If you do the grocery shopping for your family, you may have noticed that the USDA’s report about increasing food costs is accurate. These rising costs could be a stress to your budget.
Thankfully, money-saving apps can help. To lower your out-of-pocket costs for food and other items, Ibotta is worth checking out. You can even earn up to $20 for trying the app!
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a free app for grocery coupons. It is available for iOS and Android devices. There is also a browser extension for online shopping.
While you pay for the items you need upfront, Ibotta and the best apps like it let you earn rebates on certain products. You can redeem the shopping rewards for cash and gift cards.
According to Ibotta, the average user saves $150 per year. Shoppers who buy name brand groceries will earn the most shopping rewards.
You can use the Ibotta app to earn cash back on various things, such as:
- Online retail stores
To earn cash rewards, you activate offers for qualifying grocery and household items. You then scan your store receipt and the app matches your purchases with the eligible items.
When paying for your order, you can scan your grocery store loyalty card to enjoy extra savings. Some grocery store brands link their loyalty account to the Ibotta app. Paper coupons work for upfront discounts as well.
Ibotta offers are also accepted at “discount stores” that don’t have loyalty programs, such as Walmart and Target.
So how does Ibotta work? Is it worth it? This Ibotta review will share the information you need to know.
How Does the App Work?
Earning rewards is easy because the shopping app works at over 300 stores. Here is a step-by-step guide for using the Ibotta app when shopping in-person and online.
Step 1: Browse For Offers When Shopping In-Person
Ibotta provides offers on a wide variety of items for different brands. If you are getting ready to go shopping, it’s best to hop on the app and see if anything you’re looking for has a rebate offer.
You may already do this with a different shopping or coupon app. It’s also possible to scan product barcodes in-store and let Ibotta search for offers.
The app pulls up offers for your current area. Sometimes they even share the stores where you can purchase the item.
For example, if I have honey and cat food on my shopping list, I can go to Sam’s Club and earn $6.50 cash back when I purchase the two items shown below.
Rebates aren’t only available for name-brand or more expensive products. They are also offered for store and generic brands.
Once you see a rebate you like, click on the offer to unlock it. This usually requires you to watch a 15-second video ad.
Step 2: Go Shopping
After you unlock your offers, it’s time to go shopping. If you’re in the store and see more offers on the app for products you can use, simply add them to your account.
Purchase your items as usual and save your receipt. You’ll need a receipt to claim your earnings.
Some stores let you link your loyalty card to Ibotta. In this situation, have the cashier scan the Ibotta barcode to track the purchase. You will get any instant store discounts (like BOGO sales) that the grocery store offers.
*Related: Looking to try grocery delivery services? Check out our guide on the best online grocery delivery services to save you time and money.*
It’s possible to “stack” coupons and buy multiple items to enjoy extra savings. Each offer lists the redemption details to calculate your savings potential.
Step 3: Redeem and Earn
After you check out, it’s time to redeem your offers and claim your cash back.
Like other cashback shopping apps, you must upload your receipt using your smartphone. Next, Ibotta matches the offers you activated with your purchases.
Ibotta may have you scan barcodes of some items to verify you bought qualifying items.
Within 48 hours, the coupon app deposits cash back into your account. Once your rewards balance reaches $20, you can redeem your balance for PayPal cash and gift cards.
If you use the Google App store, you can also get free Google Play credits to buy apps, books, games, and more at no cost.
Shopping Online and Saving
Ibotta is also one of the best apps to get paid to shop online. They provide a list of mobile shopping retailers they work with on their website.
You can find online offers for these categories:
- Food delivery
- Grocery pickup
- Home improvement
- Pet supplies
Instead of going directly to the store website, you pay with Ibotta. You can activate a shopping session using the mobile app or laptop browser extension.
For example, if you’re booking a hotel online and you notice Ibotta offers four percent cash back for using Hotels.com, open the offer and tap “Shop.” Then, Ibotta redirects you to the site and tracks your purchase total.
The cash rewards that you earn shopping online and in-store pool together and toward the $20 cashout minimum.
Where Can You Use the Ibotta App?
The Ibotta app is one of the best apps that help you save money on groceries. You can even use it at over 300 retailers for in-store purchases and at over 750 online retailers.
