Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card Review

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Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card Review

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card does not rank among our best cash back credit cards. You might find better choices by reviewing our list of the top cash back credit cards.

Full Review of Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card

Pros

  • Allows you to stack incentives in order to optimize cash back on online purchases.

  • No limit on bonus cash back

Cons

  • Tiny intro offer

  • Low non-bonus rewards rate

  • No control over redemption

Pros Explained

  • Allows you to stack rewards to get the most cash back on online purchases: Rakuten is a cash-back website that pays you for shopping online via its platform or taking advantage of its in-store promotions. All cash back earned from Rakuten is in addition to any rewards earned with the credit card used to make the transaction, and you may use any credit card you like. However, not many credit cards provide 3% cash back on internet purchases like this one (as long as you make the online purchase through Rakuten).So, if a merchant offers 8% back, you’d earn that plus 3% back from the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card, for a total of 11% back.
  • No Annual Bonus Cash Back Limit: Some rewards credit cards have an annual bonus cash back limit, but this one does not. So, if you spend a lot of money online and often shop at Rakuten, you may save a lot of money.

Cons Explained

  • Small Introductory Offer: When you initially get the card, you’ll earn a $10 bonus after making your first transaction. While it may seem to be a significant bonus, many cash back credit cards feature introductory bonuses of $150 or even $200. If it’s bonus value you’re looking for, try the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Wells Fargo Propel American Express cards, both of which give a sizable bonus after satisfying introductory spending limits.
  • Low Non-bonus Rewards Rate: You’ll only get 1% cash back on all non-bonus purchases, which is standard for tiered rewards credit cards. However, since the card’s bonus categories are so limited—only Rakuten purchases—the overwhelming bulk of your spending will most certainly receive a dismal rate. One possible alternative is to utilize another rewards credit card for your other transactions. For example, you might use the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card for Rakuten purchases and the Citi Double Cash card for everything else (which provides 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay it off).
  • While some cash back credit cards demand a minimum rewards balance before you can redeem, most enable you to access your rewards value anytime you want after that—and many cards have no minimum redemption amount at all. However, you have no control over when you may utilize your cash back with this card. This is because Rakuten only gives cash back every three months. If you earn less than $5 in a quarter, it will roll over to the following quarter until you meet that amount.

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card is best suited for consumers who spend a lot of money online, shop at Rakuten often, and want to optimize their cash back by taking advantage of the card’s additional incentives.

Because its additional points categories include Rakuten-purchased hotels and other travel purchases, it may also be a good no-annual-fee alternative for travel fans. You’ll also earn cash back on some in-store purchases.

This card may be a suitable option if combined with another rewards card that offers a greater points rate on non-Rakuten purchases.

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Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Credit Card One-Time Offer

After your first purchase, you will get a $10 incentive. That extra cash back will be added to your Rakuten cash back account and dispersed with any other rewards you earn via the site and credit card.

When compared to other cash back credit card sign-up bonuses, that incentive is quite low—many go as high as $200 or even $250. (though such offers require a certain amount of card spending during the first several months of account opening).In addition, there is no initial 0% APR offer, which is a rather frequent feature among cash back cards.

Rewards Earning Details

This card provides 3% cash back on eligible Rakuten.com purchases, in-store cash back offers, Rakuten Hotels, and Rakuten Travel purchases, as well as 1% cash back on all other transactions. There are almost 3,500 partner stores, so you’ll have plenty of alternatives.

You may earn additional points for Rakuten online purchases in two ways:

  • Go to Rakuten.com: Go to the cash back website and browse for the store you want to buy from. To optimize your rewards gain, research cash back rates from different merchants. Click over to your preferred store and complete your transaction as normal.
  • Download the Rakuten Cash Back Button: If you install the website’s browser extension, you’ll get a pop-up when you visit a participating retailer’s website. Click on it to activate the promotion without visiting Rakuten’s website, then proceed with your purchase as normal.

Depending on the shop, it might take anywhere from a few hours to several days to obtain confirmation and your money back in your Rakuten account.

If you want to buy anything from Rakuten Hotels or Rakuten Travel, you must go via the company’s website. To earn cash back on in-store purchases, connect your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card to your Rakuten account, then search for and add deals to your card before making the transaction.

Rewards Redemption Details

Every three months, Rakuten sends you cash in the form of a paper check or a transfer into your PayPal account. The payment schedule is as follows:

  • May 15: For cash back received between January 1 and March 31 of this year
  • For cash back received between April 1 and June 30: August 15
  • For cash back received between July 1 and September 30: November 15
  • For cash back received between October 1 and December 31: February 15

You must have earned at least $5 in rewards during the quarterly period to be eligible for a payment. Otherwise, your balance will be carried over to the following month until you earn enough to be paid.

