Earning 5% cash back on restaurant bills: It sounds a credit card perk — and surely there is a card out there that offers it. But you don’t need to open a new credit card account to earn cash back at restaurants anymore.
Rakuten, a cash-back portal previously known as Ebates, now offers this perk through its free smartphone app.
The program is called Rakuten Dining, and it enables you to earn cash back on your entire bill — including tip and tax — at more than 10,000 restaurant locations.
Participating chains currently include everything from Johnny Rockets and Buca di Beppo to Umami Burger and Gordon Biersch Brewery.
The 5% rate is an introductory one: It could change in the next few months, says David Marks, general manager of Strategic Initiatives at Rakuten. Still, earning any amount of cash back on your restaurant tabs is akin to getting paid to go out to eat.
How Rakuten Dining works
If you don’t already have a Rakuten account, start there. It’s free to sign up for a Rakuten account and free to use Rakuten and its new Rakuten Dining program.
To take advantage of the program, you also need to download the Rakuten App for Apple iOS devices. Marks tells Money Talks News that the Rakuten Dining program will become available to Android device users before the end of the year.
The company also plans to make the Rakuten Dining program accessible to people who don’t use the Rakuten app at all. But at this time, it’s available only through the iOS app.
Once you download the app, you need to link a credit or debit card to it. Under “My Account,” select “Add Credit Card” to get started. You only need to take this step once per card.
After that, you are set to use the app to explore and redeem restaurant offers. As long as you pay with your linked card, the cash back will be added to your Rakuten account automatically.
How Rakuten works
Restaurants are one of multiple types of establishments at which you can earn cash back via Rakuten.
This cash-back portal has been offering cash rebates at retailer and travel booking websites for years. In other words, by making purchases on those sites by going through Rakuten’s website or app, you earn cash back on purchases from any of more than 3,500 retailers and other merchants that partner with Rakuten.
How is that possible? Rakuten receives a commission from retailers for referring shoppers to merchants. Then, Rakuten shares that commission with shoppers as cash back.
Do you earn cash back at restaurants? Let us know how by commenting below or on the Money Talks News Facebook page.