That’s the latest discount I got off of my purchase at Macys.com with only two extra clicks, thanks to the Rakuten cash back app (formerly known as Ebates).
This money-saving tool, which I never go online shopping without, has saved me over $250 on things that I was already intending to buy.
Because I love to share the wealth, I want to show you how does Rakuten work exactly, and teach you all the ways you can easily make money through Rakuten.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to use Rakuten to earn or save money
- Tips and tricks for maximizing your earnings from Rakuten
- A way to earn from Rakuten even if you don’t buy a single thing
This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure for more details.
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What is Rakuten all about?
Rakuten, previously Ebates, is a cashback site that lets you earn money back on your shopping purchases, absolutely free.
There’s no sign-up fee, no cost to download the app, no hidden costs…seriously, no gimmicks.
If you’re wondering why a third party would be so nice to give you cash back, it’s because stores pay Rakuten a commission to get shoppers to their sites. Rakuten shares that commission with you to entice you to use their platform.
A triple win, for you, Rakuten, and the store.
Rakuten has expanded to include brick-and-mortar stores, not just online retailers. All in all, over 2500 merchants partner with Rakuten, so they’re a pretty big deal.
How does Rakuten work?
Once you’ve registered, it only takes a few clicks to start cashing in on the savings with Rakuten.
All you have to do is stop by Rakuten site or app before you go to a retailer’s website or physical store to make a purchase. Once Rakuten verifies the purchase, you get credited with cash back savings.
The retailer you shopped at will then pay Rakuten a commission, which Rakuten splits with you.
If you need more convincing to try out Rakuten, then check out our post what is Rakuten for a detailed review and to see how easy it was for us to earn some free money through Rakuten.
Ways to Make Money with Rakuten
Over the years, we’ve figured out some of the best ways to maximize our Rakuten moolah. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most (literally!) out of Rakuten.
Snag the $10 welcome bonus
This will be the easiest $10 you earned. Just follow these two simple steps to qualify:
- Sign up for an Rakuten account
- Make at least $25 in purchases through Ebates within 90 days
Don’t want to make your $25 purchase all at once? No problem!
As long as your total purchases within 90 days reaches at least $25, that $10 bonus is yours.
Try our ninja hack to qualify for multiple welcome bonuses!
You’ve heard that two heads are better than one. Same goes for two bonuses.
We devoted a special post on how to use Rakuten in a way that lets you earn multiple welcome bonuses from various sites for buying that one item you’re shopping for. Be sure to take a peek so you can snag ’em all!
Stack both coupons and cashback
On top of giving you cashback, Rakuten also offers many coupon codes that will work in conjunction with the normal cashback offer. Be sure to browse the coupons beforehand and punch them in at checkout for extra savings.
If you find a coupon outside of Rakuten and apply it your order, there is a chance that it will void your Rakuten cashback earnings.
We’ve successfully applied outside coupons before, but wanted to warn you of this possibility.
Take advantage of double cash back days
Rakuten regularly features stores that will earn you double the cash back, which can make your cash back earnings go from great to fantastic.
Imagine a store offering 10% cashback that is suddenly giving you 20% off.
Get cash back for purchases made in-store
Because of Rakuten’s explosive success with offering cashback for online shopping, they’ve taken it one step further and found a way to award cashback for shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores too!
To try out this relatively new feature, log in to your Rakuten account and then click on “In-Store Cash Back.”
After selecting which store you want to go to, you’ll be prompted to designate what credit card you’ll be using to pay for your purchase.
Finally, complete your transaction at the physical store with the credit card you registered on Rakuten. Your cashback should appear in your Rakuten account within a week.
The in-store cashback percentage isn’t necessarily the same as what you’d get for shopping through the same retailer’s online site.
Check out both offers, then see which one is the better deal after factoring in shipping costs. You might end up making more by just buying online.
Use the browser bar
If you shop on a desktop computer, Rakuten’s browser bar makes it easy to ensure you never miss out on potential cashback.
Their browser plug-in shows you an alert every time you visit a site that offers cashback through Rakuten.
And, you can activate the cashback by clicking on the button that appears, without even having to go to Rakuten.com first!
If you do activate cashback for that site visit, Rakuten will also automatically punch in any coupon codes they have when it’s checkout time. Cashback doesn’t get any more convenient than that.
One thing that the browser bar doesn’t show you is the conditions and restrictions that apply for that retailer.
If you want to be absolutely sure that what you’re buying will earn cashback, it’s best to double check that store’s profile at Rakuten.com.
Share the Rakuten love
We’d totally vouch for Rakuten even without their referral bonus, but the hefty $25 incentive they offer is just extra icing on our cashback cake.
Rakuten referral bonuses are a nice way to earn a few extra bucks, and you’ll be doing your friends & family a favor by showing them an easy way to save more money.
Learn how Rakuten works to save on purchases. Earn cash back with the Rakuten app to make a little extra money with your shopping through the Rakuten. We’ll show you all the ways to earn with Rakuten so you can pocket some free cashback.
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STACY, aka AUNTY CHANG, is a personal finance blogger set on a mission to show people that there's more to money than just the numbers. With two rental properties and a six-figure 401k by her 30's, she's on track to retire early without sacrificing work-life balance to get there. She wants to teach others how to identify their goals and use money to make them happen. Dual income, no kids, based in Hawaii.