Ebates Review (Ebates is Now Rakuten) In-Depth Analysis
Looking for a detailed review of the Ebates?
Perfect, you’re in the right place!
In this guide you’ll learn:
- What is “Ebates”?
- What is Rakuten?
- Is Ebates a scam or legit company?
- How does Ebates work?
- How much money could you actually make?
- Some hidden tips/tricks to make more money than most folks
- And much more!
Let’s get into it!
Do you want a way to get cash back simply from shopping online? Then Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, just might be what you’re looking for.
But, if making money through online shopping sounds like a scam to you, you’re not alone. So, to settle the debate once and for all, we’ve put together the ultimate Rakuten/Ebates review to help you save money as an online shopper.
What Is “Rakuten” (Formerly Ebates)?
Rakuten Rewards, formerly known as Ebates, is an online platform where you can enroll in a cashback program where you can get money back from shopping at participating online retailers. Rakuten Rewards is a Silicon Valley-based cash back shopping website that has been around since 1997.
In over 20 years of business, Rakuten has partnered with over 2,500 stores to help you save money. Rakuten has a large membership base that includes shoppers around the world. In the United States alone, Rakuten has over 12 million members that have cashed in on over $1 billion of rewards to date.
How Does Rakuten Work?
Wondering how Rakuten (a.k.a. Ebates) works? Basically, online stores give Rakuten a commission for sending you to their websites. In return for your online purchase, Rakuten gives you a small cash back reward based on how much you spent.
To use the site you need a Rakuten account, which will give you access to the thousands of online stores where you can shop and get cash back. You simply have to select the store you want and click the “Shop Now” button.
Once you find the items you want to buy, you can check out on the online shopping site as you normally would. As soon as you check out, Rakuten will calculate your reward and send it to your account. You don’t even have to click a special cash back button to be eligible for your reward.
Then, when you’ve accumulated a large enough reward, Rakuten will either send you a big fat check or process your payout through PayPal four times a year. It’s all pretty simple.
Is Rakuten Legit?
Getting free money in exchange for shopping online might seem too good to be true, so it’s understandable if you’re concerned that Rakuten is a scam. However, in our Rakuten review, we’re happy to say that the site is reputable and does offer legit cash-back deals.
Rakuten features an A rating through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is just one level below the highest A+ rating. The company is BBB accredited, a badge that demonstrates their commitment to resolving member complaints when they arise.
Although some people complain that they’ve had difficulty receiving their rewards, this is not the norm with Rakuten. Millions of Ebates and Rakuten members have successfully figured out how to make money through their qualifying purchases over the years.
Plus, when it comes to keeping your data and information private, Rakuten is one of the best websites in the business. The company was founded by two former deputy district attorneys who hold an incredibly high standard for privacy and protection for all their users.
Ultimately, Rakuten is a legit way to make money through online shopping. While it might not make you rich overnight, shopping through Rakuten is a great way to get some cash back on most of your online shopping purchases.
How Much Money Can You Make With Rakuten?
Since Rakuten works on a commission-based system, the amount that you make depends on two things: how much money you spend on your credit card while shopping and what online retailers you shop with.
As we’ve mentioned, there are thousands of online retailers that participate in Rakuten’s program. However, some, like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, will generally only provide you with a coupon code – not cash back.
Shopping with most other online retailers, though, will earn you cash back rebates based on how much you spend. Stores like Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Target, as well as websites like Groupon and Expedia, all offer varying levels of cash back rebates or promo code deals.
In general, these cash back rebates will be between 1-3% but some deals will net you up to 7% or even 10% back if you get lucky. So, while a $100 purchase will only get you between $1-$7 back on average per shopping trip, these rewards will eventually add up and give you a sizable cash back balance in your Rakuten account.
Getting paid through Rakuten is pretty easy. So long as you have more than $5.01 in your account, Rakuten will send your reward either as a big fat check or through PayPal on a quarterly basis every February, May, August, and November.
But, even if you don’t have enough money in your account to get paid, your funds will simply transfer over to the next billing cycle so you have time to accumulate more rewards.
Do keep in mind, though, that your Rakuten rewards funds are placed on a 60 day hold before you can access them. This is to stop people from buying items for the rewards and then returning them, which would void your cash back payment.
In the end, while you won’t become a millionaire through Ebates, it is a nice way to make some extra cash back on your everyday purchases.
How To Sign Up And Get Started With Rakuten?
Getting started with Rakuten is, thankfully, very simple. All you have to do is head over to their website and enter your email address to make an account. The site will then send you an email link that you can click to set a password for your account.
