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New ways to save money when you buy online

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(© deagreez – stock.adobe.com)

Many people are not aware that they can easily get cash back when they frequently shop online and spend huge amounts of money. It is quite possible and, in fact, it’s happening. Some are getting up to 40% cash back from over 2,500 online stores if they shop through the Rakuten website – as explained here: how to save money with Rakuten.

How do I use the Rakuten system to receive discounts?

Rakuten.com is an affiliate website that has relationships with thousands of stores. Its job is to refer people to the online stores. Anyone who buys through the Rakuten website, receives discounts and/or cash back.

The process is simple. Everyone has their favorite stores for particular goods. Instead of going directly to the store’s website, the customer goes to Rakuten.com, creates an account and searches for the favorite store. When he finds it, he clicks the “shop now” button and buys the goods as usual. Once the purchase is complete, a percentage of the purchase shows up in his Rakuten account as cash back. For example, if Rakuten offers 5% back on a particular store and the customer spends $600, he gets $30 cash back!

It is obvious that the cash back system will not work well for people who buy online occasionally and spend very small amounts. But for those who spend substantial amounts online regularly, the cash back amounts will add up to a big amount by the end of the year. That’s not bad for a free service.

What is the Rakuten business model?

Many people wonder if this is scam and ask: How does Rakuten make money if they give back part of the money? The answer is simple. Rakuten is an affiliate for thousands of stores which pay it a commission for referring people to them. Rakuten then gives the customer half of that commission as cash back. This encourages the customer to buy through Rakuten again the next time he buys online, increasing its commission revenue and getting part of that commission back in his account. The stores win, Rakuten wins and the customer wins.

Rakuten pays out the cash back via PayPal every quarter on February 15, May 15, August 15 and November 15 of every year.

Cash rebate appears in 7 days

When a customer accesses his store of choice and makes a purchase via Rakuten, the cash back normally appears in his Rakuten account within 7 days. If a purchase does not appear in the account as expected, the customer can contact the help center and follow the instructions for reporting the missing cash back.

Tips for optimizing cash back

  1. Double up on savings. Rakuten has coupons for most stores and customers are advised to check the website for coupons before making a purchase. They will get a discount and cash back. The one huge advantage is that customers don’t have to search the internet for coupons any more because they just need to search on Rakuten.
  2. Use the Rakuten browser extension. It is easy to forget to go to Rakuten before buying something online and miss out the cash back. To remind themselves, customers can get the Rakuten browser extension. Once they get it, it will sit at the top of their computer window and each time they visit an eligible store, a message pops up that says “Activate Up To _% Cash Back.” Once the customer clicks on the button, he creates the tracking ticket needed to track his order. That way he doesn’t even need to visit Rakuten.
  3. Offline cash back. At one time, only online stores were eligible for cash back. Then in 2019, Rakuten introduced offline cash back, a fantastic feature. The customer goes to the offline cashback page and links his credit card to the Rakuten account. Next, he finds the store where he wants to shop and clicks “link offer.” After this, when he buys at the store, the cash back appears in the Rakuten account.

Should the tracking ticket fail to work, customers can report the problem to the help center and the cash back will quickly appear in the Rakuten account.

  1. Remove ad blocker. Rakuten does not work well with enabled ad blockers. Therefore, customers who use ad blockers should whitelist Rakuten.com.
  2. Customers are advised to buy goods within 24 hours of clicking the Rakuten link. The link works for 30 days but it is safe to re-click it.
  3. Refer a friend program. Rakuten has a refer-a-friend program that gives $5 for every new member who joins Rakuten and spends $25. This is a great opportunity for diehard Rakuten fans to make more money.

Ebates rebranded as Rakuten

Rakuten used to be called Ebates and it did business under that name for many years. Then, in spring of 2019, it rebranded to Rakuten since they had been part of the Rakuten family for 4.5 years. Nothing changed for the customers as all their Ebates accounts were moved to Rakuten.com with the same features and interface.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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