Rakuten (Ebates) Credit Card Review: Is the Cash-Back Card Worth It?

Decide if the Rakuten credit card is worth space in your wallet.

Rakuten bargain hunters can now get even more cash back when making purchases with the new Rakuten credit card. Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, offers online shoppers cash-back rewards on everyday products like household goods, apparel and vacation packages.

Shoppers using their Rakuten Visa credit card can now “stack” deals by paying with their Rakuten card to double down on cash rewards. Cardholders have earned more than $7 million in cash-back rewards to date, according to Rakuten.

Avoid missing out on the best deals. Here’s what you’ll find in this Rakuten credit card review:

Rakuten Credit Card Review

The no-fee Rakuten credit card, issued by Synchrony, is available as two card types, based on creditworthiness: The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card and the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Platinum credit card. Except for the interest rate, the terms and conditions are the same for both. Here’s a look at the details for both cards.

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Annual Fee: No annual fee

Rewards: Stack the cash-back rewards by paying with your Rakuten credit card:

  • Extra 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten.com purchases, in-store offers and Rakuten travel and hotels
  • 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases made anywhere Visa is accepted

Sign-Up Bonus: $10 first-purchase bonus

APR: Variable rate of 21.49% to 26.49% APR on the Rakuten Signature Visa and 26.49% APR on the Rakuten Platinum Visa

Late Fees/Penalties: Up to $38

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% on overseas purchases

Retail Protections: Zero-fraud liability, price protection, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty protection

Travel Protections: Auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services and travel accident insurance

Credit Scores Needed: Not disclosed

Other Benefits: Earn unlimited cash-back rewards

Check Out: Best Travel Credit Cards

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Rakuten Credit Card Advantages and Disadvantages

The Rakuten credit card gives you extra opportunities to increase your cash-back rewards. Add an extra 3% in cash-back earnings on the deals you find at Rakuten.com, in-store deals and Rakuten Travel. Take a closer look at the Rakuten credit card advantages and disadvantages.

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Advantages

Rakuten shoppers who live for the cash-back earnings now have the opportunity to bump up the amount by paying with their credit card. Cash back isn’t limited to online shopping at Rakuten.com. Cardholders can also earn 1% back on non-Rakuten purchases, too.

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Stack the Rewards

If you get 3% cash back for certain purchases at Rakuten.com, paying with the Rakuten Visa credit card will earn you 6% cash back instead of 3%.

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Earn Cash Back for Your Travels to Japan

Rakuten offers vacation packages and hotel deals for travel to Japan. Paying with your Rakuten Visa credit card earns you 3% cash back and covers you with travel protections like an auto rental collision damage waiver and travel accident insurance.

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Enjoy Extra Card Perks

Rakuten cardholders will have access to Visa perks and protections that other retail cards don’t offer. Some of the additional perks included with a Rakuten Visa credit card include:

  • Zero fraud liability to protect you against fraud and theft if your card gets lost or stolen and is used without your consent, so you’re not responsible for the charges.
  • Price Protection that will reimburse you up to $500 per item if you find the exact product you bought is selling for cheaper within 60 days of purchase.
  • Return Protection that reimburses you for the purchase price of an item up to $250 within 90 days of purchase if you’re disappointed with an item you bought and the retailer will not accept a return.
  • Extended Warranty Protection that doubles your warranty coverage on a purchased item.
  • Purchase Protection protects all new retail purchases made with your card within the first 90 days from the date of purchase against damage or theft, up to $1000 per claim.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver reimburses you for damages caused to your rental vehicle by theft or collision, up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
  • Travel Accident Insurance provides $250,000 worth of coverage for accidental death and dismemberment while traveling.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services are available to help you in case of an emergency while you’re traveling away from home.

Compare: Debit Card Rewards Programs

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Disadvantages

The credit card drawback list is short, but the following items should be considered if you’re deciding whether the Rakuten credit card is right for you.

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You’ll Have to Wait for Your Rewards

Be prepared to wait for your Rakuten cash-back rewards or find a side gig to earn extra cash. Your mailed Big Fat Check or Big Fat Payment via Paypal are issued quarterly, as long as you have over $5 in rewards to get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a Big Fat Payment via PayPal. Signing up to receive your cash-back earnings via Paypal also requires you to have a Paypal account.

Here’s a quick look at when to expect a Big Fat Check and which purchases it will include.

Rakuten Rewards Schedule

Purchases made on: Payment sent on:
Jan. 1 – March 31 May 15
April 1 – June 30 Aug. 15
July 1 – Sept. 30 Nov. 15
Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 Feb. 15

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Rewards Earnings Could Be Better on Everyday Purchases

Using your Rakuten Visa for non-Rakuten purchases wherever Visa is accepted earns you 1% cash back. Although 1% is preferable to nothing, there are better rewards credit cards you can use to earn more — especially if you spend a lot on gas and groceries.

