Ibotta is an amazing cashback app that helps you save money on all of your everyday purchases.
While Ibotta is a fantastic tool, it may not be for everyone. This Ibotta review will help you decide if this app will be beneficial to you.
Spoiler alert: Unless you never buy anything, you will probably be able to save money with Ibotta.
This Ibotta review will cover everything you ever wanted to know about this money saving app. You’ll discover what Ibotta is, how you can earn cashback from using it, and even how they make their money, so you’ll see that it’s a legitimate service.
What is Ibotta
Ibotta is an app that lets you earn cashback on purchases. It can be used in person at malls, big box stores, many grocery stores, or online at Amazon, and even on a few travel websites. Pretty much anyone can find a use for this app.
Is Ibotta Legitimate?
A big question people ask about Ibotta is whether it’s legitimate or not. Anything that professes to offer money for nothing has to be a scam, right? That’s a valid concern, but Ibotta is not a scam. It’s a legitimate company that does offer cashback on a variety of purchases.
Does Ibotta Really Give you Money?
Yes, Ibotta really gives you money! I’ve made over a hundred dollars just by uploading a few receipts.
It’s effortless to start earning with Ibotta. I made six bucks the very first time I used it while grocery shopping. I only spent a hundred dollars total during that trip, so that app basically saved me 6%. Who wouldn’t want to save money on groceries?
Though Ibotta gives beginners a ton of bonuses and easy ways to earn, if you aren’t much of a shopper, it will be harder for you to earn money after getting those initial bonuses. I went through a period where I only used it for grocery shopping, and sometimes I’d only earn ten cents on a given shopping trip. That’s not going to be FU money anytime soon, but those little things add up, so I happily take that small amount!
How Do you Make Money with Ibotta?
There are various ways to make money with Ibotta, and all you have to do for each of them is shop. You can earn cash back at supermarkets by uploading your receipt, get paid to shop at many stores using Ibotta pay, and link Ibotta to your online accounts to earn rewards for online shopping.
Earning cash back with their receipt upload function is easy. I love it because it’s one of the only options for cash users to take advantage of cashback shopping. Unfortunately, for now, it’s only available at grocery stores, but everyone needs groceries.
To earn your rewards, log in to Ibotta and check out the deals they have at your grocery store of choice (and don’t forget to check the “any offers” section!). Tap the little plus sign (+) icon associated with the offer. From there, the item gets added to your list. After you purchase your items, log back into the app, and hit the “redeem” button on the bottom. Follow the instructions to take a photo of your receipt and upload it.
Ibotta may ask you to verify some of the purchases by scanning the product barcode. Once you verify your purchases, Ibotta will review everything and send you your cash. Usually, the process only takes a few minutes, but Ibotta cautions that it may take up to twenty-four hours.
Cash-Back at your Favorite Stores
Many of your favorite stores partner with Ibotta to offer cashback rewards on in-store purchases. Home Depot offers 2% cashback, Barnes & Noble offers 5%, Sephora offers 6%, and Michaels offers a whopping 7% cashback on in-store purchases. Many other stores and restaurants offer cashback in-store as well – be sure to download Ibotta for the full list.
Using Ibotta to get cashback at these places is a little complicated. It would be better to upload a receipt or scan your app at checkout regardless of the payment method. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Instead, you need to purchase a gift card with Ibotta pay, and then use that gift card to pay for your purchases.
First, you have to link a debit card to Ibotta Pay. One thing to note is that it must be a debit card. Ibotta no longer allows you to link credit cards. Thus, this option may not be worth it depending on how you spend and the rewards cards you have. Once you’ve linked your debit card, you find your favorite retailer on Ibotta and purchase the gift card with them directly. You then use this gift card that you just purchased to pay for the items that you are buying.
I used this method at GameStop when I bought my Nintendo Switch, and although it was a bit complicated, I earned $17 cashback, so it was well worth it. Although you can purchase the gift card at home before you go to the store, that creates a challenge because you don’t know how much you will be spending.
I purchased my GameStop gift card right at the register, so I knew the exact amount that I would be needing. It was a bit awkward, as I took an extra minute to complete my purchase, but it was worthwhile to prevent overspending.
Earn Cashback with Online Shopping
Many of your favorite online retailers offer cashback when you shop online through Ibotta. To earn extra cash through online shopping, log into your Ibotta account, and then search for your favorite retailer.
For example, let’s say you want to shop online at Kohls. When you log into Ibotta and search “Kohls,” you’ll see a .5% cashback offer and a green “shop” button. When you click the “shop” button, you will be redirected to the Kohls website, where you can make all of your purchases. As long as you have logged in via Ibotta, and you can see the Ibotta offer at the bottom of the page, your purchases will be eligible for the cashback.
You will not see your earnings in your account until your order has been shipped and processed. This can take up to 90 days, but usually, it only takes a few days.
