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Of all the wonderful things that the internet has brought us, one of our favorites is free cash back programs.

Ebates and Ibotta are two of the biggest out there, both offering many ways for you to earn free cash back and other bonuses. But how much can you really make? And how do you know which one is right for you?

We break it all down in this Ibotta vs Ebates comparison.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • How Ibotta and Ebates compare in terms of key features
  • Which cashback app is right for you
  • How you can earn from both Ibotta and Ebates on the same purchase

This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure for more details.

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Which is better: Ebates or Ibotta?

Depending on what you’re looking, each app has their clear pros and cons. The table below summarizes the main criteria we looked at, followed by a detailed discussion of who we think won each category and why.

 

CriteriaIbottaEbates
Grocery rebatesYESNO
Free to sign upYESYES
Requires mobile deviceYESNO
Welcome bonus$10 (must redeem a brand name rebate within 7 days)$10 (must purchase at least $25 online through Ebates within 90 days)
Referral bonus

$5 per referral
(friend must meet welcome bonus requirements)

$25 per referral
(friend must meet welcome bonus requirements)
Level of funVeryLess so than Ibotta
Variety of storesNot as many as EbatesFar more than Ibotta
Cashback percentage offered for online shoppingVariesVaries
Minimum balance required to withdraw earnings$20$5
Payment scheduleOn-demand
  • Feb 15, if $5+ balance by 12/31
  • May 15, if $5+ balance by 3/31
  • Aug 15, if $5+ balance by 6/31
  • Nov 15, if $5+ balance by 9/31
Payment method
  • Venmo
  • Paypal
  • Gift cards
  • Check
  • Paypal

 

ibotta app review screenshot - lots of rebates available

Grocery rebates

WINNER: IBOTTA
Ibotta is the undisputed champ here, since their main platform is centered around grocery rebates. This means everyone can save money with Ibotta, because everyone has to shop for groceries!

On the flip side, even though online shopping is pretty popular, not everyone does it regularly, so there are less chances to qualify for a rebate with Ebates than with Ibotta.

With Ibotta, you don’t even have to buy items of any particular brand. Even if you don’t buy the specific brands that Ibotta promotes, you can still earn cashback by redeeming their “any brand” rebates which are usually for very common grocery items like milk or eggs.

Heck, if you wanna get really technical, you don’t even have to buy groceries to earn from Ibotta. Ibotta regularly offers rebates where you simply have to upload a receipt from any participating store, which includes pharmacies like CVS or convenience stores like 7-Eleven.

We’ve gotten cash back for things like dental floss or greeting cards, just because we bought from a participating store!

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  • Breakdown by month
  • Tips for less stressful shopping
  • Grab a $10 welcome bonus

seasonal produce chart by month to save money on groceries

Free to sign up

WINNER: TIE
Both Ebates and Ibotta are 100% free to sign up for, with a super simple registration process. So, there’s nothing to lose..except the free cashback you’ll miss out on if you pass either!

Requires mobile device

WINNER: EBATES
Ibotta requires you to download their app and use it on a mobile device, which means anyone without a smart phone or having trouble with their data plan might have difficulty earning with Ibotta. Even if you try to log on to your account via their website using a desktop or laptop computer, all you can really see is your account profile but no earnings or rebate information. On the flip side, Ebates lets you use any web browser or their mobile app to earn back or access your account, giving them the edge here.

ibotta app review screenshot - welcome bonus referral promo code

Welcome bonus

WINNER: TIE

Ibotta and Ebates both offer a standard $10 for you to try them out, but both have things you have to watch out for to ensure you don’t miss out on earning the welcome bonus.

ibotta review get $10 welcome bonus

To get your $10 bonus from Ibotta, all you need to do is sign up as a new user and redeem at least one brand-name rebate. You only have 7 days to do it, though, so it’s easy to miss the window if you don’t act fast. On the plus side, though, it’s not hard at all to find a qualifying product from your grocery store.

CAUTION:

Ibotta’s generic “any brand” or “any store” rebates do not count towards qualifying for the welcome bonus.

