Ibotta is a mobile phone app that replaces grocery coupon redemption. Shoppers activate offers against specific items and scan the receipt after purchase to earn the cash rebate. In this Ibotta review, you’ll learn that there are over 2,700 participating brands, and physical and online retailers where you can earn cash back through Ibotta. This makes it relatively easy to find deals where you can earn your cash back, making it a good option for many users.
While Ibotta is a major player in the cash back area, there are many Ibotta alternatives that offer better rates of more convenient cash back options. For example, some competitors like Fetch Rewards offer simpler programs giving cash back rebates on the whole receipt instead of on just a particular subset of products.
Many people are looking for ways to make ends meet. If you find yourself in that situation, you’ve probably considered saving money on purchases by using a cash back app or website like Ibotta. If you’re unfamiliar with this platform, or if you’ve heard about it but want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. In this Ibotta review, we’ll cover what Ibotta is, its features, its pros and cons, and everything else you need to know to decide if it’s for you.
What Is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a cash back app that focuses on grocery purchases. Based in Denver, Colorado, Ibotta was founded by Bryan Leach, who remains the CEO. In 2019 it became a Unicorn company, i.e., a private startup company with a valuation of over $1 billion. In 2022, he said about the company: “Since the day we launched, Ibotta has looked to strengthen the connections between advertisers, retailers, and consumers.” The company philosophy continues to cut consumers in on the deal with advertisers and the direct marketing of retailers.
Related: Keep track of your or your company’s expenses by scanning your receipts with these expense receipt apps.
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta is a company that gives customers cash back on eligible purchases. Beginning ten years ago, customers uploaded a receipt to the app on their phone for purchases made in affiliate stores to redeem offers. Now, they offer a range of ways for customers to make money and for companies to target their products and promotions.
Ibotta is one of the most extensive cash back rewards programs in the U.S. and is continually expanding how customers can make and save money. For example, Ibotta is now the exclusive rewards program partner of Walmart, allowing customers to receive rebates automatically to their Walmart account without scanning their receipts.
Related: Learn how to scan receipts on Ibotta successfully every time.
Since 2021, Ibotta has allowed customers to log their purchases by the phone app or on a web browser. It continues to increase the ability to automatically apply discounts without the need for traditional coupon cutting or photographing receipts. For affiliate partners, apps like Ibotta support them in targeting offers and deals by using collected spending data. It helps develop customer loyalty while removing the need for in-house reward programs. By tying offers to a completed purchase, Ibotta has changed how businesses advertise and develop consumer relationships with brands and retailers.
Related: You can combine Ibotta with some of the cheapest grocery stores in Toronto to save twice on groceries.
Features Of Ibotta
Ibotta has numerous methods of earning money, and the process can be complex. Consumers must actively manage their purchases to get the best out of the app. Here, we will review and clarify some of the main features.
#1 Earn Rewards On Everyday Shopping
Mobile technology used by Ibotta has replaced the traditional coupon-collecting method of earning rebates on everyday grocery shopping. The process, however, remains similar to conventional coupons and rebates might be a set value or a percentage reduction.
With over 2,700 brands, and local and national retailers affiliated with Ibotta, customers can use the Ibotta app in-store at any of them.
- Photographing a receipt for an eligible purchase allows the customer to earn a cash reward available for withdrawal within 24 hours (subject to a minimum balance of $20).
- Using the app while shopping allows customers to check for current offers within the store.
- The Ibotta app can notify customers of nearby participating retailers using location tracking.
- Customers can link some store loyalty cards with the Ibotta app, which allows them to access store-specific offers. They do not need to upload receipts, as purchase data is automatically received.
- Customers receive cash back on the total amount when purchasing a gift card through the app.
#2 Use Your Shopping Information To Improve Offers
Because Ibotta is available across so many retailers, it can collate data about a customer's shopping habits and effectively tailor offers and discounts. While it does not share or sell personal data like your name, phone number, or email address, anonymous data is sold to third parties and then used to optimize the customer app experience. If customers are concerned about their data being shared, they can opt out of any data-sharing programs. However, by consenting to share their non-personal information, the app can better target rewards and offers to their specific needs and wishes, favorite retailers, and shopping history and introduce them to new products.
Customers can also sign up for text alerts to be notified about the latest deals and rewards. For example, suppose a customer regularly buys a specific type of beer, Ibotta may use that information to reward the customer for their loyalty or offer a discount to try a new brand. Text alerts can also be linked to a customer’s location and then notify them about nearby participating stores and offers.
#3 Access Offers And Activate Cash Back From Your Browser
In 2019 Ibotta introduced a web browser extension for Google Chrome that allows customers to access Ibotta offers and rewards on their home computer. This gives them more planning time and space to research and activate offers easily. From the extension, customers can:
- Check if a retailer is a participating company.
- Review products and compare prices across retailers.
- Track the price of items over time.
- Activate cash back offers quickly.
- Check for any limitations or exclusions.
#4 Earn In More Ways
As well as earning cash back on verified offers, there are several other ways to earn rewards and rebates using the Ibotta app. These include:
- An initial offer of $15 cash back on a $50 purchase when signing up (current offer).
- Cash back on the purchase of gift cards.
- Referring friends – $10 for each successful sign-up by a friend.
- Maximize discounts through text alerts and notifications.
- Monitor and use bonus offers like multiple redemptions.
