Rakuten Canada, which is formerly known as ebates.ca, is arguably the most known online cash back shopping portal worldwide. Ebates was founded in California in 1998 and it was an instant success getting millions of users. It became so popular that it was acquired in 2014 for one billion dollars by Japanese giant Rakuten (hence the name change in 2019). Rakuten now employs more than 600 people and operates in six countries. Luckily for us, Canada is one of these six countries. Read my Rakuten Canada review now for the full details
- What are cashback shopping portals?
- How does Rakuten work?
- How to sign up for Rakuten
- What online merchants offer cash-back?
- Scene+ Rakuten
- How to get the best deals on Rakuten
- Rakuten.ca gift card store
- How do I get paid?
- Pros and cons of Rakuten
- Sign-up now and get $5
- Earn even more cash
- Final thoughts
What are cashback shopping portals?
Online shopping in Canada is estimated to be a 40-billion-dollar industry and it continues to grow rapidly. Retailers compete fiercely for these sales and most of these retailers will give a commission to affiliate websites and blogs that send them clients. This shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve visited just about any website since affiliate deals are quite lucrative. Heck, even I use affiliate marketing to help bring in some additional income.
Rakuten Canada is one of these affiliate websites, but instead of keeping the commission, they split it with the customers making the purchases. You’re basically getting cash-back on purchases you’re already making online.
Several other cashback shopping portals exist (see my review of Great Canadian Rebates) but Rakuten is the largest one and maybe the easiest one to use.
How does Rakuten work?
If you have online purchases planned, login into Rakuten.ca prior to visiting the online retailers. Once in the Rakuten portal, find the retailer you want to visit and click on it. All your purchases will be registered and you will get the published cash back on your eligible purchases.
The cash back is an additional rebate since you can usually add coupons, promotions and take advantage of your credit cards points. Take a look at my guide on the best travel credit cards in Canada if you want to maximize your points for travel.
How to sign up for Rakuten
Signing up for Rakuten is completely free and only takes a few seconds. All you need is an email address or a Facebook account. When you visiting Rakuten.ca you’ll see a black ‘join now’ button in the top right corner. Click that and you’ll get a pop up asking if you want to join using Facebook, your Apple account, or your email. You can choose whichever option you prefer and that’s it- you have signed up for Rakuten.
What online merchants offer cash-back?
There are over 750 retailers on Rakuten.ca that offer cashback. This includes Amazon.ca, Alamo, Aldo, Best Buy, Chapters-Indigo, Children’s Place, Dell, eBay, Expedia, GAP, Groupon, Hertz, Hotels.com, Home Depot, Hudson’s Bay, Joe Fresh, Keurig, Rona, Sephora, Staples and Ticketmaster
See the complete list of merchants here.
The amount of cash back you can earn will vary from store to store. Rakuten.ca also has daily promotions so you should always check to see if there are any additional deals running.
As part of the new Scene+ program, you can now link your Rakuten account to your Scene+ number. This would basically allow you to earn Scene+ points instead of cash back. This is a very interesting partnership as there’s no devaluation if you opt to earn points instead of cash back. For reference, $0.01 in cash back = 1 Scene+ point.
With the value of your points and cash back being the same, some people are likely wondering what’s the point of linking your Scene+ account? Well, not only will Scene+ members be able to earn points from hundreds of online retailers, but they’ll also get exclusive offers where you can earn up to 20% more in points.
How to get the best deals on Rakuten
When you sign in to your Rakuten account your home page will show you current cash back rates for popular partners. Rakuten states that you can save up to 30% with partner retailers, though most rates are under 5%. So if you see anything higher, it’s probably a good time to buy. Keep in mind that these rates are constantly changing so don’t wait too long to shop. Also, keep in mind that not every item for sale by the partner may be eligible for the advertised cash back rate.
Rakuten.ca gift card store
Rakuten.ca distinguishes itself from other online shopping portals with its gift card shop. You can buy plastic and electronic gift cards from Rakuten with cash-back you’ve earned and it will be added to the same Ebates account as the shopping portal. The list of gift cards offered is impressive and includes Air Canada, Canadian Tire, Cineplex, Esso, IGA, Loblaw, No Frills, Petro Canada, Safeway, Shell, Shoppers, Uber, etc. See the complete list here.
Buying gift cards from Rakuten is a good way to add another layer of rebates on top of all promotions, coupons, retailer points and credit cards points. It’s also a good way to use some of the best American Express credit cards at retailers that don’t accept it like Loblaws banners since Ebates.ca accepts PayPal as a payment method.
How do I get paid?
Four times per year, Rakuten.ca will send you a check by mail, pay you in your PayPal account, or send you an e-gift card for Amazon if your account has $5.01 or more in it. Note that “bonus rewards” you earn from the sign-up bonus and for referrals do not count in the $5.01 minimum.
Pros and cons of Rakuten
While joining Rakuten may sound like a smart thing to do, you still need to think about what you’re getting into. All cash back sites have their pros and cons, and Rakuten is no different.
Pros of Rakuten
- Free to sign up and use
- Cash back on top brands in Canada
- Can choose between cash back (via Paypal or a cheque) or an amazon gift card
Cons of Rakuten
- Have to remember to sign into Rakuten website or app to get the cash back deals when you shop
- Payouts are only 4 times a year
- Cash back rates are often quite low
- Not all products for sale by partners will give you cash back
Sign-up now and get $30
You’ll instantly get a $30 bonus if you make an online eligible purchase of $25 or more using my referral link. Once you have an account you can then refer your friends and family and for each referral you make, you and the person you refer will both get a $30 bonus.
Earn even more cash
As you know by now, you can earn cash back with Rakuten when you get to online stores through their website, but you can earn even more cash if you use one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada. For example, the Tangerine World Mastercard allows you to earn 2% on up to three categories of your choice. There’s also the Scotiabank Gold Amex and the American Express Cobalt Card that earns you 5% cash back on groceries.
My Rakuten Canada review is obviously positive since it gives you free money on purchases you would do anyway. Make sure to always log in to Rakuten or Great Canadian Rebates before making any online purchases to maximize your spending.