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Ibotta and Rakuten are both popular cashback apps, but they serve slightly different purposes and have their own unique features. 

To determine which one is best for you, let’s compare their main features and benefits.

Summary: In short, I like Ibotta better than Rakuten. Check out this post to find out how you can earn a sign up bonus with Ibotta.


  • Primarily focuses on grocery store and in-store purchases
  • Offers cashback on specific products after scanning receipts
  • Has a wide range of participating stores and products
  • Users have reported earning significant cashback rewards

Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates):

  • Focuses on online shopping and offers cashback for purchases made through their platform
  • Has partnerships with a large number of online retailers
  • Offers a welcome bonus for new users
  • Users have reported positive experiences and cashback earnings


In summary, if you primarily shop for groceries and prefer in-store purchases, Ibotta might be the better choice for you. 

On the other hand, if you do a lot of online shopping, Rakuten could be more beneficial. Some users even utilize both apps to maximize their cashback rewards. Ultimately, the best app for you will depend on your shopping habits and preferences.

Pros and Cons of Ibotta


  • Focuses on grocery shopping and everyday items
  • Allows users to earn cashback on specific items by selecting coupons
  • Users can cash out once they reach a $20 balance


  • Some users have reported issues with account deactivation and withdrawal problems
  • The app can be time-consuming as it requires selecting coupons before shopping
  • Some users find the potential savings to be minimal

Pros And Cons of Rakuten


  • Rakuten offers cashback on a wide range of online shopping, including electronics, clothing, and travel
  • Provides a user-friendly experience and is easy to use
  • Users have reported receiving cash back as promised
  • Rakuten has a browser extension that makes it easy to activate cashback offers while shopping online
  • The app sometimes offers higher cash back percentages during holidays and special events


  • Some users have experienced issues with cashback not being credited or revoked without explanation
  • The cashback percentage varies depending on the retailer and the specific offer
  • Some users have reported discrepancies in cash back amounts between the Rakuten app and the browser version.
  • Users have reported issues with Rakuten’s customer service and resolution of cashback disputes
  • Some users have experienced difficulties using Rakuten on mobile devices and apps

3 Important Differences Between Rakuten And Ibotta

There are several differences between Rakuten and Ibotta, but I will focus on three important ones:

  1. Shopping focus: Rakuten primarily focuses on online shopping, offering cashback as a percentage of your purchase from various online retailers. On the other hand, Ibotta is more focused on in-store shopping, particularly for groceries, and offers cashback in the form of dollar-amount rebates on specific items
  2. Cashback activation: To earn cashback with Rakuten, you need to start a shopping trip by clicking on a Rakuten link on their website, app, or browser extension. With Ibotta, you need to select offers within the app, and then either scan your receipt or link your store loyalty account to earn cashback on eligible purchases.
  3. Payout schedule: Rakuten pays out cashback earnings quarterly, as long as you have earned more than $5. Ibotta allows you to cash out your earnings once you reach a $20 balance, without waiting for a specific payout schedule. 

Ibotta VS Rakuten: Referral Program

When comparing the referral programs of Ibotta and Rakuten, there are some differences in the rewards offered to both the referrer and the referred user.

Ibotta Referral ProgramRakuten Referral Program
Referral Reward$10 for each person referredVaries depending on promotion (e.g., $40 for a referred friend making a qualifying purchase of $40 within 90 days)
Referred Reward$10 for referred person after signing up and submitting first receipt within a weekVaries depending on promotion (e.g., $40 sign-up bonus for referred friend)
Time LimitOne weekUsually 90 days
Limit on ReferralsNone, but accounts may be frozen if suspected of terms of use violationsNo specific limit mentioned
ConsistencyConsistent $10 bonus for both referrer and referredVarying bonuses depending on promotion
Type of RewardsCash backCash back or gift card rewards (depending on user’s preference and promotion details)


Can you use both Rakuten and Ibotta together?

Yes, you may combine Rakuten and Ibotta to get the most out of your discounts and rebates. 

You can start by shopping online through Rakuten to get cashback on your purchases and make the most of both applications. Then, utilize Ibotta to uncover cashback deals on specific items when doing in-store shopping. 

Upload your receipt to Ibotta after making a purchase to receive more rewards. You can maximize your savings and increase your cashback on purchases by combining the advantages of Rakuten and Ibotta.

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