Ibotta Review: Get Paid to Shop? Yes!

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I have mentioned Ibotta a ton of times on this website, such as in my how to get free groceries and how to get free shampoo samples posts.

It’s an app that helps you save money on your everyday grocery store shopping, either by uploading a receipt or linking your shopper’s loyalty card.  It’s extremely easy to use and can save you a few bucks on your shopping trip.

If you go shopping and you’re not using Ibotta, then I’m almost certain you can benefit from this free app.  It’s 100% free to use and you can get started in as little as a minute.

Ibotta App Review

In today’s Ibotta Review, I want to talk about how to download it, how it works as well as what other people think about it.  I will also include some tips which help maximize your earnings.

In the end, much like my other reviews, I will share my thoughts as to whether or not it’s worth your time.  As always, I’m 100% honest and would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself.

Let’s begin!

What is Ibotta?

Ibotta is a 100% free cash back rewards program that gives you cash back for the purchases you’re already making.  From grocery shopping to department stores, Ibotta almost always has thousands of offers from more than 1,500 brands.  You can even get cash back on your beer and hotel purchases.  In other words, it’s a lot! 

Ibotta was founded by Bryan Leach, when he saw a passenger on an international flight upload a receipt for an expense report.  It was then when he thought of creating an Ibotta as a way to upload your receipt to earn cash back.  Today, they employ more than 600+ employees and are based in Denver, Colorado.  It’s a legit organization, so there’s no concern there.

Whether you want to use it on your phone (usually, the most popular option) or download the browser extension, cash back is possible either way.

Since 2012, the company has signed up more than 35 million members and has rewarded more than $600 million.

Signing Up

If you want to sign up for Ibotta, you can either do so via your desktop or through the mobile app.  Seeing the app is the most popular option, I will cover it in my review.  The desktop version works in the same way, only that menu items may be located in different spots.

To sign up, you can do so either via your email address or if you want, you can connect your Facebook or Google account.

To complete the sign-up process, it will also ask you for your name, your birthday (to show you alcohol offers) as well as an offer code if you have one.

The sign-up process takes all of 30 seconds to do and you can view your dashboard immediately once done.

Ibotta Dashboard

Upon signing up, you can instantly start browsing your dashboard, which will look something like this:

On your dashboard, you will be able to view the most current “best” offers, recommended retailers, as well as a huge list of restaurants, bars, convenience stores, sporting goods stores and so forth.  You can scroll for quite some time, but it’s retailers categorized by their industry.  Near the bottom, you can check out the most popular offers at the time as well.

At this time, you can either scroll through the list and see which retailers are currently participating or you can search if you had a store receipt in mind.

TIP:  Most of the time, you will be scanning products/receipts as you use the app, so the only area I focus on 99% of the time in the “find offers” and “search” section.

Uploading a Receipt to Earn Cash

Whenever you get a receipt from any retailer, make it a habit to at least search the app to see what you may be able to get back.  You will be surprised as to how many retailers participate.  And, even if you don’t see an offer today, you can save your receipt for seven days.  Since Ibotta continues to add offers, you may want to see if they add something in the future.

In my example, I will use my receipt from my most recent trip to Walmart.

To start, you will first want to search the app for your store in question.  As you search, Ibotta will give you suggestions to help you find what you’re looking for.

So, in my example, I would search for Walmart and my results will look something like this…

If you purchased in store, click on the in-store option.  Other than that, you can also click on the online version if you plan on shopping online.  I went ahead and clicked on the “in store” option since this is where my receipt is from and was presented with this…

Most retailer pages will look like this, but some won’t offer the “pay with Ibotta” and/or “link account” features.

Link Your Account

The link account feature is only available from a few of your bigger-name retailers, such as Walmart, and allows you to simply link your account and never have to worry about uploading receipts.  As long as your purchases show up on your account, Ibotta does the dirty work and adds the offers almost instantly.  I highly recommend you link your account if you don’t want to have any trouble with the app.

