You’re Probably Overpaying Online — Here’s How to Fix it

A man shops on his iPad while his daughter do his hair and paint his nails.
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Over the past year, Americans’ shopping habits have changed profoundly — and perhaps forever.

Because of the pandemic, more of us than ever are shopping online. E-commerce has skyrocketed while in-store sales plummeted. And the great mystery is, it’s far from clear whether we’ll ever fully return to our old ways.

Here’s the real kicker: You’re probably overpaying. But a free tool called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy.

Rakuten is a browser extension that automatically does three cool things:

  1. It gets you cash back on your online purchases from more than 2,500 stores, including Target, Walmart, eBay, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Petco, Sam’s Club, Best Buy and Lowe’s.
  2. It automatically applies coupon codes at checkout. Ta-da!
  3. It alerts you when a product you’re about to buy is available at a lower price somewhere else. Because really, why overpay?

Then you get your cash back via PayPal or check.

We talked to Colleen Rice, who says since she started using Rakuten, it’s sent her checks in the mail totaling $526.44. For doing nothing. Seriously.

Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights.

It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping at your go-to stores through the site.

If you join today, you get a $10 bonus when you spend $25.

Talk about money for nothing.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He used to overpay, and now he doesn’t.