Rakuten Review – Earn Cash Back for Shopping at Your Favorite Stores

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a popular website that offers cash-back rewards and rebates on everyday purchases from more than 2,500 retail partners. Offers usually range from 1% to 10%, with an impressive crop of “10% cash-back stores” that include some of the biggest names in retail.

Rakuten also offers thousands of product-specific coupons with much larger instant discounts, including “buy one, get one free” (BOGO) offers. Major retailers including Amazon, Macy’s, eBay, and Target are all represented in Rakuten offerings.

It’s free to join Rakuten, though purchases must be made in order to earn cash-back, discounts, or coupons. To make money on a deal, simply click the applicable link on the Rakuten website and complete your purchase with the retailer. Cash back accrues to your Rakuten member account and is automatically sent to you via PayPal or check each quarter. With instant discounts and coupons, the purchase price is reduced before you buy, so your rewards balance doesn’t increase.

How does Rakuten offer these deals? Simple: It collects an affiliate bonus, which varies by retailer, on every purchase members make via the Rakuten site. Rakuten keeps a portion of the bonus for itself and passes the rest along to the member. The exact amount Rakuten keeps varies from deal to deal.

How It Works

Creating an account with Rakuten is easy. Simply enter your email address or Facebook login, click the verification link in the email that appears in your inbox, and create a password. Once you’ve created an account, you can start seeking and taking advantage of offers.

Website Cash Back

The Rakuten homepage displays an array of retailer-specific deals (called “panels”), and the cash-back amount offered by each. When you click on a panel, you’re shown a host of details, including the specific products you can get cash back on, the amount of time remaining for the deal (if applicable), quantity restrictions, and other caveats or limitations.

You can also use the onsite search feature to find specific products or retailers, or browse categories and subcategories displayed on the homepage.

While most cash-back offers apply to direct product or service purchases, others cover coupons purchased through social deal sites like Groupon and Living Social. These offers allow you to get cash back when you purchase the coupon in addition to the coupon’s advertised discount.

To earn cash back, you must sign in to your Rakuten account, click the outbound link in your chosen deal listing, and make a purchase without navigating away from the retailer’s website. If you navigate away and return later to complete your purchase, Rakuten doesn’t earn its affiliate payment and thus can’t offer cash back on the purchase.

Rakuten Button

All Rakuten members are eligible to download the free Rakuten Cash Back Button, a browser plugin (browser extension) that eliminates the need to sign in to your Rakuten account.

The Rakuten Cash Back Button automatically notifies you of cashback opportunities on Rakuten’s retail partner websites. The plugin offers a search box for finding products, and when cash back is available, a small Rakuten logo is visible next to the results. Depending on the retailer, cash back is either automatically activated as soon as you visit the retailer’s website or after you click an orange “Activate Cash Back” link.

In-Store Cash Back

Rakuten offers plenty of opportunities to earn cash back in-store too. To qualify, you need to navigate to the corresponding in-store cash-back panel on your Rakuten mobile app, follow any purchasing instructions, and present your device at checkout for verification. Some merchants offer buy-online, pick up in-store deals for added convenience.

Since in-store cash-back offers are often tied to clearances or seasonal sales, they may be more time-sensitive than online-only deals. Plan accordingly.

Tracking Cash Back

Your Rakuten account dashboard tracks all shopping sessions initiated through Rakuten or the Rakuten Button during the past three months. If you suspect a particular transaction failed to post cash back to your account, you can check your dashboard to see if the transaction was logged and, if so, contact Rakuten to find out what happened.

A transaction’s actual cash-back value can take as few as one or two days to appear in your account, or longer than 30 depending on the retailer and the time of your purchase.

Once earned, cash back never expires. If you return an item whose purchase earned cash back, Rakuten reduces your account balance by the cash-back amount.

Cash-Back Payouts

Rakuten issues quarterly payments for cash-back credit, either as a mailed check (dubbed a “Big Fat Check“) or PayPal deposit. You can also send your Big Fat Check to a recipient of your choice. Payouts come 45 days after the end of the quarter:

  • January 1 to March 31: May 15
  • April 1 to June 30: August 15
  • July 1 to September 30: November 15
  • October 1 to December 31: February 15

To be eligible for a payout on the upcoming payout date, you need to have at least $5 in your account on the last day of the quarter. Smaller balances roll over into the next quarter.

Instant Coupons

In addition to cash back on purchases, Rakuten offers instant discounts through exclusive coupons on individual products or product categories. There are more than 10,000 coupons active at any given time, though many apply to different products from the same retailer. Some coupons are paired with cash-back offers.

