Reviews

Ibotta Review 2022: Is It Legit? How Much Do You Really Earn?

Ibotta Review
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This Ibotta review will cover:

  • How Ibotta works.
  • How much you can expect to earn.
  • How to maximize your Ibotta earnings.
  • Apps like Ibotta (and how to combine them for deep discounts).
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Ibotta is one of the best cash-back apps, allowing you to easily save money on both in-store and pickup/delivery grocery purchases (as well as online shopping and dining out). For food items, cash-back rates range from 25 cents to $1. For non-food items — such as laundry detergent, household cleaners and supplements — you can typically earn $1 to $3 per qualifying purchase. This makes it realistic for a two-person household to earn $5 to $10 per week, and a family of four between $10 to $20 a month, with very little effort.

Pros:
  • Works at over 300 grocery store chains, including Kroger, Trader Joe's, Walmart and others.
  • Many offers for everyday items like bread and milk that can be used on any brand/at any store.
  • The cash-out minimum of $20 is easy to hit ⁠— especially with the welcome bonuses that are available for new users.
Cons:
  • A few top grocery stores are not yet supported.
  • Getting the most out of Ibotta takes a little bit of commitment. You'll need to remember to review offers before you head to the store, and then take the time to upload your receipt when you get home.

How Does Ibotta Work?

Ibotta is a free cash-back app that helps you save money on both in-store and online purchases. 

Ibotta In-Store Purchases

The vast majority of Ibotta’s in-store shopping partners are in the grocery category, which makes using the app very similar to using digital coupons. The main difference is that instead of getting your discount at the register, you get a cash-back rebate within the Ibotta app.

Participating stores include most national grocery chains, such as Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Whole Foods and Wegmans (to name a few), as well as major big-box stores like Walmart and Target, and warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s.

Here’s the process for redeeming an Ibotta offer:

  • Step #1: Download the app and create an account.
  • Step #2: Select the store you’re going to shop at. 
  • Step #3: Add the specific items you plan to purchase within the Ibotta app. Usually, there will be a 15 to 30-second video ad for the particular product.
  • Step #4: Scan the barcode of the item via the app. You can do this at the store or, as is my personal preference, at home. 
  • Step #5: Make sure to keep your register receipt, because you’ll need to upload a picture of it. Alternatively, you can link a store’s loyalty card to your Ibotta account, which will save you a step in scanning your receipt.
  • Step #6: Take a picture of the receipt and upload it.
  • Step #7: Rewards are typically posted to your account within 24 hours. 
  • Step #8: Once you’ve accumulated at least $20 in your account, you can withdraw your reward balance to PayPal, transfer it to a bank account, or exchange it for a gift card.

Earning on Ibotta with Grocery Pickup & Delivery

Ibotta allows you to earn cash rewards in a variety of ways when ordering groceries online. The method changes based on the specific store and whether you’re using pickup or delivery. 

Let’s start with Walmart. Here, the process works similar to shopping in-store: just add the items inside of the Ibotta app, and then when they’re in your possession, scan both the barcodes and receipts of those items. 

When ordering groceries online, you can use the Ibotta browser extension to make the rebate process simple. Instead of going directly to Walmart’s site (or the site of your grocer of choice), go to Ibotta.com. Once there, you can browse the offers available at a specific store and add them to your shopping list. After you’ve selected the offers you want to take advantage of, visit the grocer; the items in your list will appear in the browser extension, making it easy to add them to your cart.

See how it works when shopping at Walmart in the video below:

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to use this feature to still benefit from having the Ibotta extension installed — especially if you frequently shop at Walmart. As shown the in screenshot below, the extension will notify you when items on a retailer’s website have cash-back offers available. Unfortunately, this only works with selected partners, not all stores.

When the Ibotta browser extension is activated, you can see which items offer cash back when you're ordering groceries through Walmart's website.
When the Ibotta browser extension is activated, you can see which items offer cash-back when you’re ordering groceries through Walmart’s website.

For major retailers that offer loyalty programs (such as Target and Walmart), you also have the opportunity to link your store loyalty account to your Ibotta account. While you still have to add the items inside the Ibotta app prior to shopping, this allows you to skip the step of scanning barcodes and receipts.

Unfortunately, the only standalone delivery service Ibotta currently supports is Shipt.

A while back, Ibotta treated Shipt and Instacart the same as any other online retailer, in that you’d get a set cash-back rate on your orders (e.g., 2%). That’s no longer the case, as you now have to add offers to your cart within the Ibotta app or via the browser extension (the same as if you were shopping in-store) to get cash-back with Shipt.

As for Instacart, the shoppers who pick up your food are required to keep the receipts. As such, there’s no way to earn money when getting groceries delivered to your door through Instacart.

Ibotta Online Shopping

While Ibotta is primarily known as a receipt scanning app, you can also earn cash-back from your online purchases. This works similar to apps like Swagbucks, in that you get a small percentage back by starting your shopping within the Ibotta app, clicking over to the merchant’s website, and making a purchase. 

