is its partnership with American Express. If you hold an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points (like the American Express Gold Card), you can connect your Rakuten account to your American Express account and receive points instead of cashback at a 1:1 ratio.
Closing Thoughts on Rakuten
Rakuten is an awesome tool that allows you to get cashback by shopping at merchants you’re already doing business with. We use Raktuen ourselves and have been able to earn over $1,000 in cashback over the last few years! Click here to sign up for Rakuten — it is entirely free to use (in fact, you get paid to use it by earning cash back!).