As rideshare drivers, we all have expenses – and they can add up! What if you could get cash back (legitimately!) from purchases you already were going to make? We had RSG contributor Paula Gibbins try out and write up a Rakuten review [formerly Ebates] to show you how you can save (and make) money this holiday season.
We all have to shop for the necessities but also non-necessities. Why not save or earn cash back on things that we already need or want to buy anyway? Today I’m going to outline my experience using Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates), an online shopping hub where you earn cash back and discounts at stores you probably shop at anyway.
Summary: Rakuten is a free reward program that gives customers cash back, coupons and other deals on online and in-store purchases.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten is a free service that you sign up for in order to earn discounts and cash back for your online purchases. Deals change daily, so if you see an awesome discount, take it before it’s gone!
To earn without even thinking about it, get the Rakuten extension on your browser and it will let you know what your discount or deal is for the website you’re on without having to go through Rakuten’s list of links.
Adding the Rakuten extension to your browser cuts out a little extra digging if you already have something in mind that you want to purchase from your favorite online store.
Sometimes the deals are limited to certain items or categories; other times it’s an overarching deal for the whole site (though typically a lower percent of cash back is offered on those).
If you want to save even more, you can pair Rakuten coupons and deals with Swagbucks, where you earn gift cards and cash for making purchases online.
Is Rakuten Legit?
The sign-up process is super simple, and you can sign up using our Rakuten referral link here.
It’s basically just like signing up for any other website. You provide your email address and create a password. You don’t provide any payment information because you do not pay through Rakuten, but through the website you’re actually making the purchase through.
Once you’ve gotten settled into it, you will want to provide a way for you to cash out from these options:
According to FAQs in the help tab of Rakuten’s website, “Once the store lets us know that you’ve made a purchase, we add your Cash Back to your account and notify you. It usually takes a little time for the store to confirm that your purchase was completed. Depending on the store, this can take from a few hours to several days.
“Every three months, we send you the Cash Back you’ve earned, either in a Big Fat Check or via PayPal. If Cash Back for an order is still pending approval, it will carry over to your next payment.”
Once it’s available for me to cash out, I will likely use my existing PayPal account for payment because I don’t like having to wait for a check in the mail. I am a bit disappointed that I can’t cash out as soon as I have the money available to me. That’s kind of a bummer.
Rakuten gives cash back on purchases because the stores give Rakuten money for referring you to buy from them. This doesn’t cost you any extra money – Rakuten splits the cash with you, so it’s a win-win for you, Rakuten and the stores.
The Rakuten App
Making it even easier to save where ever you go, Rakuten has an app! You can download the Rakuten app (it’s available on the Google Play and Apple App stores) and save more with in-store coupons and exclusive cash back deals for app-users only.
What Deals Does Rakuten Have Right Now?
Right now, Rakuten has several big deals going on, including:
- Cash back on food and drink, including Postmates, Butcher Box, Meal Pal, Wine.com and more
- Up to 12% cash back on beauty and apparel like Lands End, Smashbox, The Body Shop, Hanes and more
- Health and fitness deals, like 10% cash back at Vitamin World and more
- Up to 20% cash back on education and digital media like Udemy, Rosetta Stone, Magazines.com and more
The number of stores on Rakuten is a huge reason why Rakuten is one of the top cash back programs out there.
When you can get cash back from almost every single store your family uses, it’s a no brainer to sign up for Rakuten, install the browser extension to take advantage of cash back, and download the app to use in-store coupons and get cash back deals.
Rakuten for Rideshare Drivers
If you clean your own car or supply your vehicle with bottled water and candy, etc., you can shop for those supplies through Rakuten and earn cash back. You earn points with every purchase through Rakuten.
For every 100 points you earn, you’ve got $1 of cash back and you earn one point for every dollar you spend. For instance, if you spend $345.35, you earn 345 points which equates to $3.45 in cash back.
You can even go all out and buy your tires, wiper blades, oil and more for your vehicle. If the deal doesn’t suit you, then continue with whatever you normally do, but it’s always worthwhile, especially if you’re able to get cash back from these necessary purchases.
Then, of course, there’s always that possibility of earning money from referrals.
In your account, you’ll have a referral link that you can send to family and friends to earn even more. The person you’re referring would need to use your code to sign up and complete a qualified purchase for both of you to receive your referral bonus. If they don’t do it in time, neither of you earn anything extra.
Help Others Save Right Now with Rakuten – And Earn Money Doing It!
As rideshare drivers, we encounter a lot of people! Even if we’re driving for delivery right now, you can still help others save money with Rakuten.
For every person you refer to Rakuten, you’ll get $25! All you have to do is share your referral code with them and encourage them to sign up. To make it easier on you, we’ve created referral cards you can print out and put your referral code on. Keep these cards in your car or in the backseat pockets for riders to take with them. Or drop them off when you drop off your delivery items!
How Much Did I Make from Rakuten?
My experience is pretty limited because I don’t typically do much shopping online, but will likely order more once I’m ready for holiday shopping. However, just to test the waters, I did sign up for Disney+.
It was a service I was planning on purchasing anyway, so I figured a little cash back just helped sweeten the pot. Signing up for the bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu earned me $7.50 in cash back.
I signed up over the weekend, so the earnings did not show up right away, and according to the website portion that I quoted earlier, it could take several days. Luckily for me, it showed up the next morning (Monday). With that cash back, I get a great discount for my first month of having this service, which is fine by me.
Rakuten is not a scam – it really gives you cash back when you shop. And with thousands of stores to choose from, including many stores that rideshare drivers typically use, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for Rakuten, use it yourself, and recommend it to your passengers. There’s a store for everyone on Rakuten, and during the holidays is the perfect time to pitch Rakuten to riders looking to save money!
Before I do any online shopping, I’ll definitely check my Rakuten extension to see if there’s a chance for cash back before buying. If I can make money while spending what I’d already be spending anyway, there’s no downside in my opinion.
Have you used Rakuten or will you use it this holiday season? Let us know your experience with Rakuten!
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-Paula @ RSG