If you do most of your shopping on a desktop browser, an alternative option is downloading Ibotta’s Google Chrome Extension and linking your account. Then you’ll see a popup any time you’re on a retailer’s website that offers cash-back.

Ibotta browser extension example
Just click the “Activate” button to earn cash-back.

Currently, Ibotta has 276 online shopping partners within the app, including retailers like Nike and Best Buy. 

Scanning the available cash-back rates with these partners, I found the rates similar or slightly below leading platforms like Rakuten and TopCashback. 

Bear in mind, this is just a snapshot of what is offered at a particular moment in time. Cash-back rates change regularly. 

MerchantIbottaTopCashbackRakuten
Total Partners275+4,000+3,500+
Rates
— Best Buy.5%6%4.5%
— Expedia3%6%3.5%
— Gap2%4%4%
— Home Depot5%8%0%
— Nike7%8%8%
— Petco1%2%1%
— Sephora5.5%5.5%2%

See how to get the most up-to-date cash-back rates in our Cashback Monitor review.

How Much Can You Expect to Earn?

How much you can earn with Ibotta depends on how much you shop, how consistently you use the app, and the types of offers you take advantage of.

For example, sometimes there are offers that bulk up your earnings, like the 3% cash-back at Expedia.com shown in the table above; people who use that offer to book a vacation or a bunch of work trips will make a lot more off of Ibotta than someone who just clips a few yogurt coupons.

Similarly, if you have several kids in your household, you’re going to earn a lot more cash-back from groceries than someone who is just buying for one person.

Overall, most people can earn at least a few dollars per week by shopping for basic groceries. With some planning and buying some new products, it’s very feasible to reach a $20 threshold each month with Ibotta. 

How to Maximize Your Ibotta Earnings

Tip #1: Ibotta Preferred Partners

Ibotta has a Preferred Partners program that includes retailers who are affiliated directly with the company.

This program allows you to link loyalty cards to the Ibotta coupon app, so you get great returns for little effort. This can earn you money without taking pictures of receipts — although you still have to add offers to your cart before shopping. 

Tip #2: Test it Out Right Now

Once you’ve signed up, you can start earning money right away, retroactively. You can use a receipt that’s up to seven days old.

So if you went on a shopping trip two days ago, you can still get cash-back for any qualifying purchases, assuming you still have access to the product barcode. You don’t have to wait until the next time you shop.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of Limited-Time Bonuses

Ibotta has some great limited-time offers, which you can find under the “Bonus” tab. By knowing what’s out there, you can score big deals and maximize your cash-back earnings.

Under the Bonus tab, find limited-time opportunities to increase your earnings.
Under the “Bonus” tab, find limited-time opportunities to increase your earnings.

Your savings can go way beyond just digital coupons. Some of the best deals are the ones you’ll get for trying out new products and services.

It’s now expired, but I once took advantage of an excellent deal from Blue Apron: for signing up for a Blue Apron food subscription, Ibotta offered $52 cash-back. That’s the kind of savings you can land by going outside of your comfort zone and experimenting with different products or services.

Tip #4: Bonuses Can be Used Multiple Times on Different Receipts

Most digital coupons on Ibotta can be scanned multiple times, which opens up a whole new level of savings. You can reuse these offers until they disappear.

Load up on an item if it’s a great deal and you know you’ll use it. Things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies and tissues are good items to stockpile.

Tip #5: Stack With Physical Coupons

You can stack Ibotta offer with any physical coupons the store you’re shopping at will accept.

Two other websites, MyPoints and Swagbucks, even pay you to use coupons; printing them and using them will earn you points, which you can redeem for free gift cards.

Tip #6: Stack “Any Brand” Offers

“Any brand” offers allow you to earn cash-back on an item category in general rather than on a specific brand. For example, stack an “any brand of nutrition bar” offer with a brand-specific nutrition bar offer.

Related: The best money making apps for iOS and Android.

Ibotta vs. Fetch

We cover alternatives to Ibotta in our article on apps like Ibotta

When it comes specifically to receipt scanning apps, Fetch Rewards is often regarded as Ibotta’s most significant competitor. 

For a complete analysis, see our in-depth Fetch Rewards review

What’s important to know up-front is that while Fetch is a competing app, you can use Ibotta and Fetch together to stack coupons.

What’s to like about Fetch Reward is that:

  • There’s no adding offers and watching advertisements; you’re rewarded for uploading any receipt, as well as for buying particular brands and products. 
  • You can shop at any store with Fetch, while Ibotta’s offers are only available at certain retailers.
  • Fetch points are earned instantly upon uploading a receipt. 
  • Fetch has a low $3 minimum cash-out.

