The simple fact is that we pretty much all shop online, especially with recent events.
So, since you’re spending your hard-earned money on ecommerce, why wouldn’t you try to squeeze every penny you can get and even earn cashback rewards in the process?
I’ve been using both companies for over two years and I’ve saved more than $1,000 in coupon codes and cashback rewards, so I definitely know these companies pretty well.
However, since money saving browser extensions can conflict with each other when shopping, how I use Honey or Rakuten varies based on what I’m doing.
Anyway, if you’re on the fence about what company is best, don’t fret!
It’s time to tackle the Honey vs Rakuten debate to share how you can maximize your savings and cashback rewards!
Let’s get to it!
Want the best of both worlds?
You can also try Capital One Shopping to automatically find discount codes, earn free gift cards, and monitor products you’re planning to buy for price drops!
What Is Honey?
Honey is a free shopping platform that started in 2012.
Since their inception and being acquired by PayPal, Honey has grown into a leading rewards platform that has over 17 million users worldwide.
According to Honey, users have also found over $1 billion in savings since its inception…not bad for a free shopping platform!
Honey is best known for their automatic coupon codes, and overall, I’ve really enjoyed using Honey over the past two years whenever I’m trying to find discounts online.
To date, I’ve also received more than $400 by shopping with Honey, taking advantage of Honey Gold bonuses, and referring some friends/readers.
Honestly, Honey coupons have been the least lucrative part of the platform for me, and I’ve found shopping for gold bonuses has been more lucrative.
BUT, we’ll get into all those details later in this Honey vs Rakuten breakdown.
Extra Reading – Honey Browser Extension Review.
What Is Rakuten?
Rakuten, previously known as eBates, is a cashback shopping platform that is probably the most well-known player in the space.
On Rakuten, you earn real cashback for shopping online with thousands of partners…no catch, just pure cash savings and joy.
Overall, Rakuten has fewer bells and whistles than Honey.
However, to date, I’ve earned over $800 by using Rakuten to shop online and from referring readers/friends.
If you’re a serious online shopper, I think Rakuten could easily save you a solid amount of money per year.
However, you should read about both platforms to make sure you’re using each extension/platform the right way.
Extra Reading – Rakuten Review.
Honey Vs Rakuten – The Features
In a nutshell, Honey focuses on coupon codes and free gift cards while Rakuten prioritizes cashback rewards.
So, let’s take a deeper dive into each type of feature to see if you should use Honey or Rakuten the next time you shop.
1. Availability & Partners
Alright, the first thing to tackle in the Rakuten vs Honey question is availability…after all, if you can’t even access a platform or find partners you regularly shop at, you can’t save more money.
The good news is, both Honey and Rakuten do a great job at letting users from multiple countries save at thousands of retailers.
Here are some stats:
- Honey – Supports retailers in Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK, and websites that support international shopping from these countries.
- Rakuten – Supports retailers in Canada, the United States, and the UK.
Additionally, Honey works with 40,000+ stores according to their website, whereas Rakuten states they “work with over 2,500 stores.”
Take Honey’s claim with a grain of salt…they “work” with 40,000+ stores but you can’t always find savings or rewards!
The reality is, both platforms are available for users around the world and work with thousands of partners.
Verdict: Honey and Rakuten are tied in terms of availability.
2. Automatic Coupon Codes
Both Honey and Rakuten offer coupon codes to help you save money when shopping online.
However, Honey is definitely most famous for their automatic coupon codes at checkout.
With the Honey browser extension, Honey notifies you when you’re shopping at a Honey partner with potential coupon codes.
All you have to do is hit “try codes” and Honey will quickly test each code at checkout to see if you get a discount.
This doesn’t always work, but it only takes a few seconds and I’ve found discounts occasionally.
In contrast, Rakuten doesn’t focus as much on coupons.
While some retailers on the platform have coupons you can use, cashback is the name of the game for Rakuten.
Verdict: Honey has a better coupon system than Rakuten, especially since it’s mostly automatic.
3. Cashback Rewards
While it might surprise you, both Honey and Rakuten have a form of cashback rewards you can earn from when shopping online.
With Honey, you can earn Honey Gold, the platform’s currency, for shopping online at eligible partners (the extension notifies you when there’s a Gold opportunity).
