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Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten is a popular cash back online shopping platform where users receive cash back for every purchase made. Ebates was started in California in 1998, and in 2014 it was bought out by Japanese-based Rakuten. The site was renamed Rakuten in 2019. Many cash back sites like this exist, but Rakuten Canada is the largest and perhaps the most popular. 

Today, the company operates in six countries, including Canada. Moreover, there are about 5 million registered users on the site and over 750 merchants affiliated.

What Is Rakuten Canada?

Retailers and merchants use platforms like Rakuten to advertise sales and discounts. To maintain their competition, these retailers will offer commissions to Rakuten in exchange for referring shoppers to them. 

When a consumer makes a purchase at a retailer, the consumer will receive a portion of the commission paid out to Rakuten. Anyone who already shops online can take advantage of a site like Rakuten to get some cash back on purchases that already would have been made anyway. 

Steps On How To Use Rakuten Canada?

To use Rakuten, follow these steps. 

  1. Create An Account – You’ll need to create an account with Rakuten using your email, Facebook or Apple account. Don’t worry, there’s no subscription fee.
  2. Log In – Once you’re logged in, you can peruse the website to find a deal, look through different categories, or search for specific retailers that you want to shop with.
  3. Click The Link – once you find the deal or retailer you want to shop with, simply click the “shop now” button. You’ll be redirected to the retailer’s website where you can browse and make your purchase.  All purchases you make with that retailer through Rakuten will be recorded through the use of cookies to track your activity. 
  4. Get Rewarded – After making the purchase, the advertised cash back offer on those purchases will be paid out to you. You can check your Rakuten cash back balance through your account. In addition to the cash back earned, there are also coupon codes and promos that you can apply to your purchase for discounts to save even more money. 

Rakuten Canada Features

Rakuten comes with plenty of useful money-saving features, including the following:

Chrome Extension

You can also install and use the Rakuten Express browser extension to get deals as well. Whenever you’re on a specific retailer’s web page, a cash back button will pop up to alert you of any cash back offers available on that particular page.

Get Cash Back And Rebates

As mentioned, when you make a purchase, Rakuten earns a commission. But rather than keeping all of it, Rakuten shares part of it with you, the consumer. In addition to the traditional cash back offers, there are also opportunities to double your cash back rewards.

Shop essentials and hot deals sections. Find the latest deals offered by your favourite merchants.


Earn $25 when you refer a friend to Rakuten. Get friends and family a Rakuten gift card on their next special occasion and earn cash back on gift cards.

How Does Rakuten Canada Referral Program Work?

Rakuten Canada offers an appealing referral program that rewards you with up to $30 per friend you refer. Your friend must join Rakuten using the special link or Rakuten referral code you provide. You can earn unlimited cash bonuses under this program, even when you’re not shopping online. Since your friend will receive a sign-up bonus, both of you will get rewarded! 

All you have to do is get your friend to activate their new Rakuten account and make an eligible purchase of up to $30 using the Rakuten website or app. Afterward, the rewards you both receive depend on where your friend is located and which store they shop at. 

Overview Of Rakuten Canada

Perks– Cash back referral bonus
– Sign up bonus
– Cash back from hundreds of merchants and current deals
AccessibilityWebsite Browser Extension
Limitations– Long wait for the payout
– You can’t get cash back from all stores

How Do You Earn Cash Back On Rakuten?

After signing up with Rakuten and logging into your account, you can browse the Rakuten site and look at the different categories, stores, or hot deals that interest you. When you make a purchase at a partner retailer through Rakuten, you’ll receive the posted cash back offer associated with that deal, which will be applied to your Rakuten account. 

You can also earn money when you sign up and by referring friends and family to Rakuten. When someone signs up for Rakuten and makes a purchase after you refer them, you will both earn a bonus. There are also coupons, discounts, and promo codes on Rakuten, which can add up when combined with cash back offers.

Which Shops Can You Make Purchases With Rakuten In Canada?

With a Rakuten Canada account, you can shop at (and earn rewards with) more than 750 different stores across the country. Some of the most recognizable names include: 

  • Amazon
  • Simons
  • Walmart
  • Sportchek
  • Banana Republic
  • Canadian Tire
  • The Home Depot
  • Old Navy
  • Sephora
  • Hudson’s Bay

If you make qualifying purchases in-store at locations that work with Rakuten, you might also be able to score cash back offers, coupons, discounts, and other types of rewards.

