Ibotta Review: How the Grocery Cash Back App Works

By Joseph Nyambura                
Last updated on January 26, 2021  
ibotta review

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Can you guess how many money-saving apps are there in iOS and Google Play Store? If I can take a wild guess, it’s probably more than you’ve ever imagined exploring. 

From apps that help you plan your budget to those that guide you to set investment and money saving goals, these applications stores have just the right technology that you need to make some financial decisions. And they’re all available with just a tap of your smartphone’s screen. 

While we’re used to the likes of Acorns and Digit for what they’re worth, there’s another breed of apps that claims to save you money with as little of your effort as possible. I’m referring to cashback apps supposedly built to save you money on shopping. 

Ibotta is one of the most interesting technologies in the cashback space. This cashback app claims to earn you cashback on every online purchase, from apparel and travel to grocery and online shopping, so you can save money for future purchases. 

But just how reliable is the Ibotta? Does it earn you the cashback on every purchase as it claims or is the business far from walking the talk? 

Everything You Need to Know About Ibotta 

In this review, I’ll tell you everything you should know before getting started with Ibotta. In particular, I’ll tell you how it works and highlight its pros and cons. 

In the end, it’ll be up to you to decide if it’s an app worth trying or otherwise. 

Let me be clear upfront: 

I’ve tested around a dozen cash back apps to determine whether they’re even worth putting up reviews for. So when writing about Ibotta in the following section, you can feel confident that you’re reading the review of a real Ibotta user. 

So let’s get started. 

What is Ibotta? 

Established in 2012 by Brian Leach, Ibotta is an American mobile technology company built to enable you earn cashback on in-store and online purchases. Like Drop and Rakuten, the Ibotta app features a modern design that’s not only easy to use but also enhances interactivity. 

The app has more than 10+ million installs on Android alone, which means the company has a bigger audience on its platform already. It’s free to join and you don’t need a monthly subscription to use it. 

One thing that makes Ibotta stand out is its collaboration with thousands of big brands and retailers. For what it’s worth, the business can therefore earn you cashback from many popular stores, provided you shop through their app. 

What I personally love about this company is their cashback earning opportunity isn’t, for any reason whatsoever, limited to selective purchases. You can earn some cashback even from regular purchases of items such as pet food and snacks. 

How to Earn Cashback with Ibotta 

Before I explain how you can use Ibotta to your advantage, I want to make it very clear that you aren’t going to earn a lot of money per month, even if you’re a regular shopper. However, the amount of money you earn back won’t be that bad at all. 

After all, every dollar you save with Ibotta can make a big difference in the future. At least you can use the money to do future shopping, especially when you don’t have a lot of money on you. 

Earn Cashback from In-store Shopping 

To get started, sign up for loyalty store programs. You can do so by making payments with the Ibotta app or by adding offer and submitting your receipt to the platform. 

Ibotta has a collaboration with more than a hundred different store that gives you access to loyalty cashback. Even if your favorite, or frequently used, local grocery store isn’t on the list, you can always choose to sign up with one if you want to earn some cashback with Ibotta through the loyalty store program. 

Earn Cashback from Online Shopping 

Ibotta even has the option to earn you cashback when you shop online, and the process is quite simple and straightforward. All you have to do is to shop via the app, and the Ibotta will credit some cashback back to your account. 

Earn Cashback by Referring Friends to Ibotta 

Another interesting opportunity through which you can make money with Ibotta is through their referral program. To be clear, you don’t have to own a blog or be a search engine analyst to succeed with this. 

In my opinion, I do think that all you need is a mobile phone, your friends’ contact, and/or a social media account with a reasonably decent following. Ibotta will give you a referral link that you can share on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter. 

When your referral(s) click the link, sign up for an Ibotta account, and start using the platform, you earn $5. Unlike Drop, which only allows you to refer 10 people and thereafter kills the power of your referral link, Ibotta lets you refer as many people to the platform as you like. 

Earn Cashback from Bonuses 

Ibotta doesn’t offer you bonuses all the time, but you can take advantage of such offers when they come and continue to accumulate additional money in your account. You’ll love this option because the business sends out new bonuses regularly, and you can earn a maximum of $2 from the offer. 

There’s also an earning opportunity known as the bonus streaks. You’ll earn this only if you buy the same product, or from the same brand, for a number of times. 

How to Get Started with Ibotta

For me, Ibotta was such an easy platform to join, and it should be for you, too. It takes about three minutes to setup an account and then you’re good to go thereafter. 

First, download the Ibotta app for iPhone or Android. Next, sign up for an account the same way you did when creating a Gmail account. Or you can use your Facebook account for registration. 

