Ibotta Review: Pros, Cons, and How the Grocery Cashback App Works
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I’m a single woman with no kids.
I’m picky about the brands I buy, eat mostly organic, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and am terrible at planning my grocery shopping.
Even with all that in play, I earned $23 using Ibotta over the last three weeks, without changing my shopping habits.
At this rate, I’ll easily earn around $250 cashback this year using Ibotta.
By taking just a few minutes to pre-plan my grocery trips, scanning my receipt, and referring the occasional friend or family member to the app. I’m on pace to cover my Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify subscriptions each money with the cashback I earn from Ibotta.
If you have a family (which means probably a larger grocery bill than mine), are less picky about the types of food and brands you buy, and are willing to put in even the smallest amount of effort (like checking the deals in the app before you shop), you could possibly earn much more than that by using Ibotta.
What Is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a simple-to-use cashback platform. You can earn by shopping in store or online at participating retailers using the Ibotta app, website, or browser extension.
With the array of offers available — from groceries to travel, pet supplies, and even home and auto deals — there’s something for everyone on Ibotta. Some of their popular partner retailers include Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, Walmart, Instacart, Old Navy, American Eagle, and Uber.
Aside from your normal shopping, you can earn with Ibotta by purchasing gift cards, referring friends and family, and qualifying for bonuses when you redeem a certain number of offers within a given timeframe (e.g. earn a $10 bonus when you redeem 18 offers in a month).
You’ll also receive up to $20 in bonuses when you sign up with Ibotta and start redeeming offers.
Ibotta is a cash back shopping app. Earn rewards when you shop at Target, Amazon, Kroger, and more. Visit stores in person or online, scan your receipt or link a store loyalty card, and Ibotta will credit your account within 24 hours. Exchange your earnings for free gift cards or have cash sent straight to your Venmo or PayPal account.Show Hide more
- Free to sign up and use
- Earn rewards for shopping you already do
- Easy to use
- Don’t have to link your bank or credit cards
- Extension makes it easy to get deals while shopping online
- Have to claim deals ahead of time
- Cash back only available on certain products
- $20 minimum to redeem your rewards
- Not able to link certain loyalty accounts
Is Ibotta Legit?
According to Ibotta’s website, they’ve paid out over $1 billion to more than 35 million users since the company’s inception in 2012. The app offers more than 1,500 deals at over 1,000 retailers.
I’ve tested a lot of cashback apps over the years, and, personally, Ibotta is one of my favorites, by far. But I’m only one user. Let’s see what the data says.
Looking at Ibotta’s Better Business Bureau profile shows that the company is accredited with a B rating. It appears they’ve had over 700 complaints in the last three years. However, all complaints are marked resolved, meaning the person who wrote the complaint verified that the issue was dealt with to their satisfaction.
Still, Ibotta has a 4.8 rating from the Apple app store and a 4.4 rating from the Google Play store. The company has a combined 1.7 million reviews from both platforms and more than 10,000,000 installs on the Play store. One user said she’s gotten hundreds of dollars in savings, and another said she’s had no trouble using her rewards at restaurants or other retailers.
Based on publicly available data from Ibotta users, as well as my own personal experience, I’d say the company is legitimate and as safe to use as any other app of its kind.
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta offers five ways to earn: in-store shopping, online shopping, referrals, and bonuses.
Ibotta makes in-store savings easy by allowing you the option to link your store loyalty account, scan receipts after you shop, or buy gift cards to spend later. You can also turn on notifications for Nearby Offer Alerts to stay in the loop about new offers in your area.
Link your store loyalty account ★★★★☆
This is the most convenient way to shop in stores with Ibotta. From within your Ibotta account, all you have to do is find a store that offers account linking, click “Link account,” add offers you want from that store, and then shop as usual.
Once you check out, Ibotta will automatically scan through your purchases, match them with offers in your Ibotta account, and add the cashback to your total earnings.
If you have the Ibotta browser extension installed, you’ll also receive a pop-up notification whenever you visit a site that allows account linking. You can add your information straight from there and link your account with the click of a button.
