What is Rakuten?
Rakuten was founded in 1998 in Menlo Park, California. For over 20 years, the company has been giving customers cashback of between 1% and 40% on almost anything they buy. The catch? You have to purchase items by shopping through your Rakuten account. In this Rakuten review let’s look closely and try to objectively answer the question – Is Rakuten Legit?
“Rakuten is the new Ebates – With over 12 million members and $1 billion in Cash Back paid out, Rakuten is the easiest and most rewarding way to shop. Become a member today and start shopping smarter. Follow us for the latest sales, member-exclusive offers and more. How does it work? We pay members Cash Back when they shop at over 2,500 stores, plus find them the best deals and coupons.” Rakuten.com
Rakuten.com – Formerly Buy.com
The Company Buy.com
The online retailer formerly known as Buy.com was created in 1997. It is based in California, USA. The company began as a seller of computers and electronics but eventually expanded to several other categories. The company’s initial revenue model was to sell items below cost and make up the difference through other revenue streams. These other streams included services like advertising, warranties and equipment leases. In 1998, the company’s first complete year of operation, goods and services worth $111 million were sold. The company has moved from 100 marketplace sellers on launch to thousands of sellers offering 11.5 million products. The company, also sells through eBay. It is only the second company in eBay’s history to receive 1 million positive reviews and a satisfaction rating of 99.7 %.
Acquisition by Rakuten Inc
Rakuten Inc acquired Buy.com in May 2010 at a value of approximately $250 million. Following the acquisition, the company changed the industry standard of 30-day returns to a 45-day return policy. Following the change in ownership, the company reported its best Black Friday and Cyber Monday performance ever in November 2010. The company was officially rebranded as Rakuten.com in January of 2013.
How Does Rakuten Work?
Rakuten is easy to operate. All you have to do is sign up for a Rakuten account. Once you log in using your member login, you find the name of the store where you want to shop. You can use the alphabetical list Rakuten provides, or find a store with their search bar. Once you find your desired store, you click on it. The link will bring you right to the store website via the Rakuten portal. Bingo! You can start shopping.
Because you are directed from the Rakuten site directly to the store website, shopping through Rakuten is no different than if you’d gone directly to the store site. The only difference is that you now can accumulate cashback credit on qualifying purchases. Rakuten can only monitor this activity when you access a participating store through your Rakuten account. Your other option for shopping via Rakuten is to use the Rakuten browser extension. When you install the browser extension, you can skip the step of visiting the Rakuten website. The extension will show a popup whenever a website you visit is eligible to earn you cashback on your purchase. All you have to do is click the button in the popup to activate Rakuten and earn cashback. wellkeptwallet.com
Rakuten Products and Services
There are a plethora of products services offered through the Rakuten Portal:
- Online market. Includes buying and selling of all legal items like electronics, clothing, beauty, health, sports, pet supplies, office supplies, home and outdoor supplies, baby products; among others.
- Online banking. Mostly operated in Japan.
- Credit cards and payments are provided to the clients on the site.
- Media. Include things like music, movies, tv shows or even magazines whether vintage or modern.
- Travel reservations to traveling clients.
- Professional sports For those who like sports you can get sports equipment on sale and learn more about sports that you are interested in.
- Videos that are on demand. Get all the trending videos online and most watched/demanded on the site.
- Marketing and data analysis.
- Electronic reading and e-books For book lovers who do not want a hard copy but still want to learn.
- Book distribution Involves buying and selling of books for those who like to read hard copy material.
- Fashion and trends for all the ladies and gentlemen who like to be informed on new designs for the glam.
- Mobile messaging applications that are on sale since they have partnered with major corporations.
- Games like space invaders and Pac-Man for the gamer both adults and kids who love their games. The game console is available for sale and also games that are bought. https://onlinemoneyfordads.com/is-rakuten-a-scam-honest-review-of-rakuten-and-its-affiliates/
Can You Use Rakuten in Stores?
Most Rakuten members understand that you can earn cash back when shopping online. But what if you’re shopping at your favorites stores in person? Maybe you need to try something on to make sure you get a perfect fit, or pick up a last-minute gift on the way to an event. Rakuten has you covered with In-Store Cash Back. Now, you can start getting paid for those shopping trips you make in real life as well as online.
In-Store Cash Back works by letting you link Cash Back offers to a credit card. Any card information you share with Rakuten is held in a secure, encrypted environment. Rakuten pledges that this information will never be exposed, sold or otherwise compromised.