If you can’t find a brand name rebate for an item you normally purchase, we recommend buying a yogurt or beverage since it will only cost you $1-2 and you’ll still come out ahead.

Sometimes, Ibotta will offer a higher rebate amount such as $20, but you might be required to redeem more than one brand name rebate.

Always check the terms of your bonus offer to make sure you understand what you need to do to earn it.

Ebates lets you shop at your leisure, giving you 90 days to meet the qualifications for your $10 welcome bonus. However, you do have to spend a total of $25.00 between all your shopping trips by then to get the $10 credit to your account.

ebates review - claim $10 welcome bonus

TIP:

The easiest way to earn your Ebates bonus is through our tutorial on how to use Ebates, with our smartest shopping hack to get double the opportunities to earn a welcome bonus and cashback rewards.

ebates $25 referral bonus welcome promo code

Referral bonus

WINNER: EBATES
Even if you don’t buy a single thing through either Ibotta or Ebates, you can make some easy cash by recommending either site (or both!) to your friends and family.

Anyone who designates you as their referrer and makes the designated number of or amount of qualifying purchases (usually the same as the requirements for earning the welcome bonus) scores you free money.

Ebates wins this category by a landslide because they offer a way bigger bonus: Ibotta offers only $5 per referral, whereas Ebates offers $25 per person.

Level of fun

WINNER: IBOTTA
Warning: Ibotta can totally get addicting.

Ibotta offers a huge variety of incentives and bonuses that get you excited to look for more rebates. One nifty feature is the Streak bonuses. These give you a little extra money if you redeem a certain amount of bonuses within a specified time period.

You can also get social with the Teamwork bonus, which works very similarly to the Streak bonus except that you work with people in your social network to hit collective goals.

ibotta app review screenshot - streak challenge bonus

ibotta app review screenshot - team challenges

Your team consists of two groups of people:
– Anyone you referred to iBotta
– If you choose to connect to Facebook, any of your Facebook friends who’ve also linked their iBotta page to their Facebook page

Teamwork bonuses have two parts:
– An individual goal: number of rebates to redeem
– A team goal: total dollar value of rebates to redeem

With iBotta, sharing is caring because you can all help each other hit the team goals.

Quite a few brands offer bonuses through Ibotta for buying certain quantities or combinations of products.

For example, if you buy a particular product on at least three shopping trips within the designated time frame, more cash for you! Or, they might structure it so that you earn extra for buying multiple different products from the same brand.

There are even redemption-related bonuses, where you can score even more by redeeming your Ibotta funds for certain gift cards. For example, it’s common for certain brands to let you cash in $20 in earnings to get a $24 an e-gift card instead of the standard $20.

ebates app review - double cashback

Variety of participating stores

WINNER: EBATES
This is no surprise, since eBates has been around a whole lot longer. They’ve built up a huge, loyal user base and have also proven that they know how to help retailers drive sales. This translates to more stores willing to jump on this cash back bandwagon, which is great for us consumers!

Cashback percentage offered for shopping online

WINNER: TIE
We compared several retailers on both platforms to see which side offered more cash back and found that it varied in terms who gave a higher percentage. Neither one seemed to consistently offer a higher percentage, not even within specific categories like travel or clothing.

The differences were sometimes significant, especially if there was a promotion going on like a flash sale.

So, there isn’t a clear winner on this one.

TIP:

Because the cash back percentage offered can vary greatly between Ibotta and Ebates, we recommend checking both to see who has the better offer before deciding which one to make your purchase through.

Minimum balance required to withdraw earnings

WINNER: EBATES
No question here: Ebates has this category in the bag. You only have to hit $5 to reach the minimum payout, which means you’ll already qualify for your first check after you earn your welcome bonus (see the next section to find out the exact dates you get paid).

With Ibotta, you can only withdraw your earnings once you reach $20, so even if you earn the initial $10 welcome bonus you’ll still need to keep using it a little longer to reach your first payout.

TIP:

Even though you can withdraw your entire balance on Ibotta after hitting $20, we like to withdraw only $20 at a time. That’s because it makes it easier to reach the next $20 benchmark.

