Ibotta review: is Ibotta legit? Or is it a scam? (2019)

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This article has been reviewed and deemed factual by our content auditor with 8 years of banking experience.

Are you searching for an Ibotta review?

The Ibotta app is growing in popularity these days, as you know. But what is Ibotta? Is Ibotta legit? Or a scam? And, if not, how does Ibotta work Keep reading, because we’re answering all these questions and more in this new Ibotta review. 

What Is Ibotta?

Remember how your parents used to go grocery shopping? Mine did a lot of couponing. 

The traditional way involved cutting out little pieces of paper with barcoded discounts on them. But when everyone got a smartphone, the shopping trip became easier. Loyalty cards give you automatic rebates at checkout, as an example. But this meant you’d have to have a million different loyalty cards, one for each store!

Ibotta combines all these conveniences into one simple app. Just download the app, sign up, and start getting cash back on purchases. With Ibotta, you’ll save money on online shopping, grocery shopping, and at all your favorite stores (and even hotels). Couponing simplified.

Is Ibotta Legit?

Ibotta was started in 2011. It’s blossomed into:

  • The largest consumer technology company in Denver, Colorado.
  • Has over 50,000+ five-star app reviews in the Apple and Play stores.
  • Featured in Forbes, Good Morning America, CNET and more
  • Downloaded over 30 million times; paid over $375 million in cash back

Ibotta also works with some of the largest brands on earth. Some names you’ll recognize include:

  • Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Unilever
  • Nordstrom, Best Buy, Heineken
  • Rite Aid, Sephora and others.

Another fun fact? Ibotta founder Bryan Leach is a graduate of Harvard, Oxford and Yale, and during his time outside of work, he climbed 44 of Colorado’s 58 tallest mountains. So, does the whole question of “Is Ibotta legit?” sound crazy yet? It should. Ibotta is 100% a legitimate, real company (and, the best part is, you can get a $10 sign up bonus if you sign up with us now).

How Does Ibotta Work?

The application itself is very easy to use. You download it from the app store or their site, create your account–which asks for your name, date of birth, mailing address, and other information like gender–than you can claim your $10 sign up bonus.

  1. Check for offers before you shop.
  2. Once you find relevant offers, shop.
  3. Take pictures of your receipt or link your loyalty card to the Ibotta app.
  4. Then cash out via PayPal or Venmo.

That, or in the form of your favorite gift cards from top stores like Walmart, Target or your other favorite grocery stores.  

Our recommendation is to map out all of your shopping as far in advance as possible, that way you can maximize your savings and discounts. Plus, Ibotta works at hundreds of retailers, both offline and online.

Unlike with clipping coupons or even other cashback apps, you can let your shopping needs guide you, versus being restricted with buying the few items that have coupons. For comparison, other cash back apps–like Paribus by Capital One (which you can learn more about in our detailed Paribus review, and is another favorite of ours) works with just 25 stores. With Ibotta you can shop at thousands of different stores.

More on that in a bit. The major takeaway should be this: regardless of what you buy or where you buy it, you’ll always know there’s cash coming.

How To Use Ibotta

Here’s how to use the Ibotta app and what to expect as you go through the sign-up process. 

1. Download the Free App

Your first step is to download the free app, which is available for Android and the iPhone.

2. Complete the Questionnaire

Once you’ve got the Ibotta app on your phone, fill out the questionnaire, which will allow the app to populate your My Offers section with offers you’ll want to use.

3. Pick your favorite stores

Choosing your favorite stores in the app will allow further customization of your My Offers, based on the shops you frequent most. These could stores you visit offline, online, or a mix of the two. Some of the stores supported by the Ibotta app include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Best Buy
  • Publix
  • eBay
  • Safeway
  • Walmart
  • Whole Foods
  • Amazon
  • Target

Choose the rebates you like, and use them when you’re online shopping or in the stores. Unlike other money-saving apps, this one will send you offers relevant to your shopping patterns, and you can even Ibotta with mobile apps like Groupon and Uber.

4. Link Your PayPal Account

PayPal isn’t the only way you can grab your payout, but it’s probably the simplest, easiest way. If you prefer, you can use Venmo or get your free money in the form of gift cards.

5. Go shopping!

Once you’ve chosen relevant cashback offers, it’s time to go shopping. Whether you’re buying household items like toilet paper or grocery shopping for bananas, almost anything you can imagine can get you cashback. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by credit card, mobile app, cash, or check.

6. Upload Your Receipt

When you’ve finished shopping, tap on the Redeem Offers button, and then upload your shopping receipt. Expect your cash back in 24 to 48 hours. You can withdraw the cash as soon as you meet the $20 limit.

Ibotta Hacks, Tips and Tricks

Our Ibotta review would be remiss without some tips on how to make it work for you. So, here are our top Ibotta hacks, tips, and tricks you can use to maximize your value with Ibotta. 

1. Think Beyond the Grocery Store

Ibotta has come a long way. The app works with more than the grocery store now. You can use it with hotels, for one. And if you book your hotel through HotelStorm via their app, you get 15% cashback.

You can also get cashback on your liquor purchases, whether from the grocery store or your favorite restaurant or bar. Another huge plus. Hulu will give you $15 back if you create your membership through Ibotta, and you can stock up on flea treatment and dog food at Petco and get rebates for it.

