If you have searched for passive income ideas or ways to make extra money online, you might have heard of Rakuten.
Rakuten will pay you to shop online – yes, really!
Rakuten is a company that allows users to earn money back in exchange for shopping via their site. Therefore, users must spend money to make money. However, plenty of people are already doing their shopping online, so read on to see if Rakuten is the right way for you to earn extra money.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten, formerly Ebates, is a website that allows app and desktop users to get cash back on their purchases. Ebates has been around since 1997, and Rakuten acquired the brand in 2014. The Japan-based company is an affiliate marketing company, which means that Rakuten sends shoppers to other websites, and they get paid for it. Then, they pass on savings to their customers.
Is Rakuten Legit?
It's a legit way to earn cash back online.
But when you hear that Rakuten will pay you to shop, you might be skeptical. Free money and earning cash always comes with a catch, right?
While it may seem too good to be true, we can vouch that Rakuten is a legitimate company, and their clients are earning real money. Here is what you need to know about Rakuten:
- Rakuten was founded in 1997
- Ebates was founded in 1999
- Rakuten acquired Ebates in 2014
- Rakuten has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Over 10 million people use Rakuten
- Rakuten offers over 2,500 stores
- Rakuten has paid out over $800 million from their cash back program
So, Rakuten is not only trusted by millions of users but is also trusted by the BBB. The company has had satisfied customers for about two decades and is still increasing in revenues.
How Does Rakuten Work?
When someone decides that they want to use Rakuten, they simply sign up by answering a few questions on the website.
The sign-up process takes about a minute and is completely free. After creating your Rakuten account, getting started is easy.
New users can choose to add the app to their phone and a Chrome browser extension on their computer to find the best deals, promo codes and new ebates, and help make Rakuten a more seamless process.
Then, just start shopping.
Users can choose to sign up through Rakuten's referral program by clicking on a friend’s link. When someone signs up via a friend’s link, they receive the standard $10 welcome bonus.
It is important to note that people only get a welcome bonus if they make $25 of qualifying purchases in the first 90 days of being a member. Rakuten lets users choose between a $10 Walmart gift card or a $10 cash bonus that they can take as cash back when they cash out.
Once users are signed up and ready to shop, they can access over 2,500 of their favorite stores from the Rakuten site.
These stores include favorites such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more. When people purchase pet supplies, food, clothes, beauty products, and other items, they can earn cash back.
The only caveat is that purchases must be made through Rakuten, so users are encouraged to shop through the app or plug-in on Google Chrome.
A Rakuten shopping experience starts when the user visits the Rakuten website or through the browser extension.
Shoppers then select the retailer that they want to shop through. For example, someone might choose to shop through Walgreen’s. When the user clicks on Walgreen’s, they are taken to the coupons, promotions, and cash back page on the Rakuten website.
They can select those coupons, promotions, and cash back options to shop the Walgreen’s website with. When a user has selected items that qualify for the coupon or other option that they chose, the promotional credit is automatically applied. If the user earned cash back, it is added to their Rakuten balance.
Rakuten sends money that users have earned every three months. The quarterly payments are sent via check to the user’s address or via PayPal. Users can alter their payment information at any time on the website or within the Rakuten app.
How Much Can I Make on Rakuten?
There are a few ways that users can earn cash back and make money with a Rakuten account with online purchases, and their payments can add up.
If someone is simply using the website to shop for items they were already planning to buy, Rakuten can be an easy way to generate a bit of passive income.
Here are a few different ways that users can earn and save money with Rakuten:
Earn Cash Back – Many stores will offer cash back opportunities within the Rakuten website as a way to make money. Users simply select the deal they want to shop and complete their shopping experience. Rakuten will automatically place the cash back credits in the user’s account. Sometimes, users can earn over 12% cash back through online purchases.
For example, users have reported using Amazon Pantry to stock their shelves at home. By using Rakuten, their $70 purchases earned up to $8 in cash back.
Coupons – Users can also save money by shopping with Rakuten because they offer their customers upfront discounts for shopping through the site. For some, this is better than waiting for cash back because they save money right away. Users may find a 10% off coupon for clothing or up to 40% off pet food. Coupons are reliant on the retailer and the coupons available, but savvy Rakuten users can save a lot of money upfront.
Refer Friends – Users can receive up to $25 for referring friends who start using Rakuten. Those same friends will receive $10, so it might seem like a no-brainer to have your friends start signing up. New users must make their first purchase on the Rakuten website to receive their welcome bonus as well as for the person who referred them to receive their referral bonus.
The Bottom Line
Rakuten is a reputable way to earn extra money online, simply by shopping for items that you were already planning to buy. While the payouts only happen quarterly, when leveraged well, Rakuten can be a great way to rack up some extra cash.
Overall, Rakuten is easy to use, reliable, and helps users to save a lot of money. While Rakuten won’t make you rich, it will help you to save money over time. If this sounds like the right shopping tool for you, sign up here to receive a $10 sign up bonus and start earning!
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.