Now, unlike Rakuten, which pays a specific amount of cashback for each retailer, Honey Gold is random.
For example, when I order things on Fiverr, I often see that my purchase is eligible for 1% to 5% Honey Gold in the form of cashback.
Once my purchase is verified, a random amount of Gold in that range appears in my account as pending for about 60 days.
Now, with Rakuten, you know exactly how much cashback you can earn because partners clearly advertise the amount.
Honestly, I think this fact makes Rakuten better than Honey because you can calculate your savings and shop with greater accuracy.
Plus, if you don’t really care what merchant you shop from, you can simply pick the merchant with the best cashback percentage and keep things simple.
Yes, Honey does have some lucrative Gold rewards, but I dislike the random factor.
On the bright side, Honey offers time-sensitive bonuses which you can claim and complete within 7 days to earn a specific amount of Gold, so that’s an improvement.
You can also search for eligible retailers on Honey’s explore page, which is very similar to the desktop version of Rakuten.
These improvements help round out Honey’s cashback side, but ultimately, I think Rakuten is a better choice if you want consistency in rewards.
Verdict: Honey excels at coupons, but Rakuten has the better cashback system.
4. Reward Options
This point will have a bit of contention, so it’s hard to really pick a winner between Honey or Rakuten.
See, Honey is awesome because you get upfront savings with coupons and can redeem Honey Gold for a range of free gift cards to retailers like:
- Free Google Play credit.
Additionally, Honey lets you redeem rewards at 1,000 Gold, or $10, which is pretty low in the world of reward apps.
Furthermore, Honey has rewards for users living in Canada, the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and the EU.
Recently, Honey also added the option to redeem gold for PayPal cash, which is a massive upgrade for this shopping extension!
The only catch is your PayPal rewards apply as a credit for future purchases, so it’s not like PayPal is depositing $30 right in your account.
In contrast, Rakuten pays cash rewards through PayPal or check on a quarterly basis as long as you have $5 or more in your account.
This is a lower redemption minimum, but you can’t redeem your balance whenever you choose.
Additionally, you need to enter your address to like using PayPal…fine for most users and it’s what I prefer, but keep this in mind.
If you want free gift cards, use Honey. Otherwise, I’d say Rakuten wins out in the Honey vs Rakuten debate.
Verdict: Rakuten is less flexible but pays out actual PayPal cash whereas Honey has more redemption options, so it depends on which rewards you value most.
Want more freebies? – The Best Apps Like Dosh That Pay Rewards.
5. Browser Extensions
Honestly, there’s not a lot to say here in terms of one company having an advantage over the other.
The purpose of Honey and Rakuten’s browser extensions is to automate things and save you time.
With Honey, you get notified of coupons and Gold opportunities.
Rakuten does the exact same thing, albeit with fewer coupons and better cashback offers.
The main difference is that Rakuten has a nifty comparison shopping feature that sometimes notifies you if another retailer has a better price than the retailer you’re currently shopping at.
However, Honey does this for Amazon sellers, which definitely gives Honey the edge if you’re a frequent Amazon patron (especially since neither Honey nor Rakuten currently pay rewards for shopping on Amazon).
Ultimately, I think this is another tie because both extensions mostly accomplish the same thing.
If you like the idea of comparison shopping, I also suggest checking out my Popcart review since it’s better than both Honey or Rakuten for comparing prices.
6. Mobile Apps
While it might surprise you, these browser-focused shopping platforms both have mobile apps you can use to take your savings on the go.
Honey’s app is called the Honey Smart Shop Assistant, and it’s a tad different than the desktop version.
Currently, Honey’s Smart Shop Assistant lets you:
- Buy products from 300+ stores (including Amazon)
- Apply mobile coupon codes at checkout.
- Earn Honey Gold for shopping and add products to a price watchlist.
In a nutshell, the app is basically a centralized version of Honey that’s designed to make online shopping fast and ripe with deals.
In contrast, Rakuten’s mobile app feels a bit more unique when you compare it against the desktop version and browser extension.
With the Rakuten app, you unlock:
- In-store coupons.
- Exclusive cashback deals for mobile users (including for Uber and Lyft rides).
- 5% cash back at thousands of restaurants.
