Fetch vs Ibotta: Which Shopping App Is Better?

Fetch and Ibotta are shopping apps that offer rewards for scanning receipts. But is one better than the other?

In this Fetch vs Ibotta comparison, I’ll show you how both apps work, what the differences are, and which app is the ultimate winner is in this head-to-head battle.

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Fetch vs Ibotta

Fetch and Ibotta are two of the best cash back apps available, providing simple ways to earn rewards on your everyday purchases. You can really get rewards on both apps just by scanning your grocery receipts.

You’re not restricted to choosing one app over the other either. In fact, I use them together to double-dip on earning opportunities and get rewards on each from a single receipt.

Previously, I shared several of my Fetch hacks and Ibotta hacks that helped me quickly rack up the rewards and cash back. While both apps are great, you may be wondering if one is better than the other.

In this Fetch vs Ibotta comparison, I’ll provide a thorough analysis of each app by categories that are important to new users. This is based on my actual experience of using Fetch for the past four years and Ibotta for the last seven years.

Your shopping habits will also play a large role on which app will provide a better value and my head-to-head comparison will help you determine this.

So let’s go over how each app works, how they stack against each other, and which app I declare as the winner!

How does Fetch work?

Fetch is a shopping app that rewards you for buying the products you already love.

Simply scan your receipts from any establishment (e.g. grocery, gas station, restaurant drugstore) and Fetch will automatically find any eligible offers for you. You can also connect the app to your online orders and get rewards on eReceipts too. No need to clip coupons or keep track of discount codes, it’s all done for you in the app.

Each time you scan a receipt, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards from popular retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, and Target. There are also bonus opportunities to earn even more points by buying items from partnered brands.

How does Ibotta work?

Ibotta is a cash back shopping app that helps you save money on things you buy every day.

Before you go shopping, check the app to see if there are any offers available on the items you’re planning to buy. If so, activate each offer by clicking the plus button next to it. Then, after you’ve made your purchase, simply scan your receipt. Ibotta will verify your purchase and add the cash back to your account.

The cashback you earn can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards or cash deposited to your PayPal or bank account. You can even link your loyalty cards to the app to track your progress and never miss an offer.

Round #1: Sign-up Bonus

A common strategy for companies to get people to try out their products and/or services is to provide an incentive in the form of a sign-up bonus. Fetch and Ibotta are no different, with both offering a welcome bonus when you download and use their mobile apps.

Fetch provides a sign-up bonus of 100 points if you enter Fetch referral code 9EFD5C during account registration. Scanning any receipt will also get you another 25 points and an additional 5 to 10,000 points via the Daily Reward game.

Ibotta on the other hand gives a higher bonus of $5 when you open an account using Ibotta referral code MONEYNINJA, but it requires redeeming one offer so you can’t just scan any receipt.

Ibotta’s offer is much higher than Fetch*, but while the bonus is smaller on Fetch, it’s very easy to get. Overall, I’d get both apps and call this category a draw.

*Although referral bonuses are constantly changing, Ibotta typically offers more than Fetch. The numbers used in this analysis are accurate at the time this post was written.

WINNER = Tie

Round #2: Earning Potential

Fetch and Ibotta have many different earning opportunities.

With Fetch, you earn at least 25 points per scanned receipt. You can scan up to 35 receipts over a rolling 7-day period.

For each day that you scan at least one receipt, you get a spin on Fetch’s new Daily Reward prize wheel. Daily Reward lets you win between 5 points to 10,000 points. Whatever point value the wheel lands on will be automatically added to your account.

There are also Special Offers where you can earn bonus points for buying products from partnered brands. The earning potential for this is significant. I’ve seen many Special Offers that give anywhere between 100 points to 30,000 points. There are even some that provide 100% back in points.

Let’s assume you max out on scanning receipts for a week without taking part in any Special Offers – which is hard to do because there are so many of them, but we’re going to pretend to for the analysis. We’re also going to assume you’re really unlucky and only get 5 points for every spin on the Daily Reward prize wheel.

At a minimum, you’ll earn 1,050 Fetch points (35 receipts X 25 points) + (35 daily rewards X 5 points). Every 1,000 Fetch points are worth $1 in rewards so the equivalent dollar value is $1.05.

From my personal experience of normal day-to-day use, I earn an average of 10,840 Fetch points each week, which is worth $10.84.

