Ibotta Review: Can You Really Make Money Buying Groceries?

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Ibotta is a shopping app that can help you save or even earn money. In this Ibotta review we’ll show you exactly how that happens.

If you haven’t already heard of Ibotta and its powerful money-saving app, read on to see if it is right for you.

4.1
Overall Rating

Summary

If you like saving money while you shop and are willing to put in a little bit of effort to do so, the Ibotta app could put a nice little amount of change in your pocket.

  • Easy to Use

    4.5

  • Availability of Offers

    4

  • Customer Service

    3.5

  • Cash Out Options

    4.5

Pros

  • Easy to use app
  • Cash out to PayPal and more
  • Multiple ways to save

Cons

  • Credits can take time
  • Mediocre customer service ratings

What is Ibotta?

ibotta home page

The Ibotta app works with you to find coupons and other discounts on the things you buy.

To be honest, when I first started looking for info related to Ibotta I was a little wary and I even thought – is Ibotta legit?

I’ve tried out programs like these before and found in some cases that the savings weren’t really savings at all.

Ibotta is different, however. It is not a scam at all.

Because you don’t necessarily have to shop through the Ibotta portal, but instead add your coupons after you shop at the store, you can be sure you’ll be saving real money.

Here’s how Ibotta works to help you save cash when you buy.

How Does Ibotta Work?

When I started researching for this article I realized I had very little idea about what Ibotta was.

I attempted to get the scoop by just perusing the website, but in order to give you a real feel for how it works, I figured it was best to just sign up and try Ibotta for myself.

The idea behind Ibotta is simple. When you create an account with them, Ibotta gives you cashback on qualified everyday purchases you make at your favorite stores.

The process for signing up with Ibotta is pretty straightforward.

Just download the app onto your smartphone (available on Android and iOS), give them basic information such as your name, email address and birthdate, and create a password.

ibotta on mobile phone

After you’re signed up, you’ll be asked to pick your favorite stores that you shop at both in person and online.

The list of stores they have to choose from is pretty substantial.

You’ll find grocery stores, drug stores and more on the Ibotta shopping list.

Once you’ve chosen the stores you want to see offers from, you can start browsing the offers from each store and adding them to your account.

You can find offers via the type of item you want to buy or by store, which is my favorite way to search.

Other times an offer will require you to watch a short video; short as in less than ten seconds in my experience.

Also, some offers require that you answer a short and simple question, such as “How much schooling have you completed?”

The videos and survey questions that were attached to some of the money saving offers were nearly unnoticeable. They are not at all a deterrent to using the app.

How Much Does Ibotta Cost?

The Ibotta app is free to download and free to use. It doesn’t cost you anything to earn cash back through any of the avenues.

However, it’s important to note that you will get charged a maintenance fee of $3.99 per month if your account is inactive for a period of six months or longer.

The fee is taken from your Ibotta balance and not from your bank account. If you return to active status by using the app again, the fee stops.

Key Features of Ibotta

Ibotta offers a few different ways for you to earn money. The first one listed here is the simplest.

ibotta payout screen

Earn by Shopping

Shopping is by far the easiest way to earn with Ibotta, at least in my opinion.

As I stated earlier, Ibotta has you choose the stores you shop most at when you open your account.

This helps them find all available offers at your favorite stores.

One thing I really liked about this free app was how well it organized and cross-references offers that were available at multiple stores.

For instance, on my store list I have both Target and Walmart.

If I’m browsing Walmart offers on the app and find a coupon for something that will be valid at Target as well, Ibotta automatically puts the offer into my Target offer list as well as into my Walmart offer list.

This makes it really easy to save even more money, especially if one store has something on sale.

For my first Ibotta experience, I went through all of the Walmart offers, added relevant ones to my list, and waited for shopping day.

On shopping day I put everything into my cart, checked out and went home.

At home I scanned my receipt barcode and the Ibotta app went to work checking to see which items I’d purchased.

In some cases, the item manufacturer will require you to scan the barcode to prove you purchased this item.

This was super easy. I just did it when the items were still sitting on the counter from our grocery store trip.

After I got done scanning the items, the Ibotta app showed me that I had earned $8.50!! 

Here is the breakdown of my savings using Ibotta

You Just Earned $8.50 with Walmart
  NESTLÉ® Coffee-mate® Creamer $0.50
  Bread – Any Brand $0.25
  Bananas – Any Brand $0.25
  One Dozen Eggs – Any Brand $0.25
  Colgate® Toothpaste $1.00
  Lindsay® Naturals California Green Olives $0.50
  Ben & Jerry’s® Pints $2.50
  Contadina™ Tomatoes $0.25
  Lay’s® Kettle Chips $1.00
  Reese® Artichoke Hearts $0.50
  Lay’s® Potato Chips $1.00
  Any item Coupon $0.50

Add this $8.50 to my welcome bonus of $10 and I’m already at a savings of $18.50!

Earn by Referring Others

ibotta referral program

Ibotta will also pay you money if you refer a friend who signs up and uses the app.

When you get friends to sign up with Ibotta using your referral code, and they redeem a qualifying offer, you get $10 for each referral.

There’s no limit to how much you can earn for referring others!

