While couponing is a great way to save money on groceries, it can be time-consuming. Opting for a money-saving app like Ibotta can help you quickly find discounts that will reduce your spending at the grocery store.
This shopping rewards app can help you save on in-store grocery purchases, grocery pickup and delivery, and online retail purchases. Our Ibotta review can help you decide if the app is worth using.
Table of Contents
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a free app that you can use at stores to get rebates on purchases. It is available for iOS and Android devices. There is also a browser extension for online shopping.
You pay for the items you need upfront, and Ibotta lets you earn discounts on certain products at major retailers. Shopping rewards can be redeemed for cash and gift cards.
According to Ibotta, the average user saves $150 per year. Shoppers who buy name-brand groceries will receive the most lucrative shopping rewards.
This may not be a lot of cash, but using the app is a terrific way to get free money instantly for something you’re already doing.
You can use the Ibotta app to earn cash back on various things, such as:
- Online retail stores
- Baby formula
To get 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 manufacturer coupons work for upfront discounts as well.
Ibotta offers are also accepted at stores that don’t have loyalty programs, such as Walmart and Target.
If you want to save money on gas, the Upside app is a fantastic alternative. It works just like Ibotta, but allows you to earn a rebate of up to $0.25 per gallon of gas at participating stations.
You can use the code FRUGALRULES25 to qualify after downloading the app.
Read our Upside app review to learn more.
How to Sign Up for Ibotta
First, you download the Android or Apple mobile app from Ibotta. It’s free to join.
After installing the app, you create your account by providing your email address and entering a password.
It’s also possible to make an Ibotta account online via your computer’s web browser. You will be able to shop online and cash out, but you won’t be able to redeem in-store grocery offers.
How Does the App Work?
Earning rewards is easy because the shopping app works at over 350 stores. Here is a step-by-step guide to save money at the store and online.
Step 1: Browse for Offers When Shopping In-Person
Ibotta provides offers for a wide variety of items from different brands.
Following these steps lets you activate in-store grocery offers:
- Open the Ibotta mobile app
- Search for offers by store or product
- Tap the “plus” sign to activate the offer before paying
- Redeem the offers by purchasing eligible products
Several offers are store-specific, so you may need to compare multiple stores to find the best sales.
You might already do this with a different shopping or coupon app. However, it’s likely that Ibotta provides more in-store shopping offers than similar apps.
In addition to scrolling through the current offers, you can scan product barcodes in-store. Then, the app searches for discounts for that particular brand or similar items.
This rebate app pulls up offers for your current area when you log in. Sometimes, it even shares the stores where you can purchase the item.
If you’re flexible about where you shop, you can search by product type. The app will then display the best offers by store.
For example, if I have honey and cat food on my shopping list, I can go to Sam’s Club and earn $6.50 cashback when I purchase the two items shown below.
Rebates are mostly for name-brand or more expensive products. You can also find savings for generic products, although the potential savings may only be up to $0.50 instead of $1 to $5.
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.
Next, purchase your items as usual and save your receipt. You’ll need proof of purchase 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 is offering to all shoppers.
*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. For instance, the app may mention that you can redeem the offer up to five times.
Each offer lists the redemption details so that you can calculate your savings potential.
Step 3: Redeem and Earn
After you check out, it’s time to redeem your offers and claim your earnings.
Like other cash back shopping apps, you start by uploading your receipts using your smartphone. Next, Ibotta matches the offers you activated with your purchases.
Ibotta may have you scan the barcodes of certain items to verify you bought eligible products.
Within 48 hours, the coupon app deposits cash into your account. After 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.
Read our guide on additional ways to earn free Google Play codes to use for in-app purchases.
Shopping Online and Saving
Ibotta is also one of the best apps to get paid to shop online. They provide a list of over 2,000 participating retailers they work with on their website. Chances are high that your favorite retailer is on Ibotta’s list.
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 the chance to earn 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.
Most retailers award one percent to five percent back. There are also special offers for online grocery orders that let you pick up or request delivery.
The cash rewards that you earn shopping online and in-store pool together and count toward the $20 cash out minimum.
As a reminder, online cash back sessions are the only way to use this platform if you don’t install the shopping rewards app.
Where Can You Use the Ibotta App?
The Ibotta app is one of the best savings apps to help you save money on groceries. You can use it at over 300 retailers for in-store purchases and at over 2,000 online retailers.
Some of the most popular supported retailers include:
- CVS Pharmacy
- Dollar General
Being able to shop at most grocers and online stores gives you many opportunities to save money online as well as locally.
