Ebates recently rebranded as Rakuten and has over 5 million members in Canada.
Rakuten (Ebates) Canada is an online cash back shopping portal or gateway to many of your favourite retailers. The idea behind their business model is simple – you start your online shopping from Rakuten, proceed to your favourite store, and you earn cash back on your eligible purchases.
Ebates Inc. was founded in 1998 by two deputy district attorneys in the U.S. In 2012, they expanded the business to Canada, and are also present in China and South Korea. Rakuten Canada has its headquarters in Toronto.
How Rakuten (Ebates) Works
The idea behind the cash back savings on Rakuten is fairly straightforward.
Rakuten directs traffic to some major online stores, they advertise the coupons and deals on offer by these stores, and get paid by the stores for the sales they generate.
Does that sound familiar to you? If it does, it’s probably because it sounds very much like the traditional affiliate marketing strategy: You have a product for sale, I help you advertise that product, and when I facilitate the sale of your product, you pay me a commission (or referral fee) for my service.
So, Rakuten gets paid for sending business to a retailer, and they then turn around and share some of their commissions with you (the buyer).
So far, they have paid nearly $1 billion to members!
Becoming a Member of Rakuten
Signing up is easy. You can use your existing Facebook account, or enter your email address and a password to get started. Canadians get a $5 welcome cash bonus on sign-up ($10 if you reside in the U.S.).
As a Canadian, you can become a member of Rakuten U.S. as well if you make online purchases from U.S. based stores. Your two accounts (Canada and U.S.) will track your cash backs separately.
After signing up, you can choose to access their website anytime you want to purchase an item online from your favourite retailers, or you can use their smartphone or tablet app. They also have a Google Chrome extension that makes cashback easier and faster than ever.
Pro Tip: Your $5 welcome bonus is credited to your account after you have made your first purchase of $25 or more within 30 days of signing up. So following sign-up, ensure you go through your Rakuten account when next you shop online!
Getting Paid on Rakuten (Ebates)
After signing up, you are now ready to receive cash backs. You have three options for getting paid:
- Big Fat Cheque – a cheque is mailed to your postal address on file.
- Paypal – your cash back is deposited in your Paypal account.
- Charity – your cash back is sent to your charity of choice. They can also send your cash back to a friend or family member of your choice.
When you want to shop online, visit Rakuten and take a look at the store(s) you want to buy an item from. If the store is a partner with Rakuten, they will display the current cash back offering by that store.
For example, this 5% Cash Back by Amazon (may be more or less depending on the product category and offers at the time of your purchase).
Click on the store and you will be directed to the store’s home page where you will make your purchases as usual.
There are currently over 750 stores that can be shopped at using Rakuten Canada. On the U.S. website, you have access to over 2,500 stores.
Following purchase of the product, your account should be credited with your cash back in 48 hours or less. Your cash back accumulates in your account and is paid out every 3 months using the payout method you have chosen for your account. The payout schedule is as follows:
If your total cashback amount is less than $5.01, it’s carried forward to the next payout period.
Other Ways To Get Paid
Cash back from purchasing items from online stores is not the only way to make money on Ebates. You can also earn money (referred to as Bonus Rewards) by referring friends and family to use Rakuten. Your referral link can be found on the website after you have signed up. Just forward your link to the person so they can use it to sign-up.
You earn $5 for referring 1 person and $10 for referring 2 people plus a $40 bonus. Essentially, if you refer 2 people who go on to use Rakuten for their online purchases, you earn a $50 reward bonus!
It doesn’t stop there. You can earn much more by referring lots of people (friends, family, and pretty much anyone) to Rakuten as shown below:
Referral bonus promotions on Rakuten (Ebates) may change depending on what they are currently offering or the season, but the bottom line is that you get cash whenever you refer someone to use their website.
Getting Cash Back – Is Rakuten (Ebates) Worth It?
There are many online opportunities and offerings that are not worth the effort. Is Rakuten any different?
If you do a lot of your shopping online and your favourite stores partner with Rakuten (over 750 stores currently), you can actually get some worthwhile cash back.
For example, using the current 7.5% cash back offer on Hudson’s Bay:
A $200 purchase could return $15 to your pocket in cash back. This rewards can add up over time into some serious savings!
Rakuten also advertises coupon codes and other discounts provided by retailers, so you can easily compare what’s available directly on their website for the best savings possible.
So, to answer the question posed above, Rakuten is worth it if you are actually buying an item that you would otherwise purchase anyway, and you are buying it at the current best price available. I don’t do a lot of shopping online, but so far have gotten about $24 in cash back with zero problems.
To start earning cash back every day and also receive your $5 welcome bonus (or $10 for U.S. residents), sign up for Rakuten using the appropriate links below, and make sure your next online shopping is done through your Rakuten account!