Want to know what’s sweeter than that dessert you had last night? Getting cash back for buying it.
Food is a necessary cost, so any way we can save some dough in this expense category is worth us looking into.
We are long-time fans of the Ibotta app, so we wrote this Ibotta review guide.
We'll answer the questions:
- what is Ibotta
- how the Ibotta app works
- how much can you make with Ibotta, and
- how it stacks up against other money-saving apps.
We’ll even show you how to get the welcome bonus from Ibotta too.
Disclosure: Opinions expressed are our own. If you buy something through any of our affiliate links on this page, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our site.
- Sign up for Ibotta*
- Make a qualifying purchase
- Claim your welcome bonus!
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a fun (and addicting) app that is known by most people as a way to save on groceries. However, it actually offers three ways for you to earn some bonus cash:
- Grocery rebates: Snap a picture of your grocery receipt and earn rebates on the items you already buy
- Shopping online: Get cashback when you buy online from any of the many participating retailers
- Share with family & friends: Let others know about Ibotta & earn money per person who signs up
How does Ibotta work
Regardless of which way you want to earn with Ibotta, it's as easy as 1-2-3.
To collect on groceries
1. Select the rebates that you’d like to redeem.
It's best to pick all the rebates you want to redeem beforehand, so Ibotta can reward you for all of them at once.
2. Take a photo of your receipt showing the purchased item.
Ibotta will confirm the rebates off the receipt, so there is no need to clip coupons or mail anything in.
3. Wait for the approval.
Your rebate is usually approved instantaneously. If Ibotta is having trouble finding the item on your receipt, it may need extra time to verify the purchase.
To earn cashback on online purchases
1. Type in the name of the online store you want to shop with.
There are hundreds of retailers that participate with Ibotta.
2. Read the cashback terms carefully.
To make sure you’ll earn the cash back, double check if there are any exclusions or limitations.
3. Shop away.
Ibotta will take you to the retailer’s site and keep track of your final purchase, depositing cash back to your Ibotta account after the offer terms are met.
To earn cash for referring friends and family
When you spread the word, both you and your friends or family win:
- Send a referral link or provide your referral code to your friends & family
- Have them sign up and download the app
- If they redeem a name-brand grocery rebate within 7 days, they get bonus cashback and you score a cash bonus too
Which stores use Ibotta?
We’ve been able to find every major chain that we buy groceries from on Ibotta. So far, we’ve redeemed offers from:
- Sam’s Club
- Whole Foods
- Military Commissary
- CVS Pharmacy / Longs Drugs
Remember that these are just the stores we use. There are tons of other stores that participate with Ibotta, offering either grocery rebates or online shopping cashback. Here’s the full list of stores on the Ibotta network*.
Our review of Ibotta
Of all the grocery saving apps we’ve tried, Ibotta is our hands-down favorite for a number of reasons.
Large quantity of rebates available
No other app we used comes close to Ibotta in terms of rebate variety. A rebate app is no good if you don’t ever buy any of the products listed.
Availability of "any brand, any store" rebates
Unlike other apps that require you to buy a specific brand, Ibotta offers “any brand, any store” rebates. That means, you can earn cashback even if you don’t buy the name brands being featured.
"Free after rebate" items
Snag some items at practically no cost by redeeming the “free after rebate” offers. Ibotta gives a rebate that usually matches the retail price of the item, so all you pay is taxes.
In addition to that, Ibotta makes it extra fun to earn with bonuses. To see what bonuses are available to you, click on ACCOUNT and select BONUSES. Be sure to read the terms carefully to see what offers count towards the bonus requirements.
NOTE: "Any brand" or "any store" rebates usually do NOT qualify for earning any bonuses.
In terms of how much you save, the honest answer is that you won’t get to quit your day job just because you’re using Ibotta.
But, Ibotta is free and we don’t discriminate against no-strings-attached cashback, so we regularly use it & love it when we get to cash out our earnings.
Check out our post on how Ibotta works with our best tips for maximizing your earnings with this cashback app.
How to earn a welcome bonus
You can snag an easy welcome bonus from Ibotta just by following these steps:
- Sign up for an Ibotta account*
- Download the app and log in
- Redeem a brand-name rebate within 7 days
NOTE: "Any brand" rebates don’t count towards the welcome bonus requirements.
TIP: To make sure you don’t miss the 7-day window for earning your welcome bonus, wait until the day you are going grocery shopping to download the app and find a rebate that you are interested in redeeming.
Even if you don’t normally buy any of the products being featured at the time, it’s worth buying something cheap just to get the bonus.
Tips for using Ibotta
Whether you wanna call them tips, cheats, hacks, or tactics, here are some legit strategies for making the best use of Ibotta.
