The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card is for serious online shoppers and deal-seekers who love earning cash back.
If you’re one of the 12 million users already maximizing Rakuten’s “shop and earn” approach, getting the credit card extends your rewards-earning power an extra 3% on top of discounts you already earn from more than 2,500 online retailers.
Stacking your Rakuten cash back
Visa Signature benefits
Long wait for rewards
Limited rewards earning potential
Cumbersome rewards activation
- Stacking your Rakuten cash back: 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: The card’s suite of shopper-focused benefits like extended warranties and purchase protection are standout features among store-branded credit cards (more on this later).
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.
- 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, the rewards work to your advantage. 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 a flat-rate 1.5% cash back.
- 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 easier to use.
Synchrony may approve you for a Visa Platinum version of the Rakuten card, which has a higher APR.
Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card Bonus for New Cardholders
The bonus is in the form of a one-time $10 reward after you make your first purchase. The bonus doesn’t compare to other cash-back cards, which can offer as much as a $150 bonus if you can spend at least $500 in the first three months. Even other store cards offer more substantial welcome bonuses. For example, the Kohl's Credit Card provides a 35% discount off your first purchase.
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.
The card’s rewards rate is mediocre for store-branded credit cards and cash-rewards cards may prove more profitable if you shop at Rakuten occasionally rather than frequently.
If you have an American Express credit card that earns Membership Rewards, you may be able to link your Membership Rewards account to Rakuten and earn those rewards instead of cash back.
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. Other cash-back cards allow you to redeem as little as one penny’s worth of rewards at any time.
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 available. Store rewards on Rakuten can exceed 10%, so stacking your 3% on top of that can provide significant cash-back totals. 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. The benefits can prove valuable should you lose or damage a purchase or have trouble returning an item that you’re not satisfied with.
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.
- 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
Synchrony does not have a great reputation for customer service. The bank ranked 10th out of 11 national issuers in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
Cardholders have access to customer service support by phone, chat, and email through Synchrony Bank.
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 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.