Hundreds of retailers partner with Ibotta to offer you cashback on your everyday purchases. Best Buy, Target, Banana Republic, Foot Locker, and Microsoft are just a small sampling of the stores with cashback offers available on Ibotta. Chances are, your favorite retailer offers cash pack as well.
Earn Extra Money with Bonuses
Ibotta keeps things entertaining by offering numerous ways to make money with bonuses. They make it incredibly easy for new customers to earn extra with the “In-store purchase” bonus and the ten-dollar sign-on bonus. They also offer monthly bonuses, seasonal bonuses, and other random bonus opportunities throughout the year.
Some brands also offer bonuses if you redeem their offers on multiple occasions. For example, I received a Dunkin’ Donuts bonus by redeeming the Dunkin Creamer offer three times when it was available. These bonuses are constantly changing, but many of your favorite brands, including Kraft and Pepsi, have offered them.
Make Extra Money by Referring Friends
A final way you can earn money with Ibotta is by referring friends. You get five dollars for each referral, and you get the money as soon as your friend uploads their first receipt and redeems their first offer.
Another cool thing about referring your friends is that you become a team, and you can help each other earn a little extra each month. Every person you refer becomes a member of your team, and as your team earns individually, you can collectively work towards earning team bonuses. Usually, the first level is only fifty cents, but that adds up over time!
Is Using Ibotta Time Consuming?
One of my top fears in using this app is that it would take too much time. I don’t want to do anything tedious to make a few cents. That’s not worthwhile to me. But fortunately, using Ibotta is easy and only takes a few extra minutes.
If you scan Ibotta for offers while writing out your grocery list, it will only take you a few extra minutes. Uploading the receipt and scanning the barcode takes a minute or two, depending on how many offers you have. Sometimes you may only have ten cents, but other times you can score five to ten dollars’ worth of cashback offers in one go! All of those things add up.
How Do you get the Money from Ibotta?
One of the drawbacks of using Ibotta is that you don’t get paid immediately. You have to earn twenty dollars before being able to redeem anything. But, since Ibotta offers so many ways to make extra cash, it’s easy to get to the twenty-dollar payout threshold. A few trips to the grocery store and one or two online purchases should be enough to get you to that threshold.
I think it’s a little better to wait for the payout, though. You won’t notice a few cents being added to your account here and there, but you definitely will notice the twenty bucks. It’s a feel-good win.
What is the Catch With Ibotta?
This Ibotta review wouldn’t be complete without talking about the other side of the coin. Everything has a catch, and Ibotta is no different. The catch is that if you aren’t paying attention to what you are buying, you may spend more money than you normally would. For example, Ibotta had a fifty-cent cashback offer on Ball Park hot dog buns. Sounds good, right?
But Ball Park buns are generally two bucks and some change, and the generic brand is only 87 cents. If I had used that deal, I’d end up spending a dollar more on hot dog buns than I usually do! It’s easy to avoid that trap, though. You have to pay attention to prices.
The other catch is that you sometimes have to switch brands to get a deal. I usually buy Coffee-Mate creamer, but there was a $1 cashback offer on Dunkin Donuts’ creamer. The Dunkin creamer was a dollar more (paying attention to the price!), but it was the larger quantity.
Using the deal got me the bigger bottle of creamer for the same price as the small one! I don’t mind switching brands on a few items to get a better deal. However, make sure you are paying attention to the price. Don’t use an offer if you’ll end up spending more in the long run.
One final catch is that you have to earn ten dollars’ worth of cashback rewards within 14 days of signing up to earn your ten-dollar sign-on bonus. One trip to the grocery store got me more than halfway there, so I’m sure most people will be able to achieve this challenge.
How Does Ibotta Make Money?
Ibotta is, at its core, a marketing company. When you use this app, you have to remember that you aren’t the customer. You’re the product. Ibotta makes money off of you by tracking your data and sharing it with their partners. The companies use this data to understand consumer behavior and learn how to market their products better.
“Perform aggregated, pseudonymous (unless otherwise consented by you) analytics that may be used for Ibottas and any third parties’ marketing, advertising, and data enrichment activities”.
This basically means that they use the information they collect to help their partners with marketing and advertising, but they combine the data so that no one person is singled out.
Ibotta also makes money by having users complete surveys or answer simple questions on some of their offers. These activities also offer their partners valuable data that can be used for better marketing campaigns.
A final way they make money is through affiliate sales. They offer a short video for users to watch and earn a small commission if they redeem the video’s offer. They may also earn small commissions for other offers that are redeemed.
Is Ibotta Right For You?
I hope this Ibotta review clarified all the questions you had about Ibotta and helped you understand that it is a legitimate company that really can help you save some money on your everyday purchases. If you don’t mind a company collecting your data (and most of us let Facebook do it for free), then it’s a perfect way to get cashback.
In my opinion, it’s the best cashback app out there. So what are you waiting for? Head to Ibotta and start saving today!
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks and has been republished with permission.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.