Rakuten Review & Earning Guide: Is it Legit?

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3.8

Rakuten Review

Rakuten is a global cashback site covering many countries. Depending on your location you can earn cashback online or even in-store via linking your debit or credit card.

With a huge range of cashback earning opportunities, Rakuten is one not to miss. Let’s take a look at the site in more detail and how to maximize the cashback you can earn.

What you need to know

  • Time: Seconds, you just need to make sure you click through via their site before you make purchases.
  • Earnings: Up to hundreds or thousands of $ or £. It depends on how much you spend at compatible stores.
  • Trust: High trust, no issues.
  • Country Availability: USA flag Canada flag United Kingdom flag Japan Flag European Union Flag
    (EU: Only in France, Germany, Spain, Ukraine)

What is Rakuten?

rakuten cashback how it works

Rakuten (Rakuten USA/Global and Rakuten UK) is a cashback site that has been in operation for over 2 decades, starting up in around 1997. It was originally called Ebates until it was taken over by Rakuten. It provides you money back on purchases that you’d normally make. For example if you make a purchase at an online store for $50 and you click through via a Rakuten 5% cashback link, you’ll get $2.50 back.

While originally US based, the site has expanded out to include Canada, the UK, Japan, and several European countries. The stores available for cashback will be relevant to the country you live in and for some counties will even include in-store cashback too.

But what is the earning potential of Rakuten and can you actually make money or at least cut down your expenses just by using it as a middleman for purchases? Read on to find out.

Is Rakuten Legit or a Scam?

You’ll be pleased to know that Rakuten is 100% legit and in no way a scam. As mentioned it has been in operation for well over 2 decades now and millions of people have benefited from the cashback that they offer.

To give you more peace of mind, you can see that Rakuten gets an excellent rating on Trustpilot.

They partner with many, many well known stores and bands to provide cashback and the parent company is global corporation covering everything from TV, to VOIP in the form of Viber.

How Does Rakuten Work?

For those familiar with Cashback sites you’ll know the drill as Rakuten operates in the way you’d expect. For those that don’t we’ll run through from start to finish how you can earn some extra cash with Rakuten cashback, or more accurately how you can cut down how much you spend day to day.

1. Signing Up

This couldn’t really be easier. Sign up at Rakuten (Use this UK Rakuten link to get £15 free on sign up if you live in the UK of course!) and fill in a few details. There is the usual email confirmation and if you live in a country that allows payouts via bank account, your receiving bank details. Don’t worry, we’ll look into the payout options in more detail below.

2. Access the Cashback Deals on Rakuten

Your first option is fairly straightforward. You can go to the Rakuten website and browse or search for various online stores that you normally use. In most cases, you will find that store along with a stated percentage cashback amount.

Rakuten high paying cashback offers
High paying cashback offers on Rakuten.

So, as above you see a 20% cashback offer for NordVPN. All you do is click through from the offer on Rakuten, which will take you to NordVPN. Then, make your purchase as normal. The purchase will cost the usual amount, but back on Rakuten it will record your purchase and you will be credited with 20% cash back. In this case, let’s assume you spend $50, you’d get $10 cashback on Rakuten. Not too shabby!

If you want a list of earning opportunities, we have a mega list of hundreds and growing. Check out our huge list of ways to earn online.

3. Use the Rakuten Chrome Cashback Extension

The main problem with cashback sites is remembering to use them. It’s easy to go through with a purchase and  completely forget to go via Rakuten for example.

This is where the Rakuten Chrome cashback extension comes in.

It takes all of the pain out of the process. It gets added to your browser, and when you end up shopping on the Nike online store for example (or any other site), it will pop up to tell you that there is cashback available. Just click the pop-up and the cashback will be recorded once you make your purchase.

Rakuten browser extension
The Rakuten browser extension automatically informs you if cashback is available on the current site.

You’ll never miss out on free cash again so we highly recommend the extension.

4. In-Store Cashback

You might be surprised to learn that with Rakuten you can even earn cashback from physical stores. You’ll need their app, and unfortunately, you will need to live in the USA for this one.

The app allows you to link your debit or credit card to Rakuten and when you make purchases in participating stores it automatically adds cashback to your Rakuten balance.

Rakuten instore cashback

Again, this is a brilliant feature as you don’t even need to remember to do anything once it’s set up. Free cash just for using your debit or credit card as usual.

5. Wait for Your Cashback to Credit

This is an important point, your cashback will be recorded almost instantly in most cases but it will not become payable until a certain amount of time has passed. This is of course to avoid anyone gaming the system and refunding items. So typically you’ll be looking at a month or more until the cash becomes available to you. A small bit of inconvenience for free cash back on your purchases.

The payout process varies wildly depending on which country you live in, which we’ll cover further below.

Who Can Join Rakuten?

While fairly global, Rakuten is not available everywhere yet. Using the global link for Rakuten you can be redirected to your country-specific site if you live in the USA, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, or Ukraine. 

If you live in the UK, you can snag a free £15 by signing up via the UK-specific Rakuten link.

If you don’t live in any of the countries above, then unfortunately you will not be able to join Rakuten just yet. But keep checking back here as we will update when it rolls out to more countries.

How to Get Paid by Rakuten

The payment methods and timescales when you get paid by Rakuten differ quite a lot from country to country. But rest assured because the process is very easy regardless of where you’re from.