Even if you choose to sign up with Google or Facebook, you’ll still have to complete your Ibotta profile before you can start using the app. 

As soon as your account is ready, simply open the app and browse for offers. Ibotta even gives you the option to unlock rebates for things you’d like to purchase. 

While still within the app, do your shopping at your favorite store the same way you normally would. Once you get your receipt, upload it to this platform and earn some cashback.  

If you’re keen and even curious, you must have already noticed that this platform lets you earn some cashback from more than just the grocery store. To me, the diversity is outstanding, as it allows someone to earn some money on every purchase he or she makes online or in-store. 

How Much Can I Save With Ibotta? 

It depends on how frequent you shop and what you buy. It’s different for everyone and as such the question doesn’t have a definite answer. 

For example, I’m able to save up to $480 year with them, and that makes perfect sense because I’m not a frequent Ibotta app user. 

It’s going to be a different case for you, though. Your figures can be lower or higher than mine give or take. But the bottom line is that you’ll earn some cashback. 

You’ll love the user experience, though. Because being able to save some bucks on the money you spend shopping can go a long way to ensure you spend less in the future and still get good or service of a higher value. 

How Does Ibotta Pay Its Members?

If you’ve used Drop, you’ll notice that their aim is to get you to continue spending with them. So instead of paying you money to your PayPal or direct deposit account, they only allow you to redeem your points as retail gift cards. 

It’s a different case with Ibotta because they actually pay you the money accumulated in your account as cashback. You can have your money sent to your Venmo or PayPal account.

Note that there’s a minimum threshold to hit before you can be able to withdraw. Your Ibotta must have a minimum of $20 before you can request for the money to be released to your account. 

Is Ibotta Legit? 

When it comes to time and money, I tend to question everything. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

In my opinion, it’s just hard to use a moneymaking app or service until one is sure that they’re going to get the value from it. The Ibotta is not an exception.  

You’ll love Ibotta because it’s 100% legitimate. To say the least, it’s a business that promises to save you some cashback on shopping money and rightly so delivers on that promise.  

Think of it like this: 

This mobile technology company has a business partnership with more than 1500 brands and retail stores. Every time you shop online or in-store through the app, Ibotta makes money.  

You’ll get a small portion of the money that the business earns as cashback to your account. According to the accounting team, Ibotta has paid more $680 million dollars in cash to its members since 2012. 

When it comes to legitimacy of a business, you also have to question whether they collect your personal data and how they use it. Before you consider using Ibotta, please keep in mind that they’ll collect data and use it mostly for market research. 

While using your personal information for market research, and to give you a more personalized shopping experience, isn’t a bad thing at all, some people may not be comfortable with the idea. So if you don’t like your personal information being used this way, I recommend that you don’t use the app at all. 

and to give you a more personalized shopping experience isn’t a bad idea at all, 

It’s always hard for me to try an app or service until after asking myself this question and finding an accurate answer. When it comes to time and money, I tend to question everything, and I know I’m not the only one. 

The Pros of the Ibotta App 

1) Ibotta Pays You Real Money 

If you’re looking for an app that pays real money instead of forcing you to redeem your points or cash into retail gift cards, go with Ibotta. Even better, you can request a payment as soon as you have a minimum of $20 in your account. 

2) Ibotta has Rebates for a Variety of Items 

From healthy foods and household items to store brand and generic rebates, Ibotta spoils you for options to save and earn back as much money as you possibly can every year. Provided you take advantage of these rebates, you can easily save even on things that you can’t easily find coupons for. 

3) The Ibotta App is Easy to Use 

Perhaps unlike you, I’m not a tech fanatic. I like to interact with things that are easy to use and technical details don’t psych me up at all. 

I swear if Ibotta were hard to use, I wouldn’t even bother to search for a manual on the web. I’d drop it like a stone. 

But this one is well made, and I can tell you from experience that you’ll love it from the start. And if you’re the one person that shop regularly, you find yourself using this app more frequently than you’d ever intended. 

The Cons of the Ibotta App 

1) Customer Service Needs an Upgrade 

While Ibotta knocks most of the things out of the pack, so many people complain that the customer service somewhat sucks. I think this is an area the business should work on if Ibotta want to become something bigger that it is right now. 


As you can see, Ibotta is one of the legit apps that you can download and start using right now to earn some cashback to your PayPal account. So get the app, start shopping, and save money while doing so.  

About the author

Joseph Nyambura

I started this website to help bloggers by sharing everything I’ve learned in the past decade working as a professional digital marketer, web designer & developer. I help passionate bloggers like YOU start and supercharge their own glossy blogging journey and enjoy the flexibility to work from home. I will help you master content creation, making money, and build an audience blogging online.

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