Each listing shows the retailer and product to which the coupon applies, the coupon code to enter at checkout (if applicable), the available discount, and any restrictions or limitations.


Key Features

The opportunity to earn cash back on everyday purchases is what brings most shoppers to Rakuten, but the site also has these value-added features:

Sign-Up Bonus and Referral Program

New Rakuten members are eligible for a sign-up bonus worth $20 payable as a gift card to Walmart or a cash bonus to your Rakuten account. To earn the bonus, you must spend at least $20 through Rakuten within 90 days of becoming a member.

A reciprocal referral bonus opportunity allows you to refer new members once you’ve signed up and started shopping.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card is a branded Visa cash-back credit card that pays 3% cash back on most purchases made through Rakuten, including in-store cash-back offers and most travel purchases. All non-Rakuten purchases earn 1% cash back. You also get a $10 cash bonus after your first card purchase.

Mobile Apps

Rakuten has responsive mobile apps for iOS and Android. These apps are the best way to take advantage of coupons for in-person shopping trips. Simply display the coupon or promo code on your phone or tablet’s Rakuten app at checkout.

Customer Support

If you can’t find the answer to your question in the FAQ section, there’s a support ticketing system that typically produces a response within one or two business days. Rakuten doesn’t publicize a customer support phone number.


Advantages

Rakuten has some notable advantages, including a mobile-friendly website, plentiful instant discount opportunities, and a generous cash-back credit card.

  1. Highly Functional, Mobile-Friendly Website. Rakuten’s website runs smoothly and is mobile-friendly, aided by an impressive browser extension (the Rakuten Cash Back Button). Some competing platforms are dogged by frustrating website errors or poor mobile functionality.
  2. Plentiful Instant Discount Opportunities. Rakuten features thousands of active coupons at any given time. Some are good for discounts on specific products, while others cover broader product categories. Some retailers appear to use Rakuten coupons to clear seasonal inventory. By comparison, TopCashback hardly has any instant deals or coupons, a major drawback for shoppers who want immediate discounts.
  3. Cash Back Credit Card Offers Another Way to Earn. The Rakuten Cash Back Visa credit card offers 3% cash back on purchases made through Rakuten. It also comes with a $10 sign-up bonus and 1% cash back on all other purchases, similar to the Chase Freedom card and other popular cash-back credit cards. Some competing cash-back websites omit credit card options, disadvantaging reward-seeking consumers with above-average credit scores.
  4. Nice Sign-Up Bonus. Rakuten offers up to $40 simply for signing up and making qualifying purchases during the first 90 days.

Disadvantages

Rakuten’s disadvantages include no “highest payout” guarantee, pushy prompts, and a potentially inflexible payout schedule.

  1. No “Highest Payout” Guarantee. Rakuten has a lot of competitors that offer deals and discounts with the same retailers. TopCashback has an expansive “highest cash back” guarantee that essentially promises to beat any nonsubscription competitor’s posted deals. If you’re looking for such a guarantee, Rakuten isn’t the shopping discount or cash-back platform for you.
  2. Pushy Sign-Up Prompts. Nonmember visitors to Rakuten are inundated with frequent popups advertising the company’s sign-up bonus. Since the ad is embedded in the site itself, it’s immune to most popup blockers. Though all competitors pressure nonmember site visitors to some extent, Rakuten is probably the most insistent.
  3. Quarterly Payments Can Be Inflexible. Rakuten’s infrequent cash-back payout schedule is a major drawback for shoppers who count on cash back to provide breathing room in their monthly personal budgets. You get paid a maximum of four times per year, regardless of how much you shop or earn.
  4. Payments Only Come by Mailed Check and PayPal. Rakuten only pays out by mailed check or PayPal. Its competitors tend to be more flexible – some offer Amazon credits, for example.

Final Word

Rakuten is a great resource for shoppers who want to get more for less. If you’re a regular online shopper, there’s little downside to creating a Rakuten account, joining the rewards program, and keeping tabs on the site. It’s a legit platform, not a scam, and offers real potential to earn free money.

Then again, Rakuten and its fellow online cash-back sites don’t create money out of thin air. They simply put a small portion of the funds you spend back into your pocket. So while Rakuten is great for saving money on items you were already planning to purchase, don’t let it dictate your shopping decisions or encourage impulse buying.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The Only 4 Survey Sites That Are Actually Worth Your Time

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

I have the entrepreneurial gene. I’m always working on something new that will move our family forward. And I’m always thinking of ways to make the most money for the least effort.

But not everyone wants to start their own business or write for hours a day. That doesn’t mean you can’t make some extra money.

Time is the #1 excuse I hear for why people can’t make more money to pay off their debt faster.

I know you have a lunch break. I know you wait for the water to boil for those rice and beans. I know you poop.

