Ibotta Review: Why So Many Swear By This App For Saving On Groceries

Updated: November 30, 2020
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Table Of Contents

What Is Ibotta?
How Does Ibotta Work?
Other Ways To Earn With Ibotta
Redeeming Your Cash Back
Ibotta Saver Community
My Experience With Ibotta
Tips And Need To Knows For Using Ibotta
Is Ibotta Worth The Download?

What Is Ibotta?

Ibotta is a free cash back rewards app and browser extension that partners with more than 1,000 retailers around the country to provide cash back deals to shoppers. It has deals in a wide range of categories, including groceries, health, beauty, clothing, home, auto products, tech, travel and so much more. That being said, the most popular category people use it for is groceries.

From major grocery chains and wholesale clubs to grocery pick-up and delivery services, convenience stores, and drugstore chains, Ibotta has an immense amount of deals to choose from. Just to give you a taste, Ibotta works at Costco, Walmart, Kroger, ACME, Sam’s Club, Shaw’s, BJ’s, Instacart, Food Lion, Walgreens, CVS, Wawa, 7-Eleven, and Sheetz. You can access a full list of supported stores here.

Currently, Ibotta has more than 1,500 cash back offers available and adds new offers each week.

Since its launch in 2011, Ibotta has paid out nearly $800 million in cash back to members.

It’s available for iOS and Android, as well as a browser extension for Google Chrome.

How Does Ibotta Work?

Ibotta doubles as an in-store and online shopping tool — which is super convenient — and there are a couple of different ways to earn doing both.

In-Store Shopping

There are three ways to earn cash back shopping in-person at a store — all with their own benefits. For all of them, you need to look at available cash back offers through the app or browser extension for your desired store and add them to your list via the “+” button ahead of your shopping. For certain offers, you may need to complete an activity like reading a quick fact, watching a short video, or taking a quick poll before that offer gets added to your list.

Loyalty Linking: If you have a loyalty card or account for any of Ibotta’s partner retailers, you can connect it to your Ibotta account. Check the app or browser extension for available offers at the retailer you plan on shopping at and add them to your list before you head to the store. Use your linked loyalty card or account at check out and you’ll earn cash back on the qualifying offers from your list and your cash back will be added to your Ibotta earnings within 24 hours.

This feature is great because you can earn rewards with the store loyalty card or account you have, while also earning cash back with Ibotta. It’s a win-win.

Receipt Submission: Receipt submission is an easy way to earn on the individual items you purchase. After you’ve done your shopping, simply upload a picture of your receipt to the app to get cash back on the qualifying purchases you added to your list ahead of your shopping. Your cash back will be calculated and added to your Ibotta earnings within 24 hours.

Shopping Online

You can earn cash back shopping through the Ibotta app or via the browser extension at participating retailers.

It’s important to note that while for most transactions you receive cash back credited to your Ibotta earnings within 24 hours, some online shopping offers have long pending periods for transactions, so it can take several days to receive your cash back earnings.

Using The Browser Extension

If you’re doing your shopping via your computer with the browser extension, when you shop at any of the more than 800 supported retailers — access the full list works here — the browser extension will pop up in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window. Select “activate” in the extension window to activate cash back. Once you activate it, in this same window, you’ll be able to see details about the cash back offer, including the retailer’s transaction pending time, conditions of the offer, specifically what would make it valid or invalid, and the maximum cash back earning allowed on a purchase from the retailer. From there, shop as you normally would online, but make sure you read the cash back offer details before adding items to your cart to confirm they qualify for the cash back.

When shopping at one of the browser extension participating grocery retailers (like Shipt, Instacart, or Walmart Groceries), an Ibotta pop will appear on the right side of your browser window asking you to link your account for the retailer you’re shopping at to your Ibotta account. If you don’t have an account for that retailer, create one so that you can earn cash back automatically.

Again, from there, shop as you normally would online, but make sure to check for available offers that qualify for cash back under the “Search” tab in the Ibotta browser extension pop up (you can switch what side of your browser window you want this pop up in by clicking a little arrow at the bottom of the pop up). You can also access a full list of offers for that specific grocery pickup and delivery retailer in the same tab.