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Not Enough Enticing Sign-Up Offers

The Rakuten credit card doesn’t offer any sign-up bonuses, such as no-interest balance transfers or an introductory interest rate. The only sign-up offer at this time is a $10 first-purchase bonus.

See: Killer Credit Card Combos for Travelers That Earn You Major Rewards

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How the Rakuten Credit Card Compares With Other Credit Cards

Paying with the Rakuten Visa credit card will push the smallest Rakuten cash-back rewards offer closer to the 5% mark. The card has some good purchase and travel protections, but is it worth a space in your wallet? Here’s a comparison of how the Rakuten credit card measures up to other popular cash-back cards.

Rakuten Credit Card Review and Comparison

Card Perks APR Fees and Penalties
Rakuten Credit Card
  • Extra 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten.com purchases, in-store offers and Rakuten travel and hotels
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases made anywhere Visa is accepted
  • Unlimited cash-back rewards
Variable rate of 21.49% to 26.49% APR on the Rakuten Signature Visa and 26.49% APR on the Rakuten Platinum Visa
  • Annual fee: None
  • Late fee: up to $38
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • $100 gift card on approval
  •  5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • Travel, emergency and lost luggage assistance
  • Travel accident insurance

 

15.74% to 23.74% APR, based on credit
  • Annual fee: $0 although an annual Prime membership of $119 (or $59 for students) is required
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5%, whichever is greater
  • Late fee: up to $39
  • Return payment fee: up to $39

 

Apple Card
  • 3% cash back on Apple Pay purchases at Apple, Uber and Uber Eats purchases, Walgreens, Duane Reade and in-store T-Mobile purchases
  • 2% back on all other Apple Pay purchases
  • 1% back on purchases made with the Apple card
Variable APRs range from 12.49% to 23.49%
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No late or returned payment fees

 

Capital One Walmart Rewards Card
  • 5% back in Walmart stores the first 12 months
  • 2% back after the first 12 months
  • 5% back on Walmart.com purchases
  • 2% back on gas from Walmart and Murphy USA fuel stations
  • 2% back on restaurants and travel
  • 1% back on all other Mastercard purchases
Variable rate of 17.99%, 23.24% or 26.99% APR based on credit
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Fee: up to $39
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • 4% cash back on gas up to $7000 and 1% after
  • 3% cash back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases
  • 2% on all Costco purchases
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • Damage and theft purchase protection
  • Extended warranty on purchased items

 

Variable 16.74% APR
  • No annual fee; Costco membership of $60 or $120 required
  • Late fee: up to $39
  • Returned check fee: up to $39
Macy’s American Express
  • Depending on Silver, Gold or Platinum membership level, get rewards like free shipping, additional savings and cash back
  • 3% back at restaurants
  • 2% back in gas and grocery purchases
  • 1% on all other purchases
Variable 26.74% APR
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: up to $39
  • Returned payment fee: up to $39

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Who Should Consider the Rakuten Credit Card?

Rakuten shoppers and fans of cash-back shopping websites who love getting their quarterly Big Checks in the mail should consider the Rakuten credit card. The extra 3% rewards plus another 1% on purchases made wherever Visa is accepted means more Rakuten spending money in the future.

Read More: 9 Ways To Get Mailbox Money

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Who Should Pass on the Rakuten Credit Card?

If you regularly carry a credit card balance because you use credit cards to finance larger purchases, skip the Rakuten credit card. The Rakuten Cash Back Visa’s APR is high at 21.49% to 26.49% APR, regardless of whether you’re approved for the Visa Signature or the Visa Platinum version.

Read: How To Use Your Credit Cards To Make Money — and To Save Money, Too

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How To Apply for the Rakuten Credit Card

To apply for the Rakuten credit card, you’ll need to sign up for an online Rakuten.com account first. Once you have a Rakuten account, follow the online credit card application’s easy steps.

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Once you receive your new card:

  • Download the Synchrony Bank MySynchrony mobile app to view recent transactions, set payment alerts and make payments.
  • Download the Rakuten mobile app on your phone to keep on top of the latest deals and see how much cash back you’ve earned so far.
  • Save the Rakuten Visa card customer service phone number — 855-697-4560 — to your contacts so you’ll have it available for any questions.

Learn: How Much Cash You’d Earn by Spending $1,000 With the Right Credit Card

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 Rakuten Credit Card Review: Is the Card Worth Having?

Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, makes it possible for shoppers to get cash-back rewards on their purchases. The ability to earn extra cash-back rewards by paying with the Rakuten credit card makes it a great choice for fans of cash-back sites. Having to wait for your cash reward every quarter may even be a blessing in disguise: The amount could be sizable if you used your credit card regularly.

Up Next: Surprising Uses for Your Credit Card Rewards

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Rates are subject to change. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Mar. 3, 2020. 

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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About the Author

Cynthia Bowman

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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