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How Do You Redeem Your Rakuten Cash Back? 

Rakuten will send you a cash back payment every three months for purchases posted over the previous quarter. Any balances less than $5.01 will be carried over to the next cheque. There are several ways to receive your cash back payment, including the following:

  • Cheque. A cheque can be mailed to your home, and Rakuten will cover the mailing fees. 
  • PayPal. Your cash back rewards payment can be sent directly to your PayPal account, and the sender’s fees will be covered by Rakuten. 
  • Amazon e-gift card. Redeem your cash back rewards with an electronic gift card. 

Pros Of Using Rakuten Canada

  • Cash back rebates. Earn cash back rewards on purchases you would have made anyway.
  • Vast marketplace. With over 750 merchants, there’s no shortage of retailers to shop with on Rakuten. 
  • Widely recognized. There’s something comforting about using a site that’s well-renowned and has been around for two decades.
  • Referral bonus. Earn bonus rewards when someone you refer signs up and makes an eligible purchase. 
  • Deal alerts. Install the Rakuten chrome extension to receive automatic alerts on deals. 
  • Variety of products and categories. In addition to all the available merchants, there are also plenty of products and offers to take advantage of through Rakuten.
  • Mobile app. Shop and save on the go with the Rakuten mobile app. 
  • Free to use. There’s no charge to use Rakuten.

Cons Of Using Rakuten Canada

While Rakuten Canada can be a great way to earn cash back on your purchases, their platform has some downsides that you should be aware of before you sign up, such as:

  • Long Wait To Get Paid Out – No matter how much cash back you make when shopping with Rakuten, your rewards only get paid out 4 times per year on May 15, August 15, November 15, and February 15. So, even though earning rewards is easy, having to wait so long to actually receive them can be kind of annoying.  
  • Limited Retailers – As mentioned, there are more than 750 retailers that you can make purchases with using Rakuten Canada. On the other hand, there are over 3,000 available to US residents. Some of the more popular stores that you can’t access with a Rakuten Canada account include Zara, La Vie En Rose, and more.  
  • Tricky Exceptions – Rakuten Canada doesn’t provide rewards for every type of purchase. For example, you won’t earn cash back for orders you pick up in-store, even if you buy them online. That is unless the store is listed on their buy online pick up in-store page. You might be out of luck when it comes to add-ons and items from specific stores too. These exceptions can be tough to remember.   
  • Cash Back Amounts Can Change – Rakuten Canada’s partners can alter their reward amounts without warning. There are no schedules or email notifications to tell you otherwise. So, if you were saving for an item that initially had a large cash back value, you may be shocked to see that value has dropped a few days later.   

Bottom Line: Who Is Rakuten Best Suited For?

Anyone who is looking to get the best deals on products they are already intending on buying will find Rakuten a great platform to shop on. It’s also great for shoppers who appreciate being rewarded with a little cash for making online purchases through partner merchants. Canadians who are on a budget and want to pay the lowest price possible on items while earning some cash back will find Rakuten a fabulous tool when shopping online. Start earning some money for your online purchases with many of your favourite retailers.

Rakuten Canada FAQs

Is Rakuten Canada safe?

Yes, Rakuten is safe to use. The platform safely and securely stores credit card information in an encrypted environment. None of your information will be given away or sold to third parties.

How do you become a member?

Signing up with Rakuten is quick and easy. All you need to do is enter your email address and choose a password, or you can log in through your Facebook account. You’ll also have the option to subscribe to email newsletters, coupons, and special offers.

How much does it cost?

Using Rakuten Canada is completely free. There is no monthly fee or subscription fee you need to pay to sign up and use Rakuten. 

Do you get cash back from all store purchases? 

You can only get cash back from retailers that Rakuten has an affiliate relationship with. These retailers are all listed and categorized on the Rakuten website. Cash back rewards earned are paid out by Rakuten after they earn a commission from the merchant you make a purchase from. Rakuten acts as the affiliate or referral platform that directs you to various retailers. When you make a purchase, the retailer will pay Rakuten a commission. And as an affiliate, Rakuten will split that commission with you.
Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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