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Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card – Review

At a Glance
Rakuten Credit Card
3.7 / 5
Rating

Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn $10 bonus cash when you make your first purchase after opening your account
  • Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on eligible Rakuten.com purchases and in-store purchases eligible for Rakuten cash back; all other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back
  • Fees: 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

If you’re at all savvy about online shopping, you’ve probably come across Rakuten, a diversified online merchant in the mold of Amazon if not quite as widely known.

Like Amazon, whose Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is one of the most popular retailer-associated cash-back credit cards around, Rakuten has a credit card: the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card.

This card has a straightforward and potentially generous cash-back program for regular Rakuten shoppers. You’ll earn 3% cash back on purchases made through Rakuten.com, including the Rakuten Travel & Vacations vertical, and on eligible in-store cash-back offers. All other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back. There’s no limit to how much you can earn with this card.

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa card shares a lot in common with other cash-back credit cards, not to mention store cards like the Target REDcard. But that doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good — or not so good — fit for your spending needs. Read on for a detailed overview of its features, advantages, drawbacks, and overall suitability.

Key Features

Sign-Up Bonus

Get a $10 cash bonus after making your first purchase using your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. There’s no minimum spend required to earn this bonus.

Earning Cash Back

Earn an extra 3% cash back on top of the rewards you’d normally earn as a Rakuten shopper on all qualifying purchases made through Rakuten.com, as well as in-store cash back offers from Rakuten.

All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back, with no caps or restrictions.

Redeeming Cash Back

Rakuten issues cash-back payments on a quarterly basis: May 15, August 15, November 15, and February 15. Payments arrive by your choice of postal mail (paper check) or PayPal. Cash back earned on this card combines with regular cash back earned on Rakuten purchases, so you’ll have just one rewards balance per Rakuten account even if you use the card regularly. The cash-out minimum is $5.

Important Fees

This card doesn’t have any monthly or annual fees. The foreign transaction fee is 3% of the transaction amount.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. This card does not charge an annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders who don’t spend heavily enough to offset a recurring levy.
  2. Solid Sign-Up Bonus. This card has a pretty solid sign-up bonus that requires no minimum spend or purchase within a particular timeframe. All told, it’s great news for thrifty cardholders seeking an early break on Rakuten spending.
  3. 3% Cash Back on Most Rakuten.com Purchases. This card earns 3% cash back without limit on virtually all Rakuten purchases, including purchases made at Rakuten.com and in-store cash-back opportunities.
  4. Low Redemption Minimum. You can redeem your earned cash back once your balance hits $5. That shouldn’t be hard, as your cash-back balance includes regular cash back earned through eligible Rakuten shopping, which you’d accumulate even if you didn’t have this card.

Disadvantages

  1. Low Baseline Earning Rate. Non-Rakuten.com purchases earn just 1% cash back. That’s a mere 1% rate of return, less than most competing retail credit cards and general-purpose cash-back cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited (unlimited 1.5% cash back) and the Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% cash back).
  2. No Charity Donations. Rakuten Rewards Mastercard doesn’t permit you to donate points to charity. Although this certainly isn’t a standard perk in the credit card industry, it can be a nice touch that allows you to give back without much effort. And some retailer-specific rewards credit cards — including Target REDcard — do engage with charities. For instance, Target donates 1% of your REDcard purchase total to the school of your choosing.
  3. No Introductory APR Promotion. This card has no introductory APR promotion for purchases, balance transfers, or cash advances. That’s a big drawback for new cardholders planning major purchases or transfers of existing high-interest credit card debt.

Final Word

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card definitely has some attractive features and perks. And, like other retailer-specific rewards credit cards, it really can save you money on purchases, including many you’d probably make anyway.

However, don’t lose sight of the fact that this card is fundamentally about encouraging you to spend money, not save it. Then again, that’s also the case for similar fee-free cash-back store cards like the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, so perhaps you’re best off avoiding the category entirely if you’re concerned about impulse buys becoming an issue.

Verdict
Rakuten Credit Card
3.7 / 5
Rating

Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card is a great way to earn discounts faster and stretch your online shopping dollars further. Low redemption minimums and triple cash back on Rakuten.com purchases are particularly attractive to frequent Rakuten shoppers. A nice sign-up bonus doesn’t hurt either. On the downside, this card has a low baseline cash-back rate, no 0% APR introductory promotion, and no option to donate points to charity.

A solid sign-up bonus, ample earning power on Rakuten.com purchases, and a low redemption minimum all count in favor.

A low baseline earning rate, no intro APR period, and no charitable donation option are big drawbacks.

Overall, this is a great card for existing Rakuten.com users looking to stretch their dollars further.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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