That comes out to $563.68 a year!

The key is taking advantage of as many Special Offers as you can. Look at this shopping trip of mine for instance. I bought a couple of gift cards and didn’t think I was going to earn a lot of points from it, but Fetch was offering bonus points just for spending money at Shaw’s Supermarkets:

Fetch receipt rewards of 2,650 points
(Screenshot of Fetch app)

I earned 2,650 points on a simple shopping trip worth $2.65 in rewards. Not too bad right?

Ibotta doesn’t give you points for every receipt like Fetch, but redeeming offers and bonuses can be very lucrative. That’s because you can earn cashback from an unlimited number of receipts.

The primary way to earn cashback is to redeem offers from popular brands. For example, on a recent shopping trip to Whole Foods, I earned 25¢ for scanning a receipt, $3.75 for Taza Chocolate bars (75¢ each X 5), and $1.25 for Dave’s Killer Bread for a total of $5.25 in cashback:

(Screenshot of Ibotta app)

The second way to earn cashback is completing bonuses. Each week there are dozens of bonus offers. Right now in my Ibotta app, I have a few interesting ones like:

  • Redeem 10 unique offers and earn a $5.00 bonus
  • Redeem 3 unique Kellogg’s Special K Cereal offers and earn an extra 50¢ bonus
  • Redeem 3 unique Lysol offers and earn a 75¢ bonus

From my typical weekly shopping trips, I earn an average of $14.45.

That comes out to $751.40 a year!

Ibotta is the winner in this category as it does come ahead of Fetch with its higher earning opportunities.

But remember, you don’t need to choose one over the other. You can scan the same receipt with both apps and supercharge your rewards.

Adding the annual earnings of $563.68 I earned with Fetch and $751.40 on Ibotta, my total yearly rewards comes out to $1,315.08!!!

WINNER = Ibotta

Round #3: Reward Redemption Options

Earning rewards are nice, but only if you can easily get paid out as well. Some apps make it difficult by requiring a high minimum cash-out threshold. Fortunately, both Fetch and Ibotta shine in this area.

Ibotta’s redemption options are straightforward. You’re able to withdraw your earnings for gift cards or cold hard cash as soon as you reach a minimum of $20.

There are 165 different gift card brands that you can redeem for – an impressive array of choices from popular retailers. But I prefer to withdraw my rewards directly to my bank account or PayPal as nothing beats cash.

Ibotta withdraw to bank redemption
(Screenshot of Ibotta app)

Fetch has a lower redemption threshold of 10,000 points, which is equal to $10, to start redeeming. They used to offer even lower redemptions for 3,000 points, but that was removed towards the beginning of 2023.

Like Ibotta, Fetch offers a ton of gift cards to choose from. Redemption values are roughly on a 0.01¢ per point basis with some gift card brands a bit lower and others a little higher.

Fetch redemption options
(Screenshot of Fetch app)

If you want actual cash though, it’s a little bit more tricky. Fetch doesn’t offer options to withdraw money to a bank, but you can redeem your points for a Visa prepaid card that works just like cash.

However, the value is worse with this method. Here’s a breakdown of the different Visa prepaid options along with their point values:

  • $10 Visa Card = 13,000 points (0.77¢)
  • $25 Visa Card = 32,500 points (0.77¢)
  • $50 Visa Card = 63,500 points (0.79¢)

The best option is the $50 Visa card, but even then you’re receiving 0.79¢ compared to ~1.0¢ with gift cards. My recommendation? I’d do the opposite of what I did with Ibotta and redeem Fetch points exclusively for gift cards.

So while Fetch has a lower redemption threshold, Ibotta edges out Fetch in this department due to having cash withdrawal options.

WINNER = Ibotta

Round #4: Ease-of-Use

The clear winner here is Fetch because it allows you to scan any receipt regardless of the type of store you’re shopping at and get rewarded for doing so. This includes grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations.

You can earn Fetch points from your online receipts too. The app accepts electronic receipts, or eReceipts, from 264 retailers like Amazon, Airbnb, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Walmart.

Ibotta is also very easy to use and by no means complicated, but it does require an extra step of adding offers inside the app first before scanning your receipt.

