What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a cash back savings app that makes it easy for users to save money on everyday purchases. The app is free to use and pays in cash via PayPal or Venmo — not points or anything that has to be redeemed for cash.
Ibotta has partnered with over 1,500 different brands and retailers. The Ibotta app has already paid out over $680 million in cash to users since it was launched in 2012.
You can earn cash back on regular purchases like produce, cereal, pet food, snacks, dairy, meat, etc. Ibotta also has offers for liquor, wine, and beer. There are even offers that let you earn money back at home improvement stores, travel expenses, clothing retailers, and more. You might earn a set dollar amount or a percentage of your purchase.
How does Ibotta work?
You can earn cashback from Ibotta in three different ways:
- Online shopping (desktop): Download the Ibotta Chrome browser extension, and the extension pops up when you’re on an Ibotta supported site. You activate the offer by clicking a button, and Ibotta tracks your purchase and credits your account.
- Online shopping (app): Through the Ibotta app, you choose the site you want to visit and shop as normal. The app calculates your earnings and adds it to your Ibotta account.
- In-store shopping: You can link loyalty accounts and automatically earn cash back when you shop in store. For stores without loyalty linking, you claim offers before you shop and then upload your receipt once you’ve shopped. Ibotta will then credit your account.
We’re going to review each method shortly, but let’s talk about how these offers work first.
Ibotta offers change over time, and customers need to follow certain guidelines to claim them. To make sure your purchases are eligible, Ibotta gives you the following offer details:
- Any exclusions
- How often you can redeem the offer
- Whether the offer qualifies for any bonuses
- The offer expiration date and time
The details are clearly listed, so there’s no confusion when you’re checking out, which we like.
Ibotta in-store shopping review
Overall, linking a store’s loyalty program is the easiest way to earn cash back because you automatically redeem offers, and there’s no need to upload receipts. They’ve partnered with 100+ stores for loyalty linking, and you can sign up for a program in the app if you don’t have an account yet.
If you aren’t shopping with a loyalty program, you’ll need to claim offers in the app first and upload your receipts. This process involves several steps:
- Open the Ibotta app.
- Click on “Find Offers”.
- Pick the store you’re going to be visiting, organized by category (grocery, one-stop-shopping stores, convenience stores, restaurants, entertainment, apparel, travel, home improvement, health and beauty, etc.).
- Select the offers you want to use by clicking on the plus sign.
- Complete an activity for certain offers, like watching a short video or answering a poll question.
- Shop as you normally would.
- Submit a photo of your receipt in the Ibotta app by clicking “Redeem” and verify the offers.
While that process sounds a little clinky, it honestly takes 5 minutes or less.
Shopping online with Ibotta
When we originally wrote this Ibotta review, online shopping was still in beta mode, but it’s now available for all users. Here’s how it works: download the Ibotta browser extension to shop online or through the mobile app — downloading both the extension and app allows you to earn cash back no matter how you shop.
Online shopping in the Ibotta app
Within the Ibotta app, there is a section for online offers that you can open and browse. If you find something you like, simply click the “Shop” button and Ibotta will direct you to the partner’s website within the app screen. There is no need to upload receipts, which we really like.
Online shopping with the Ibotta browser
The first thing to know is that the browser extension is for Chrome only. Once you’ve downloaded it, Ibotta will automatically alert you if you’re on a website that partners with Ibotta. This is nice because you don’t have to search for an offer or partner store. You’ll need to click on the alert to activate any offers.
More ways to earn cashback with the Ibotta app
Like many cash back apps on the market, Ibotta gives you a couple more ways to maximize your earnings:
- Refer friends: Ibotta users are given referral codes that can be shared with friends, family, or even strangers (if that’s your thing). You earn $5 for every successful referral, which means they need to sign up and start redeeming offers through the Ibotta app.
- Earn bonuses: Bonuses are earned by clicking on specific offers or shopping at certain stores. Ibotta releases new bonuses on a regular basis. These bonuses are typically worth $2.
- Bonus streaks: This is an additional bonus that you can earn when you buy the same product or brand several times in a row.
Signing up for Ibotta
It takes approximately two minutes to create a free Ibotta account. Here’s how:
- Go to Ibotta to create an account.
- Sign up using your email address and a secure password.
- Enter your first name, birthdate, and a referral code (if you have one).
That’s it — seriously!
Once you have signed up, you can start clicking on offers and earning cash.
Getting paid by Ibotta
The amount you earn will show up in your Ibotta account within 48 hours. That amount is saved in Ibotta, and you can withdraw your cash once your account hits $20. You can cash out via PayPal or bank transfer.
You’ll need to link your bank or PayPal account to transfer money out, and your data is protected by 256-bit bank-level encryption.
How much can you make with Ibotta?
Ibotta isn’t going to make you rich, but you can earn a few bucks back here and there. Ultimately, how much you earn depends on how often you use the Ibotta app and the kinds of products you buy.
Ibotta is for more than groceries
When most people hear about Ibotta, they assume it’s only for groceries or big-box stores. What’s surprising is that you can use the Ibotta app at some local and discount stores. You can earn money back on way more than groceries alone. There are current cashback offers on:
- Wine and liquor
- A year of Amazon Prime
- Pet food
- Craft stores
- Hotel and car rentals
- Electronics (TVs, laptops, washers and dryers, etc.)
It’s worth browsing through the app to see what offers are available, and remember they change on a regular basis.
Is Ibotta legitimate?
Knowing that Ibotta is free and that you earn cash for shopping like you normally would, you might be wondering: is Ibotta legitimate?
Ibotta is 100% legit. Ibotta makes money because they have partnered with different brands and stores to promote products. Ibotta makes money because they’ve encouraged you to buy certain products, and they pass a little bit of their earnings on to users.
Now, Ibotta is collecting data from users, and this is standard practice from most of the apps you’re already using. We also live in a world where it’s near impossible to escape the reality of data collection. If you don’t like that, simply don’t use the app (or any others, really).
Don’t just buy something because of the offer
This is something that’s important to bring up in an Ibotta review: don’t buy something unless you were planning on buying it anyway. Yes, Ibotta is an easy way to make cashback, but it won’t help you save money unless you use it wisely.
The best way to use Ibotta is to redeem offers for things you regularly buy or need. This is how you will really make money with Ibotta.
Who is Ibotta for?
Honestly, Ibotta is for anyone! The people who will get the most out of it are those who regularly purchase brand name items, but don’t forget that there are always generic offers.
If you’re looking for an easy way to make some extra cash, Ibotta is definitely worth checking out!
Ibotta review final word — is Ibotta worth it?
Considering how simple it is to use Ibotta, the fact that you can use it almost everywhere, and that it’s free, it’s worth a try. You’re not earning a lot of money with Ibotta, but it’s easy money. And there aren’t any hoops to jump through, which we love.
If you aren’t using it as much as you thought you would, simply delete the app.
Yes, Ibotta has nearly 5-star ratings with the iOS and Android app stores, plus a nearly 5-star rating with TrustPilot. It’s free to use, and you’re paid when you shop in-store, online, or through the Ibotta app.
Ibotta doesn’t pay in points — you earn real cash back when you shop in-store, online, or through the Ibotta app. You will need $20 in your Ibotta account to cash out via PayPal or bank transfer.