Qualifying In-Store Cash Back cards
You can link most American Express cards, most Mastercard credit and debit cards, and most Visa credit and debit cards to your Rakuten account. In-Store Cash Back offers cannot currently be linked to other cards, including store cards that do not carry American Express, Mastercard or Visa logos. If you shop with more than one card, feel free to link multiple cards to your account.
Special instructions for debit cards
To earn In-Store Cash Back with your debit card, be sure to run it as credit and sign for your purchase. Do not use your PIN for these types of purchases. Rakuten will not be notified of PIN transactions, so you will not earn Cash Back when using a PIN.
Which Stores Partner With Rakuten?
The number of stores you can shop through Rakuten is substantial. In fact, they have partnerships with over 2,500 stores. Some of those stores include:
- Ace Hardware
- Bath and Body Works
- Several Travel Sites
The sheer number of stores that partner with the program assures that there are rebates available for almost every type of product imaginable. Rakuten offers rebate discounts at the stores that most people use for everyday items. Plus, there are specialty and gift stores. This means you can save money on everyday purchases, and when you need to buy Christmas and other gifts too. wellkeptwallet.com
How to Join Rakuten
Joining Rakuten is simple. You can start shopping and earning Cash Back as soon as you sign up. Create a secure account by submitting your email address and a password. You can also join using your Facebook or Google account. Rakuten offers a $10 Welcome Bonus to all new members. To qualify for the Welcome Bonus, you must be a new Rakuten member and place a qualifying order totaling a minimum of $25 within 90 days of joining.
Use It Like a Credit Card
To unlock In-Store Cash Back, pay the credit way. Even if you are using a debit card, pay like its a credit card. If you pay with your debit card and use your PIN, they won’t be notified and able to track it. So when you’re ready to check out, remember: “Credit, please!”
Link Before Shopping
Always link before you leap. If you shop at a store before linking an In-Store Cash Back offer to your card, you’ll miss out on that Cash Back.
Is Rakuten Membership Free?
Three Ways to Earn Cash Back Online with Rakuten
1 Register for Rakuten and shop online throught their portal
You can then visit the Rakuten.com site and initiate your shopping from there. If you are logged into Rakuten.com, any retailer links you click on from the Rakuten.com site will automatically open in a new window. Your shopping session will be tracked to give you cash back credit for your purchase.
2 Download the Rakuten Cash Back Button plugin for your browser
When you register and sign in for the first time, they will prompt to install the Rakuten plugin. It is effortless to install, and it will remind you to use Rakuten even if you forget. Currently, Chrome, Edge, FireFox, and Safari are supported. With the browser extension, you can just shop the way you usually do by going directly to the web site of the retailer. If Rakuten has a cashback offer for that retailer, you will automatically get a drop down box. All you need to do is just click on the Activate Cash Back button to track your shopping trip.
3 Download the Rakuten app and shop using your SmartPhone
Many people now use their SmartPhones to do a lot of simple shopping. It is canvenient and most carry their phones around constantly. Using the Rakuten mobile app, you can still earn cash back and not lose that flexibility. Using the Rakuten mobile app, the shopping process on your mobile is similar to the computer experience. To get started, you can choose the retailer from within the app to start your shopping trip. You will then get a notification within the window to let you know that the cash back has been activated. After that notification, you will be directed to the retailer site. From there, you just purchase like you usually would. Any cash back will be tracked and added to your account upon completion of the purchase. savvydollar.com
How Long does it take Rakuten to Pay Cash Back?
Rakuten makes payouts on a quarterly basis. Every three months, your purchases are added up. Then you get paid a month and a half later. For example, purchases from January through March are counted as one shopping period. Any cash back you earn during this 90 day window is added up at the end of March. Then, it is paid out a month and a half later – on May 15th. So, if you buy something in January, you won’t see a penny from Rakuten for that purchase until May 15th. There is also a minimum payout amount of $5 dollars. So, if your cash back from purchases is less than $5 bucks, it will carry over to the next period for payout – August 15th.
Is Rakuten Legit?
Going back to the Ebates era, the website states that over 10 million members have earned over 1 Billion dollars in cash back offers. In 2013, Ebates was purchased by Rakuten, and in 2019 the company started using Rakuten as the official name of the service. You may still see the Ebates references online because the branding is so strong.
