Ibotta Review (How to Get Cash Rewards)
Nowadays, there are so many cashback/rewards apps that there’s little reason to be paying full price for anything anymore.
Even better, many of these apps commonly reward you for the shopping you do on a regular basis, rather than irregular purchases like travel or a new car.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing one of the big names in this segment, Ibotta.
Read our full Ibotta review below to see if this app is worth signing up for.
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a shopping rewards app created by a Denver-based company of the same name. It was founded in 2011 by their current CEO, Bryan Leach, in 2011.
Like other cashback rewards services, Ibotta’s essentially a giant affiliate marketing company. Every time a customer buys a product using Ibotta, the store they bought it from pays a portion of the profits to Ibotta. Ibotta passes part of that portion on to you in the from of cash back.
On your end, it functions as a mix of a shopping list and an electronic coupon book.
Ibotta has both an app and a web site, both of which allow you to access the full range of Ibotta’s functions. They offer a $10 welcome bonus for new users signing up!
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta rewards you with money for buying certain offers. You pick offers, shop them in-store, then submit a photo of your receipt to earn money.
Ibotta users first browse Ibotta’s various offers on either their app or their website. When they see an offer they like, they simply add it to their profile by clicking the “+” button.
After watching a short video ad or answering a survey questions, the offer is added to the user’s account.
The user then goes shopping like normal, ensuring to hold onto the receipt at checkout. Once the user has finished shopping, they can then scan the QR code at the bottom of their receipt using the Ibotta app.
Ibotta will then credit the user’s account within a few hours, although sometimes it takes a bit longer.
Ease of Use
Ibotta’s insanely easy to use. Adding offers is as easy as clicking a button and watching an ad/answering a question, while redeeming offers requires nothing more than a scan with your phone.
The interface is also fairly easy to navigate. The app’s got several screens:
- Find Offers
- My Offers
The home screen is a microcosm of the whole app. It has a multitude of recommended retailers for basically every type of product, bonus opportunities, special events (like Ibotta’s birthday), offers of the week, and more.
Find Offers lets you browse by retailer or category (of which there are several to choose from).
Redeem is where you scan your receipt’s QR code.
When you add offers to your account, you can view them all in the My Offers screen.
Finally, your Account screen contains account info, earning history, your referral link, and more.
Brand and Product Variety
People think of Ibotta as a grocery rewards app, but it goes far beyond that. They’ve got everything from groceries to electronics to pharmaceuticals and even travel.
They’ve got multiple brands of items as well. Whether you buy a fancy yogurt brand or you stick with the generic, Ibotta likely has both.
Ibotta primarily offers cashback for specific items of a specific brand.
But they knew that wouldn’t be enough, so they also have “any brand” and “any item” offers, which are just like they sound.
“Any brand” offers let you buy an item of any brand to earn the cashback. If you don’t care about brand, you can buy the cheapest brand available and spend very little on your groceries.
“Any item” offers tend to be small, but as the name implies, you can redeem them for buying literally anything. No catch.
Neither of these offers are very common, so when you see on, jump on them as soon as possible.
Bonus Earning Opportunities
No rewards app worth its salt wouldn’t include tons of bonuses.
Ibotta offers several types of bonus opportunities:
- Streaks – Redeeming a certain number of offers within a specified time period.
- Brands – Sometimes, they’ll reward you with more for opting for certain brands.
- Special events – For example, Ibotta has an “Ibotta’s Birthday” offer where you could earn $7 additional cashback for redeeming 8 offers within about a week’s span.
- Referrals – Not exactly shopping rewards, but Ibotta rewards you with $5 for each friend you invite to the app. You can invite as many as you want. They frequently hand out extra rewards for inviting X number of people over a certain time period.
Ibotta put a unique social twist on cashback with their Teamwork feature.
It works like this:
Ibotta users can link their Facebook to Ibotta. Anyone on your Facebook friends list that does so is automatically “on your team”.
Ibotta then presents you with monthly individual and team goals; completing these goals earns you bonus cash.
In order to qualify, you have to meet your individual goals while your team as a whole also has to meet their teamwork goals.
Goals have multiple levels; as you complete each level, you move up to the next.
If you and your team can hit every level each month, you’ll seriously accelerate your Ibotta earnings.
Link Your Loyalty Account
Are you sick of spending 10 seconds or less scanning those pesky QR codes on your receipts?
Link your loyalty accounts and you don’t have to!
All you have to do is select the retailer with which you have the loyalty account, enter your login info, then Ibotta adds it after a few seconds of processing.
Once it’s linked, the only thing you have to do to earn cashback at your linked retailers is add offers. No more keeping receipts!
Web and App Access
Ibotta’s got both a website and a mobile app. You can access all of Ibotta’s functions on either one.
