Do you use Ibotta or Rakuten? If so, you know each has its pros and cons.

In today’s post, I am going to compare Ibotta vs. Rakuten (formerly Ebates) to let you know which is best and how you can score money using both cash-back apps and cashback sites. I have been using both of these apps for four to five years and both Ibotta and Rakuten can and will make you money. Below you will learn which is the best rebate app and how you can stack savings to earn cash back on both sites.

Ibotta vs. Rakuten - Which is Better?
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Ibotta vs. Rakuten

In this post you will learn:

  • What are Cash-back apps?
  • Pros and cons
  • Which is better? Ibotta vs. Rakuten

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What are cash-back apps?

Cash-back apps are apps that give you money back when you show proof of buying an item listed in the app. For example, if I buy a box of granola bars and it is listed on my cashback app, I will receive money in my account for showing proof of purchase (usually a picture of a receipt uploaded) or a link to a loyalty card. 

How do cash-back apps work?

Cash-back apps such as Ibotta or Checkout 51 give the customer money back for making purchases listed in the app. After downloading the app, check the items listed. Ibotta used categories such as “food” or “personal care” to make it easy to find items you buy.

Most require you to check off the item you bought or add it to a list and then upload a receipt to show proof of purchase. However, some allow linking of store loyalty cards to keep a record of what you bought. After you show you bought the item listed in that app, your account is credited with the amount given.

For example, I bought Neutragena makeup and it was listed under personal care on the cash-back app Ibotta. I uploaded my receipt to show I bought this item and checked the item I bought. After the cash-back app verified my purchase, I was credited $3.00 into my account.

Is Participating in a Cash-back Sites Worth It?

I have earned around $900 using both Ibotta and Rakuten. In my opinion, using cashback apps is worth it. It may take a little time to learn how to use each app, but it is free money, and because

I like getting money back for things I already buy, I feel these sites are worth the time spent for the money earned.

What is Ibotta?

Ibotta is a cashback app that gives you money back when you buy items listed on the app. Items change each week, so make sure to submit your receipt in a timely manner or link up your store loyalty card.

How Does Ibotta Make Money?

Ibotta partners with brands and uses affiliate marketing from brands when you redeem offers. They also make money when you watch short videos or ads in the app.

How Does Ibotta Work?

To use Ibotta follow these steps:

  1. Down load the app for free and earn a sign-up bonus after your first use
  2. Scan foods/products and check which one you bought or will buy
  3. Take a picture of your recipe and upload it right from the app (or link loyalty card for some stores)
  4. Scan barcodes for some items and check which offers qualify
  5. Wait for the money to show up in your account. You will also get an email notification and it can take up to 24 hours, but mine usually shows within 2-3 minutes.

Pros and Cons of Ibotta

With an app such as Ibotta, there will be pros and cons. Yet, it is best to decide if the pros outway the cons for Ibotta before you decide to try it. In this case, I feel they do as this is my favorite cashback app. Here’s what I found:

Ibotta Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • fast
  • great customer service
  • offers many products and adds new products each week
  • picture from the app so you don’t waste phone storage

Ibotta Cons:

  • annoying to scan barcodes of items
  • low offers for “any item” purchases such as “any brand milk” for $.10
  • takes time after shopping

Available Ibotta Stores

Ibotta has many stores listed on the app. In fact, my favorite grocery shopping stores, Target and Kroger, are both on there. Yet, if you do your shopping elsewhere you are sure to find at least one store if not many stores you shop at. Here are some of the most popular stores listed on the app:

  • Target
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • Aldi
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Sam’s Club
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Amazon
  • Dollar Tree

There are many other stores, so be sure to check out the app to find your favorites. After you use Ibotta for a while, it will list your most frequented stores first to make it easy for you to find them when uploading a receipt or shopping.

Ibotta Cashout Options

Ibotta offers different ways to redeem your money including cash or gift cards. I prefer cash and at a $20 minimum, you can cash out your earnings to Paypal and then send your earnings to your bank. This is the easiest method and once you decide to cash out, you will get your money right away.

