Wife, Oregonian, coffee lover, chronic illness warrior, and entrepreneur.
Online shopping has become more and more popular in the last few years. As of 2016, 79% of US shoppers have made purchases online, and you are likely one of them, so wouldn't you like to get paid for something you're already doing? While hardcore couponing was all the rage for in-store shopping a few years ago, shoppers are now using sites like Groupon, RetailMeNot, and others to save online. These sites are great for saving money while making an online purchase, but they don’t actually pay you to shop. Ebates, however, offers several ways to accumulate cash for a quarterly “big fat check” on purchases you'd already be making anyway.
Is Rakuten/Ebates Legitimate?
Ebates has proven itself to be a legitimate way to make a few extra bucks. Founded in 1998 in Silicon Valley by Alessandro Isolani and Paul Wasserman, Ebates (now Rakuten) has given out over $800 million in rebates! It has proven to be a safe and easy-to-use company. They've even received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. While Ebates did undergo a name change and is now known as “Rakuten” (Japanese for “optimism”), the user experience should remain virtually identical to what it has always been.
How It Works
Rakuten earns a commission for sending its members to various shopping websites, and in turn, they offer you a portion of this commission. The commission varies from store to store and is usually a percentage of what you purchase (making Rakuten a great option if you plan to make a large online purchases such as furniture or electronics). Some stores offer as little as 3% back from your total purchase, while others offer as much as 40%! Rakuten also occasionally offers cashback coupons in addition to the percentage you would normally get back. In order to take advantage of these offers, however, you must click through the Rakuten link when you go shopping online. This lets them know that you want to use their service.
Where Can You Shop With Rakuten?
When I first heard about Ebates, I was leery because I assumed it would only offer cash back at stores I rarely shop at. However, this is not the case. Rakuten offers cash back at over 2,500 online stores ranging from Amazon to Ebay to Macy’s to Walmart to Helzberg Diamonds to Old Navy! Living in a rural community with very few nearby retailers, my family has turned to online shopping and found Rakuten to be a great way to make some extra money while purchasing things we would normally buy anyway.
Some of My Favorite Rakuten-Approved Stores
- Old Navy
- Alaska Airlines
- Best Western
3 Ways to Earn With Rakuten
Rakuten users earn primarily through the cash back offered by the company's various partner retailers, but there are two other ways to earn as well.
1. Online Cash Back
This is the most common way to earn money using Rakuten. Once you’ve created an account, I recommend that you download the mobile app and the Rakuten button for your preferred web browser. This way, you won’t forget to click through the Rakuten link. The Rakuten app will alert you when you’ve made some cash back, and the web browser button will allow you to earn cash back without going through their website first by alerting you when you’re about to make an eligible purchase. Both the app and the browser plug-in are safe to use.
2. In-Store Cash Back
While Rakuten is mainly for online shopping, you can also earn in-store cash back by downloading the app and adding your credit or debit card information. When you make an eligible purchase with this card at one of their cash back locations in your area, the rebate will automatically be added to your account!
3. Referral Link
One of my favorite ways to earn money with Rakuten is by sharing it with others. When you create an account, you will be given a referral link. When someone signs up and makes a $25 dollar purchase through the site within one year using your referral link, you will earn $25 dollars! They will also get an extra $10 back after their first qualified purchase just for signing up! There is no limit to how many friends you can refer, and Rakuten makes it easy to find and share your referral link.
How You Get Paid
The first time I got paid by Ebates, I’d actually forgotten I’d signed up and made a purchase through the site months earlier. The only reason I remembered was because they sent me an email saying they had a check for me! At this point, I still wasn’t sure about Ebates, so I was delighted both when the check actually arrived and was cashed.
Rakuten offers two methods of payment: the “big fat check” and Paypal. Both are deposited every three months as shown below.
Sold On Rakuten? Here’s How To Get Started
Excited to start earning money with Ebates? I’d so appreciate it if you used my referral link to sign up. Then you can start shopping and sharing it with your friends! Happy Earning!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Abigail Hreha (author) from Oregon on June 07, 2019:
Thank you, RTalloni! I appreciate it.
RTalloni on June 07, 2019:
Thanks very much for this well-written information. Am checking out your referral link now.
Abigail Hreha (author) from Oregon on June 03, 2019:
It probably took so long because they only send checks four times I year. It was long enough for me to forget I’d signed up the first time!
But I love ebates. Especially if you do f mind waiting a while for your money.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 03, 2019:
I glad you wrote an article about Ebates as I have been leary about using it also. I saw someone on Facebook complaining about how long it took to receive her check, so I didn't know whether to try it. Thanks for the good information.