The Bottom Line: The free app and browser extension Ibotta helps you save money, in-store and online, at over 300 U.S. retailers through bonuses and discounts. Save more at your favorite retailers every time you shop.
The crazed coupon clipping of the nineties is gone.
Because there’s an app for that.
Discount-maximizing apps have been popping up like crazy over the past few years, and Ibotta is one of the big players on the field.
This is a review of the cash-back app Ibotta: what it is, and whether or not it’s worth your time.
Service: Earn cash back on online and in-store purchases
Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a free app and browser extension that earns you cash back on your online and in-store purchases.
Since being founded in 2012 by Bryan Leach, the Denver-based company claims to have earned over $600 million dollars in savings for its users.
Ibotta is partnered with over 300 US retailers.
How does it work?
There are tons of ways to earn some extra money through Ibotta.
Before heading to Walmart, Target, Aldi, or the grocery store, for example, do some planning.
First, search for the store within the app. Next, browse and download all the coupons that you wish to use.
A word to the wise: this is not an app for frivolous spenders. It’s one for responsible planners looking to save a few dollars here and there.
Don’t start buying things you normally wouldn’t just for the sake of “saving” a buck.
When you’re in the store, make sure to use Ibotta’s scanning feature to ensure you’re selecting the right items.
The thing that’s different between this app and physical coupons (besides convenience) is when you earn the money back.
You’ll pay the full amount at checkout. Then when you get home, you have to scan all the couponed items’ barcodes, as well as your receipt using the app.
Only then will you receive the savings.
That is, once you reach the $20.00 minimum withdrawal amount. So you’ll have to go through this process a few times before earning anything.
Money is transferred to you through either Paypal, Venmo, or gift cards.
It’s a little time-consuming, yes. But it will earn you money that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Loyalty Reward Programs
You know how when you’re checking out at a store, the cashier will ask you,
“Are you part of our Loyalty Rewards Program?”
“Would you like to sign up today?”
“No thank you.”
I find myself doing this every time, even when I know I shop at a location frequently enough that I could benefit from a loyalty card.
But who wants to stand there at the register to fill out a form, or carry yet another card in their wallet?
Ibotta allows you to do this straight from the app, so you can sign up for loyalty reward programs from the comfort of your home.
Then you present the app to a cashier at checkout, just as you would a card.
Pay with Ibotta
One more way you can save with Ibotta in-store is through the Pay with Ibotta feature.
It’s a way of streamlining that slightly tedious cash-back process I just walked you through, and works at about 50 of Ibotta’s partners, including Chipotle, Chili’s, Old Navy, and Home Depot.
Simply link your debit or credit card to your Ibotta account, pay with your phone, and receive savings instantaneously.
Online retailers, travel sites, pizza places, oh my!
Using either your phone or computer, you can earn up to 10% savings on your online purchases.
To this reviewer, Ibotta is making the biggest impact with in-store savings.
Competitor app Ebates, now Rakuten, offers slightly better savings with online shopping.
But the smartest thing to do is use both!
Finally, Ibotta offers additional bonuses:
- Stackable Bonus: Redeem multiple bonuses/discounts within a certain time frame to maximize savings
- Referral Bonus: Get rewarded for on-boarding friends and family
- Teamwork Bonus: Use the app together with a group of friends to earn even more rewards
- Welcome Bonus: Get rewarded for signing up!
Earn cash back on everyday purchases!
Is Ibotta legit?
In terms of security and follow through, yes, Ibotta is totally legit.
However, it seems like there’s a lack in customer service.
Looking at their BBB profile, many have made complaints about payments coming through, and Ibotta has a B rating.
I still think this app is worth using, as it's completely free. The only thing you’d potentially lose is time.
Hopefully they can work on improving their customer service for the future.
What’s in it for them?
There’s a reason the app is free, and I think it’s important that the user know why for transparency and to also feel safe using it.
The app is also full of advertisements and surveys, which you often must watch or complete before accessing a coupon.
Not a big issue, but if you’re someone who hates ads, it may be a dealbreaker.
Pros & Cons
The free app and browser extension Ibotta helps you save money, in-store and online, at over 300 U.S. retailers through bonuses and discounts. Save more at your favorite retailers every time you shop.
Should I use Ibotta?
I don’t usually say this in a review, but yes.
It’s free, legit, and can save you money at essentially any chain store in the US.
A little time will go a long way using this app, and the savings add up fast!