You can even use the app at some online dollar stores. Read our guide on the top online dollar stores to find one that works for you.
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 order auto accessories in-store or online from sites like Advance Auto Parts.
*Related: Can’t decide between Sam’s Club and Costco? Read our Costco vs. Sam’s Club analysis to learn which is better for you.
Can I Connect Store Loyalty Cards With Ibotta?
Some participating stores allow you to link your loyalty account. Doing so frees you from needing to upload a receipt when you’re done shopping.
One example is Walmart. By signing into your Walmart account through Ibotta, the cashback app tracks your shopping history when a digital receipt is available.
However, most stores don’t offer this account-linking feature. As a result, you need to scan your loyalty card for upfront savings at the cash register.
Then, you capture your receipt with the cash back app to redeem offers.
Sign Up Bonus
New Ibotta users can earn $5 after uploading their first receipt. That’s enough to help you work toward a reward for cash or gift cards.
Keep in mind that 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.
Is Ibotta Trustworthy?
Ibotta is a legitimate app that you can use when shopping. It may help you save money when buying name-brand groceries or shopping online.
The mobile app has a 4.5 out of 5 rating in the Google Play Store and a 4.8 out of 5 rating in the Apple App Store. Additionally, it has a 4.2 out of 5 Trustpilot rating.
There are many online testimonials proving that Ibotta gives you rebates on purchases. Multiple shoppers also praised Ibotta’s responsive customer service when they had trouble redeeming offers or cashing out.
What is the Catch with Ibotta?
As with any app that pays you cash back, it’s important to ask how Ibotta makes money. After all, the app is free to use.
The app can monitor your regular purchases to recommend personalized offers for extra savings. You get to save money, and Ibotta makes money from the brands that advertise offers.
Ibotta doesn’t sell your sensitive information to third parties. This privacy risk is typical for most cash back shopping apps.
Additionally, you must buy brand-name products and shop at select online stores to earn rewards quickly. Periodically, there are offers to get cash back when buying store brands and generics.
It’s important to note that the earnings potential is lower with generic products. For instance, you might get $2 back for buying brand-name items, but you may only get $0.10 back for buying another brand.
How Do You Get Money from Ibotta?
It is simple to redeem your earnings from Ibotta. Here are the available redemption options:
- Bank deposits
- Digital gift cards
You can cash out using the Ibotta mobile app or website once your balance reaches $20.
Since the redemption minimum is higher than most grocery shopping apps, you might be able to find a different platform that offers a lower cash out minimum.
Pros and Cons
Ibotta makes it easy to scan grocery receipts for money. Here’s what to consider when looking at the app.
- Free to use
- 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 lower cash rewards
- $20 minimum to withdraw earnings
If you want an easy way to earn rebates on your shopping, Ibotta is worth trying.
Alternatives to Ibotta
There are many choices when comparing cash back savings apps for your shopping needs. Each one has its own focus.
|App||Cost||Best For||Cash Back? (Y/N)||Try|
|Capital One Shopping||$0||Product searches||N|
Here are the top alternatives to Ibotta.
Fetch is a terrific choice if you don’t want to spend time activating offers. Name brands earn bonus points, but any store receipt can earn a base reward.
You can scan grocery, retail, and online receipts for rewards. After shopping, you upload your receipt. Then, the app matches your purchases with eligible offers.
In most cases, you earn ten points per dollar on products. However, there are many special offers to earn at least 500 or 1,000 points on one item.
Gift card redemptions start at $5 (5,000 points). Unfortunately, there are no cash payouts.
Read our Fetch Rewards review to learn more.
Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping is a mobile app and browser extension that identifies active discount codes for items that you want to purchase.
With this platform, you earn loyalty credits after making certain purchases. You can then use the credits towards gift cards at participating retailers.
Some of the other valuable shopping tools include mobile price comparisons and price drop alerts.
Read our Capital One Shopping review to learn more.
|Capital One Shopping|
Save more when you shop!
Snag better prices automatically on the things you buy with valid discount codes.
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links provided*
You can use MyPoints to earn rewards points by shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, downloading apps, and playing games.
In-store shopping trips can also earn rewards with the platform’s Magic Receipts feature.
It’s possible to redeem offers for generics as well as name brands after adding participating items to your shopping list and scanning your purchase receipt.
Gift card redemptions start at $3. PayPal rewards require $10.
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
✔️ $5 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.
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 earn cash back on groceries.
How do you save money on groceries and other shopping needs?
Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping others manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, and Barclaycard.