Some of the other supported retailers include:
- Dollar General
- Sam’s Club
Being able to shop at most online stores gives you many opportunities to get money from Ibotta.
It’s also possible to use the app to increase savings when you find cheap oil change prices and other auto accessories for your car. You can find in-store savings for oil change supplies and wiper blades.
Or, you can order these items online from stores like Advance Auto Parts to save money on your online purchase.
Sign Up Bonus
New Ibotta users can earn a one-time signup bonus worth up to $20. That’s enough to redeem a reward for cash and gift cards.
The bonus offer details can change. In general, you can expect to earn the bonus after scanning a store receipt with a qualifying name brand offer.
You can use this link to join Ibotta and automatically qualify for the best sign up bonus.
Is Ibotta Legitimate?
Yes, Ibotta is legitimate. It can help you save money when buying name brand groceries or shopping online.
The mobile app has a 4.4/5 rating in the Google Play Store and a 4.8/5 rating in the Apple App Store.
There are also many online testimonials proving that Ibotta gives you cash back for purchases.
What is the Catch with Ibotta?
As with all cashback apps, it’s important to ask how Ibotta makes money. After all, the app is free to use.
It can monitor your shopping habits to recommend personalized offers for extra savings. You get to save money and Ibotta makes money from the brands that advertise offers.
The good news is that the service doesn’t sell your sensitive information to third parties. This privacy risk is typical for most cashback shopping apps.
Does Ibotta Really Give You Money?
Yes. Ibotta lets you redeem your cash back for these rewards:
- Bank deposits
- Digital gift cards
You will need to redeem your rewards using the Ibotta mobile app. The web platform is for online shopping only and lets you earn cash rewards.
However, you must buy participating brands and shop at select online stores to earn rewards. There are offers to get cash back when buying store brands and generics.
It’s important to note that the earnings potential is less with generic products. For instance, you might get $2 back for buying brand name vitamins like Nature Made. But, you may only get $0.10 back for buying another brand.
One potential downside is the $20 minimum payment threshold. It can be easy to reach this minimum if you redeem many in-store offers or shop at online store regularly.
If you are looking for a different savings app like Ibotta, you might be able to find one with a lower cashout minimum.
Pros and Cons
Ibotta makes it easy to scan grocery receipts for money. Here are the upsides and downsides of shopping with the app.
- Earn cash rewards on grocery, in-store, and online purchases
- Cash and gift card rewards
- High signup bonus
- Must buy participating items
- May have to watch ads after activating offers
- Generic “any item” brand offers have low cash rewards
- $20 minimum to withdraw earnings
Ibotta isn’t the only app that pays you cash back for scanning receipts. These alternatives may be a better fit for your shopping habits.
- Fetch Rewards: Fetch doesn’t require you to activate offers. Buying name brands earns bonus points. You can scan grocery, retail and online receipts for rewards. Gift card redemptions start at $5. *Now through December 31, Frugal Rules readers who join Fetch Rewards can get an automatic user reward bump from 2,000 points to 3,000 points with no additional promo code!
- Capital One Shopping: This mobile app and browser extension finds the lowest available online prices for items you want. You can earn loyalty credits after making certain purchases that you can use towards gift cards at participating retailers. *Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links provided*
- MyPoints: You can earn rewards points by shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, and playing games. Gift card redemptions start at $3. PayPal rewards require $10.
These apps are free to use and can help you save money. All you have to do is buy participating items and upload your receipts. You may also be able to earn rewards by shopping online and using participating grocery delivery apps.
Ease of Use
Selection of Stores
Ibotta is a terrific way to earn rebates on your shopping and avoid clipping coupons. You won’t earn a lot, but it’s an easy way to stretch your shopping budget.
✔️ Easy redemption process
✔️ $20 bonus
✔️ Free to use
✔️ Can redeem for cash or gift cards
✔️ Can use in store or online
❌ Lower earnings on generic items
❌ Must purchase participating items to get rebates
Ibotta is worth trying if you do any type of couponing or deal shopping. It’s free, does most of the work for you, and gives you cash back for your purchases. Don’t forget that they offer up to $20 for signing up.
However, you may find another app more useful if you forget to activate offers or don’t buy enough participating items. Thankfully, there are many ways to save money on groceries.
How do you save money on groceries and other shopping needs? How much do you budget for groceries each month?