Scan your receipts ★★★★☆
The process is similar to linking your loyalty account: find the store you want to shop at in the Ibotta app, add the offers you want, and shop in store. The only difference is that you’ll need to take a picture of your receipt to receive your cashback.
Buy gift cards ★★★★☆
Ibotta’s gift card feature is pretty unique. From inside the app, you can purchase gift cards to over 130 retailers, including Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, Walmart, Uber, and Airbnb.
To purchase a gift card on Ibotta, you can either add a personal debit card or use your Ibotta earnings. Either way, you’ll get cashback.
If you’re buying the gift card for someone else, you can toggle the “This is a gift” option. On the next screen, you’ll choose how you want to send the gift card off. Whoever you send it to doesn’t need an Ibotta account to use the card.
If you’re more of an online shopper, or for deals and stores that aren’t in your area, Ibotta offers two options: shopping online with their browser extension or directly through the Ibotta app.
Shop online with the Ibotta browser extension ★★★☆☆
The Ibotta extension is available for Firefox and Chrome and works similarly to other cash-back apps. When you’re shopping on a site where they offer cashback, you’ll get a popup notification. Click the “activate” button to claim the deal and continue shopping as normal.
In about a week, you’ll see your cashback added your Ibotta account.
Shop directly through the Ibotta app ★★☆☆☆
If your laptop isn’t handy, you can shop online with Ibotta directly from the app.
Unlike the browser extension that pops up when you’ve landed on a site with a deal, you have to be more intentional shopping through the Ibotta app. That is, you have to know where you want to shop or browse through the available stores until you find a place you like.
When you choose the store you want, the website will open in Ibotta’s app, where you can shop like normal.
Other Ways to Earn with Ibotta
Aside from your normal shopping, you can earn cash back with Ibotta by referring friends and completing bonuses.
Refer friends and family ★★★★☆
Like many apps of its kind, you can earn for referring new users to Ibotta with your unique referral code. You can share your code via text, email, or social media straight from the app.
When your new recruits sign up with your code and submit their first receipt, you’ll both earn a $10 referral bonus.
Ibotta offers two types of bonuses: specific and non-specific. Specific bonuses are usually related to a single brand. For example, “Earn $0.50 when you redeem three offers from Chameleon Organic Coffee.” Non-specifc bonuses are typically time-bound, like “Redeem 15 offers of any kind this weekend and earn $1.”
You can see both types on the “Bonus” tab on the bottom menu of the app.
Ibotta promo code ★★★★★
It’s hard to beat a good sign-up bonus, and that’s exactly what Ibotta offers. New users can earn Ibotta’s free $20 Welcome bonus simply by using our special partner link and redeeming select offers.
- Welcome Bonus #1: Receive a $10 Welcome Bonus for redeeming an in-store offer (Any Brand and Any Receipt offers excluded).
- Welcome Bonus #2: Receive a $5 Welcome Bonus for redeeming a Mobile Shopping offer.
- Welcome Bonus #3: A secondary $5 Welcome Bonus for redeeming an in-store or Mobile Shopping offer.
Build out your team
Ibotta used to offer additional earnings through Ibotta Teamwork. Every member you referred would become part of your team, and you could unlock bonuses together.
However, as of 2/1/2022, Teamwork bonuses are no longer available on the Ibotta app.
Ibotta Review in Summary (The Verdict)
Every app has its issues, but I think with Ibotta, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s a great way to earn cashback for shopping that you’re probably already doing and especially shines with grocery and department stores.
Your favorite brands and items may not always have a deal, so the more willing you are to try new brands, the more money you’ll save. With over 240 online shopping deals and 2,000+ total retailers, odds are you’ll find a few offers you like.
It’s a little cumbersome having to find and add offers to your account before you shop. My hope is that, in the future, Ibotta finds a way to automate the process so you can link all your loyalty accounts, shop as normal (without telling them what deals you want beforehand), and they can match deals with your receipts. But even if that never happens, I’ll still keep using and recommending Ibotta.