Ibotta App Review (2022)

I remember the first time I was introduced to the concept of digital coupons. For some reason, I was looking at the website for my local grocery store when I found a section dedicated to coupons. At the time I was confused about how you redeemed these coupons since they weren’t in the typical print-and-clip format but, soon enough, I realized that I just needed to link them to my store loyalty card and they’d automatically be applied. Needless to say, my mind was blown.

Cut to several years later and I had a somewhat similar experience when a friend of mine introduced me to Ibotta. In many ways, this cash back app is similar to clipping digital coupons, except that many of them work at multiple grocery stores and retailers. On top of that, Ibotta has been expanding to offer new potential ways for saving and earning money.

So how does it all work? Let’s take a closer look at Ibotta.

How Does Ibotta Work?

What is Ibotta?

Ibotta is a cashback app that allows users to take advantage of various offers and save money on everyday purchases. With multiple types of offers to choose from, an extensive list of participating brands, and a number of bonuses to boost your earnings, the app has become popular among savvy shoppers.

Signing up

Joining Ibotta is actually quite a simple process. After downloading the app, you can choose to either sign-up using an e-mail address or by linking a Facebook account. Choosing the former will require you to enter a few details, such as a birthdate and zip code. Of course, you’ll also need to create a password. Meanwhile, should you opt for the Facebook login method, you’ll need to allow Ibotta access to your profile.

In either case, once you sign-up, you’ll be asked to select some of your favorite retailers and brands. This will help Ibotta serve you the most relevant offers and place them more prominently on the main screen of the app. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start earning.

Using Ibotta

Something that makes Ibotta stand out from other cash back apps is that, instead of an emphasis on individual retailers and standard percentages of cash back, most of the offers you’ll find are for specific items that can be purchased from a number of locations. Moreover, in many cases, you can purchase multiples of these items and have the offer apply to each (with a typical limit set at 5, although this can vary). That said, outside of these brand-specific offers, you may also encounter offers with wider parameters. For example, one current offer at the time that I write this is $0.10 back on any brand of coffee. Meanwhile, in the past, I’ve even see offers for $0.50 back on any grocery item.

For those specific offers, one great and handy feature in Ibotta is the ability to scan an item in-store. This will help you ensure that the item is eligible for a given offer before you purchase it. To access this feature, just tap on the offer and scroll down to “details.”

When it comes to claiming your cash back for these offers, there are a variety of methods to use. However the one you choose will depend on the retailer, medium, and more.

Earning Money with Ibotta

Submitting a receipt

The main way to claim an Ibotta offer is to scan a receipt that includes an eligible item. Truth be told, this method in itself is divided into two types: scanning a QR code/barcode or submitting a photo. Again the option you choose may depend on what each retailer offers, as well as other factors such as, say, whether or not the receipt prints properly. Luckily, if you do need to take a picture of the receipt and it’s rather long, Ibotta allows you to take photos in segments so that you can fit the entire thing.

Linking a loyalty card or account

Another way you cash in on Ibotta offers is to link a loyalty card or account from a participating retailer. With this method, all you’ll need to do is activate offers, shop for applicable items, and use your loyalty card at checkout to have the app automatically review your eligible purchase and credit you cash back. Among the 100+ retailers that support linking loyalty cards to Ibotta you will find many familiar names, such as Kroger, Walmart, Rite Aid, Hy-Vee, and more.

Online offers

The third main type of Ibotta offers are online ones. These are actually quite different from the bulk of Ibotta offers in that most aren’t for specific items but, instead, are more akin to deals you’d find on Rakuten and the like. To take advantage of online deals, all you’ll need to do is tap the retailer name, tap “Shop,” make your purchase, and Ibotta will update your account with the cash back you earn.

QR Code

Finally there is another method of redeeming Ibotta offers, although it doesn’t seem to be employed with much frequency. In fact, from my brief search, it seems to only apply to purchases at Best Buy. Anyway, this method calls for shoppers to display a QR code to cashiers at checkout to earn their cash back. Like I said, this is only available for certain deals, but perhaps it will expand in the future.

Other Ways to Earn and Cashing Out

Ibotta bonuses

Like many apps these days, Ibotta throws in a bit of gamification via its Bonuses. These challenges also give users an opportunity to score additional cash back. One example of a Bonus you may have is a challenge to redeem eight different offers within a set period of time in order to earn $3 in cash back on top of what you would normally be entitled to. Meanwhile other challenges are retailer or product specific, offering additional cash back when you spend over a certain amount or make a set number of purchases.