Rakuten has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has good customer reviews from its members. Also, Rakuten has an excellent user rating on popular user review sites like Trustpilot. With all that positive feedback, Rakuten trustworthiness surpasses similar services that offer cash back. They have a strong legacy with Ebates, and many happy members earning cash back through rebates. So, in answer the question – is Rakuten legit? From the positive information online, all signs point to the conclusion Rakuten is legit.
Rakuten Referral Program
Another attractive thing about Rakuten is their referral program. Rakuten is willing to pay you cash for referring your friends. Currently, they will pay you $5 per person that you refer as long as they actually use Rakuten to get cashback. Signing up is not enough, Your referral needs to use Rakuten at least once to buy something over $25 for you to get the commission. Also, sometimes Rakuten will run an additional promotion. For instance, they will give you $25 for each person you refer for up to 3 people. The new members you refer get $10 for signing up, and you get paid as well…everybody wins!
Rakuten Review 5 Star ***** Why I like Rakuten…
“The company has been around for a while, and that has allowed them to get partnerships with over 2,500 retailers. Their service is easy to sign up for, and it’s 100% free. Their browser plugin and mobile app offer hassle-free options for both PC/MAC and mobile, so they have you covered no matter what you use for doing your online shopping. If you shop online, you are missing out on free cash if you do not give it a try. Rakuten has been very accurate in the delivery of the cash back rewards, and their website and app are top notch.”
Rakuten Review Four Star **** Is Rakuten Legit? You Bet!
“I joined in October 2018 and did all my Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping through Rakuten. Since then I have earned over $500 with basically no extra effort. The only thing keeping me from giving Rakuten a full 5 stars is that Rakuten pays you quarterly rather than allowing you just to request payment when you meet the threshold. While this may be considered a con for those eager to get paid right away, I think of it more as a quarterly bonus that I can look forward to.” savvydollar.com
Rakuten Review Three Star *** I like Rakuten, but I get pretty frustrated…
“So, I like Rakuten. I really, really do. But I get pretty frustrated, on a regular basis. I do my shopping the way that I’m supposed to- I log in to Rakuten first, and then log in to my selected online store. When I’m done, a pop-up from Rakuten says that the cashback will be deposited into my account within a few days. But sometimes, and especially with bigger orders (read “bigger cash back”), that just. Doesn’t. Happen. So I check My Shopping Trips periodically, to see if the cash back has been deposited (I do a lot of online shopping, so this gets pretty involved and time-consuming).” Dana of St Louis, Mo
Rakuten Review Two Star ** Ok website, but awful way to deal with customers…
“I had signed up a friend in order to claim the 25$ cash back deal they have going on, but 1 day later the money from my account seems to be missing. The 10 dollar welcome bonus on my friends account is also gone. So now Ive spent 155 dollars with about 10 dollars in cash back, of which should of been 45+. Pretty okay website, awful way to deal with “suspicious” behavior, Lets remove their money without telling them why and move on with it. If youre looking for any decent amount of cash back, dont use this website.” Caden of Arizona
Rakuten Review 1 Star * This is ridiculous…
“When I used Ebates, I always got cash back rewards on eligible purchases. But something is going on with Rakuten! I received no cash back rewards for purchases made In November and December 2019 – even though they were all eligible purchases!! Every transaction shows up in my account history…. but every reward amount equals 0.00!!! The busiest shopping time when a lot of purchases were made…. and not one penny was awarded in rebates!! When I inquired, I was given an online link to fill out forms with required details and proof of purchase!! This is ridiculous – very time consuming!!” Sheila of Columbus
Is Rakuten Legit? Final Thoughts
Is Rakuten legit? Yes, it is not a scam. It really does give you free money when you shop. And with over 2,500 stores to choose from, nearly everyone can earn cashback. Just remember to read the fine print regarding what items stores are giving cashback. When used wisely, Rakuten can help you keep more cash in your pocket and save money on the things you buy every day.
Remember that Rakuten only pays out four times per year, after a minimum 45 day delay. The commercials are enticing and the payout percentages sound significant. However, when you add it up, it takes some serious online shopping to earn much money. Also, you have to remember to do your shopping through Rakuten.com, or their browser plugin, or their mobile app. If you don’t use their online portals, they can’t track your spending to assign your cash back totals.
In the end, if you buy a lot of things online, and always use Rakuten’s portal, then you can earn enough cash back to make it worth your while. There is no harm in collecting a little bit of money a couple of times a year. Just don’t let visions of sugar plums and thousand dollar payouts every month cloud your judgement.