The Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card offers online shoppers great value. The card has a $0 annual fee and a great 3% bonus on purchases made through the Rakuten Shopping Portal. You can choose to redeem for cash or American Express Membership Rewards. This effectively means that the Visa card is one of the best ways to earn American Express membership rewards.
Rakuten Visa is most attractive when paired with an American Express card for membership bonus points. However, if you want a card for everyday spending, there are better options as the Rakuten Visa Card only earns 1% on non-Rakuten purchases.
- Potential for great value when used to earn American Express Membership Rewards
- Great Bonus Potential for Shopping Portal Bonuses
- There is no limit to getting rewards
- Almost non-existent welcome bonus
- Requires an American Express credit card for maximum benefits
- no travel allowance
- Bonuses are paid quarterly, not your earnings
- Get a $10 bonus on your first purchase with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card
- Receive an additional 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten.com, in-store cash back offers, Rakuten Hotels and Rakuten Travel
- 1% Cash Back on Purchases Elsewhere Visa Credit Cards Accepted
- Accumulate cash back at over 2,500 stores
- Get unlimited cash back on all purchases made with your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card
- Enjoy all the benefits of the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card with Apple Pay™, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay
- Peace of mind with our zero fraud policy and visa benefits like price protection and return protection
Rakuten Visa Card
For those looking to earn American Express Membership Rewards points, the Rakuten Visa Card is one of the few options with a $0 annual fee. Earning 3% cash or 3 Membership Rewards points for every dollar purchased through the Rakuten Portal can be quite a lot of money.
Some people may not know the name Rakuten, but know the site’s old name: Ebates. Ebates was one of the first cashback portals, and Rakuten remains one of the biggest. However, the Rakuten bonus does not apply to all online purchases. Some large suppliers, like Amazon and Walmart, don’t use portals to incentivize many categories.
Disadvantage? Purchases made outside of the Rakuten Portal, whether online or in-store, are eligible for a paltry 1% refund. The card also lacks a decent welcome bonus and no travel perks.
At first glance
3% cash back on eligible purchases made through Rakuten.com, in-store cash back offers, Rakuten Hotels and Rakuten Travel, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
$0 annual fee
Best used with the American Express Membership Rewards Card.
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The Rakuten Visa Card offers a $10 welcome bonus after your first purchase with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card, so obviously, you won’t get this card to earn the bonus. When opening an account, you will be prompted to register a Rakuten account or link an existing account. If you choose to earn Membership Rewards points at this time, please link your existing American Express card. Points will be credited to your chosen American Express Membership Rewards account four times a year.
Alternatively, you can sign up without doing anything else and the reward will be credited to your Rakuten account. Cashback is paid four times a year via Paypal.
On current purchases, the card provides 3% cash back on eligible purchases made through Rakuten.com, in-store cash back offers, Rakuten Hotels and Rakuten Travel, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
The best thing the Rakuten Visa Card offers is the ability to earn Membership Rewards points. American Express Membership Rewards points are valuable because they are flexible. Points can be transferred to any of a dozen travel partners, most on a 1:1 basis. In addition, American Express offers frequent transfer rewards to further maximize your points.
The most common airline transit partners include Delta Air Lines (SkyTeam airline), British Airways and Iberia Avios (oneworld) and Air Canada Aeroplan (Star Alliance).
Alternatively, you can choose cashback as an option, in which case you will receive four PayPal deposits per year.
To determine the bonus potential of the Rakuten visa, we need to look at the bonus categories and calculate how much a sample U.S. family might spend in these areas. Forbes Advisor uses data from various government agencies to determine basic income and average spending for each category. 70% of working families bring in $100,172 a year, and our spending is based on that number.
It has been calculated that the typical household spends $2,377 annually on online shopping. With 3 Member Reward points per dollar or 3% in cash spent on online shopping using Rakuten, the household would earn an additional 7,131 Member Reward points or $71.31 per year.
If you spend $21,512 on other items that can be reasonably charged by credit card, you’ll earn 21,512 Membership Rewards points or $215.52. A total of 28,643 Membership Rewards points per year, or $286.43 in cash. By selecting the loyalty reward option and using a transfer partner, the return on spend may be much higher than the alternative cash back earned.
Remember, this number represents a bonus only; the family will continue to earn points for the stores they shop from through the Rakuten Portal. Depending on the dealer, this could be anywhere from 1% to 10% or more.
More card benefits
As a Visa card, the Rakuten Card has several advantages, including:
- ID Navigator Identity Theft Protection: Sign up for this free service from Norton LifeLock and get credit monitoring and support if your identity is at risk
- Cardholder Reference Service: If you have any questions about your account, you can contact a Visa representative 24/7
- Lost or Stolen Card Assistance: You can report your card lost or stolen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If necessary, Visa will work with you and your card-issuing bank to suspend your lost account, reissue a new card, and/or arrange for emergency redemption
- No Liability: Your liability for unauthorized transactions is $0.
How the cards are stacked
Compared to the Rakuten visa, three cards make more sense. Depending on your needs, one of these might be a better choice.
Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card* and Amex EveryDay® Credit Card*
If you want to earn Membership Rewards points for a $0 annual fee but don’t make most of your online purchases, the American Express EveryDay Card might be for you. It offers 2 Membership Rewards points per $6,000 (and then 1X) of purchases at U.S. supermarkets, 2 points per dollar when using the card to book travel through American Express Travel, and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible dollars. Also, use the card for at least 20 purchases in a billing cycle and earn 20% extra points on those purchases.
Alternatively, the American Express EveryDay might be a good companion card for Rakuten Visa.
Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card* and Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card*
If you shop more on Amazon than any other online retailer, the no-annual-fee Amazon Rewards visa might be better for you. This card does not require Amazon Prime membership, and offers 3% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases .
Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card* and Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Card*
If you’re a loyal Walmart.com fan, consider using the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card. Walmart is often missing from the Rakuten Portal, so you won’t earn rewards points with the Rakuten Viisa, but the Walmart Rewards Card offers solid 5% cash back on Walmart.com, the Walmart app, and Walmart grocery pickup and delivery. In addition to restaurant and travel purchases, it also offers 2% cash back at Walmart stores.
Is this card right for you?
If you shop a lot online and already use the cashback portal, the Rakuten Visa is an easy addition to your credit card portfolio. With a $0 annual fee and a sizable bonus for purchases from the Rakuten portal, your income can grow quickly.
The Rakuten Visa Card also makes sense for those who want a card with no annual fee to accrue Membership Rewards points. Rakuten Visa is a great companion if you already have an American Express card with membership rewards.
However, if you don’t use the Rakuten Portal very often, this card is not for you. There are better cards out there that offer more than the 1% cash back on all other purchases that this card offers.