“Get cashback when you shop” that’s the promise of Ebates (now Rakuten). That is, it promises to put cash back into your pocket whenever you shop. The question is whether Ebates (now Rakuten) is legit or whether it is another scam front waiting to prey on and rip off unsuspecting netizens. Also, how good of a cash-back service is Ebates? This GiantReviews’ look into Ebates (now Rakuten) will help you answer these questions and many others.
In this article
- What is Ebates
- How Rakuten works
- Is Rakuten legit?
- Save Money and/ or Earn Money using Rakuten
- Getting Paid
- Can you get Support?
- Rakuten Pros and Cons
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a cash-back service that almost everyone fell in love with, and for good reason. The reason? With the help of Ebates, people get to do their regular shopping in their favourite stores and get paid for it. Who will not like the sound of getting paid when you shop? And that’s the reason Ebates rose in popularity.
Ebates was established in 1998, and operated for 16 years until it was acquired by Rakuten in 2014. So, Ebates is now Rakuten. Rakuten is a Tokyo-based internet service company that is shaping the way people shop by offering Cash Back, deals and shopping rewards on the world’s largest selection of products and services. Thus, with Ebates becoming Rakuten came even more opportunities to save. When using Rakuten, it’s the same account (your account details are unchanged) and it’s the same deals (you’ll shop the same way, with all the same stores and exact cashback). Visit Rakuten here: www.rakuten.com.
How Rakuten works
There is no abracadabra anywhere here. The operation of Rakuten is quite simple. Stores pays Rakuten a commission for sending its members to their websites to make purchases, and Rakuten shares the commission with these members via cashback.
Rakuten partners with and is able to provide cashback from purchases at over 2,500 stores. Some of the top stores and brands include: Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s JCPenny, and more. You’ll find virtually anything you want to buy, including: clothing, electronics, flowers, books, etc.
Is Rakuten legit?
Yes, Rakuten is 100% legit. The website will not steal your money in anyway. Also, if you earn cashbacks using it, it’ll surely pay you. Why can you be sure that Rakuten is legit?
First the website is backed by a very legit company (Rakuten Inc) which went public in 2000. As of writing, Rakuten Inc is an official partner of the NBA, and the Global Innovation and Entertainment partner of Spanish football giant Barcelona. A company with this profile cannot be in the same sentence as scam.
Secondly (and more importantly), Rakuten has always paid its members. It is the main reason for the surge in its popularity. As of writing, Rakuten had about 12 million members in the US, and it has paid out over $1 billion in Cashback to these persons. Scams do not pay; rather they’re always devising ways to steal your money. So being a service that actually pays, Rakuten is legit.
Save Money and/or Earn Money using Rakuten
Ready to save money and/ or make money when you shop? Then register in Rakuten. If you already had an Ebates account; it’ll work just fine in Rakuten. For the new comers, hit the Rakuten website, or download the Rakuten app and register. This is very simple. When moving from the website, hit the “sign in” button, and submit your email address and password. You can also join using your Facebook or Google account. Importantly, registration is free. Rakuten does not charge a penny for registering. In fact, there is a $10 welcome bonus for new members.
However, the bonus is not simply credited upon registration. The reason is obvious! Many persons will simply register, get the ten bucks and disappear. To get the $10 welcome bonus, you must make a purchase of at least $25 within 90 days of becoming a member.
Know that you can only save money and/ or earn money using Rakuten if you actually shop online. That is, if you are one that shops online; instead of heading directly to an online store to make a purchase (of say $100); head to Rakuten, and you’ll find the item, sometimes at a lower price (say $90), and almost definitely with a cash-back offer (say 10% cashback). Thus, by going through Rakuten to make your purchase, you’ll be saving $10, and also making $9 (the 10% cashback), which is credited to your Rakuten account.
That said; earning using Rakuten entails making a shopping trip. However, there are different ways to earn. These are:
- Rakuten Website – Simply visit Rakuten.com to start your shopping trip. Once in the website, log in. Then use the product categories in the “All store” button to find the product you are interested in and the stores you’ll find them. Simply click the Rakuten link for the cashback. A new window will open letting you know that your Shopping trip has been activated, and you’ll be redirected to the store’s website to make your purchase. You can then earn the cashback advertised when you successfully make your purchase.
