Ibotta Review 2021
Ibotta is an app that pays you cash back on both in-store and online purchases.
When you shop at major retailers like Walmart or Sam’s Club, you can pay for items right within the Ibotta app. You can also upload your receipts to the app and receive cash back within 24 hours.
There are dozens of “cash back” apps and services these days—many of which are not legit. I will say upfront that Ibotta is legit, and I have saved hundreds of dollars using it myself.
This post is going to walk you through how Ibotta works, which stores you can use it at, and how much money you can make using the app. I’ll also cover some questions that you might have about the product.
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a shopping app that you can use to earn cash back on your everyday purchases at over 300 in-store and online retailers. To date, the app has paid out over $627 million in cash to its members. That’s a lot of rice cakes!
The Ibotta app is currently ranked #37 out of all Shopping apps in the App Store, where it also has a stunning 4.8-star rating (out of 5) and over 760,000 reviews.
Android users can download the app in the Google Play Store, where it has a 4.4-star rating (out of 5) and nearly 440,000 reviews. Taken together, that’s over 1 million reviews, which gives you an idea of how popular the app is and how quickly it’s grown in a relatively short time.
Ibotta was founded in 2012 by Bryan Leach. The company is headquartered in Denver and employs over 600 people. Within the first few years of launching, Ibotta raised $76 million.
At the time of this writing, the app has been downloaded over 30 million times, and the company has achieved unicorn status with a $1 billion valuation. Wow!
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta can be used to earn cash back both at retailer locations and while shopping online. Here’s how it works.
To earn cash back at your favorite retailer (let’s use Target as an example), open up the app and click the Find Offers button.
Next, add the offers you’re interested in into your account. Since you plan to go shopping at Target, you can filter any offers specific to that brand. In some instances, you may have to answer a quick survey about the product you’re adding. The app might also display a recipe related to the product.
Once you’ve identified the offers that you’re interested in, it’s time to go shopping. Just go to your neighborhood Target store and make your purchases like you normally would.
Once you’re done, you then need to upload your Target receipt using the app’s camera function to earn cash back. When a receipt is uploaded, Ibotta automatically cross-references the offers you previously selected before you went shopping with the completed purchases on your receipt.
When it finds a match, you’ll be asked if you want to redeem the offer for cash back. If everything looks good, you can process the receipt, and you’re all set!
Connecting Loyalty Accounts
Ibotta has relationships with most major retailers. As such, it’s also linked with these retailers’ loyalty accounts.
To link a loyalty account, open the app and select the retailer you plan to visit. Next, click the Link Account button at the top of the app, which will enable you to submit your existing loyalty account information or sign up for a new one.
Once the process is complete, Ibotta automatically gives you cash back for purchases made at that store—provided that you use your loyalty card when finalizing the transaction. This feature is super convenient because it removes the step of manually uploading receipts after you’re done shopping.
Save Money Online
You can also use the Ibotta app to instantly save money at over 140 online retailers, like Nike, Instacart, Grubhub, Casper, Advance Auto Parts, and Kohl’s.
To save money online, open up the app, and select Online Shopping. You’ll then be presented with a list of currently available offers. At that point, click Shop and then make your purchase online just like you normally would.
Once the purchase is complete, cash will automatically appear in your account.
Pay with Ibotta
Ibotta is partnered with over 30 nationwide stores and restaurant chains. When you use the Pay with Ibotta feature, you’ll instantly earn cash back and discounts on in-person purchases right from the Ibotta app. You can also save up to 10% instantly—all without having to use any coupons.
To Pay with Ibotta, you first have to add your debit or credit card to your Ibotta account (under the Payments section). You’ll then make your purchases and display the Pay with Ibotta gift card code to the cashier at checkout. Once the cashier scans this code, you’ll pay for your items and instantly earn cash back.
If you frequently dine at Chipotle, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Steak and Shake, Peet’s Coffee, or Texas Roadhouse, you might find this feature especially appetizing. (See what I did there?!)
