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Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card Review

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated May 27, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Savvy online deal-finders familiar with the Rakuten program, formerly known as Ebates, should know that the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card, issued by Synchrony, is a way to earn additional cashback rewards at no extra cost.

Rakuten is a cashback program that allows consumers to sign up for free. It offers cash back, coupons and promo codes at more than 2,500 stores. Cashback amounts vary by merchant, but can go as high as 40%. Stores pay Rakuten a commission for sending customers to them, according to Rakuten’s website. Members can shop at rakuten.com or through the mobile app.

However, for those who aren’t active Rakuten members, there may be better credit cards that offer rewards for online shopping.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card pros

Rewards. Earn 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten and earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cash back earned with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card can be stacked with any cashback rewards offered when shopping with participating merchants through Rakuten. For example, if you’d normally earn 2% cash back on a purchase just for shopping through Rakuten, that stacks to 5% cash back when paying with this credit card.

Sign-up bonus. Earn $10 bonus after the first purchase .

No annual fee. Don’t worry about an annual fee for carrying this card, because there is none.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card cons

Rewards are distributed only four times a year. Here’s the schedule for when rewards post and when the corresponding check will be sent out to Rakuten members:

Cashback posting periodPayment sent
January through MarchMay 15
April through JuneAug. 15
July through SeptemberNov. 15
October through DecemberFeb. 15

Also, know that you must accrue at least $5 worth of cash back for a check to be issued.

You must activate cash back for each purchase. If you forget to activate a store’s cash back, you’ll only earn the base cash back offered by your credit card.

3% cash back is only for Rakuten shopping. When not shopping through Rakuten, this card only earns 1% cash back. There are no-annual-fee cards with much better rewards rates.

Read: Best Cashback Credit Cards

Low sign-up bonus. Earning $10 after making your first purchase is hardly the most lucrative sign-up bonus available. Read our article on the best credit card sign-up bonuses.

Foreign transaction fee. Better to leave this card at home when traveling outside the United States, since there’s a fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

High APR. The interest rate is 19.99% or 24.99% variable, so it’s crucial to avoid interest charges by paying the card off in full each billing cycle.

Compare it with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

One of the premier cards for online shopping rewards is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. Here’s how it compares with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card:

 Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit CardAmazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Sign-up bonusEarn $10 bonus after the first purchase .$70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval.
RewardsEarn 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten and earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, 1% back on all other purchases.
Annual feeNone$0
Regular purchase APR19.99% or 24.99% variable15.99% - 23.99% variable

The main downfall of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is that cardholders must have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $119 a year (or $59 a year for college students). Without a Prime membership, there’s the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, which earns a rather decent rate of 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, 1% back on all other purchases.

However, for online shoppers who already hold a Prime membership, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a no-brainer. It’s possible to earn 5% on Amazon purchases with a non-Amazon card such as the Discover it® Cash Back — but that card rotates 5% categories every quarter, and drops cardholders to 1% after they hit a quarterly spending limit.

For those who shop on Amazon infrequently, the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card might be better. Rakuten doesn’t offer cash back on Amazon purchases, but does offer coupons.

Read our review of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

Another card worth considering is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which allows cardholders to choose their 3% category. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, 1% cash back on every purchase.

Categories available for 3% cash back include:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

Cardholders are able to change the 3% category as frequently as every month.

Savvy shoppers could double dip by selecting online shopping as the 3% category for the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, then paying with that card when shopping through the Rakuten program.

Read our review of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.

Is the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card right for you?

This card is good for consumers who like Rakuten’s lineup of thousands of participating merchants, such as:

  • Dollar Shave Club (5% cash back)
  • Grubhub (up to 11% cash back)
  • Macy’s (2% cash back)
  • Petco (2% cash back)
  • Staples (2% cash back)

Note that cashback rates listed above do not include the extra cash back you’d get if using the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card for those purchases.

The full list of stores can be found here. If what’s offered fits with your spending patterns, the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card can put even more cash back in your wallet.

However, consumers who aren’t interested in bargain hunting within the Rakuten program can earn cash back for online shopping with a card such as the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card or the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.

Read: Best Credit Cards for Shopping Online, Streaming Services and Food Delivery

The information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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