If you’re in the USA, your payment options are physical cheque or PayPal. You will be paid on a 3-monthly cycle, either in May, August, November, or February depending on when you earned the cashback.

If you’re in Canada your payment options are physical cheque, PayPal, or Amazon Gift Card. You will be paid on a 3-monthly cycle, the same as the USA, either in May, August, November, or February depending on when you earned the cashback.

If you’re in the UK, your payment options are direct bank transfer and gift cards. You will be paid approximately 3 days after requesting a payout. So, you’re not held to any payment schedule like the USA and Canada.

How Long do Rakuten Checks Take to Arrive?

As mentioned, the USA and Canada work on a 3 monthly cycle with checks (cheques) being sent out on 15th off February, May, August or November. Once they’ve been sent they are in the hands of the postal services, so should only take at most a week to reach you from the dates mentioned above.

Rakuten App on Mobile

If you’re in the USA you will have access to the Rakuten App. This makes collecting cashback much easier as a lot of us now purchase online direct from our mobiles. The app shows everything you would expect from the desktop version of the site and even contains some app-exclusive cashback deals.

Rakuten cashback app usa

If you live elsewhere, you can still use the mobile website through the browser which is well optimized and to be honest, works just as well as the app does.

Rakuten Review Summary: Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Earn cashback on purchases.
  • Cashback for tons of stores.
  • In-store cashback (if from the USA).
  • Fast Payments (for UK and EU).
  • Browser Extension for Auto Cashback.

Cons

  • No App outside of USA.
  • 3 month wait for payments in USA & Canada.

Rakuten is a fantastic global cashback site that has some great cashback offers specific to each country. What sets it aside is that it has some exclusive cashback offers you won’t see elsewhere, either store exclusivity or just a higher percentage cashback amount.

But as with every cashback site, we suggest that you don’t stick with one. Sign up to multiple cashback sites so that you can compare each purchase and squeeze the max cashback out of anything your buy.

We really love the cashback extension for Chrome because it means that times, when you would have forgotten to use Rakuten, are a thing of the past. The auto pop-up ensures you always bag the max cashback available.

The downsides are location specific. In the USA and Canada unfortunately you have to put up with 3-monthly payment cycles, whereas countries like the UK get their payment in 3 days from when they request it. Similarly, the USA benefits from physical in-store cashback and the mobile app, but elsewhere you just don’t have that functionality available.

All in all, though Rakuten is a fantastic cashback site regardless of where you live, that offers users a lot. Never pay full price again and make sure that you go via Rakuten Global or Rakuten UK to snag some of your money back on all purchases.

Other Rakuten Reviews

I’m a big believer in comparisons and looking at multiple sources of information. Rakuten gets glowing reviews across the internet and deservedly so. Let’s take a look at how it performs in reviews elsewhere:

Rakuten Trustpilot Review

Rakuten gets a very positive Excellent rating on Trustpilot. Many users praise them for the ease of use and the fact that cashback just gets automatically added to their accounts. There are also various mentions of how much cashback helps during the cost-of-living crisis.

There are of course some negatives in the mix but nothing concerning. Situations such as people being suspended for multi-accounting or unfortunate situations where cashback hasn’t been tracked correctly.

Rakuten Reddit Review

As you should know, Reddit is a great place to understand the sentiment of a site or an app. It has people’s real-life experiences which are great when forming an opinion.

Let’s take a look at some Reddit reviews and experiences of Rakuten:

Similar Apps

Check out a couple of the best cashback sites and apps available. You can also look at the mega list of cashback apps to ensure you always earn the max amount from any purchase.

Rakuten FAQ

There’s always more to ask, so even though we’ve laid out the full Rakuten review and guide above, we’ve packed some extra information into our FAQ.

Yes, Rakuten is 100% free. Of course in order to claim cashback you need to spend money on whatever you are purchasing. But Rakuten does not take any money from you.

No, in the USA you can also earn cashback from Rakuten for in store purchases. You can link your debit or credit card and earn from shopping in physical stores. This is unfortunately not available in other countries which are online cashback only.

No, there is no indication that Rakuten sells your information. In fact, the only information they have is the merchant sending information on how much cashback you should recieve.

Unfortunately, no you can’t add Rakuten cashback after a purchase has been made. It must be done before purchase. This is one of the benefits of the Rakuten extension – that you don’t need to remember to add it.

Rakuten used to be called Ebates. Ebates was taken over by Rakuten, and has its name changed but still retained the same purpose, to provide cashback to users.

Yes Rakuten works with Amazon, so long as there is an existing cashback offer on Rakuten for Amazon.

In the USA, you need to download the Rakuten app and register your debit or credit card. Then you just use your card as normal and Rakuten will record any cashback that you’re owned from your purchases.

You can use Rakuten on mobile. You can use it through your phone web browser when shopping or in the USA you can even download the Rakuten app and get cashback added directly via the app.

Final Thoughts

Everybody should be using cashback when they make purchases. If you’re not, you’re unnecessarily giving money away. The problem is knowing where to go fo the cashback and remembering to apply it. That’s where Rakuten really shines as it brings it all under one roof. Never miss out on cashback again and do yourself a favour – sign up to Rakuten below and stop paying so much for your everyday purchases!

Join Rakuten Global today if you’re from the USA, Canada, or Europe.
Join Rakuten UK if you’re from the UK and want to snag a free £15 bonus.

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