In your Rakuten account, you may see how much you’ve earned with the credit card and via Rakuten incentives.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

To maximize your earnings with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card, you must do some research, but it may be worthwhile. Start every online buying experience at Rakuten.com or download and utilize the cash-back website’s browser extension to guarantee you receive the cash back you deserve.

Also, avoid utilizing any other cash-back websites throughout the procedure. For example, if you visit a retailer’s website via Rakuten and then attempt to do the same thing through Swagbucks to receive cash back from both, the second visit nearly usually disables the first, so you’d just get Swagbucks rewards—and no additional cash back with this credit card.

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Plan to check Rakuten.com before you go shopping to see if there are any in-store specials that correspond with your purchasing plans.

Finally, think about using the card in conjunction with another rewards card that offers a larger points rate on non-Rakuten transactions. Many cash-back credit cards provide 1.5% or more back on all purchases, making them an excellent choice for this purpose.

Standard Benefits

  • Price protection
  • Return protection
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Services for travel and emergency aid
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car accident damage waiver

Cardholder Experience

In the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Synchrony Bank placed ninth out of 11 major card issuers. It had a score of 788 out of 1,000, which was below average.

Synchrony Bank does not provide you access to your credit score, which is something that most big credit card issuers do. In addition, customer assistance is only accessible via phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Finally, there’s the mobile app, which is accessible for both iOS and Android.

Security Features

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card has basic security protections that are industry standard, such as zero-liability fraud protection.

Fees to Watch Out For

Overall, the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card’s fees are in line with the industry norm. However, unlike many cards from major issuers, the card does not enable balance transfers from other cards.

Our Verdict

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature credit card can be a very rewarding card for online shopping, but you may need to change some of your purchasing habits to make the most of it.

There are several significant downsides to the card, including a modest initial offer, no introductory 0% APR promotion, a low base rewards rate, and redemption restrictions. If you want to use this card for non-Rakuten purchases, consider using another credit card with a greater rewards rate. As a result, you may always earn more than 1% back on everything you purchase, no matter where you buy it.

Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing the most accurate credit card advice in the business. We’ll tell you when a card is excellent, when it’s awful, and we’ll only declare a card the greatest if we’d suggest it to our friends or family.

Overall Star Rating Explained

To rank credit cards, we objectively examine, score, and weight roughly 100 unique card characteristics, which are then categorized into five key feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, perks, and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets to get a card’s total star rating:

We have applied our patented grading approach to every widely recognized credit card in the domestic market of the United States, allowing users to make fully informed decisions. It’s crucial to understand that we make a lot of assumptions regarding how you’ll use your credit card when calculating our overall score:

  1. While we make no assumptions about whether or not balances are held on a certain card, we do apply differing weights to all credit cards’ promotional APR (if applicable), as well as the normal, long-term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We use BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points, or miles rewards at a fixed rate on all spending or with bonus rewards for specific spending categories such as gasoline, groceries, restaurants, or travel.
  3. The maximum points value of a rewards card is calculated by dividing the number of points, cash back, or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are chosen as the greatest overall in their respective categories often include the majority, if not all, of the following characteristics:
  • Fees that are low or reasonable Credit card fees may take numerous forms, but the most common are those for annual card membership and debt transfers. There are several reward and non-reward card alternatives with no annual fee, but the cost of the ones that do charge an annual fee is generally justified by their attractive recurring benefits and initial signup incentives. Balance transfer costs are often removed during introductory periods with certain cards, which is a feature that is highly and favorably weighted in our scoring model for cards that provide this advantage. Balance transfer costs, if paid, vary between 3% and 5%, and we evaluate them appropriately. Other regular costs, such as those for late payments or cash advances, may often be avoided, but we assess them compared to other cards in the market for reference, but with less weight allocated.
  • Competitive Motivation Many credit cards provide 0% introductory APR on purchases and debt transfers for varied periods of time before reverting to a permanent or normal APR (based on a variable rate related to the prime rate) that applies to any balances that are not paid in full. The introductory APR % and term (in months) are both rated, as is the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card reward schemes might provide cash back, points, or travel benefits (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs).For cards that give rewards, we calculate the value per dollar spent as well as typical redemption values and award higher ratings to cards that provide greater customer value. We also appreciate sign-up bonuses and their first spending criteria when they are available.
  • Excellent Advantages Concierge service, TSA Pre-check, vehicle rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost baggage help, and free credit scores are all examples of credit card advantages. We grade cards based on the amount and quality of over a dozen standard and upscale advantages, with additional weighting given to travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards where they are present.
  • Excellent security/customer service Security and customer service features like as lost or stolen card replacement, the ability to freeze one’s card through an issuer app, and 24 hour customer assistance are becoming increasingly common in the card industry, and we put a high value on them.
  • You can also read our comprehensive methodology for a more in-depth look at how we evaluate cards and reward the best in different categories.
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