There’s no requirement to make extra money by referring others to the program, but who wouldn’t want to help friends save money?

Sign Up Bonuses

Many times (likely not always) Ibotta will run promos where they give you a bonus for signing up.

When I signed up they were offering a $10 signup for those who redeemed at least $10 in offers. Free money!

The app made it so easy to save money. I probably put in less than 15 minutes of time to find the offers, scan my receipt and scan the barcodes of items that had manufacturer-required verification. $8.50 in cash for 15 minutes of work isn’t bad money.

Offers for Necessities

Some coupon sites and apps only have coupons for stuff you don’t need or wouldn’t normally buy.

In our case, we really don’t buy a lot of non-necessity items. We don’t buy clothes unless we really need them, and we keep processed and junk food purchases to a minimum.

We try to stay on task with our budget in order to reach our financial goals.

Ibotta had plenty of coupons for stuff you need, not just extras you wouldn’t normally buy.

If you look over the list above that shares what I saved on when we went on our short shopping trip that Wednesday, you’ll notice I had an Ibotta coupon for bananas, bread, eggs and other stuff we would normally buy.

This helped me to know that Ibotta would help us save money even though we don’t buy a lot of extras or processed foods.

Cash Back Coupons for “Any Brand”

Ibotta offered me a couple of cash back offers for “any brand” items, meaning Ibotta will give me money back on the generic items I love to buy, enabling me to save even more.

As an example, our $0.87 per loaf generic bread only cost me $0.62 cents on the first day I went shopping, thanks to an “any brand” coupon.

Bonus Random Coupons

I also got offered a coupon for fifty cents cash back on any item on my receipt on that first day I went shopping with Ibotta – woohoo!

So even if I didn’t take advantage of any other Ibotta offers, I still would have saved 50 cents.

That might not seem like a lot of money, but it will add up over time. This made couponing nice and easy.

Many Options for Cashing Out

After you’ve earned your money savings from Ibotta, you can go to your account and have your cash deposited into your PayPal account where you can spend as you please.

You can also take your Ibotta earnings and get a transfer to your bank account or get a gift card to one of many stores.

Some of the stores Ibotta offers gift cards to include:

  • Whole Foods
  • Sephora
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Costco
  • and more.

If you would rather have gift cards, either for spending or for giving as gifts, this could be the way to go for you.

The minimum requirement for cashing out is $20. However, some gift cards may have a $25 minimum cash out.

Ibotta Reviews

Ibotta has a Trustpilot score of 4.2 out of 5 stars as of this writing, which is considered “Excellent.”

While most reviews were positive, there were several negative reviews that cited having to argue with customer service for earned cash back.

Ibotta has a “B” rating on the Better Business Bureau website. The BBB gives them a 3.82 out of 5 star rating.

My Personal Experience

So, after I did my first shopping trip with Ibotta on Wednesday, I woke up Thursday morning to an email from them.

It outlined my money savings from the prior day’s shopping trip and notified me that the money had been deposited into my Ibotta account.

Not only was my $8.50 deposited into my account, Ibotta had given me a random $2.00 bonus deposit, meaning I had $10.50 into my account!

Here’s a copy of the email I received from them. It outlined each item I had saved on and how much I’d saved.

Notice that there are a few extras in there (like potato chips) as we did some holiday food shopping.

You Just Earned $10.50 with Walmart
  NESTLÉ® Coffee-mate® Creamer $0.50
  Bread – Any Brand $0.25
  Bananas – Any Brand $0.25
  Any Item $0.50
  One Dozen Eggs – Any Brand $0.25
  Colgate® Toothpaste $1.00
  Lindsay® Naturals California… $0.50
  Ben & Jerry’s® Pints $2.50
  Contadina™ Tomatoes $0.25
  Lay’s® Kettle Chips $1.00
  Reese® Artichoke Hearts $0.50
  Lay’s® Potato Chips $1.00
  $2 Boost Bonus $2.00

Getting that confirmation email from Ibotta was definitely a bright moment in my daily morning email checks.

I’ve personally found communication from Ibotta to be great, but clearly not all customers are experiencing that.

Ibotta FAQs

Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about Ibotta.

Is Ibotta easy to use?

Not only is signing up easy, and collecting offers easy, but getting your Ibotta cash is easy too.

Ibotta works to have your cash savings deposited into your Ibotta account within 0-5 days of earning it.

Can I get cash back for Amazon grocery orders?

Yes! If you install the Ibotta browser extension for Google Chrome you can get cash back on groceries purchased through Amazon. See the Ibotta website for details.

Is there a limit to the number of friends I can get paid for referring?

No! You can refer as many friends as you’d like. Just be sure they’re all registering from different devices.

Does Ibotta work with store loyalty accounts?

Yes! You can connect your store loyalty account with your Ibotta account by visiting your Ibotta app.

Summary

It is smart shopping to look to maximize money savings on items you were planning on buying anyway.

And it never hurts to occasionally try a new brand or item you may not have otherwise tried if it weren’t for the money savings offered.

You may find that these truths make the Ibotta app worth it for you. Ibotta offers cash back both in-store and online to help you save more money.

Hoping this Ibotta app review was helpful in your quest to make money while couponing in the modern world.

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