Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card Review [2021]: Worth It for Rakuten Users?

If you want to stack your existing Rakuten rewards with more cash back or Amex Membership Rewards points, consider the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card.
Last updated Apr 29, 2021 | By Ben Walker

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Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is an online shopping portal that offers cash back on qualifying purchases made at thousands of stores, including Walmart, Target, and Nike. It offers an easy and free way to save money on purchases you’re already making. In addition, you could stack the cash back you earn through Rakuten with rewards from the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card.

In this Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card review, you’ll learn how to earn and redeem rewards with this card. We’ll also cover the card’s benefits and explain why American Express cardholders might get the most value from the Rakuten card. This will help you decide whether the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card deserves a spot in your wallet.

Generous Cashback Rewards

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 3% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 3% cash back
  • $10 cash back bonus on your first purchase
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
  • Minimal welcome offer
Card Details
  • Zero fraud liability
  • 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases

In this Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card review

Who should get the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card?

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card makes the most sense if you already use Rakuten or are planning to use Rakuten when you shop online or to make in-store purchases. Rakuten partners with major retailers and brands like Apple, Macy’s, and Under Armour, so it’s easy to earn more from your favorite stores. Qualifying Rakuten purchases offer 3% cash back, while all other purchases offer 1% cash back. So if you aren’t planning on making purchases through Rakuten, consider finding a different rewards credit card with a higher cashback rate than 1%.

If you don’t want cash back, Rakuten also offers another potentially valuable redemption option. If you have an American Express credit card that earns Amex Membership Rewards points, you can link your Amex account to your Rakuten account. This allows you to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back on Rakuten (more on that below).

So if you want an interesting option to earn valuable Membership Rewards points with a Visa card, consider the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. Keep in mind, this card likely requires a good or excellent credit score for approval.

Card basics

Card type Cash Back
Credit card issuer Synchrony
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Zero fraud liability after account opening
Reward rate 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Good, Excellent
Foreign transaction fee 3%

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card benefits and perks

  • Sign-up bonus: Zero fraud liability after account opening.
  • Rewards-earning potential: Earn 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No annual cost: The annual fee is $0, so you don’t have to work to offset an annual cost each year.
  • Rewards stack: Rewards earned with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card can stack with rewards earned through the Rakuten portal. So double dip and earn bonus rewards to your heart’s content.
  • Payout options: Receive your rewards in the form of a mailed check, a PayPal transfer, or as Amex Membership Rewards points.
  • Visa card benefits: You will receive either a Visa Signature or Visa Platinum version of this card. Depending on the version, you may receive benefits such as price protection, return protection, extended warranty coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection, travel accident insurance, or travel and emergency assistance services.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Low welcome offer: Getting a Zero fraud liability is helpful, but it’s nowhere near the generous offers you might find on other credit cards.
  • Foreign transaction fee: This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it wouldn’t make sense to use it while traveling abroad. Many of the best travel credit cards offer better options for making foreign transactions.
  • Long payouts: You don’t earn rewards as you make purchases with this card. Instead, you get your bonus rewards paid out to you on a quarterly basis. This means you could potentially wait up to about four months from when you made a purchase to receive the rewards for that purchase. For example, if you made an eligible purchase on Jan. 1, you wouldn’t receive your rewards for that purchase until May 15.

Earning and redeeming cash back

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash back can add up with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. To calculate these values, we used a valuation of 1 cent.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $345

Year two earnings: $335

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

These numbers represent the minimum you could earn with this card and don’t take into account the 3% on Qualifying Rakuten purchases, because we can’t predict which items you will buy through Rakuten retailers. That means your earnings could be much higher than what is indicated here.

Best ways to earn

You’ll need to use Rakuten and take advantage of qualifying store cashback offers if you want to maximize your earnings with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. If you don’t use Rakuten, you can earn only up to 1% on all other purchases. This rate is less than ideal, as it’s beaten by plenty of other cashback credit cards.

Making qualifying Rakuten purchases with this card will earn you 3% cash back. This rate is higher than many other available cashback rewards rates. Keep in mind, eligible purchases may include purchases made through Rakuten.com, Rakuten’s in-store cashback program, and Rakuten’s dining program.

Categories Rewards rate
Qualifying Rakuten purchases 3%
All other purchases 1%

Maximizing your redemptions

Cash back is arguably the most popular and well-known option for redemptions through Rakuten. If you want cash back, you can receive your rewards in the form of a mailed check or a PayPal transfer. However, there’s also a third option that may offer huge value for some people: earning Amex Membership Rewards points with Rakuten.

Earning Amex points with Rakuten is as simple as having an Amex credit card that earns Membership Rewards points and linking it to your Rakuten account. You can do this in the settings of your Rakuten online account. Once you’ve selected this option, you’ll start earning Membership Rewards points for your purchases made through Rakuten and purchases made with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card.

This may be the best redemption option available on this card because Membership Rewards points can often end up worth more than the cashback option. You can transfer Membership Rewards points to more than a dozen Amex transfer partners, including major travel programs like Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and Delta SkyMiles.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card FAQs

Is there a fee for Rakuten?

It’s free to sign up and use the Rakuten shopping and cashback portal to save money on purchases from thousands of stores and online retailers. Also, the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card has a $0 annual fee, so there’s no annual cost to worry about. You can stack your rewards from both your Rakuten account and Rakuten Visa Card to maximize your Rakuten earning potential.

How much money do you get back from Rakuten?

The amount of money you get back from Rakuten depends on how often you shop with Rakuten, the available cashback offers, and whether you’re using the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. As you make more purchases through Rakuten, you’ll earn more cash back. However, available cashback offers can change on a daily basis, so one day you could earn 10% cash back from a store, and the next day it drops to 5%.

Also, the cash back you earn with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card stacks with any eligible cashback offers available through Rakuten. So if you make a purchase through Rakuten with your Rakuten Visa Card at a store with a 10% cashback offer, you’d earn the 10% rate plus your card’s qualifying Rakuten purchases bonus on qualifying Rakuten purchases. This shows how stacking offers can quickly add up to big rewards .

How do I increase my Rakuten credit card limit?

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card is issued by Synchrony Bank, which allows you to manage your credit card through the MySynchrony website or mobile app (available on iOS and Android devices). MySynchrony has an option to request a credit limit increase, though Synchrony will likely require information about your annual net income to determine your creditworthiness and eligibility for a credit line increase.


Other cards to consider

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card is an excellent choice for Rakuten users who want to boost their earning potential, especially with valuable Amex Membership Rewards points. However, this card may not be the right fit for you if you don’t use Rakuten or you mainly use someplace like Amazon for online purchases. In these cases, the Citi Double Cash Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could make more sense.

The Citi Double Cash is one of the best cashback credit cards available because it offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. This gives you more flexibility than the Rakuten Visa Card because this rate works on every purchase you make instead of a specific category.

Rakuten doesn’t typically offer any discounts on Amazon purchases, but a card like the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature does. This card offers 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; 1% on all other purchases. Overall, it’s a quality option for Amazon shoppers and the additional bonus categories provide further value on other everyday purchases.

Generous Cashback Rewards

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Special Offer

Zero fraud liability

See how these cards compare:

Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash Card
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • Get a $100 Amazon gift card upon approval
  • 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.