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If you’re looking for an easy way to earn cash back on purchases, Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a great place to start. Make purchases online through Rakuten to get a percentage back on purchases at over 2,500 retailers. You’re missing out on money if you’re not using it!
Rakuten is a website that I was a little bit afraid of when I first heard about it. It seemed a little bit too good to be true that you could shop as normal online and receive cash back just for going through Rakuten first. It’s turned out to be one of my favorite cash back websites, and I’m sorry that I waited as long as I did to get started.
What Exactly is Rakuten and Why Should You Use It?
Rakuten is an insanely easy way to get a cash rebates on almost all of your online shopping. It’s completely free to use, and you are simply being rewarded for clicking on Rakuten’s site before going to the actual store’s website. The stores are paying Rakuten to send customers their way, and Rakuten is giving you a cut of that back as a thank you.
When you want to complete an online purchase, you go to the Rakuten website first and locate the store you’re looking for. You are then redirected straight to the store, and you don’t have to do anything else to get your cash back. It’s automatically added to your Rakuten account once your purchase is complete.
What Stores Are Included?
Rakuten partners with over 2,500 stores, so you can find just about anything that you are looking for. The stores I most frequently shop at include:
- Old Navy
- Thrive Market
- BuyBuy Baby
- Stitch Fix
…and so many more!
I’m constantly trying to find ways to reduce our spending at these stores, and money saving apps and sites like Rakuten are definitely part of that strategy. Second place is Ibotta for cash back, but Rakuten covers far more stores.
The Step-by-Step Breakdown of Using Rakuten
The first thing you need to do to get your cash back is to visit Rakuten’s website. You’ll see a list of some of the most popular stores, but you just enter the store you’re looking for into the search bar if you don’t see it.
Once you find the store you’re looking for, you will see what percentage cash back you will receive. Just click on the store of your choice, and you will be redirected to their site. Then you just shop as you normally would.
Another easy way to use Rakuten is to download the Rakuten icon in your tool bar. With this icon, you can go directly to the retailers’ websites, and Rakuten will alert you if you are eligible for cash back or other offers. This is a great way to ensure that you never miss out on cash back!
If you’re on a website and you want to know what cash back options, sales, and promotions are available, you can click on this icon. If there are incentives, they will be displayed in a drop down.
Rakuten Commonly Asked Questions
There have been a few questions about Rakuten that I wanted to answer.
“I don’t shop online. Can I still use Rakuten?”
You can benefit from Rakuten even if you shop in stores. Not as many stores fall under the “in-store cash back” category, but it’s worth taking a look before you head out the door. There are about 100 stores that do cash back in-store. To receive cash back on your purchases, you have to link a credit card. Once you make a purchase on your credit card from your store of choice, you will receive cash back from Rakuten.
However, with free shipping and free returns at most stores, online shopping is how I automate most of my errands! I also have several stores where I shop online and then do in-store pick-up so that I can have my items the same day. This is an easy way to get cash back for your online purchases AND keep you from having to shop with kids!
“How is it free? Rakuten must make money as well.”
They definitely do make money, and probably a lot of it. Essentially, stores are paying Rakuten to send customers to them.
Here’s an example of how they make money: You go shopping for back to school clothes and choose to shop at Old Navy since you get 8% cash back on your purchase. You go to Rakuten’s site and click through to OldNavy.com.
You spend $100 on school clothes. Old Navy pays Rakuten $10 for sending you to them, and Rakuten pays you $8. That means Rakuten makes $2 on your purchase while you make $8. Old Navy is happy to get a customer. Rakuten is happy you helped them make money. You’re happy that you get money back. It’s a win/win for everyone!
“Is Rakuten really worth it?”
It absolutely is! I am definitely frugal, but I still have a family of 5 that I have to shop for. Even I spend over $3,000 online every year. The fact that Rakuten gives me the opportunity to receive money back makes a big difference for us.
Why would you say no to free money that takes almost no extra effort to earn? It’s a no-brainer.
One great way to use Rakuten is to let your earnings add up over the course of the year. Cash them out in November, and you can use them to order all of your Christmas presents online using Rakuten. You get to earn cash back on the. money that you received as cash back. That’s an amazing way to save a ton of money on purchases you were already planning to make!
How I Use Rakuten Regularly
I try to do the bulk of my shopping online as often as possible unless I just absolutely need something that day. Not only does it save me money on impulse purchases and fighting my kids in store, it also helps me choose the store where I’ll spend the least and earn the most cash back.
I am able to get amazing prices AND cash back on higher quality products from stores like Thrive Market.
I can also use Amazon Subscribe and Save to save money plus receive cash back.
I can completely eliminate trips to Target and Walmart and have everything delivered to my door.
Rakuten is one of the primary ways that I’m able to drastically cut my grocery spending. I include food, personal care items, and household items all under my grocery budget, and a ton of it can be purchased online.