Tip 1. Use Ibotta only for things you already buy
You aren’t going to save money if you splurge more for brand name items that you would never buy otherwise and have no interest in trying.
Limit your use to only what you would have bought anyway.
TIP: There are two exceptions to this rule: when you need to buy a brand name product to qualify for the welcome bonus & if you want to try a "free after rebate" item.
Tip 2. Consider stacked savings
Ibotta’s rebates work even if you buy an item on sale or clearance, so combining the rebate with a marked-down item or physical coupon may end up being the best deal.
For example, we normally buy organic apples for $2 a pound at Sam’s Club.
But one time, Whole Foods had apples on sale for $2, we got an additional 10% off for being Amazon Prime members*, AND Ibotta had a $1 off rebate, so we ended up paying only 50% of what we normally spend for apples.
Tip 3. Don’t forget about drug stores and convenience stores
Ibotta is not only for groceries!
Ibotta regularly offers rebates where you simply have to upload a receipt from any participating store, which includes pharmacies like CVS or convenience stores like 7-Eleven.
We’ve gotten cash back for things like dental floss or greeting cards, just because we bought from a participating store.
Tip 4. Check for new “any receipt” rebates every few days.
The best type of rebate that Ibotta offers is the "any receipt" ones.
As long as your receipt is from one of the participating stores, you can still earn cashback regardless of what you bought.
Tip 5. Check the date of your receipt.
Usually Ibotta requires you to submit a receipt that was from the last 7 days.
That’s why I try to use the oldest receipt I can to redeem the “any receipt” rebates, to maximize the chances that I’ll still have a valid receipt available when the next “any receipt” rebate is offered again.
Also, don’t procrastinate on redeeming your offers for the same reason.
There is an area under your account profile tab that allows you to enter promo codes, but the truth is they almost never have any available.
If you find a "promo code" or "coupon code" online, it’s usually someone who is trying to pass their referral code off as a coupon code.
We prefer to be upfront and honest, so we aren’t going to tell you our referral code is a special promo code that is required for you to earn the welcome bonus.
Anyone can get the bonus regardless of whether they use a referral link or not.
It costs you nothing, though, to sign up through our link and the income helps support our efforts to provide free money-saving strategies and financially-savvy content to readers like you.
Ibotta lets you earn cash for each friend you refer, which they track by using referral codes.
Each user has their own unique referral code, which they can give to friends and family members to include when they first sign up.
The person being referred has nothing to lose by using a referral code, so it is a 100% win-win situation.
Here are other common questions people ask regarding the Ibotta app.
To us, the funnest part of the Ibotta experience is cashing out your earnings.
Ibotta gives you several options to redeem your balance:
3. Gift cards
Be sure to check out the bonuses that are available to you because sometimes, you can earn extra money for getting a particular gift card.
For example, our account offers us a $2 bonus if we redeem for a Whole Foods gift card.
If you withdraw to Paypal or Venmo, it usually takes between 2 to 24 hours to hit your account.
If you redeem your balance for a gift card, you’ll receive it electronically via email within 1 hour.
If you’re skeptical of a third party paying you to buy your groceries without you dishing out any extra money, let us explain why Ibotta has an incentive to help you get some money back from your purchases.
Like virtually all sites that offer free cashback or rebates, Ibotta gets paid a commission for driving customers to shop at online websites or stores. Ibotta then splits part of that with you, so you both make out ahead.
Ibotta also does market research for brands by showing pop up questions to users if they click on a specific product.
The question might ask something like “which flavor would you like to try?” Ibotta then sells the survey results to the company making the product.
We’ve also seen ads for specific products appear, once you click to view the details of that particular rebate.
This is pretty smart from a marketing perspective because the ad is being shown to the people are already interested in the product.
This means the company is only paying for the ad to be shown to the people that are most likely to actually buy, and aren’t wasting their marketing dollars on people who had zero interest in the product.
If you need to reach Ibotta’s customer service department, it’s pretty easy to submit a help ticket for assistance:
Step 1. Log into your Ibotta app.
Step 2. Click on the ACCOUNT tab (in the bottom right).
Step 3. Select HELP from the menu that appears.
Step 4. Click the menu icon in the top right (three lines).
Step 5. Select SUBMIT A REQUEST.
Step 6. Fill out the form and attach any files that pertain to your inquiry.
Step 7. Click SUBMIT.
Luckily, we’ve found the app to be very user-friendly, so we haven’t had any problems, questions, or concerns that required us to contact Ibotta customer service just yet.
If you were wondering "is Ibotta legit," we can assure you that it's a definite YES!
To learn how to make money on Ibotta, check out our detailed beginner's guide on what is Ibotta, all of the features of the Ibotta app, and the ways you can use Ibotta to earn money.
We show you exactly what you can expect to find and how to easily earn a welcome bonus from Ibotta.
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