Credit Cards

Where Is My Cashback Rakuten

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

Those who purchase online regularly have likely heard of Rakuten, a multi-vendor website similar to Amazon in concept but not in name recognition. If you’re familiar with online shopping, you may recognize Rakuten from its previous moniker, Ebates.

Rakuten, like Amazon, offers a credit card: the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card, offered by Synchrony Bank. The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is one of the most popular retailer-associated cash-back credit cards today.

For frequent Rakuten buyers, this card offers a simple and potentially lucrative cash-back scheme.

When you shop on Rakuten.com, including the Rakuten Travel & Vacations section, and take advantage of qualifying in-store cash-back deals, you’ll receive a 3% cash-back bonus. You’ll get 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases. The amount of rewards you may accumulate with this card is unlimited.

Important Characteristics

There are many parallels between the Rakuten Cash Back Visa card and other cash-back credit cards and retail cards like the Target REDcard. However, this in no way guarantees that it will be a good or bad financial match for you.

Bonus for Signing Up (First Purchase Bonus)

When you make your first purchase with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card, you’ll receive a $10 cash incentive. This bonus can be obtained with any amount spent.

Earning Money Back

In addition to the standard cash-back benefits you receive as a Rakuten customer, you may earn an additional 3% cash back on all eligible purchases made through Rakuten.com, Rakuten Dining, and the Rakuten Gift Card Shop, as well as in-store cash-back offers (store purchases).

Rakuten vouchers can be used for eligible purchases (Rakuten Offers). Everything else qualifies for 1% cash back, with no limits or quotas. That translates to 1% rebates at places like gas stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, and more.

Cash Back Redeeming

Every three months on the 15th of May, August, November, and February, Rakuten sends out cash rebates. You can choose to have your money sent to you by PayPal or the traditional mail (a paper check, or “Big Fat Check” as Rakuten calls it).

If you use this card frequently, you’ll still only have one rewards balance per Rakuten account since your cash back from this card will be combined with your usual cash back from Rakuten purchases. The lowest withdrawal amount is $5.

Important Fees

There are no regular or yearly fees associated with this card. A 3% charge of the total transaction amount is assessed for all overseas transactions.

Additional Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card Advantages

As a part of the Visa Platinum benefits package, this card offers a few extra perks that are worth mentioning.

Some Visa Platinum cards also contain travel accident insurance, extended warranty coverage, and return protection in addition to its price protection feature. For the most recent details on the special benefits of the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card, please contact Synchrony Bank.

Credit Required

To qualify for this card, your credit score has to be very good to outstanding.

Pros

One of the best reasons to apply for a Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card is that it offers cash back on purchases made through the website.

  1. There is not an ongoing or annual cost. There is no yearly charge for this card. This is excellent news for thrifty cardholders who don’t make enough purchases each month to justify the annual fee.
  2. Good Initial Bonus Offer. There are no spending or purchase requirements to qualify for this card’s sign-up bonus, which is rather generous. In sum, this is excellent news for frugal cardholders hoping to get a jump on their Rakuten discounts.
  3. The majority of purchases made on Rakuten.com qualify for a 3% cash back bonus.
  4. This card offers unlimited 3% cash back on purchases made at Rakuten, both online and in-store.
  5. Reduced Redemption Fees. Once your cash back amount reaches $5, you can cash it out. That shouldn’t be too challenging, given that your cash-back total already incorporates the cash back you’d get on qualified Rakuten purchases anyhow.

Cons

Considering these drawbacks, the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card may no longer be the best option.

  1. A low starting salary. You’ll only get 1% back on your money when you shop anywhere else but Rakuten.com. Compared to other retail credit cards and general-use cash-back cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited (unlimited 1.5% cash back) and the Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% cash back), this card’s return rate of just 1% is significantly lower.
  2. There will be no monetary contributions made to any charitable organizations. There is currently no option to make charitable contributions with your Rakuten Rewards Mastercard points. Not a typical credit card reward, but a lovely addition that makes it easy to give back to the community. As an added bonus, certain store-branded credit cards like the Target REDcard actively support non-profits. If you use your REDcard, for instance, Target will give one percent of your total purchase price to the institution of your choice.
  3. There is not a 0% interest rate introductory offer. There is no introductory APR period for making purchases, transferring balances, or getting cash advances with this card. This is a significant disadvantage for new users who want to make sizable purchases or who wish to transfer current high-interest credit card debt to their new card.

Bottom Line

There are a number of enticing benefits that come with having a Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card. As with store-branded rewards cards, you can save money on purchases, including ones you were planning to make anyway.

Keep in mind that the primary motivation for issuing this card is to promote spending, not saving.

However, this is also true for other fee-free cash-back store cards, such as the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, so if you’re worried about impulse purchases, it may be best to avoid this category altogether.

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