Shopping Through The Ibotta App

To shop through the app, when you’re on the home tab, scroll down to where it says “shop by category” and click on “online shopping.” You’ll see a list of retailers near you with cash back offerings and at the top will be a scrollable list of categories you can filter offers by. Click on the store you want and browse the available cash back deals specific to it. When you click on an offer, you’ll get all the same details as mentioned with the browser extension.

When you’ve decided on an offer, click the “shop” button. If you have an app for that store on your device, it will open up. If not, a window will pop up in the Ibotta app for the store’s website. Buy the item you saw the deal for and when you’re done, go back to the Ibotta app. A “welcome back to Ibotta” screen will pop up with details about the pending time of your transaction for that retailer.

Other Ways To Earn With Ibotta

Referrals

Ibotta offers rewards for friend and family referrals. Each user gets a referral code unique to them that they can share as they please. And for every person that signs up for Ibotta with that referral code, you typically earn $5 once they redeem their first cash back offer. From now until November 30, 2020, you can earn $10 per referral, so blast that code far and wide.

Ibotta Teamwork

You can also earn more with Ibotta Teamwork. Invite other Ibotta users you know to be on your team, and as a team, you redeem a certain amount of offers to complete levels. As you complete levels, and the personal goal and a team goal that comes with each, you earn bonuses.

Bonuses And Bonus Streaks

Ibotta’s bonus offers are an easy way to earn even more when you shop. Bonuses are special offers that have a set cash amount you can earn by completing them. Sometimes the bonus offers are linked to the holidays, like the $5 Mid Week Harvest bonus which would give you $5 for redeeming any 12 Ibotta cash back offers. There are also offers related to spending a certain amount at a particular retailer and even bonus streaks for redeeming the same offer multiple times. We’ve seen some bonus offers have cash back earnings as high as $10 in the app, so definitely make sure to also check what bonus offers are available before you start shopping. It would be a real waste not to.

You’ll be able to see a sneak peek of these bonus offers on the “Home” tab of the app, as well as under the “Earn More” tab.

Pay With Gift Cards

If you don’t want to pay with your own credit card, you can purchase gift cards through Ibotta to pay for your shopping trip. If you pay directly through the Ibotta app using a gift card, you earn up to 10% cash back on your entire purchase. On top of that, you can still earn on individual items you’ve purchased when you upload a photo of your receipt to the app. Sweet, right?

You can access a full list of Pay with Ibotta participating stores here.

Redeeming Your Cash Back

Ibotta is all about giving options (which we love) and how you receive your cash back is no different. You can withdraw your earnings using two of the most popular online payment systems — Venmo and Paypal — or via gift cards.

To start withdrawing money, you need to have a balance of at least $20. To withdraw your earnings via Venmo or Paypal, go to the account section of the Ibotta app, select the “Withdraw Cash” option and then choose between Venmo or PayPal. You’ll be prompted to link the account you selected to the app. After that, enter the dollar amount you would like to transfer to your PayPal or Venmo account and then hit “transfer Cash”. You should receive your payment within a few minutes.

If you would like to get your money as a gift card, after you select the “Withdraw Cash” button, scroll down to the available gift card options and make your selection and confirm the payment. Within 24 hours, you’ll receive an email with your digital gift card.

Ibotta has gift cards for 50 different retailers across multiple categories. You’ll find gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks, and more.

Ibotta Saver Community

Looking to connect with other Ibotta shoppers to learn a thing or two from or compare notes with? Then check out the Ibotta Saver Community, a new feature of Ibotta that launched this year.

Here, Ibotta members can chat amongst themselves, trade tips, highlight the best offers, ask questions and stay in-the-know about Ibotta updates and features. Ibotta members can also submit ideas or suggestions they have on how to improve the Ibotta app and the Ibotta Saver Community.

The Ibotta Saver Community is accessible through the Ibotta app under the account tab and the Ibotta website.

My Experience With Ibotta

Since I’ve been doing most of my shopping online as of late, I decided to try shopping through the Ibotta app. I have a dog and a cat, so I decided to check out deals at Petco, which Ibotta was advertising a firm 2% cash back on (sometimes Ibotta will advertise an “up to” cash back percentage). Once I hit the “Shop” button, a window for Petco’s website popped up in the app and I just shopped like I normally would have if I went to Petco’s website on my own.

