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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

TopCashback Review: Is it Better Than Rakuten?


The merging of personal finance and technology has provided a great opportunity for individuals nationwide to monitor their finances more closely.


Nowhere is this more prevalent with the emergence of cashback apps and platforms over the past decade and a half. But I'm still shocked by the amount of Americans that don't use cashback apps to save money on their one-time and recurring purchases.


Not only can you potentially save up to 10% on your purchases from thousands of America's most popular brands, but you can also do so at no expense to you.


Today, I'm here to review and answer the question: Is TopCashback better than Rakuten?



TopCashback

Rakuten

App Store Rating

4.7

4.8

Cashback Potential

8/10​

7/10​

Ease of Use

9/10​

8/10​

Overall

8.5/10​

8/10​


To compare these two apps, we're going to look a few different metrics:


  1. Each app's rating in the App Store

  2. Cashback earning potential

  3. The ease of using each app

  4. Other features



What is TopCashback?


TopCashback is a cashback app, similar to Rakuten and Ibotta, that provides users with cashback opportunities and discount coupons to some of the most recognizable stores and brands nationwide.


Launched in the UK back in 2005, TopCashback now has over 11 million users and advertises higher cashback rates than many other competitors, including Rakuten. Today, in the United States, there are over 4,000 participating online retailers.



How does TopCashback work?


Those looking to save some money off their everyday purchases have a couple of different ways to use TopCashback to save some money:


  1. The company's app

  2. Browser extension for your computer


I want to touch upon both of these strategies in more detail.



1. TopCashback app


The TopCashback app is the most popular way to earn cashback rewards. Whenever you're thinking about making an online purchase, all you'll need to do is open the app and browse the store(s) you're interested in.


From here, you'll see a link that will take you to the store's mobile site, where your cashback will automatically process once you make a purchase.


Before you make a purchase, you'll also want to check for any additional coupon codes within the app, which can oftentimes be used in conjunction with cashback.


For example, a few weeks ago, I was in the app to buy some new Nike athletic wear. I was so excited when I saw that Nike was offering up to 10% cashback, but then I noticed available coupons as well (directly under the cashback percentage). Long story short, I was able to save 20% on my purchase, and receive 10% back!



2. Browser extension


The other way to save money through TopCashback is to download the platform's browser extension. Available for Chrome, Edge, and FireFox, the extension will automatically alert you to cashback options as you are online shopping.


The best part is that you won't even need to open the app, so if you find yourself forgetting to log in before you make purchases, this could be a great option for you.


With the browser extension, all you need to do is shop online as you normally would. Then, your offers will pop up in the corner of your computer screen.



My experience with TopCashback


I'll be the first to admit. I've always thought that Rakuten was the best cashback app on the market. But I have been really impressed with the TopCashback experience.


In this review, I'll touch upon:


  • The download/registration process

  • Participating retailers

  • Account details



1. TopCashback registration process


A few months ago, I downloaded the TopCashback app to see what all the hype was about. With 11,000 App Store reviews and a 4.7/5 average review, I'll admit that my expectations were high. And the registration process did not disappoint.


After I opened the app, I was greeted with two buttons - one to create an account and another for existing users to sign-in.


I opted to create an account. I was prompted to enter an email address and password. This brought me to a quick tutorial on how to use the app. Basically, you can view a list of participating retailers and click on the company/store you want to shop with.



2. Participating retailers


I'm not sure why, but I expected to find a limited list of participating retailers. This was not the case at all. You can browse offers for companies in the fitness, travel, home & garden, fashion, cosmetics, and technology spaces.



Fitness


Fitness subscriptions and equipment are expensive. Therefore, it is great to see TopCashback offer deals with some of the space's most recognizable brands, such as:


  • Nike - Up to 12%

  • Adidas - 8%

  • Under Armour - 10%

  • Oakley - 21%

  • Gymshark - 5.25%


Cashback percentages above were accurate at my last check.



Travel


Travelers in particular will embrace TopCashback. With generous cashback available for hotel brands, travel sites, airlines, and rental car companies, the app is worth a check before you book any travel.