Even better, there may be times when you’ll have overlapping Bonuses, allowing you to chase two challenges at the same time. Ultimately keeping an eye on these bonuses and planning your shopping accordingly could pay off big.

Referrals

Another way to earn bonuses with Ibotta is to refer new users. As of this writing, customers can earn $10 when friend and family use their specific referral link to create an Ibotta account and earn cashback for the first time. Plus, those who open an account with your link will earn the bonus as well. According to the terms, new users will have seven days to make a qualifying purchase in order to earn these rewards.

Cashing out

In order to turn your Ibotta earnings into actual currency, you’ll first need to reach at least $20 in cashback. Once that threshold is reached you’ll have a few different options for cashing out. One option is to link a PayPal account to Ibotta and transfer your balance that way. If you prefer a gift card instead, you can select from dozens of brand options. What’s great is that you can now apply your earnings of any amount toward the purchase of gift cards, helping you avoid that $20 threshold. 

Pay with Ibotta (Gift Card Purchases)

A while back, the app introduced a new option called Pay with Ibotta. This aspect of the app not only allowed you to buy gift cards for various retailers and earn instant cash back on your purchase but also enabled you to spend your gift card from within Ibotta. While this moniker has seemingly been retired, Ibotta does still allow customers to earn cashback when purchasing gift cards from select retailers. Among the more than 150 retailers currently offering gift cards on the app are Regal Cinemas, Ulta, Walmart, Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shops, and many more.

Purchasing your gift cards

Buying gift cards on Ibotta starts with selecting a participating retailer from the app. To do this, scroll down to the “Shop by Category” section and select “Gift cards.” After making your choice, you’ll enter how much you want to put on your gift card. For some options, the minimum is as low as $5 while others I’ve seen start as high as $25. Similarly, the maximum seems to be between $100 and $250 depending on the retailers. One nice touch is that, as you enter the amount you want to purchase, it will display how much cash back you’ll earn for your purchase.

Before you can complete your transaction, you’ll need to link a debit card — yes, debit card as credit cards aren’t allowed for some reason. This is as simple as entering your typical card info such as the number, expiration date, security code, etc. Alternatively (at least on the iPhone), you can elect to use Apple Pay instead.

Once your gift card amount is selected and the payment method is entered, you can tap “Review” to look over your transaction one more time before making it. They do warn that gift card purchases are final, so taking an extra second to confirm is probably a good idea. After you hit “Pay,” the gift card will be activated and your cash back will be applied to your account. By the way, as a reminder, you can also apply Ibotta earnings to your gift card purchase.

Using your gift card

To access your gift cards, you can tap the icon with your initial in the upper left corner, choose “Profile” and then “My gift cards.” Here, you’ll see a list of your purchase gift cards. Tapping any one of them will show you a barcode for the gift card with the card’s number and PIN below it. Conveniently, there are also “Copy” buttons for each of these, which can come in handy if you have the retailer’s app or mobile website available. 

One thing to note about using these gift cards is that the balance of your gift card won’t update automatically in Ibotta. However, you can select the card in the app, tap “Update Balance” and either enter the amount you spent, the remaining balance, or mark the card as used. This also means that, if you don’t remember your balance and need to pull it up, you’ll need to follow the retailer’s regular gift card balance inquiry procedures.

Final Thoughts on Ibotta

The biggest advantage of Ibotta is obvious: earning cash back on everyday purchases. With a variety of offer types, brands, and products to choose from, there’s a good chance you’ll find something that appeals to you on the platform. Plus the Bonuses, online shopping offers, gift card purchase option, and more can further help you rack up cashback. Sidenote: while it does seem as though Ibotta has some pretty competitive cashback rates for online purchases, I’d recommend checking out something like Cashback Monitor to see if they’re the current best option for the retailer you plan on purchasing from. 

What’s more, the app seems to be changing for the better. While some features like the Teamwork bonuses have been phased out, I happen to like the new-ish gift card platform — that note only makes it easier to earn cash back but also offers a more convenient way to redeem it. Plus, the app looks snazzier than ever in my opinion,

Although Ibotta still hasn’t been my primary cashback platform, every time I revisit it, I wonder why I don’t use it more often. Ultimately, the options, savings, and even gamification that Ibotta offers certainly make it worth a download. 

You can start saving today by signing up through this link Ibotta Signup. Then invite your friends and collect referral bonuses along with your savings on purchases.


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at https://moneyat30.com/

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