Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card Review

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The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card, issued by Synchrony Bank, is aimed at savvy shoppers who want to save money and earn a few bucks doing what they love—buying things online. Rakuten (formerly eBates) is a portal in which you can score discounts and earn a set amount of cash back on your purchases for hundreds of retailers. If you get the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card and pay with it, you will get additional cash back on every purchase.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Signature Credit Card

overall rating
3.7
Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Signature Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 19.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an extra 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten.com or through in store offer. Ean 1% cash back everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.0
for Fees
3.2
for Rewards
3.8
for Credit
2.2

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
    Savvy Saver

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card is for serious online shoppers and deal-seekers who love earning cash back. When you consider that people spent over $158 billion dollars on online purchases in the fourth quarter of 2019, accounting for 11.4% of all sales, anything that can help give you an edge is worth exploring.

If you’re one of the 12 million users already maximizing Rakuten’s “shop and earn” approach, getting the credit card extends your earning power an extra 3%. 

While you won’t get the rewards redemption flexibility or the bells and whistles that some other rewards credit cards may offer, if you love the idea of getting a quarterly cash back payment, this card may be a good fit for you.

Pros
  • Stacking your Rakuten cash back

  • Visa Signature benefits

Cons
  • Long wait for rewards

  • Limited rewards earning potential

  • Cumbersome rewards activation

Pros Explained

  • Stacking your Rakuten cash back: The draw of the card is the 3% additional cash back you’ll get on every purchase made via Rakuten. So if a department store like Kohl’s is giving 6% back through Rakuten and you use your card to pay, you’ll get 9% back in total. You’ll also get 1% on other non-Rakuten purchases so you can still earn every time you swipe.
  • Visa Signature benefits: Especially for online shopping, it’s always good to have some consumer protections on your side should a purchase not go as planned. From extended warranties and purchase security to return protection, Visa Signature cardholders get to enjoy these benefits and others.

If you spend mostly on groceries, gas, or store brands not associated with Rakuten, you may ultimately get more value from a different rewards card. Either way, it still pays to sign up for a free Rakuten account and start your online shopping sessions there for easy cash back on top of whatever your card earnings are.

Cons Explained

  • Long wait for rewards: Because your Rakuten Cash Back Visa earnings accumulate in your main Rakuten account, you’ll get your cash four times per year in the form of a “Big Fat Check” that’s mailed to you, or as a credit to your PayPal account. Many other rewards cards allow you to cash in whenever you’d like, or when you reach a certain threshold.
  • Limited rewards earning potential: While 3% isn’t too shabby, you’re limited to the retailers and brands that are Rakuten partners. If you do enough online shopping to make the card worthwhile, great. Otherwise, you might be better off with either a rewards credit card that has rotating categories where you can earn as much as 5% on some purchases. Or, you might go with a flat-rate 1.5% cash back, so you can earn a steady rate on all of your purchases.
  • Cumbersome rewards activation: All of the 3% cash back opportunities need to be activated by visiting Rakuten before you shop. If you’re not someone who will take the time to do this extra step, you might be better suited with a cash back card that’s more of a “no-brainer.”

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card New Cardholder Bonus 

The bonus is in the form of a one-time $10 reward after you make your first purchase. While it’s not a big money boost, you can think of it like you’re getting a $10 coupon. With other cash-back cards, you can earn a bonus worth as much as $150, but there is typically a minimum spend requirement within the first three months of card opening.

Earning Points & Rewards

The good news is that the amount of cash back you can earn with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature card is unlimited. In addition to the 3% back on purchases made through the Rakuten portal, you’ll also get the same rate on travel bookings made via Rakuten partners. Rakuten also offers in-store cash back for some retailers, but you’ll have to link those offers to your card via the Rakuten website or app.

For all other purchases you make that are not through Rakuten, you’ll earn 1% cash back.

If you have an American Express credit card that earns Membership Rewards, you can link your Membership Rewards account to Rakuten and earn those rewards instead of cash back.

Redeeming Rewards

All Cash Back that you earn, whether by shopping through Rakuten or by using your Rakuten Credit Card, will be credited to your Rakuten Cash Back account. You’ll automatically receive your cash back in your Rakuten account four times per year in the form of either a check that’s mailed to you, or a deposit into your PayPal account.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Be sure to start your online shopping sessions at Rakuten so you can make sure you earn the maximum cash back offer available. Plus, even when shopping in person, pull up your Rakuten app to see if there are any in-store cash back offers.

Add the Rakuten Button as a browser extension to help you remember to activate cash back offers when you shop.

Finally, don’t forget about your Visa Signature benefits should you have any issues with your online purchases. It can prove valuable should you lose or damage a purchase or have trouble returning an item that you’re not satisfied with, for example.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card’s Excellent Perks 

Most credit cards come with added benefits for cardholders, but some stand out for their exceptional value. The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature card offers one such “excellent perk”:

  • Travel accident insurance: Get up to $250,000 in coverage for accidental death or dismemberment while on a trip paid for with this card.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card’s Other Features 

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Extended warranties
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Travel and emergency hotline

Customer Experience

Cardholders have access to 24/7 customer service support by phone with Synchrony Bank. However, Synchrony does not have a great reputation for customer service. In fact, the bank ranked 10th out of 11 big banks in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, scoring 780 out of 1,000 possible points. The industry average was 806. 

Security Features 

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card has industry standard security features including zero liability for fraudulent purchases.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card’s Fees

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card doesn’t have an annual fee, and late fees are comparable to most credit cards. It does have a foreign transaction fee of 3%, however, so it’s not the best card to bring when travelling abroad.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Signature Credit Card
overall rating
3.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 19.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an extra 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten.com or through in store offer. Ean 1% cash back everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. U.S. Census Bureau News. "Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 4th Quarter 2019." Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.

  2. Rakuten. "About Our Company." Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.

  3. Rakuten. "What Is the Rakuten Visa Cash Back Credit Card?" Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.

  4. J. D. Power. "2019 U. S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.