Participating travel brands include:


  • Marriott International - 6%

  • Hilton - 8%

  • Expedia - Up to 6%



Home & Garden


Looking to complete a new home or garden improvement project this year? If so, don't forget to browse and take advantage of offers like these:


  • Lowes - Up to 8%

  • Home Depot - Up to 10.5%

  • Sam's Club - Up to 15.75%

  • KitchenAid - 5.25%



Fashion


I'm not much for retail therapy, but my wife loves saving money each time she decides to add to her wardrobe. Her favorite offers include:


  • Macy's - 8%

  • Michael Kors - 11%

  • Old Navy - 4%

  • J.Crew - 4%


There are so many other clothing brands too!



Cosmetics


Now, I'm not a cosmetic expert, but even I have heard of brands like:


  • Ulta - 4%

  • e.l.f. - 5.25%

  • Bath & Body Works - 6.7%



Technology


I'll admit it - I was really surprised to learn that I could actually earn cashback on purchases of video games, computers, and other technology! And it isn't like there is one or two retailers either.


Instead, I found offers like these:


  • Walmart - 4.2%

  • Target - 3.6%

  • Amazon - Up to 8%

  • Best Buy - 5%

  • Dell - 11%


There are even offers published for Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Samsung!



3. Account details


On the bottom of the app's main screen, you can find your account details and payout information by clicking on the "More" button. From here, you can find your earnings, referral options, settings, and customer service information.


The referral program in particular is important to check out. Not only will you be able to refer your friends to TopCashback, but you'll actually be able to make some money for doing so. In fact, you'll earn $35 once your referrals earn their first $10 in cashback.


Is TopCashback or Rakuten better?


The million-dollar question. To determine whether TopCashback or Rakuten is better for you, let's evaluate them side by side using the ranking indicators discussed above:


  1. Each app's rating in the App Store

  2. Cashback earning potential

  3. The ease of using each app

  4. Other features



Apple App Store ratings


Like I mentioned, TopCashback scored a 4.7 out of 5, with over 11,000 reviews. Compare this to Rakuten's score of 4.8 out of 5, with over 300,000 reviews.


I believe that TopCashback would score higher than Rakuten if you asked a population to use both apps and then score them accordingly. Alas, I have to listen to the rankings. Rakuten scores one point on TopCashback here.



Cashback earning potential


Next, let's evaluate the two apps based on the amount of cashback you may be able to earn. To complete this section, I looked up a number of retailers present on both apps to compare their cashback offers.


Here is what I found (Rakuten vs. TopCashback)


  • Target: 1% vs. 3.6%

  • Walmart: Up to 3% vs. 4.2%

  • Expedia: Up to 3% vs. up to 6%


That's right - in every single example that I checked, the cashback percentages on TopCashback were more generous.


I did some research and found that TopCashback actually receives referral bonuses from retailers for referring sales to them. Unlike Rakuten, they pass the entirety of this bonus on to their users.


No matter the cause, im going to award a point to TopCashback.



The ease of using each platform


This is where the two platforms get harder to compare to each other. In my opinion, the TopCashback platform is easier to use than Rakuten.


Now, some of this may be because there are fewer participating retailers than there are on Rakuten, but in my opinion, TopCashback deserves major props for the ease of navigation and the powerful search bar.


Both platforms also offer their own browser extensions, which work in largely the same way. With this in mind, I'm going to award the point to TopCashback.



The verdict


With a final score of 2-1, TopCashback takes it! Now, that doesn't mean that Rakuten is a bad option. Not by a long shot. But the potential to earn more cashback with TopCashback is too much for me to ignore.



Affiliate marketing disclosure


studentdebtdestroyer.com is a student loan research and education website provided by Grow Your Green LLC.


studentdebtdestroyer.com is not a student loan lender.


We're passionate about teaching and guiding people to a better personal finance situation. To do this, we create an enormous amount of content, which takes time, resources, and money. ​


In order to write about and offer these products and services for you, we utilize affiliate marketing and link to certain products and services. If you click on, subscribe, to purchase on these links then we may be paid a small commission. These are at no cost to you, but by earning small commissions, are able to help us keep our website active.


We manually review all products and services that we think are of high quality and value to you.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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