The fact that some offers are exclusive to the app is a pretty awesome perk, and in-store coupons means you can save both online and in-person.
Honey is a better mobile app if you frequently shop from your smartphone and want to centralize your deals.
However, as an independent app, Rakuten has more functionality and exclusive deals.
Verdict: Rakuten’s exclusive cashback deals and in-store coupons are tough to beat.
7. Referral Program
While I don’t think referral programs are deal breakers, it’s one last factor to consider before you choose Rakuten or Honey.
Here’s the referral details for each company:
- Honey. Invite a friend to Honey and you both get 500 Gold ($5) whenever they earn their first Gold. You can refer up to 200 friends and there isn’t a time limit for your friend to earn their gold.
- Rakuten. Invite a friend to sign up and you both get $30 when your friend spends their first $30 on Rakuten. If you want an invite, you can use my link to help support This Online World. 🙂
The fact that Rakuten gives both people $30 for signing up and spending money on shopping is, frankly, absurd.
If you and a friend (or you and my link, hehe) have an upcoming shopping trip, this deal is an absolute no-brainer.
I’ll admit, Rakuten sometimes changes the signup bonus to $5 or $10, but I’ve also seen a $40 bonus before at Christmas so you never know what you’ll get.
Verdict: Rakuten has a better referral program than Honey.
Extra Reading – How To Make $10 PayPal Cash Fast – The Best Methods.
Pros & Cons
Now that you know all of the features for these two reward platforms, lets cover the main pros and cons to help you finalize your decision.
- Works in several countries and 40,000+ stores
- Wide variety of gift card rewards
- You can now redeem PayPal credits if you prefer cash
- Cash-back rates aren’t always as high as Rakuten
- PayPal credits aren’t upfront cash
- The Honey mobile app isn’t as useful as the shopping extension
- Incredible referral program
- Earn actual cash for shopping
- Works with thousands of stores
- Rakuten only pays you quarterly
- Honey has a better coupon system than Rakuten
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Use Rakuten And Honey At The Same Time?
Unfortunately, you can’t use Rakuten and Honey at the same time to double-dip on rewards. Retailers pay cash back to the website where the cookie was last used, so whatever site you use last for your purchase is the one that will credit.
Our advice is to disable the Rakuten and Honey browser extensions while shopping. Once you know the site that pays the best rate, turn on that particular extension and complete your purchase.
You can also toggle Honey on to check for coupon codes and then disable it if you want to shop with Rakuten if you can’t find coupons.
2. What’s The Catch With Rakuten?
Rakuten doesn’t have a catch and is one of the most popular cash back sites around. The main downside is that you only get paid quarterly. However, you get paid actual PayPal cash unlike Honey’s PayPal credits.
Rakuten is my favorite site as well, and to date, I’ve earned over $1,000 by shopping with Rakuten.
Extra Reading – How To Make $400 Fast – The 14 Best Methods.
Final Thoughts – Is Honey Or Rakuten Better?
I know this was a bit of an intense Honey vs Rakuten showdown, but here’s the thing…both platforms are completely free to use.
This is why I’ve used both Rakuten and Honey for the last two years and have over $1,000 in free money.
Really, the key is to download both extensions but know when and where to use them (again, enabling both extensions simultaneously can prevent you from earning rewards).
Here’s what my routine looks like when I shop online:
- I check Rakuten and the Honey Explore page to see if the company I’m shopping at offers cashback on either platform.
- If it offers cashback, I almost always shop through Rakuten.
- If the retailer doesn’t offer cashback, I’ll try to apply coupon codes with Honey.
That’s about the gist of it!
I personally don’t use the mobile apps since I tried them but don’t shop through my phone often and prefer other coupon/price matching apps (like Flipp).
However, like I mentioned, I think Honey and Rakuten both deserve your consideration whenever you make an online purchase.
Thanks so much for reading!
I hope this post helps you decide when you should use Honey or Rakuten and the highlights of each platform.
If you want to support This Online World, you can also signup for each platform using the links below:
- Signup for Honey and earn a $5 bonus!
- Signup for Rakuten and unlock $5-$30+ once you spend your first $30.
Catch you guys in the next one!
Note: Capital One Shopping provides us with compensation when you use the links provided.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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