Is Ibotta Free?
Ibotta is 100% free to download and use. There are no upsells or membership fees of any kind.
To get cash back, however, you have to spend money at retailers. Since you’re most likely going to shop anyway, it’s a no-brainer to use the app and get cash back.
Just be careful that you don’t overspend or buy anything you normally wouldn’t. As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned. But if you wind up spending more money shopping with Ibotta than you normally would, you’re not getting ahead.
Ibotta Sign Up
You can sign up for Ibotta online by entering your first name, email address, password, date of birth (you must be 21 or older), zip code, and gender. You can also enter a referral code.
In order to actually use Ibotta, however, you need to download the app.
Ibotta Sign Up Bonus
For being such an awesome Millennial Money reader, you can get a $20 bonus when you sign up for Ibotta from my site (no referral code needed!).
All you have to do is sign up (which is free) and then use the Ibotta app to redeem a rebate within the first 15 days of being a member. You’ll then get an extra $20 added to your account. It’s that easy!
Is Ibotta Safe?
Ibotta is a safe and secure app to use. The company likely has a lot of IT staff working in-house to protect your data. They also use advanced security protocols like 256-bit data encryption.
- Infer the location of the places you visit most often, determine your frequency or the amount of time spent at these locations, and send notifications when you arrive at or leave those places; and
- Provide advertisements and marketing solicitations to you through the Services, email messages, text messages, push notifications, applications, or other methods of communication.
Ibotta offers a self-help customer support portal, and you can also submit a help request online.
The company does have a contact us page, but I do not see any helpful information on it. I did find this email address on SiteJabber: [email protected].
If you are in a situation where you really need to get your cash back to make ends meet, you might want to consider those reviews before making any purchases.
Pros and Cons of Ibotta
- The app is 100% free to use
- Cash back is available at most national retailers
- Easy way to save money on everyday purchases
- Customer support seems to be lacking
- The app tracks your location while you are in stores
- Only links with major retailers and huge brands
Alternatives to Ibotta
If you’re looking for similar services to Ibotta, some of the more popular cash-back shopping apps include:
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Is Ibotta Legitimate?
Yes. Ibotta is a legitimate app where you can earn real cash back.
Does Ibotta Really Give You Money?
Yes and no. To get money from Ibotta, you first have to spend money by shopping at major retailers. You will then earn cash back, which can be redeemed on PayPal or for gift cards.
Is Ibotta or eBates Better?
That’s a matter of personal opinion. If you like apps, Ibotta is probably a better choice. Ibotta is also easier to use at more brick-and-mortar locations since you can upload receipts right to the app, which then gives you cash back.
On the other hand, eBates has been around longer and has more relationships with online retailers. eBates also has a much better customer service rating on SiteJabber, where eBates has a 4.5-star rating, and Ibotta has a 1.5-star rating.
How Do You Get Your Money From Ibotta?
You can get your money from Ibotta in the form of gift cards or by transferring it to PayPal.
To transfer your funds to PayPal, you first need to earn $20 worth of cash back. Then you’ll be able to transfer your money to a linked PayPal account.
If gift cards are your thing, you’ll first need to accumulate either $20 or $25 worth of cash back. You can then transfer the funds over to a gift card (which you can use to shop at the same major retailers where you earned the cash back in the first place).
Should You Download Ibotta?
Are you a coupon and savings fanatic? Do you love to shop at major retailers like Walmart, Target, and dine at chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Olive Garden?
If so, you’ll probably be stoked about Ibotta. However, if you’re the type that prefers to get your coffee at a locally-owned shop or eat at a local deli, you might not be able to take full advantage of Ibotta’s services.
Remember, the road to financial freedom does not include frequent shops to Walmart, Applebee’s, and Costco. However, if you’re going to shop at those stores responsibly, it won’t hurt to earn some cash back on your necessary daily supplies.
Here’s to being smart with your spending and saving money toward bigger life goals!