Once you do this, you can head into your account and add a bit of personal information. You can also connect your Rakuten account with PayPal, if that’s your preferred payment option. Additionally, you can enter your address if you’d prefer to receive a check in the mail.
As soon as your account is up and ready, you can search for your favorite stores and start shopping. Every time you make a purchase through the links you find on the Rakuten website, you will earn a percentage of your total spending back as a cash reward.
However, if you’re concerned that you won’t remember to log into the website before you shop, Rakuten does offer two other options for earning cash back: a browser extension button and a mobile app for android and iPhone.
Rakuten Browser Extension
The hardest part about making money through Rakuten is remembering to go to their website before you start shopping. So, the company created a browser extension to maximize your rewards.
Rakuten offers an extension for Google Chrome, Firefox, and a few other browsers that they call the “Cash Back Button.” All you have to do to get started with the extension is download it to your browser.
Once you do this, if you head to a participating online retailer, the extension will automatically pop-up if it detects any coupon codes or cash back deals. This way, you don’t even need to log into the Rakuten website to get your cash bonus while online shopping.
The best part about the Rakuten Browser Extension? The plug-in has something called a “Price Magic” feature, which will compare prices on dozens of sites so you get the best deal. If something you’re looking for is available on another site for less, the Cash Back Button will pop up and alert you.
Rakuten Mobile App
One of the major drawbacks to most online shopping rewards websites is that they don’t allow you to claim cash back or discounts when you shop in brick and mortar stores. However, Rakuten has figured out a way around this problem through their mobile app.
The Rakuten Mobile App is available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded in just minutes so you can make the most out of your shopping experience. Once you have the Rakuten app, you have a variety of ways to save money and earn cash back as you shop.
The first thing you can do is search for nearby stores to see which ones offer cash back deals and coupon codes. You can then choose to shop directly online on your phone, just as you would on your computer.
Or, if you’re looking to shop in-store, you can search for cash back deals that are valid in a brick and mortar location. If you find one that you like, you simply save the deal as a “card” in your digital wallet and present it to the store’s sales associate at checkout.
Earning cash back through the Rakuten app, though, isn’t just about shopping in stores. With the Rakuten app, you can even earn cash back with every Lyft ride you take.
Rakuten members can also earn up to 7% back when they order meal delivery through GrubHub. If that wasn’t enough, Rakuten’s app also offers 5% cash back on your total bill (including the tip!) at thousands of restaurants around the United States. What’s not to love?
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Rakuten?
Rakuten’s platform for earning cash back through online shopping is certainly impressive and efficient, but is it right for you? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages for using Rakuten as your online shopping cash back hub:
- Free to Sign-Up.Rakuten is 100% free to sign up for, which means there are no up-front costs to using the service. In general, it’s best to avoid paying for discount rewards programs whenever possible, so Rakuten gets an A+ rating from us for this metric.
- Easy to Get Started. As soon as you enter your email address and set a password for your Rakuten account, you can start shopping right away. Unlike other sites that require a slew of personal information before you can start earning rewards, Rakuten recognizes that your time is valuable, so they speed up the process.
- BBB Accredited. Not all online shopping cash back sites are reputable enough to earn a BBB accreditation. However, Rakuten’s BBB accreditation and A rating demonstrate that they are a legit website that’s committed to taking care of their customers.
- 2,500+ Participating retailers. With over 2,500 online stores where you can make qualifying purchases, Rakuten has one of the largest networks of affiliates in the world. This makes it easy to find a store where you can get cash back for all of your purchases.
- Coupon Codes. Unlike some online shopping rewards sites, Rakuten also offers coupons for certain retailers. While this won’t earn you cash back, coupons are a nice way to save money through retailers that don’t participate in the cash back program.
- Browser Extension. Since the hardest part about using most cash back sites is actually remembering to log in first, Rakuten’s browser extension is an invaluable tool. Thanks to the extension, you can shop with confidence, knowing that you’ll earn rewards whenever you make a qualifying online purchase.
- Mobile App and In-store Deals. One of the drawbacks to sites that give you cash back for online shopping is that they often don’t include deals for in-store purchases. With the Rakuten mobile app, though, you can get coupons and your cash back rewards, even if you shop in-store.
- Restaurant Deals. With the Rakuten mobile app, you can get 5% back on your total bill at thousands of restaurants. Or, you can even get cashback on GrubHub deliveries.