This isn’t a deal breaker. I would rank Ibotta higher in terms of ease-of-use if this was a comparison with other popular cash back apps. It’s just hard to beat the point-blank easiness of Fetch.

WINNER = Fetch

Round #5: Referral Bonuses

The smart phone era has ushered in millions of apps – there are a staggering 3.55 million apps available in Google Play and an additional 1.64 million apps available in the Apple App Store at the end of Q3 2022, according to Statista.

It’s hard for businesses to stand out from such a crowded field so apps like Fetch and Ibotta offer referral bonuses for helping them get new users. Each app will provide you with a unique referral code and link to share with your family and friends.

This is a win-win-win situation. Fetch and Ibotta can grow their customer base faster, the current user receives a reward, and the new customer can earn a sign-up bonus.

Fetch’s referral bonus is 2,000 points for both the referral and referee. The points are awarded as soon as the invited person scans their first receipt. From time to time, Fetch will offer limited-time promotions where existing users will get 3,000 to 5,000 points for each referral (the bonus for the person invited still remains at 2,000 Fetch points).

Ibotta’s referral bonus is $10 for each person you refer to the app and redeems at least one offer. The person you invite will also get a $10 bonus after redeeming their first offer.

Ibotta beats Fetch by at least $5 and as much as $8 per referral, depending on the Fetch referral bonus at the time. You would think it’s the clear winner.

But a referral conversion on Fetch is a lot easier because the bonus is triggered on scanning any receipt whereas Ibotta requires you to redeem an offer in the app. To illustrate this point, imagine you invited 10 people to both apps.

Let’s say 8 out of 10 friends uploaded a receipt with Fetch because it’s so easy to do. In this scenario, you’d receive anywhere from 16,000 to 36,000 points, worth between $16 and $36 in rewards. With Ibotta, you may find that only 2 out of 10 friends redeemed an offer, worth $20 in cash.

On average, you would probably come out ahead with Fetch instead of Ibotta. Of course this is just my statistical calculation and your experience may be different than mine.

Winner: Fetch

Overall Winner: Tie

There’s no overall best app, it’s a tie!

  • Sign-up Bonus = Tie
  • Earning Potential = Ibotta
  • Reward Redemption Options = Ibotta
  • Ease-of-Use = Fetch
  • Referral Bonus = Fetch

I started this Fetch vs Ibotta head-to-head battle thinking I was going to crown a winner, but looking at the comparison categories, they each won two categories and the fifth category ended up in a tie (this was intended to be the potential tiebreaker).

Which cashback app should you choose?

Since the Fetch vs Ibotta head-to-head battle ended up in a tie, the best cashback app for you depends on your shopping habits.

Choose Fetch if you like a straightforward rewards app with the ability to earn points on all of your shopping receipts and/or you have a lot of friends to take advantage of Fetch’s lucrative referral program.

Choose Ibotta if you’re a savvy shopper that can maximize this app’s full earning potential and prefer cash rewards sent directly to your bank account.

However, if you’re like me, you don’t necessarily need to choose one over the other. I look over all the available offers and bonuses on Fetch and Ibotta while shopping, and scan the receipt on both apps (which literally takes a few seconds each).

Not only do I use both to supercharge my shopping rewards, I have a folder on my phone with apps like Fetch and Ibotta to triple-dip or even quadruple-dip my potential earnings!

The Bottom Line

Fetch and Ibotta excel at delivering what they promise – providing cash back and rewards for what people are already doing every day. They’re both free, easy and fun to use, and the rewards really do add up over time.

These two apps are legit. They’ve been around for years and are highly rated. Fetch has an impressive 4.7 out of 5 star rating on the Google Play Store with over 702,000 customer ratings. Ibotta has an equally superb 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 634,000 customer reviews.

You really can’t go wrong with either.

While this post is specifically comparing Fetch vs Ibotta, there are many more cash back apps available. These two apps are my primary go-tos, but I also use them in conjunction with other receipt-scanning apps like Shopkick, Upside, and Receipt Hog.

Do you agree with the winners in each category? Should this not end up in a tie? Let me know your thoughts below!

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

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Ken
Ken
4 months ago

John,
Love you for the service you provide: keeping us updated on the latest offers, and clearly explaining the details. I’ve saved a boatload of funds, thanks to you. I already have Fetch and Receipt Hog; will add Ibotta. Great job, man!
Ken