Why Rakuten Is the Best for Cash Back

by John Terry | Last Updated:  May 2, 2020

It might have a funny name that’s impossible to pronounce, but the Rakuten shopping portal is one of the best out there right now. Shopping portals are a must when online shopping thanks to the ability to earn extra points, miles, and cash back.

Learning which shopping portals to use for different stores is can be tough, which is one of the reasons I think Rakuten is one of the best. I like to use Cashback Monitor to use different airline portals to earn the best value of points and miles.

But, even for those who aren’t all-in on points and miles, Rakuten provides consistent cashback and also the ability to earn American Express Membership Rewards.

How Does the Rakuten Shopping Portal Work?

Rakuten is a shopping portal that rewards shoppers cashback for using the Rakuten link to access a specific online store. For example. Rakuten users can earn up to 5 percent Rakuten cash back when shopping at Walmart.

  1. Go to Rakuten.com
  2. Search for Walmart (or any specific online store)
  3. Use the specific link for Walmart that says “Shop Now”
  4. You will then be redirected to Walmart’s website.
  5. Shop like normal, but your cashback will post in no more than 30 days. Most will post with 48 hours of the purchase.

There are a couple of things that are important to point out.

Many of the shops will have different exclusions or special terms. The Walmart ones are:

Exclusions: Cash Back is not available on Apple Watch, newest model iPhones, Walmart Grocery, Household Essentials, cellular purchases, prepaid phone cards (Straight Talk), prescription drugs, travel, financial services, tires, Walmart Connect Internet Service, the limited edition Men’s Grooming Box, gift card/online gift cards, ShippingPass subscription, precious metal/gold coins, Revolution for Dogs, Walmart PetRx, or on orders deemed by Walmart to be for reselling purposes.

The other thing to keep in mind is that some stores, such as Walmart, have different cashback rates for different departments. This means you might earn 5 percent on beauty products but just 1 percent on video game purchases.

While not as plentiful, this shopping portal also allows for in-store bonuses when storing credit cards to your account. Shop at the store when the in-store bonus, earn Rakuten cash back!

Installing Rakuten Shopping Portal Browser Button

One of my favorite things about Rakuten is that it supports an in-browser extension for Google Chrome. This means that if you go to a website that awards Rakuten cashback, you will get a notification to activate your Rakuten cash back.

This saves you the trouble of going to the Rakuten website. Additionally, it will also allow you to add coupons to your order, if applicable.

In full disclosure, several other airline shopping portals also have browser extensions. The other one I consistently use is the Alaska Airlines Shopping Portal browser extension.

Earn Membership Rewards with Rakuten

The main reason I think Rakuten is the best shopping portal is that users have the ability to earn either cash back or points toward travel! While different airlines have shopping portals that makes it possible to the top of airline-specific award balances, the ability to earn transferable points is more enticing.

As long as members have a Membership-Reward earning credit card, Rakuten allows its members to earn Membership Rewards instead of Rakuten cash back at a 1:1 ratio between cash back and points.

Your Rakuten-earned Membership Rewards won’t show up in your American Express account immediately, though. They are paid out similar to cashback balances based on the payment schedule. So, it could take a couple of months for them to show up.

Referring friends through Rakuten

Another great way to earn cashback (or Membership Rewards) is to refer your family and friends. While I sure hope you consider using our referral link to sign-up (you will get $30!), I would encourage you to use your own referral link to earn extra cashback for yourself once you have signed up!

You will earn $30 (or 3,000 Membership Rewards) per referral and your friend will also get $30 (or 3,000 Membership Rewards)!

How to get your Rakuten Cash Back?

If you opt to get Rakuten payments instead of Membership Rewards, you will either get paid via check or PayPal.

Rakuten users are paid every three months based on this schedule:

Rakuten must earn a cash back balance of at least $5.00 before the next payment date in order to get paid. If your approved cash back is $5.00 or less, it will carry over to the following period.

Final Thoughts

I use a ton of shopping portals. Ever since Rakuten started earning Membership Rewards, I’ve been using Rakuten quite a bit.

But, because Rakuten earns has the ability to earn Membership Rewards, it’s one of my favorite shopping portals. It’s a great way to earn extra transferable points through shopping portals!