<img data-attachment-id="4043" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/survey-sites-actually-worth-your-time/survey-sites-worth-your-time/" data-orig-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=1000%2C1500&ssl=1" data-orig-size="1000,1500" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="4 Survey Sites Worth Your TIme" data-image-description="

Are you tired of spending hours taking surveys without a big return? Here are 4 survey sites that are worth your time. #makemoneyonline #surveysite #howtomakemoneyonline #freestuffhacks #howtogetfreestuff

” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” class=” wp-image-4043 aligncenter” src=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time.jpg” alt width=”304″ height=”457″ data-pin-title=”4 Survey Sites Worth Your TIme” data-pin-description=”Are you tired of spending hours taking surveys without a big return? Here are 4 survey sites that are worth your time. #makemoneyonline #surveysite #howtomakemoneyonline #freestuffhacks #howtogetfreestuff” srcset=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-5.jpg 200w, https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?resize=400%2C600&ssl=1 400w, https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?resize=768%2C1152&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Survey-Sites-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?w=1000&ssl=1 1000w” sizes=”(max-width: 304px) 100vw, 304px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

You may not have time in your day to start a side hustle but you have time in your day to do some surveys. I’ll be blunt, surveys are the least effective way to make money. I wrote about it a while ago. But they are better than nothing.

You’ll be really disappointed if you want to make an extra $500 debt payment with your survey winnings. But if you view it from the right angle you’ll be pretty pleased with your work doing surveys.

You can get gift cards to the grocery store or for a restaurant. You can save up for gas money for this summer’s road trip or for Christmas gifts.

Doing surveys works much better if you have a goal you’re trying to reach vs. just doing them willy-nilly.

There are hundreds of survey sites out there and you could sign up for all of them and never hit the minimum to cash out. That’s why I recommend only four! Four survey sites on rotation allow you to always have a survey available but not too many that you spread yourself thin.

And which of the four do I recommend? I’m glad you asked. These are the four I trust. I’ve tried them out, read reviews, asked around and they’re legit. They actually make payments. I know this because these links in here are my referral links, I get a couple bucks when people I refer cash out.

And I get notifications about my referrals cashing out so I know they’re making money.

So here are the only four survey sites I recommend because they aren’t full of surveys you don’t qualify for and they’ll provide you enough surveys to actually be able to cash out.

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is my top dog, my favorite as far as survey sites go because they’re more than a survey site. You can get points for watching videos, answering one-question polls, playing games, and shopping online.

Each point is equivalent to a penny and can be used to buy gift cards to basically anywhere including Amazon, Paypal, and plain ol’ Mastercard Rewards.

Sometimes the cards will go on sale for 2-12% off.

You can leave Swagbucks videos playing on your tablet while you work (just check in every few minutes to play the next) and get points back when you buy stuff online. I still prefer Ebates cash back to do this but if you’re close to cashing out and you need a boost, they have around the same conversion.

Pro tips for excelling at Swagbucks:

  • Subscribe to the Swagbucks Reddit page for all the insider deals
  • Follow SwagCodeSpoilers on Twitter to get SwagCodes sent to your phone
  • Link your card so transactions at certain local retailers will get you swagbucks
  • Participate in “SwagUps” before they expire

Definitely, sign up for Swagbucks before you try any other survey site. This one can keep you busy but if you do run out of things to do (or get bored) it’s nice to have other options.

2. MySurvey

One of the oldest survey sites on the web is MySurvey. It’s also one of the easiest to qualify for so I’m confident you can do enough surveys here to keep you busy.

One of the perks of MySurvey is that in addition to gift cards, you can be paid out in direct cash or PayPal transfers. The minimum to cash out is only $10 (1000 points) and the average survey pays out $.50 cents to $1.25 when converted from points.

You can get about 30-50 points for a 10-minute survey and 150-300 point for surveys over 30 minutes. You can also get products to test from MySurvey with high rewards. I’m not sure how competitive they are.

Some users have complained that MySurvey “caps” them at $10 per month, which isn’t confirmed but hey, it’s why there are four sites on here and not two.

The more you log in to MySurvey the more surveys you’ll receive, checking in once a week will keep you on the list for the best surveys. And best of all you’ll never receive any spam email from them. That’s why MySurvey is my second pick for best survey sites.

3. i-Say

i-Say has a lot of incentive for you to do more surveys with them. Their loyalty program gives you bonuses after completing 5, 10, and so-on surveys. Complete 200 surveys in one calendar year and you’ll get 600 bonus points.