2. Use Their Referral Program

If you refer your friends and family to Ibotta using a referral link from the app, you get cash right into your account. Every five friends that you sign up gets you $25. When you referred that fifth person, you also get a mystery bonus worth another $50.

You can build teams with your friends or family, and your team can work together to build up a certain amount of cash. When you earn rebates and cash back through your groups, you get bonuses. This means you’re ready to withdraw some money to your PayPal account even faster.

3. Upload Your Loyalty Cards

If you have a loyalty card for a particular retailer, be sure to upload it to your Ibotta account. In some cases, retailers won’t let you get cash back unless you uploaded your loyalty card, but once you have them all in there, you never need them for your everyday shopping trips again.

4. Watch Out For The ‘Fine Print’

Some stores have quirks when it comes to using Ibotta or other of the money saving apps out there.

In some cases, you’ll have to scan the barcode on your receipt in order to validate it. Once you’ve shopped around a few times, you’ll be able to remember quickly which of your favorite stores have this requirement. Just make sure you pay attention so you can get all your extra money.

As we prepared this Ibotta review, we also noticed a few situations where the fine print wasn’t clear.

For example, at once point, it looked like buying a slightly more expensive brand of toilet paper would have cost us $0.20 but get us a $0.40 rebate. That makes it cheaper, right? Wrong–if the fine print says you have to buy three packs to get a refund, and you only buy one. So keep watch.

5. Don’t Overspend

One of the dangers of using a free app like Ibotta is overspending to see your cashback numbers grow. It can be especially dangerous when you’re online shopping. So don’t get too carried away, and before you head out to Target or Publix, make a shopping list–and stick to it.

How Much Cash Back Can You Get With Ibotta?

The answer is that it depends. If you only get $4 cashback a week, though, by the end of the year, you could put more than $200 in your PayPal or Venmo account. That’s a nice chunk of change for the holidays. And if you take the time to understand how Ibotta works and make the most of it, it’s not inconceivable you could make $500+ in a year. So, is Ibotta worth it? In our opinion, absolutely.

Apps like Ibotta

There are number of different apps like Ibotta.

Paribus was started by two Harvard grads and acquired by Capital One. It’s one of our favorite money making apps. Learn more: Paribus review.

Ebates is a pioneer in the cashback app space, and was first started all the way back in 1999.
Since then it’s been used by tens of millions of people–who’ve saved over a $1B!

Dosh is one of the newer cash back apps that has a gorgeous, easy to use interface and bountiful rewards. Learn more in our new 2019 Dosh review.

Ibotta Reviews Overview

You can’t do a review without trying it yourself. So, I took a test run of the app to see what the hype was about. But first, I visited the Ibotta app store page and also Google searched “Ibotta reviews.”

With over 303k reviews, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Apple app store, my first impression of Ibotta was definitely favorable. The Ibotta BBB reviews page wasn’t ‘five star central’. But people don’t go out of there way to leave favorable comments on BBB anyway.

But here’s what impressed me most there: it was the company’s responsiveness to it. For instance, if you take a look at the Ibotta BBB page, Ibotta has received 636 complaints in the last 3 years, 250 of which were closed in the last 12 months. 

Virtually every complaint has gotten a response, and the majority resolved. Next, was the app itself.

I’ll tell you what. It’s nowhere near as much of a pain as clipping coupons. Granted, it’s not without annoyances. Mainly, the “pain” of having to scan your item and your receipt, rather than just the receipt. Minor stuff here.

For every inconvenience there’s 10x upsides.

  1. The number of stores accepted
  2. The percent of cash you can get back
  3. And the vast number of eligible items

Other cash back apps limit you. Ibotta allows you to even get rebates on generic brands, store brands and healthy food, too. That way you aren’t stuck eating sugary cereals just because it was on sale or gave cash back.

That’s a rare thing in the cash back space.

All without the hassle of traditional couponing in a free app that’s easy to use, right from the first time, all via your smartphone.   

Ibotta Review: Summary

Ibotta can be lucrative if you check the app for offers before you do offline/online shopping. It’s fast and easy to use. Just upload a snapshot of the items you purchased and the receipt–that or link your shopper card.

Their customer service is both fast and helpful, this based on our analysis of the thousands of Ibotta reviews we’ve gone through while writing up this one. And, most importantly, Ibotta can help you earn a lot of cashback on items others can’t.

It’s the elephant in the room that we may have not acknowledged dutifully enough in here. But just so there’s no confusion: you can make great money back on purchases.

You won’t get rich, but you will get paid, sometimes as much as 10%–20% back on your everyday purchases. That’s probably the best thing about Ibotta.

It accomplishes what it advertises: it’s an app that allows you to earn money while grocery shopping or mobile shopping anywhere. Signing up is a breeze, and checking how much extra money you made is just as simple. All you have to do is log into your Ibotta account on your phone or computer. 

And again, best of all, cashback offers aren’t limited to just your favorite stores. You can earn free money during a random shopping trip for toilet paper at a random drug store. 

It’s awesome. So while other shopping apps restrict you to big box stores (i.e., Publix, Costco, Whole Foods, etc.) you can take advantage by earning money on “no name” household items from anywhere.

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts

Editor at CarefulCents
Featured in The Washington Post and published in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider, Time, Inc., CNBC and others.