I have cashed out my Ibotta several times. However, the last time I saved my earnings for few years and cashed out $400 at once. It was a nice chunk to add to my bank account, yet I don’t think I will save this much again.

The reason being, I didn’t update my phone and almost lost access to my Ibotta account. I have so many pictures on my phone it wasn’t letting me update due to storage.

I had to delete pictures and add pictures to my Google account, and all the while I was worried I would lose access to my $400 earned. I resolved this, but don’t want that to happen to any of you, so make sure to cash out when you are ready.

Ibotta Deals and Bonuses

Ibotta often offers deals and bonuses. In fact, there is a “May Flower” bonus going on right now. You can earn an extra $10 when you redeem 17 offers in May. Ibotta often offers these deals or bonuses, so be sure to check your app, especially if you are close. Often the “any items” do not count toward bonuses, so be sure to check the “fine print” of the offer so you don’t miss out.

Last November, Ibotta partnered with Walmart to offer a “free Thanksgiving dinner” on the app. I took advantage of this, as I couldn’t pass up free food. I redeemed for a turkey and stuffing. (Some of the other offers were sold out.)

Yet, it was nice getting that money back during a time when I was already spending a lot on Holidays. However, I accidentally bought a cajun turkey so we had spicy turkey last year. (Oops!! haha)

Ibotta Referral and Promo Codes

Ibotta has a refer-a-friend bonus. If you want to take advantage of referring others, simply click on the “Account” tab in the app and scroll down to “Invite Friends.” There you will find a unique link which you will tap to copy and go from there.

You can send your link through text, email, or post on your social media.

If you are a blogger, like me, you can recommend Ibotta to your readers.  Since I only recommend things I use and love, this was a no-brainer for me. Ibotta also allows you to send an email directly from the app to friends and family.

Ibotta offers different bonuses throughout the year but usually offers a $10 referral bonus, plus a $10 sign-up bonus for your friend after they use the app. Yet, right now they are offering $50 if two of your referrals sign up for the browser extension.

As stated, this bonus varies throughout the year, but if you love Ibotta as much as I do, you will have no problem referring it to friends and family. I even got my mom to sign up!

Learn how to become a saver in six easy steps by clicking here.

Ibotta vs. Rakuten – Is Ibotta Worth It?

Ibotta is worth it if you want to make money back on things you buy. I find it is best to upload your receipt as soon as you get home from shopping since some items require you to scan the barcode and it is harder to dig items back out after you have put your groceries away.

I have made over $700 with Ibotta since I started using it (some of that is from referrals), but I love using it and will continue to do so because the real savings come in when you use coupons and get cash back with Ibotta. It’s free money!

Now that you know about Ibotta, let’s take a look at Rakuten.

Pin me for later:

Ibotta vs. Rakuten - Which is Better? - words - computer and cell phone picture

Related Posts:

How to Make Money With Rakuten

Ibotta Review

Rakuten Review: Is Rakuten Legit?

Does Rakuten Have a Referral Program?

5 Best Ways to Save Money on Groceries

10 Frugal Tasks You Can Try Right Now

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten is a cash-back app and/or site that focuses on giving the consumer a percent back of the total amount they spent at a specific store listed on the site.

How does Rakuten Make Money?

Rakuten is an affiliate marketing platform. They make money by referring you to stores. When you use their affiliate link, they are making a commission on your purchase. Then they share part of that commission with you.

How Does Rakuten Work?

After signing up for Rakuten, using it is pretty simple. Just follow these steps and start earning money on purchases today.

To use Rakuten follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for the app or website on y our phone or computer and get a referral bonus after your first time use.
  2. Search for your store on the website or app.
  3. Click “shop now” and redirect to your store
  4. Buy something
  5. Wait to see your money in your account. This can take a few days, but if it doesn’t show up you can email them, and they’re great about adding it even if the store hasn’t reported your purchase yet.
  6. Get paid quarterly

Is Rakuten a ripoff?

