You may have heard of Rakuten (or as its previous name Ebates) and really wondered if it was legit. A recommendation from a trusted friend along with an invite helped convince me it was for real. And with the invite came an added cash back bonus for both of us.
Who doesn’t like cash back to reduce the cost of purchases you were going to make anyway? And who doesn’t like finding aways to earn larger cash back payment?
What is Rakuten Rewards?
Rakuten Rewards, previously known as Ebates, was originally founded in 1998 as a cash back and shopping rewards company. In 2014 Ebates was bought by Rakuten, a Japanese company and in 2019 the cash back company was rebranded as Rakuten Rewards.
Rakuten Rewards publishes links on its website which members click to go to the shopping partner site. When you make a purchase, Rakuten receives a commission on the sale, also called affiliate commission, and shares part of it with you.
You can access these special shopping links through their website, mobile app, and web browser extensions. If you sign up for the program, you will receive regular emails about the daily special promotions. Most days at least one store is running a deal at a higher cash back rate.
Even if you don’t do much online shopping, double-check the list of companies they currently partner with. You will likely be surprised that some of your favorite go-to stores offer extra cash back through the partnership.
5 tips and tricks to help you increase your Rakuten cash back
It’s simple enough to go to the Rakuten site to click a link to your favorite store before making a purchase to save you money. Almost no extra effort to reduce the amount of money you were going to spend anyway.
What if you can save even more money and increase the cash back you receive through the program?
Here are a few strategies to help you to get started.
Shop around to find the store with the best deal
Depending on what you like the buy, multiple stores may sell the same products. This is especially true with makeup and handbags. These products are sold at their specific brand stores, specialty stores (Ulta, Sephora, etc), and department stores.
Depending on the store and the day, the cash back rates may change. If you’re looking to buy a specific item, check which store has the best deal for the day and click through on Rakuten to that store’s website.
Stock up on your favorite products during a promotion
For the products you use regularly, keep an eye out for special cash back promotions in emails and on the website. You can save a few extra dollars in added cash back promotions when you stock up on your favorite products.
Tip: Rakuten runs extra promotions tied to events and holidays. Stores may also run their own deals. Make sure to keep an eye on your email and know how much of your favorite products you have on hand. Try to buy enough to keep yourself stocked until the next deal comes around.
Save more money by stacking deals
Have you heard of deal stacking before? The concept is layering multiple deals, coupons, or offers together to save extra money. While sometimes you can only apply one coupon, you can generally still receive a cash back reward in addition to paying the product’s sale price.
And when the company is running a large store-wide sale, they may also run an added Rakuten cash back promotion on top of it.
Three quick things to note with deal stacking:
- The Rakuten cash back bonus is calculated on your purchase subtotal. You won’t receive cash back on your shipping or tax amounts. The cash back rewards are also calculated after any sales discounts are applied.
- Follow the sales and advertised cash back promotion codes on the Rakuten site. Not all offers can be combined. To ensure you receive the most can back you’re eligible for, follow the codes and links on the Rakuten site.
- Sometimes crediting your cash back gets delayed. When a popular store runs a promotion, there can be a delay in crediting your rewards account for the cash back amount. Make sure you keep an eye on purchases you make and your cash back statement. If something looks wrong, you can submit a ticket for Rakuten to look into it.
Apply for the Rakuten Credit Card for additional cash back
You may not be a fan of credit cards, or trying to reduce the number of cards in your wallet, but depending on the stores you shop in, it might make sense to apply for this credit card.
This isn’t about adding credit card debt, and you really should only buy what you can afford to pay in full for cash back rewards to be worth it.
If you strategically use your credit cards, you can save extra money on your regular purchases. Take a look at your wallet and use the card that has the best cash back rate for the specific store or purchase.
For example, the Rakuten credit card offers a 3% cashback rate on qualifying purchases in addition to the advertised promotion. 3% cash back rates aren’t common. For other purchases, the card offers a 1% rate so you may want to use a different card or payment method for your non-Rakuten related purchases.
Rakuten Cash back isn’t limited to online purchases
PS. Within the last few years multiple Rakuten partner stores started offering in-store cash back. You may be able to earn bonus cash back rates when you shop in-person. Double check the website to see which stores included in the offers. And you may need to “add your credit card” to the program website to ensure you receive cash back for the purchase.
This is useful for products that you can’t wait to receive via shipment. But this may also mean the company has access to your purchase history above and beyond clicking the link on a website. If you’re not comfortable with that, no worries. Online shopping may be a better fit for you and your savings goals!
What additional Rakuten cash back questions or tips do you have?
What additional Rakuten cash back questions do you have? Or do you have other tips for maximizing your cash back rewards?
To get you started, shop around for the best deals, stock up when you see a promotion, stack deals where possible, and use a credit card for additional cash back savings.
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