- Get Paid in Cash. Unlike a lot of different rewards websites, Rakuten pays you in cash, not Visa gift cards. You can choose to get your payout through PayPal or in the form of a big fat check.
- Exclusions. While Rakuten does offer thousands of cash back deals and promo codes, some sites, like Amazon, chose to exclude certain product categories, like tech. This means you may spend time shopping online only to find out that your purchase doesn’t actually qualify for cash back.
- $50 Maximum Reward. With Rakuten, you can never earn more than $50 cash back on a single transaction, even if you spend $1000 and have a 7% cash back deal. In this instance, you’d get the maximum $50 reward, not the full $70. However, getting $50 back from any transaction is pretty awesome. Plus, if you weren’t using Rakuten, you probably wouldn’t have gotten any cash back in the first place.
- Inactivity Fees. If you have a Rakuten account that you leave inactive for 12 months, the website will charge you $2 in fees.
- Quarterly Payments. Since Rakuten operates on a quarterly payment schedule, you may have to wait up to 3 months to receive your payment. This can be a bit frustrating for some users, especially if you need cash now.
- 60 Day Holding Period. Rakuten has a 60 day holding period policy, which means your reward won’t be cashed out for at least 60 days after your purchase date. So, if you’re supposed to get paid on April 1st and you earn a large cash back reward on March 29th, you won’t see that payment until the next billing cycle. This is to stop people from making purchases for rewards that they then return to the store for a full refund, which voids the cash back offer.
What Are The Alternatives To Rakuten?
Not sure if Rakuten is right for you? Check out these Rakuten alternatives to see if there’s a better site out there for your needs:
Swagbucks is an online rewards site that offers a number of different ways to earn cash from the comfort of your own home. With Swagbucks, you can collect “points” that can later be redeemed through PayPal or as gift cards in exchange for your time doing simple tasks.
Some of the different ways that you can earn money on Swagbucks include watching videos, surfing the web, playing games, taking surveys, and shopping online. When it comes to shopping online, Swagbucks is pretty similar to Rakuten as they simply link you to an online retailer and give you points in exchange for every dollar you spend.
While Swagbucks doesn’t offer as many shopping features as Rakuten, they do provide quite a few ways to make money. Thus, while you have to spend money to make money at Rakuten, you can earn points through Swagbucks in exchange for your time. Swagbucks is ideal for anyone that wants a number of different ways to earn money outside of the world of online shopping.
Be Frugal is an online shopping cash back website that is very similar to Rakuten. The site offers cash back rewards at over 5,000 retailers and claims to offer deals as high as 40% cash back.
Be Frugal offers deals at two times as many stores as Rakuten, which makes it ideal for people who like to shop at less-popular retailers. However, even though Be Frugal boasts rewards as high as 40%, you shouldn’t expect those deals every time you shop. Like Rakuten, the deals at Be Frugal vary from day to day and from retailer to retailer.
Be Frugal and Rakuten are very similar in a number of ways. Both sites offer mobile apps and a browser extension that allows you to get the best cash back deals as you shop. Plus, Be Frugal allows you to get paid through check, PayPal, gift card, or direct deposit as soon as you meet their payout threshold.
The best part about Be Frugal? If another shopping site offers you a better cash back deal, they’ll match it 125%. This means that they’ll give you 100% of the cash back deal, plus an extra 25% to thank you for your loyalty to the site.
MyPoints is an online shopping cash back program that’s quite similar to Swagbucks. Like Rakuten and Swagbucks, MyPoints allows you to earn “points” that can be exchanged for PayPal cash or gift cards just by making purchases at participating online retailers.
However, MyPoints also lets you earn rewards by watching videos, playing games, and from answering survey questions, so it’s a good site to sign up for if you’re looking to maximize your earnings potential.
MyPoints boasts over 9 million members and a handful of different ways to make money online. But, the points system can be a bit annoying to use, especially when other sites like Be Frugal and Rakuten offer you cash back percentages on all of your purchases.
Bottom Line: Is Rakuten Worth It?
Rakuten is a reputable, legit way to make cash back through your online purchases. The site is free to use and easy to sign up for, so getting started is pretty simple.
Although Rakuten has fairly long wait times for claiming your reward, they make it easy to earn cash back at thousands of locations online, in-store, and at restaurants. So it’s a fantastic way to get back some of the money you were going to spend anyway on your everyday purchases.
While Rakuten won’t make you rich, its abundance of cash back offers makes signing-up a no-brainer, especially if you’re an avid shopper.