I’ve been using Rakuten for over four years and I have never had a problem. Rakuten is not a ripoff because they are paying you to shop. You are making money that you would have otherwise not had if you did not use Rakuten.

Available Rakuten Stores

Rakuten offers a variety of stores so it won’t be difficult to find your favorite ones. With thousands of stores to choose from, earning cash will be a sinch.

Here are some of the popular stores listed on Rakuten:

  • Walmart
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Macy’s
  • Kohl’s
  • Express
  • CVS
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • JC Penny
  • Lowe’s

As you can see, there are many stores featured, but if you are interested in a certain store, just click through and type the name on the top search feature.

Rakuten Cashout Options

How to get paid with Rakuten

Rakuten offers two ways to cash out. You can have a check mailed to you or opt for Paypal. Until recently I have had my checks mailed to me, but I am switching over to PayPal to get my money quicker.

Remember, Rakuten pays quarterly, so you will only be paid out four times per year, and your account must have a minimum of $5 to get paid for that quarter.

Here is the Rakuten payout schedule:

Jan. 1 – March 31 – Payment May 15

April 1 – June 30 – Payment August 15

July 1 – Sept. 30 – Payment November 15

Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 – February 15


Rakuten Deals and Bonuses

Rakuten offers deals throughout the year. I have found their sales and bonuses often line up with Holidays, and like many stores, Black Friday and the month of December typically have the best deals.

For example, I was able to score 10% cashback while shopping at Macy’s last December, but as I write this, Macy’s is only offering 2% cashback.

Rakuten Referral and Promo Codes

Yes, Rakuten has a referral program. Rakuten is currently offering a $30 referral bonus, but this bonus varies throughout the year and can be anywhere from $10 to $40 (usually during the Holiday season).

As mentioned above, I only recommend things I use and love, so recommending Rakuten to friends and family as well as my readers was easy for me. Who doesn’t want free money?

To refer a friend, you can click on the “refer-a-friend” tab on the website and find your unique referral code.

Use this in text, email, and/or social media to recommend Rakuten to the people you know. When they make at least a $25 purchase, you will be credited your Rakuten referral bonus. If you are interested in learning more about how I refer Rakuten, you can check out this post I write specifically about the Rakuten Referal program to help you earn more.

Rakuten Pros and Cons

Just like Ibotta, Rakuten has it pros and cons. It is up to you to decide if you want to use it based on my thoughts below:

Rakuten Pros

  • pays you to shop
  • refer-a-friend bonus
  • sign-up bonus
  • thousands of stores listed
  • discount gift cards


Rakuten Cons

  • must wait to be paid (pays quarterly)
  • not all stores participate
  • sometimes percentages are only 1% ( is it worth it?)

Rakuten and Ibotta Tricks and Hacks

You will earn the most money, by stacking many cashback apps. It may seem like a little each month, but it adds up. You can also use online coupons on websites, or regular coupons in stores to maximize savings/earnings. Check out some of the other cash-back apps and sites to earn more.

Some other sites I use to stack cash-back and rewards/savings are as follows:

Turn your everyday shopping into a money-making machine.

Can I Use Ibotta and Rakuten for one purchase?

Yes, it is possible to use both Ibotta and Rakuten for one purchase. In this case, the store and item you are buying must be listed on both apps.

You can link your Ibotta to your store loyalty card or show proof of your receipt but first, click through Rakuten before you make your purchase. An example of this would be buying groceries online. If you click through Walmart on Rakuten and buy groceries, and then upload your receipt (or loyalty card linked) in Ibotta for a particular item, you can earn money back on both websites.

Which is Better? Ibotta or Rakuten?

In my opinion, Ibotta is the clear winner. It is my all-time favorite cash-back app. Yet, depending on your shopping habits, you will have to choose which one works best for you. I use them both and you can too. If you order online, Rakuten is the clear choice for you. Yet, if you make most of your purchases in a brick and motor store, Ibotta is best. Yet, there really is no reason why you can’t use both apps.

Do you have a favorite cashback app? If so, leave a comment and let us all know!

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