Ibotta Review 2023: What Is Ibotta and How Does It Work?Cash-Back Apps and Sites
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- Basics: Ibotta is a free cash-back app that rewards its users for shopping in-store and online. It’s one of the better cash-back apps out there, and it’s easy to incorporate into your everyday shopping routine.
- Pros: The cash back rates are relatively high, you can earn rewards from just about any store, and the user interface is fast and modern.
- Cons: You might end up buying random products to earn more rewards, and you’ll need to link either a store account or submit a receipt in order to redeem rewards.
- NUMBER OF STORES:
- MINIMUM PAYOUT:
- PAYOUT OPTIONS:
Direct to bank, Paypal or gift cards
- WHAT'S UNIQUE?:
Realistic for everyday use
Ibotta is one of the most popular cash-back apps out there, but does it actually work? How much money can you actually make?
Our Ibotta review has all the answers.
Table of Contents
What Is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a cash-back app that rewards its users with money when they shop for groceries and other essentials.
It’s one of the most popular cash-back apps to date, and with good reason.
If you’d like to take a look at the app in action — including testing it in-person at Target — watch my full video review.
Ibotta At a Glance
|Number of Stores
|How to Earn Cash Back
|Purchases earn cash back that can be redeemed for cash or gift cards.
|1-3 business days
|Bank transfer, PayPal, or gift cards.
|In-Store Cash Back
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta’s concept is pretty simple: It lists products from a variety of brands on their app, and if you purchase one of those products while shopping in store or online, you earn cash back. You can then redeem that cash back for gift cards or for cash.
Number of Stores
Ibotta works with over 2,000 retailers. I really like that Ibotta is compatible with Costco, Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and other stores where most people are likely to do the bulk of their shopping anyway.
How to Earn Cash Back
To earn cash back on Ibotta, you will need to shop either in store or online. You will also need to either connect your store account to Ibotta or upload your physical receipt into the app to redeem your rewards.
Ibotta is a free service and has no fees.
Payouts (Minimums, Timing, Options, Bonuses)
Ibotta has a minimum withdrawal amount of $20, which means that you have to earn at least that amount in rewards before you can cash out. To cash out, you can either link your bank account or PayPal. Payments are processed between 1-3 days.
Ibotta also has a sign-up bonus of $5 (once you upload your first receipt) and a referral bonus of $10 for every friend you refer. There is no limit as to how much you can earn from referrals (nice!), but PayPal will send you tax forms if you earn more than $600.
Platforms (Mobile App, Desktop Version, Browser Extension)
You can download Ibotta for free as a mobile app or as a browser extension.
In-Store Cash Back
To earn cash back from in-store purchases, you will need to either link your store account to Ibotta or upload your physical store receipt into the app.
If you link your store account, Ibotta will automatically detect your cash-back rewards. To manually submit a physical receipt instead, just tap the “Redeem” tab on the Ibotta app.
Instead of coupons, Ibotta offers “bonuses,” which look slightly different than your regular coupon cutout.
Ibotta’s bonuses allow you to earn on top of your cash-back earnings. To access the feature, just tap the “Bonuses” page on the app.
Simply tap on an offer to learn more about its requirements. For example, to earn a 50-cent bonus from Panera, you’ll have to redeem at least one of each of these offers.
Ibotta has a $5 sign-up bonus when you upload your first receipt. You’ll also continue to earn an additional $1 per every receipt you upload. (Ibotta does not specify how long this $1 bonus will be available for, but I earned it on two receipts.)
Ibotta’s referral program changes seasonally (for example, they have a Superbowl-themed referral bonus for January 2022 where you can earn up to $15), but there is generally a $10 bonus whenever you refer a friend.
Ibotta offers change daily, and they even offer free products as seasonal offers. When I tested this app around Thanksgiving time, Ibotta had an offer called “Free Thanksgiving,” where users can basically get free select products – including a whole turkey – at Walmart.
I didn’t redeem it – but how cool is that?!
Ibotta also offers cash back from more than 100 retailers if you buy gift cards through the app. Cash-back rates for gift cards range from .5% to 12% in cash back or more, depending on which one you choose.
I purchased a $20 REI gift card (and received $1 in cash back) but was only able to do so using a debit card. This was a downside because I would have preferred to use a credit card as a payment method, since credit cards are generally safer to purchase with.
However, I didn’t run into any issues when using my debit card to purchase a gift card from Ibotta.
In addition to in-person shopping, Ibotta users are also able to get cash back while shopping online.
To access online shopping, go to the Home tab and tap “Online shopping.” You should then be able to see a variety of offers for retailers on the web.
You will need to tap “Shop” from the Ibotta app in order to claim online offers. You can also see each offer’s fine print if you tap on them.
Ibotta has an in-app barcode scanner that you can use to check if you have the right product when shopping in-person.
To access it, go to your list and tap the barcode icon next to the specific product. From here, just scan the item’s barcode.
How Much Money Can You Make With Ibotta?
Ibotta offers direct cash-back in the form of discounts on products.
The amount you can make will depend on the value of the discounts on the products you choose to buy.
Is Ibotta Legit?
Yes, Ibotta is a legitimate app and company.
I was able to cash out my rewards once I met the $20 minimum threshold, and I didn’t receive spam emails or any other suspicious points of contact.
Ibotta also has a great track record when it comes to reviews; it has close to a 5 star rating on the iOS app store.
Number of StoresMost retailers participate(Including the top ones)
Payout Minimum$201-3 business days
Payout OptionsBank transfer, PayPal, or gift cardsSome gift cards start at $25
Ibotta Tips and Hacks
Below are some tips that I wish someone told me before I used Ibotta.