I bought each pet a treat. I got my dog a bag of WholeHearted Grain Free Blueberry/Yogurt Dog Treats — they’re round, perfect for my dog’s new Treat Tower toy — and I got my cat a bag of Temptations Classic Tantalizing Turkey Flavor Cat Treats — his favorite. The subtotal for the order before taxes and shipping, which is what I’ll be earning the 2% cashback on, came out to $8.98. That means once the pending period is complete, I’ll earn less than $1 — $0.1796 to be exact. Granted, that’s not very much, but over time, especially with larger purchases and bigger cash back offerings, that money does add up.

Shortly after my purchase, I received a notification in the app about when I could expect a record of my transaction to post to my Ibotta account.

After shopping for my pets I moved on to test groceries. I do a lot of my grocery shopping at Aldi so that was my next stop and I used the Ibotta browser extension to do my shopping. As I mentioned earlier, Ibotta has more than 500 exclusive grocery pick-up and delivery offers for its browser extension. Though Aldi does sell a lot of its own food brands, I was sure I’d be able to find deals for a few of the things on my shopping list.

My grocery list:

A whole turkey (for an upcoming family dinner)
Heart to Tail dog food (my preferred brand of dog food for my pup)
Granola bars
Cereal
Yogurt
Bananas
Grapes
Rice

I have an Instacart account, which is where I wanted to place my online order for Aldi. Instacart is one of Ibotta’s participating retailers for its browser extension, so when I went to the Instacart website, a window from Ibotta popped up prompting me to log into my Instacart account to link it to my Ibotta one. After that, I selected Aldi from Instacart’s list of stores and was taken to the Aldi website. On the right side of my browser window was a little tab for Ibotta that indicated my Instacart account was linked. I clicked on it and a window popped up in the top right corner of my browser window. It had three tabs:

Search – I could use a search bar to look for deals for the things I wanted to buy, and could also access a full list of Instacart specific deals Ibotta had
List – Where I could see all of the Ibotta cash back offers I selected ahead of adding them to my cart and buying them
Bonuses – Bonus offers available for me to take advantage of

Since I already had a grocery list put together, I just searched for the items I needed using the search bar in the Ibotta pop up window. Just as I thought, I was able to find cash back deals for three of the things on my list.

$2 back on a Butterball Turkey of any variety or size
$0.10 on any dry dog food of any size
$0.10 on snack bars of any brand or size

The subtotal for my groceries was $41.44. With tax, Instacart’s service fee and tip added on, my total cost came out to $46.31. My total cash back from Ibotta came to $2.20. Again, not much, but with a couple more times of shopping like this, my earnings would really add up and I’ll be able to cash out in no time.

Tips And Need-To Knows For Using Ibotta

Things to keep in mind when doing any kind of shopping with Ibotta:

We recommend signing into any partner accounts you may have, like your Amazon or Walmart account, before launching an offer through the Ibotta app. This way, if you have the app for that retailer, Ibotta will automatically redirect you to the app when choosing an offer to fulfill.

While Ibotta is an easy way to earn cash back, we wouldn’t recommend just buying something because there is an offer available for it. Meaning, don’t go out of your way to buy something you wouldn’t have considered getting before just because you happened to come across a cash back offer for it. Spend your money wisely.
Ibotta does use your GPS location when you’re using the app to provide you with cash back offers available at retailers near you. Additionally, if you enable “Nearby Offer Alerts” in the app, you’ll be alerted when you’re near an Ibotta retailer so you can earn when you shop.

Outside discount codes or coupons are excluded by most partnering retailers, so make sure to check an offer’s details for any exclusions.
For most Ibotta retailers, if an item is placed in your shopping cart before launching it through Ibotta, it is not eligible for a cash back reward from Ibotta.

Is Ibotta Worth The Download?

It’s free money, so I say heck yeah. Ibotta won’t make you rich, but it’s an easy way to put a little bit of money back into your wallet when you shop. It’s an especially good app to have if you’re someone that likes to shop brand names (though they do have offerings on generic items) or if you frequent any major retailers and restaurants (whether in person or online).

Overall, it’s definitely worth the download. Why pass up an opportunity to save?

Also, here’s a huge plus: Ibotta offers a welcome bonus of up to $20. That really is too good to pass up.