- Rakuten Mobile App – This is simply starting a shopping trip using the mobile apps. Rakuten has apps for Android and iOs which are available in the respective app stores. If you have the app installed in your device, and have registered; log in, and use the “featured” or “search” buttons to look for a product you are interested in and store where it is available. Then you simply have to click on a Rakuten link. This opens a window telling you that cashback has been activated, and then redirects you to the store’s website to complete the purchase. You’ll then earn the advertised cash-back
- Rakuten Cash back button – The Rakuten Cash back button is a browser extension that lets you earn cash back and find you discounts without visiting Rakuten first. If you’ll forget to go to Rakuten.com before making a purchase, the Rakuten Cashback button was made with you in mind. To get started, visit your browser store, search for the Rakuten Cash Back Button and download it. The Cashback button will notify you when you’re on any site where Rakuten Cashback is available; it’ll even find coupons for you. Simply click on the notification, and you can start earning Cash Back without interrupting your shopping.
- Rakuten Cashback Visa Credit Card – With this you get additional cash back on qualifying Rakuten purchases. If you start a Shopping Trip with Rakuten and make your purchase using the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card, you’ll get 3% Cash back in addition to the advertised cashback offer. Thus, if you’re buying a Macy’s product with a 12% cashback and you pay with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card, the total cashback you’ll get is 15% (that is, 12% of the offer + 3% bonus). Also, if you use the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card to make purchases anywhere else that Visa Cards are accepted, you’ll get a 1% cashback in your Rakuten account.
- In-store Cashback – You can also enjoy cashback even when shopping in a brick and mortar store. Simply link your credit/ debit card to your Rakuten account. Then find an in-store cash back offer that interests you, activate it, then proceed to the store and make the purchase using the linked card.
- Refer Friends – An interesting feature of Rakuten is its Refer-A-Friend program. Each member is provided a unique referral link; send the link to friends and family, and if the join via your link and make a qualifying purchase, you earn a bonus.
You’ll not want cash back earned to sit in your Rakuten account forever. At some point everyone will want to cash-out. For this, Rakuten supports PayPal and Check. It either deposit your payment into your PayPal account or mail you a Check using your address on file.
The minimum payment amount is $5.01. This is a low amount that is very reachable. This also tells you that this is a legit site. You won’t have to be building a huge balance and never be able to reach withdrawal limit.
However, you’ll have to be very patient when it comes to receiving payment. Rakuten sends payment quarterly according to the schedule below:
|Posting Period||Payment Sent|
|Jan 1 – Mar 31||May 15|
|Apr 1 – Jun 30||Aug 15|
|Jul 1 – Sep 30||Nov 15|
|Oct 1 – Dec 31||Feb 15|
Thus, it’ll take 3 months between payments. If you’ve earned less than $5.00 in a quarter, it’ll be carried forward to the next quarter. The long waiting before receiving payment is because everyone should be satisfied that the shopping is successful. That is, that persons do not simply make a purchase and after getting cashback on the purchase, proceed to return everything.
Can you get support?
Yes, you can. Rakuten has a very effective support service. The first place to start is its Help Center. The help center is arranged by the following help topics: Earning Cash Back, Your Big Fat Check, About My Account, More Features, Technical Support, Terms and Exclusions, Company Information, and Contact Us. With that, you’ll find answers to many questions.
You can also send a support ticket to the support team and you’ll get a response via email. Rakuten does well in terms of response time, as most support tickets are answered within 24 hours.
Rakuten Pros and Cons
- It is absolutely free to use Rakuten. That is, there’s neither a registration fee or subscription fee.
- Gives a generous $10 welcome bonus
- It is very easy to use. The Cashback button makes using Rakuten even easier, as you do not have to visit Rakuten to get cashback
- It supports over 2,500 stores, so there’s hardly an item you want to purchase that you won’t find through Rakuten so as to be able to earn cashback from the purchase
- Shows buyers lots of coupons and deals, so apart from making money via cashback, shoppers also get to save money on their purchases
- There’s an instore feature that allows you get cashback even when shopping in brick and mortar stores
- Has the Rakuten Cashback Visa Credit Card which gives you additional cashback when shopping where Rakuten links are available and even allows you get cashback even when shopping at stores where Rakuten links are not featured
- Has a referral program that allows you earn a commission if you can get persons to join Rakuten
- You choose how you get paid (Check or PayPal)
- Payment threshold is $5.00 which is very reachable
- The welcome bonus is not automatically credited upon registration, but is activated only by making a purchase of $25 within 90 days of registration
- There are some exclusions. That is, in each store, you cannot get cash back on some items
- Sends payment quarterly, so you’ll have a long waiting to do before you receive your cash back