1) Link your store account for automatic rewards.
Gone are the days when one needs to hold on to their receipts and keep them pristine for cash back.
When you link a store account to Ibotta, you won’t need to upload a receipt to redeem rewards. Rather, you’ll just need to enter your store account code (or scan your barcode – every store has its own process) during checkout.
2) The offers list might be hard to find.
One would think that the offers list has its own tab on Ibotta, but it doesn’t (even though it’s one of the most important components of grocery shopping!).
To find your offers list, first select a store within the “Home” tab. You can then find your list on the bottom right corner of that store.
3) Don’t be scared to try new products.
… If you have the budget for it.
Some of the offers with higher cash-back rates will probably be products you’ve never heard of before.
But if you want to spice up your grocery bag and try new items, doing so through Ibotta would be the most budget-friendly way.
Ibotta Pros and Cons
- Realistic Cashout Process: The minimum threshold to withdraw rewards is $20, and I was able to redeem it for cash within two weeks.
- Good Mix of Products: There were offers for pantry staples like bananas and milk, but there were also offers for more niche snack items like green juices or chocolate bars.
- Great User Interface: Ibotta stands out from its competitors by being easy to use and having fewer glitches.
- Good for Everyday Shopping: I think it’s realistic to incorporate Ibotta into your grocery shopping routine and save money for the long run.
- You Have To Spend More To Earn More: Using Ibotta could lead to you buying unnecessary items for the sake of earning more cash back.
- You Have To Link a Store Account or Submit a Receipt: This means that if you forgot to enter your store account number or if you lose your receipt, you have no way to claim your cash back.
Alternatives to Ibotta
|In-Store Cash Back
Is Ibotta Worth It?
Ibotta is worth it for people who like trying new products while maximizing their savings at the same time.
The app has a great selection of new products to try, relatively high cash-back rates and a minimum cashout threshold of $20 that’s actually realistic to meet.
However, there are some people who might benefit more from using the app, and people who might not benefit at all.
Who Ibotta Is Best For
I would recommend Ibotta to you if you like trying out new things.
Ibotta gives you the chance to explore new brands and products. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, using Ibotta would be a win-win.
Who Ibotta Is Not For
I would not recommend Ibotta to you if you’re a thrifty shopper.
Some of the products offered on Ibotta can have quite the price tag. If you’re someone who usually buys generic products to save money, I think you’re already getting the best bang for your buck (without Ibotta).
How to Use Ibotta (Step-by-Step)
Here’s a straightforward guide to using the Ibotta app.
Step 1: Download the app and create an account.
Type in your email, create a password, and enter your name and birthday.
Ibotta will then ask if you have a referral code. If you’ve already used my referral link to sign up, you won’t need to put a code here because you’ll automatically get a $5 bonus when you submit your first receipt.
Step 2: Select the store you want to buy from and add offers.
You can find a store within either the “Home” or “Redeem” tab. Alternatively, you can search for a product and see which stores offer it.
Step 3: Go shopping!
Once you compile a list of offers that you want to purchase, head on over to your store of choice and actually buy those items.
Step 4: Redeem rewards.
Redeeming rewards will depend if you have a store account linked or if you’re planning to upload a receipt instead.
If you have a store account linked to Ibotta, you’ll need to enter your store account number or scan your store account barcode during checkout. Your rewards will automatically show up in Ibotta within 1-3 business days.
If you’re submitting a receipt, just search for your store on the “Redeem” tab.
From here, just take a picture of your receipt and Ibotta will automatically detect the offers you bought. You will also have the option to add or delete products as you see fit.
Note that you have to take a photo of the receipt you intend to earn cash back from within the first seven days of purchase.
Step 5: Cash out.
Now, the fun part.
To withdraw earnings, tap the “Account” tab.
Once you have more than $20 in your earnings, you should be able to tap “Withdraw Earnings.” From here, you can choose to withdraw your earnings through your bank account, PayPal or for a gift card.
Since I chose to withdraw my earnings directly into my bank account, Ibotta prompted me to sign in through my bank with Plaid. Plaid encrypts your data and basically acts as the middle man for money transfers.
Once signed in, you can choose which account you want your Ibotta rewards to go to. Once you select one, you are now able to withdraw your earnings.
Earnings should appear within your selected account within one to three business days. When I redeemed my rewards, it only took one day for the money to show up in my checking account.
Final Thoughts on Ibotta
Ibotta was a great app to use while shopping in-person. The cash-back rates were relatively high and the minimum cashout amount of $20 was easy to meet. Over the course of two weeks, I earned $23.
However, I did end up buying a few random products in order to meet the minimum reward amount. I don’t think Ibotta is sustainable if you use it in this way, but I do think it’s a great app if you like trying new products.
Ibotta offers cash-back discounts on many items you’re probably planning to buy anyway, and at the stores where you typically shop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some short answers to basic questions people often have about Ibotta.
- How often are Ibotta offers updated?
Offers are often updated weekly on Wednesdays. But Ibotta rolls out with new offers all the time. The app also features seasonal offers during the holidays.
- Who owns Ibotta?
Ibotta’s CEO, Bryan Leach, founded Ibotta in 2012. It has raised several rounds of private funding.
- Is Ibotta cash back taxable?
No, you do not need to claim Ibotta rewards on your taxes. Cash-back rewards are typically not taxable.
However, if you earn $600 or more through Ibotta’s friend referral program, PayPal will send you the necessary paperwork to report it for your taxes.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.