If You’re Not Getting Cash Back When Shopping Online, Use This Trick

Photo by stockfour / Shutterstock.com

Even if you don’t usually like buying things over the internet, chances are good that stay-at-home orders and store closures during the coronavirus pandemic are compelling you to do more online shopping these days.

What you may not know is that you could be saving money on almost every online purchase with one simple tool.

Rakuten

What it is: Rakuten is a cash-back portal formerly known as Ebates.

How it works: Rakuten earns a commission from retailers for referring online shoppers to those retailers’ websites, and then the portal passes some of that commission on to the shoppers. Through Rakuten, you can get cash back on purchases from some 2,500 retailers — sometimes as much as 40% to 50%.

How to get it:

  • Sign up. It’s free to sign up with Rakuten, and it only takes a minute.
  • Shop the portal: On the Rakuten site, you can browse among the hundreds of retailers that offer cash back or do a search for retailers you like to see if they are included. If you’ve signed up, your cash back will be automatically activated for any purchase made here.
  • Install the extension: If you’ve installed the Rakuten extension, it will remind you to get cash back if you go directly to one of its member retailers. The extension really is critical, at least it was for me. If it didn’t pop up to remind me each time I have a chance to earn cash back on a purchase, I would be leaving good money on the table. This link shows how to install it and turn it on — again, for free and in just a couple of minutes.

Example of Rakuten at work: I went to Athleta.com, a site that I like for its high-quality casual and workout clothes. I was in the market for comfortable pants that I can wear while working from home and when I hit the grocery store — on the occasions that I do that. (I can’t wear my pajamas all day, every day.)

Because I have installed the extension, this reminder popped up in my browser, notifying me that I can currently get 4% cash back on purchases from Athleta:

I found a nice looking pair of “Metropolis Joggers” — Athleta’s name for some upmarket sweatpants — that were priced at $75. When I got to the checkout screen, Rakuten alerted me to a 25% discount that is being offered today and applied the coupon code, bringing my subtotal to $56.99. It then calculated my 4% cash back, which amounted to another $2.28. These incremental cash-back balances accrue over time, then Rakuten sends me a “Big Fat Check” — which always feels like free money.

Here’s a sampling of some other deals you can get through Rakuten from other online retailers at this moment:

  • Shoes.com: 15% cash back on all purchases
  • 1-800 Flowers: 15% cash back
  • rag & bone: 10% cash back (Or, if you’re really shopping, get $150 off any purchase of more than $500).
  • Clinique: 8% cash back
  • Nike: 7% cash back
  • Cabela’s: 3% cash back. (The sporting goods store is also selling loads of clothing and footwear at a 70% discount.)

These deals and offerings change often, but you get the idea! If you’re going to be buying things online anyway, Rakuten offers one easy way to get cash back and not miss out on other discounts and deals at hundreds of retailers.

Extra cash: Through this Friday, May 1, if you refer a friend to Rakuten and they sign up, you and your friend each get a bonus of $30!

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree
7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree

Downsizing your home offers many benefits, including some you may not have anticipated.

13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better
13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better

These inexpensive electronics will make your day-to-day life a little easier — and happier.

8 Ways to Slash the Cost of Homeowners Insurance
8 Ways to Slash the Cost of Homeowners Insurance

Reviewing this critical insurance policy takes a little effort, but it pays off big.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?
Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?

The status of another round of direct payments to taxpayers is a mix of good and bad news.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.