100 points on i-Say are equivalent to $1 and can be redeemed in the form of gift cards or donations to your favorite charity. You can redeem as few as 500 points which can go really quick with

It can be a little difficult to qualify for surveys in i-Say. Some get a few per week and some only 2 per month. Surveyors recommend only doing surveys you know the est. time and points on. 45 points for 10 minutes and 90 points for 20 minutes are good to attempt.

It’s definitely worth signing up for i-Say as a backup.

4. PaidViewpoint

Surveys on PaidViewpoint take only 2-3 minutes and pay out .10 to $2. There’s a $15 minimum to cash out which could take you a while to accumulate but it’s all cash. And there’s no taking half a survey to find out you don’t qualify, when you’re in you’re in.

To get to $15 faster they have a referral program and for every time your friend cashes out you get 20% of their earnings for life.

I don’t recommend making PaidViewpoint a priority but if you’re out of surveys in the first three or only have a few minutes it’s a good fall back. And once you hit the first $15 I’d bail and focus more on Swagbucks.

Honorable Mention: Pinecone Research

I’m awarding an honorable mention to Pinecone Research because they are a legit research company that pays well, $3 per survey and no cash out minimum.

But it’s hard to get approved for their site. I include it so you can apply and if you get in I highly recommend participating. If not, then you’ll have enough to do with the first four sites.

To sum it up:

I definitely think Swagbucks can keep you busy enough but if you’re looking for more start with MySurvey, then iSay, then PaidViewpoint. Try applying to Pinecone Research and definitely stick with them if you get accepted.

Happy surveying my friends!

<img data-attachment-id="1748" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/survey-sites-actually-worth-your-time/3-15/" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?fit=735%2C1102&ssl=1" data-orig-size="735,1102" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"" data-image-title="survey sites" data-image-description="

survey sites

” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”Are you tired of spending hours taking surveys without a big return? Here are 4 survey sites that are worth your time. #makemoneyonline #surveysite #howtomakemoneyonline #freestuffhacks #howtogetfreestuff” data-pin-title=”4 Survey Sites Worth Your TIme” class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-1748 jetpack-lazy-image” src=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-1.png” alt=”Sick of seeing all these survey sites, now I know the ONLY ones to make extra money.” width=”400″ height=”600″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-srcset=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-2.png 400w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?resize=100%2C150&ssl=1 100w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?w=735&ssl=1 735w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″>

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survey sites

” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”Are you tired of spending hours taking surveys without a big return? Here are 4 survey sites that are worth your time. #makemoneyonline #surveysite #howtomakemoneyonline #freestuffhacks #howtogetfreestuff” data-pin-title=”4 Survey Sites Worth Your TIme” class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-1748″ src=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-2.png” alt=”Sick of seeing all these survey sites, now I know the ONLY ones to make extra money.” width=”400″ height=”600″ srcset=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-2.png 400w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?resize=100%2C150&ssl=1 100w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/3.png?w=735&ssl=1 735w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

<img data-attachment-id="4786" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/survey-sites-actually-worth-your-time/mf-make-extra-money-for-christmas-with-legit-survey-sites-the-only-ones-worth-your-time/" data-orig-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MF-Make-Extra-Money-for-Christmas-with-Legit-Survey-Sites-The-Only-Ones-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=735%2C1102&ssl=1" data-orig-size="735,1102" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="Need extra cash for Christmas?" data-image-description="

If you want Christmas cash, you’re in luck. You can make cash for Christmas from home taking legit surveys and get paid fast. #makemoneyforchristmas #makemoneyonline #makeextramoney #sidehustles #makemoneytakingsurveys #howtomakemoneytakingsurveys

” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MF-Make-Extra-Money-for-Christmas-with-Legit-Survey-Sites-The-Only-Ones-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MF-Make-Extra-Money-for-Christmas-with-Legit-Survey-Sites-The-Only-Ones-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” width=”400″ height=”600″ data-pin-title=”Need extra cash for Christmas?” data-pin-description=”If you want Christmas cash, you’re in luck. You can make cash for Christmas from home taking legit surveys and get paid fast. #makemoneyforchristmas #makemoneyonline #makeextramoney #sidehustles #makemoneytakingsurveys #howtomakemoneytakingsurveys” src=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-3.jpg” alt class=”wp-image-4786″ srcset=”http://www.hanovermortgages.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/the-only-4-survey-sites-that-are-actually-worth-your-time-3.jpg 400w, https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MF-Make-Extra-Money-for-Christmas-with-Legit-Survey-Sites-The-Only-Ones-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MF-Make-Extra-Money-for-Christmas-with-Legit-Survey-Sites-The-Only-Ones-Worth-Your-Time.jpg?w=735&ssl=1 735w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.

Source: modernfrugality.com

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Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.