While these advantages are nice, we found Fetch’s earning potential to be significantly less than Ibotta’s — primarily because of a low average pay per receipt 

IbottaFetch Rewards
Minimum withdrawal:$20$3
Withdrawal options:Bank account, PayPal and gift cards.Gift cards only.
iOS ratings:4.8 from ‎1,404,380 reviews4.8 from 1,955,426 reviews
Google Play ratings:4.5 from ‎583,367 reviews4.6 from 373,174 reviews
In-store shopping?Primarily at grocery stores.Any store receipts work.
Online shopping?Get cash-back when using the Ibotta browser extension or starting your search within the app.Works by connecting to your email account and scanning receipts right in your inbox.

Ibotta FAQ

Is Ibotta trustworthy?

Ibotta is a legitimate company that’s using a decades-old business model (couponing), and figuring out a way to make it easier with a smartphone. They’re headquartered in Denver, CO and carry a team of over 650 employees. Its valuation is estimated at over $1 billion

Is the Ibotta $20 welcome bonus still available?

No. This was discontinued in 2021. The welcome bonus now varies. Find the welcome bonus that’s available to you under the “Bonuses” tab (as shown below). Most often, it’s somewhere around $5 after completing your first offer within seven days of registration. 

How does Ibotta make money?

Ibotta makes money by referring customers to a store, by promoting certain products, and by collecting valuable market research data. Primarily, however, Ibotta gets paid a referral commission whenever something is bought through the app (or when a promoted item is added within the app and then purchased).

Does Ibotta have a browser extension?

Yes. The Ibotta browser extension is a free tool that will alert you whenever cash-back is available at a merchant whose website you’re visiting. You can learn more about how it works here.

What happens if you don’t get the cash-back you were promised?

Ibotta’s system is very good at reading your receipts, checking your linked loyalty card accounts and tracking the purchases you make through the portal. However, there are rare instances in which you don’t get credited as expected. If this happens, you can contact the Ibotta team to ask for an adjustment.

Can you earn money by referring other people to Ibotta?

Yes. Upon signing up for your own account, you’ll have access to a unique Ibotta referral code. This code is part of a referral link that you can share with your friends and family (or on a blog, YouTube channel, etc.). You’ll earn a referral bonus of $1 per user who signs up and redeems an offer.

What are Ibotta hidden bonuses?

From time to time, Ibotta offers its users special bonus promotions that aren’t widely advertised. To claim Ibotta hidden bonuses, you’ll typically have to solve a simple riddle, hunt for a bonus within the Ibotta app, and then redeem the offer at a given retailer. You can learn more about how it works (and how to find them) on Ibotta’s blog.

Can you use Ibotta with Instacart?

No. If you’re ordering groceries from Instacart, you’re unable to earn on Ibotta as the shopper keeps the receipt. If you’re an Instacart shopper, a common strategy among shoppers is to use Ibotta throughout the day, which can add up to hundreds of dollars in rewards throughout the month. 

Can you lose your money on Ibotta?

If your account is inactive for six months, Ibotta will mark it as inactive. At this point, a $3.99 per month service fee will be deducted from your Ibotta account until the balance reaches zero. Otherwise, Ibotta is free; if your account is active, your balance won’t expire and you won’t be charged.

Does Ibotta really give you money?

Yes. As a user since 2017, I can testify to having cashed out thousands of dollars in rewards over that time (the bulk of that being money earned via referrals from this website). Nonetheless, the cash has always been paid without any issues.

Our Ibotta Earnings

Is it safe to put your bank account on Ibotta?

You can sync your bank to Ibotta through Plaid. This allows you to withdraw earnings directly to your checking or savings account instead of using PayPal.

Plaid is very well regarded in the financial services industry, and is considered secure. The platform uses both Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect your information.

Neither Plaid or Ibotta sell any information related to your personal bank account. 

Does Ibotta steal your information?

Ibotta never sells (let alone steals) personally identifiable information. This includes your name, email address and phone number.

Ibotta does sell personally non-identifiable information to third parties for market research, as well as for personalization of the app.

If you’d like to opt out of sharing any data, follow these steps:

1. In the “My Account” tab, select “Settings.”

2. Click on “Preferences.”

3. Under the “Privacy” section, scroll down to “Do not sell my personal information” as shown in the photo below.

Ibotta Privacy Settings

Ibotta Review: Final Verdict

Ibotta is essentially a rebate app, allowing you to earn cash-back on your everyday grocery purchases.

It’s one I’ve personally used quite a bit to earn extra money throughout the years. And with the expansion of its online cash-back offers, it’s also becoming a best-in-class shopping app that can score you serious savings.

Signing up is quick and the app is easy to use. There can be a little bit of a learning curve, though. It’s the type of thing that gets easier once you get into the habit of using it.

My preferred way is to simply check the offers before shopping, add them to my cart, and upon returning home, scan the barcodes and receipt. 

Join Ibotta today and start locking in your savings. 

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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