Rakuten vs. RebatesMe 2022: Top Cash Back Apps in Canada

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by Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

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Rakuten and RebatesMe are two of the most popular cash back apps to use when shopping online.

Both platforms operate in Canada and the U.S., and their competitors include other money-saving apps like Drop and Checkout 51.

This Rakuten vs. RebatesMe comparison covers how they work, their differences, similarities, pros, cons, and which one to choose when next you are shopping online.

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten is a cash back shopping portal that offers discounts, deals, promo codes, and more to users when they shop online at their favourite stores.

Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten has partnerships with over 750 stores in Canada and more than 3,500 in the U.S.

As per its website, it has paid out over $3.7 billion in cash back rewards to members since it was launched in 1997 (U.S. platform) and more than $100 million to Canadian members since it launched in 2012.

Learn more about the company in this detailed Rakuten review.

How Does Rakuten Work

Rakuten simplifies the process of earning cash back rewards online.

After signing up ($30 bonus) you should log in to your Rakuten account whenever you want to make a purchase online.

Click on your preferred store on your Rakuten dashboard and shop as usual after you are re-directed to the retailer’s website.

Cash back is automatically credited to your Rakuten based on the offer available.

For example, if you are buying an item at Walmart and the retailer is offering a 5% cash back, this discount will be paid to your balance as real cash.

Cash back offers on Rakuten can be as high as 30% and many popular stores are featured (think Canadian Tire, Walmart, Old Navy, H&M, Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson’s Bay, etc.)

What is RebatesMe?

RebatesMe is a cash back and coupon site for finding deals and promotions online.

This platform features over 4,000 stores and recently expanded its operations to Canada.

RebatesMe does not appear to have dedicated mobile apps for the Canadian market, however, you can access its website on all devices.

Like Rakuten, it also has a browser extension for Google Chrome that alerts you when cash back offers are available on a site you have visited.

Learn more about this platform in our full RebatesMe review.

How Does RebatesMe Work?

To use RebatesMe, create a free account ($30 bonus) and visit the site when you plan to shop online.

Canadian stores featured on the platform include Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, Sephora, Old Navy, Home Depot, and Foot Locker.

When you visit any of these stores via RebatesMe, cash back earned is tracked and credited to your account balance.

Rakuten vs. RebatesMe

Rakuten vs. RebatesMe: Cash Back Rewards

Both Rakuten and RebatesMe automatically track your cash back earnings.

Rakuten has been operating in Canada for a long time and it has partnerships with more Canadian stores than RebatesMe. Hence, it is easier to find discount opportunities.

Also, you will find cash back earn rates of up to 30% on Rakuten, while the most I could see on RebatesMe was up to 15% cash back.

Verdict: Rakuten offers more options to earn cash back when you shop online.

Rakuten vs. RebatesMe: Cash Out Options

Rakuten users can redeem their earnings using PayPal, cheque, or Amazon gift cards. Payments are sent every 3 months if your balance is $5.01 or more.

RebatesMe users can redeem earnings starting at $10, and payout options include PayPal, credit card, cheque, and several gift cards.

Verdict: Rakuten = RebatesMe. Both platforms offer multiple ways to request payment.

Rakuten vs. RebatesMe: Other Ways To Earn

In addition to online shopping offers, Rakuten also offers in-store cash back rewards at select stores.

To take advantage of this, you must add a Visa credit card to your account. When you pay with your linked card at a participating store, you earn cash back.

Rakuten also has a gift card shop and when you buy a gift card, you earn cash back.

Like Rakuten, RebatesMe has a gift card store. However, it does not feature in-store cash back offers.

Verdict: Rakuten offers more ways to earn rewards.

Rakuten vs. RebatesMe: Mobile App

Rakuten has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

On the Google Play Store, the Rakuten app has been downloaded more than 10 million downloads and has a rating of 4.1/5.

On the App Store, it has a 3.9/5 rating.

RebatesMe also has an app, however, it is not available for download on the App Store for Canada. That said, the website is optimized for mobile devices.

Both RebatesMe and Rakuten have browser extensions for laptops.

Verdict: Both platforms are easily accessible.

Rakuten vs RebatesMe: Referral Program

When you sign up for Rakuten here, you get a $30 bonus after making your first purchase of $30 or more. You can also refer your friends to earn extra cash.

When you join RebatesMe here, you get a $30 bonus after earning at least $10 in cash back rewards.

You can also refer your friends using your unique RebatesMe referral link and earn extra cash when they become eligible.

Verdict: The welcome bonus for Rakuten is easier to qualify for.

Rakuten vs RebatesMe: Are They Safe?

As per its website, Rakuten only works with retailers that use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) internet connections to protect your transactions.

I could not locate the security measures used by RebatesMe to protect your account on its website.

Rakuten has a B rating on the Better Business Bureau, while RebatesMe has an A+ rating.

Pros and Cons of Rakuten

Pros:

  • Offers discounts as high as 30%
  • Reputable company founded in 1997
  • $30 welcome bonus
  • Offers multiple ways to cash out your earnings
  • Low payout threshold at $5.01
  • Available on all devices

Cons:

  • Payout is every three months

Pros and Cons of RebatesMe

Pros:

  • Offer multiple ways to redeem earnings
  • $30 welcome bonus
  • Available on all devices
  • Free to use

Cons:

  • Limited retailers in Canada
  • $10 minimum payout threshold can be challenging to reach

Rakuten vs RebatesMe: Which is Better?

Rakuten works better in Canada due to having partnerships with more retailers than RebatesMe. You can also use it for earning in-store rewards.

You can compare cash back offers on both platforms before making a purchase online, to get the best deals available at any point in time.

You could also pair either site with a no-fee prepaid cash back card like KOHO, or a no-annual-fee cash back credit card like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card to get the most benefit.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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