#5 Earn Bonuses, Streaks, And Stacks
Customers can earn in even more ways than the standard cash back or offer they have qualified. Eligible bonuses can be found on the app, as well as any relevant terms and conditions. Bonuses are extra rebates awarded to customers for fulfilling specific requirements like purchasing two different products. The bonus is paid on top of the cash rewards on the individual products. The app shows you are working towards a bonus by showing an incomplete circle around the Bonus icon.
Multiple qualifying bonuses can result in a Streak. Customers complete several eligible bonuses, usually related to the same brand or product.
Stacking coupons can further increase rebates. By redeeming a brand-specific offer with a more general rebate offer, customers can use multiple offers against a single purchase. There are conditions where customers can redeem paper coupons alongside a digital offer.
#6 Support Through The Website Blog
With so many routes to earn cash back and discounts, Ibotta offers an easy-to-access blog with all the news and advice in the form of shopping guides. Reliant on visuals and headlines, the blog is user-friendly, precise and up-to-date.
- The blog Homepage shows a range of posts covering how to make the most of using Ibotta.
- The Lifestyle section has cooking, budgeting, and party preparation posts.
- The Savings Archive is a help section supporting users to link loyalty cards, use specific functions of the program, and to save money.
- The Tips and Tricks page has ideas and hacks for new members to learn about the various ways to earn cash back and rewards.
Pros Of Ibotta
- There is something for everyone, as the offers are varied and updated frequently.
- Easy access to cash back. Balances can be claimed over $20 and redeemed as gift cards, or sent as cash to bank accounts, or digital accounts like PayPal.
- Cash back is applied to accounts quickly – usually within 24 hours.
- The app, website, and extension are easy to use, with clear categories and easy-to-use menus.
- Customers can sign up for notifications if they want to avoid checking the app regularly for offers.
Cons Of Ibotta
- There are so many avenues for earning cash back and rewards that while it seems enticing, customers must be committed to using the app regularly to maximize its potential.
- Customers may miss out on rewards because offers vary so much and the rules and conditions are strict.
- Using the app restricts customers to specific retailers, and the reward amounts vary dramatically. Customers may still need to figure out how much they will receive even after committing to purchasing in a particular shop.
- Offers must be activated and applied before shopping. This requires customers to be organized and means impulse purchasing is compromised.
- The app has adverts and polls, which customers must watch to activate certain offers. This may be off-putting.
Ibotta is free for customers to use and download in app form on phones or as an extension for web browsers.
Ibotta earns revenue from affiliate businesses in several ways:
- In-app advertising allows retailers to access and more accurately target consumers using collected purchase data.
- Ibotta sells data collected through the app and extension to third parties.
- Participating companies pay Ibotta a commission for each redemption made by a customer.
Your Ibotta Account
You can access the Account function within the app and see your available offers and bonuses. This shows your Current and Lifetime Earnings.
By choosing Your Earnings, you can see your current rebates and bonuses. You can also withdraw your earnings, subject to a minimum balance of $20.
There are numerous other cash back reward companies offering similar services as Ibotta but Ibotta has the potential to reward customers more than most of them. This makes Ibotta a preferred choice among many Americans.
However, with so many routes to reward alongside requirements and exclusions, Ibotta is confusing and complicated. Other apps like Fetch and even Swagbucks have more streamlined receipt cash back systems offering a reward for each purchase total and receipts from any retailer. That said, there’s no reason why you can’t use both and earn cash back twice on eligible purchases.
Ibotta Review FAQs
Does Ibotta give you real money? Is Ibotta legit?
Increasing consumer cynicism about getting something for nothing is evident in reviews about Ibotta and other cash back apps. The selling of data and purchase tracking is a compromise customers have to make to access offers and financial gain from Ibotta. A better understanding of targeted advertising and how it benefits customers coupled with increasingly difficult economic conditions means that once people trust a program like Ibotta, they are more prepared to sign up. Reviews from customers and financial professionals are optimistic and affirm the legitimacy of Ibotta. There is no doubt that Ibotta credits your nominated account within 24 hours with cash back earned on eligible purchases. Hence, they are legitimate and they do give real money.
Is Ibotta worth the trouble?
Ibotta (and other apps) undoubtedly remove the hassle of searching newspapers for coupons, and the app is very accessible. Still, it can be complicated to keep track of all eligible offers. With people becoming more organized in planning their purchases (mainly groceries), Ibotta offers rewards and supports meal planning and shopping lists and can fit into this type of modern lifestyle well.
Is Ibotta better than Fetch?
Earning potential might be more significant with Ibotta. Still, you must activate offers before the purchase, whereas in contrast, Fetch allows customers to upload their receipts afterward, which may mean that it is more likely to be used regularly and for impulse purchases.
|Earn cash rebates||Earn points that convert to cash|
|Shop and earn in participating retailers||Shop and earn anywhere|
|Lots of offers, updated all the time||Focus on uploading receipts; fewer special offers are available|
|Cash can be redeemed through a bank account, Paypal or gift cards||Points are converted to a cash amount and redeemed in gift cards|
|Minimum $20 balance for withdrawal||Minimum 3,000 ($3 equivalent) balance for withdrawal|
Can I use the same receipt for Ibotta and Fetch?
Yes, in some cases you can use the same receipt for both Ibotta and Fetch and double-dip on your rewards. If the store is an affiliate of Ibotta and there are current offers relevant to the customer, then you can earn cash back on Ibotta, and there’s no reason why you can’t upload the receipt as well to Fetch. Because of the distinct redemption methods, the rebates earned will be different.