Payment schedule

WINNER: IBOTTA
If you’re like us, we want our cash back and we want it now! With Ibotta, that’s totally okay because you can withdraw any time as soon as you’ve hit the $20 minimum required to cash out.

Ebates pays on a fixed quarterly schedule, which means you get your payment on the next pay date after you’ve hit the minimum payout amount of $5. Here are their payout dates:

If you have at least $5 by this date……your payment will be sent by this date
March 31May 15
June 30August 15
September 30November 15
December 31February 15

ebates review earnings check

Payment method

WINNER: EBATES
When it comes to cashing out, we prefer Ebates because they give you the option of getting your earnings via check.

That means you don’t have to sign up for or link any other accounts to Ebates if you don’t want to. If you’re not a fan of checks, you can transfer out your Ebates money to Paypal instead.

Ibotta’s cash out options include Paypal, Venmo, or redeeming your cashback balance for an e-gift card from one of their many partners.

Can you use Ebates and Ibotta together?

You’d think that you can’t earn from Ebates for grocery store purchases since Ebates doesn’t partner with grocers, but you’d be wrong!

One way that you can score something from Ebates for grocery store purchases is to go through Ebates to Raise.com, a gift card marketplace, and buy a gift card.

Ebates offers cashback for any purchase you make at Raise, so even if you buy a gift card at face value from Raise, you’re still ultimately getting something back because of the Ebates cashback.

Even better, most of Raise’s gift cards are sold at a discount, so it’s like you’re getting two discounts stacked together!

CAUTION:

Be sure to read the Raise terms for the specific gift card you are buying to ensure you can use it in-store.

Once you have the Raise gift card, pay for your groceries using that card, then you can scan your receipt like normal with Ibotta to redeem any rebates you were going for.

As for online shopping, when you want to click through to a retailer and earn cashback, you have to choose which site or app to use and can’t earn from both Ebates or Ibotta for the same transaction…or so you’d think!

Buying a discounted gift card from Raise first makes it possible in many cases for you to earn something from both Ebates and Ibotta for the same online purchase.

raise.com homepage

Here’s how it works:

  • Buy a discounted gift card from Raise for the store you want to shop at, going through Ebates to get cashback on your Raise transaction
  • Go to Ibotta and click through to the store you want to shop at, to activate cashback from Ibotta
  • Use the discounted gift card you bought from Raise to pay for your final purchase

By doing this, you save money in three ways:

raise.com logo

Discount on the Raise gift card

ebates app logo

Cashback from Ebates for purchasing from Raise

ibotta grocery rebate app logo

Cashback from Ibotta for purchasing from the retailer you made your purchase from

TIP:

The steps we outlined above should be used if Ibotta offers a better cash back percentage than Ebates for the retailer you want to shop at.

If Ebates’ cash back offer is higher than Ibotta’s, go back through Ebates instead of Ibotta in the last step when visiting the site you want to buy your item from.

Which app should I use?

Ultimately, both apps cater to a different primary audience:

save money on groceries icon with produce, milk IBOTTA: grocery shoppers

work at home remotely online with laptop
EBATES: online retail shoppers

Those who handle the grocery shopping for the family should definitely download Ibotta, whereas those who do all their shopping online won’t want to miss out on the easy cashback from Ebates.

Depending on what motivates you, you might find yourself gravitating to one over the other thanks to the extra features.

If, for example, you’ve got plenty of friends and family who you can convince to jump on the cashback bandwagon, Ebates might be your app of choice since they offer such generous referral bonuses.

If teamwork is the name of your game, Ibotta’s team challenges and goals are a fun way to earn alongside the people you know.

For a better idea of how to earn money using each app, be sure to check out our how Ebates works and how Ibotta works posts to see which money-earning ideas are up your alley.

We don’t discriminate against any form of cash back, though, so we say, why not rake in the dough with both!

Conclusion

If you’re wondering whether you should use Ibotta vs. Ebates, our answer is: use ‘em both! We’ll also show you a smart way to save money by using Ebates and Ibotta together to get cashback twice!

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