Cash, Not Points
Whereas other apps add the unnecessary step of “points” that inevitably becomes cash anyways, Ibotta just gives you cash.
Why is this important?
Points can be confusing and misleading. 1,000 points might make you feel great, yet it might only translate to $10.
Points aren’t a terrible system, but they serve little purpose beyond being an extra step in the process.
Not Every Store is Available
Ibotta does their absolute best to partner with as many stores as possible. The reality, however, is they simply can’t partner with EVERY store.
Those of you who live in an area with a lot of shopping shouldn’t have a problem finding offers to redeem on Ibotta, but folks who live in smaller towns or more secluded areas might not be able to earn much.
And while Ibotta is adding new stores when they can, there’s not much of a chance they’ll partner with your favorite mom&pop shop down the street.
That’s just the nature of large cashback rewards apps.
Earning Consistently Takes Commitment
Look, you aren’t going to get rich with Ibotta. Earnings aren’t exactly fast; although some offers are several dollars, those offers tend to be purchases you make every few months.
Items you buy on a more regular basis, such as groceries, don’t reward you all that much.
And you do have to spend time finding offers and redeeming them for money.
But just because you earn only a few dollars maximum at a time doesn’t mean you should count Ibotta out. It takes only a couple minutes to put together your offers; you can do it while you’re writing your actual grocery list.
Like it’s competitors, Ibotta offers cashback for shopping online at select retailers.
Problem is, Ibotta lacks compared to the competition. Their focus is in-store, so don’t expect to earn a whole lot without getting up and going to the store.
That being said, they still have an entire category for online shopping, so it’s not terrible.
Some Items Might Run Out
Ibotta occasionally has offers for items that are out-of-stock. Nothing’s more frustrating than adding an offer and hitting the store, only to find your item’s run out.
However, doesn’t the fact that items might run out speak to how useful Ibotta is?
Can Promote Overspending
This isn’t exclusive to Ibotta. You have to be cautious not to fall into the “overspending” trap with cashback rewards apps as well as credit cards.
See, our brains really like to see those notifications saying we earned a $1 in cashback for our latest purchase.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll start buying things you don’t need to earn that cashback.
The issue here is that you’ll never earn enough to cover your purchases. Otherwise, Ibotta’s business model (or any rewards site’s business model) wouldn’t work.
Approach Ibotta the same way you’d approach a cashback credit card; use it only for purchases you’re going to make anyways to avoid overspending.
That doesn’t just go for buying items you don’t need, but also buying brands you don’t normally buy.
If you get by just fine on the $2.99 tub of coffee, don’t spend $10.99 on the fancier brand just to earn $1.00 cashback because you’re still losing out on $7.
Only do that if you truly wanted to try the fancier brand of coffee.
Is Ibotta worth your time?
We think yes.
Although Ibotta has its drawbacks, it’s certainly a great app for earning cash on your everyday purchases as well as some less frequent buys.
Just don’t overspend for the sake of cashback and you’ll find Ibotta helpful and even a bit fun.
How to Start Earning With Ibotta ($10 Signup Bonus!)
First, you need an account. Creating one takes only a minute. You can join with your Facebook or Google account, but if you aren’t comfortable doing that, all they need from you is basic information like your name, date of birth, and zip code.
You can sign up on the website or the app, but obviously, we recommend getting the app.
Oh yeah, Ibotta gives you $10 just for signing up to kickstart your rewards.
Link Loyalty Accounts
Shopping rewards should be as passive as possible. Link any loyalty accounts, even if you don’t use them often.
It only takes seconds, and you never know when you might need that loyalty account to be linked in the future.
Once your Ibotta account is up and your loyalty accounts are linked, start adding offers.
It might help to take note of which offers you have loyalty accounts for and which ones you don’t so you know which receipts you have to keep.
Your offers are all sitting in your account. Now, you can go shop for those items.
Make sure to get a copy of all your receipts. That’s half the point of Ibotta, so if you forget to get your receipt, you’re out of luck.
Redeem Non-Loyalty Receipts
With your items in hand, you can now redeem your non-loyalty offers by scanning your receipts. No need to separate your Ibotta items from your regular items; Ibotta can figure that out themselves.
Now, if you’re just hitting the grocery store, you could knock this out in seconds before you even leave the parking lot.
However, if you’re running errands all day and therefore redeeming offers at multiple stores, it’s best to sit down at the end of the day and scan them all at once.
Hold Onto Those Receipts!
Don’t throw out your receipts the moment after you scan them. Ibotta sometimes misses items on the receipt.
Wait until they credit your account before ditching the receipt. If they missed an item, you can always resubmit and let them know.
Cash Out Your Earnings
You can cash out your earnings via PayPal, Venmo, or a free gift card once you earn $20 in cashback.
Earning $20 isn’t too hard for a regular shopper. Should take you a couple weeks if you redeem a few offers each week.