Pay With Ibotta

As for the “pay with Ibotta” app, this allows you to add a credit/debit card to your Ibotta profile and then pay directly from the app to earn the cash back specified.  In this case, I could get 1% cash back if I paid with the app.  This is limited to certain retailers as well.

The Offers

All retailers on the app will always have offers you can choose from, all of which you can break down in category or choose for an item if you want.  Remember, you can search for offers or even scan the items you’re buy as well if you don’t want to scroll through hundreds of products.

Personally, I use the app one or two ways.  I will either search/scan for something I’m putting in the cart or I will browse the app to see what I can take advantage of.

For instance, if I wanted the Purex or bacon mentioned below, I could click the “+” sign, upload my receipt and then Ibotta would give me the money back.  I found this offer while browsing the dashboard.

If I did buy that Purex pack, for instance, I would get $3 credited to my account once they confirmed my receipt scan.  It’s that easy.  Or, again, I could search for an item, too.  I will talk about this next.

But, remember, in the case you link your accounts (if the retailer allows it), Ibotta will add it to your account after your purchase is made.

The “Finding Offers” Section

Aside from adding offers directly to your account, you can find offers as well.

For example, if you wanted to buy coffee but didn’t know where you were shopping yet, you could search for “coffee” in your “Find Offers” tab and see what’s available as of now.

As you can see, I could get $3 back on VitaCup Coffee Pods at a variety of retailers, etc.  This could come in handy if you know you need a particular item but you want to see if there’s a deal happening at the moment.

The “Redeem” Section

To redeem any of the offers, you will need to upload your receipt in the “Redeem” section found in the bottom menu.

Ibotta will ask you to select a store where you made the purchase, followed by uploading the receipt.  If the retailer allows you to connect your account, then it will prompt you, asking if you want to do so.  Remember, this is the easiest way to get your cash back if you don’t want to snap pictures of your receipt.

When you do upload your receipt, they do ask that the data is within a specified range, usually no older than seven days and you must capture the full receipt, including the product details, date as well as the total.

All long as you snap a clear picture, you can get credit for whatever you added to your account as long as it qualifies.

The “Earn More” Section

And, in the last section, the “Earn More” portion, you can view featured offers as well as offers designed for you, usually based on your previous shopping history.

It could be worth checking out to see if anything is worth adding as you can often get bonuses on top of what Ibotta is offering.  Be sure to click on any brand to see what qualifies as well as what you can do to take advantage.

Cashing Out

Once you hit $20 in earnings, you can cash out, in which Ibotta will pay you via PayPal.

Once you hit the button to transfer your cash, it can take anywhere from two to 24 hours to get your cash.  The time it takes depends on how busy the app is at the time.  Nonetheless, it’s fast.

If you don’t want PayPal cash, then you can reward yourself with gift cards as well, most of which start at $20.  Some can be higher, however.  To know for certain, you can look for the gift card minimum listed beneath the gift card image when you cash out.

How much can I earn?

This greatly depends on how much shop and how often you use the app.

The app claims most first-time users see an average of $20~ a month, but of course, it could be more of much less.  It’s hard to say.

Tips to Know

If you want to maximize your earnings, I wanted to mention some tips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your shopping receipts.

Refer Your Friends!

For every friend you refer, either through your special link or a referral code, you can get paid.

There are two types of referrals on the platform:  a referral, which is someone who uses your code when you signed up, and a teammate, which is someone who connected to you via social media.

No matter how you refer someone, you can earn cash rewards every time they meet goals/upload a receipt, etc.

Take Advantage of Bonuses

As mentioned prior, be sure to pay close attention to the “your offers” subsection as you can find a ton of great deals here.

Most of the time, you can earn a bonus on top of what you were already going to earn in the first place.

Plus, since they are based on your shopping habits, you can find a lot of goodies here.

Freebies Are Found at the Dollar Store

Yes, you can use Ibotta at your local Dollar Tree, and in many cases, the offers they have can often offset the $1 you paid.

If you’re a fan of going to the Dollar Tree, be sure to see which offers are being offered at the moment.  In some cases, you make more than $1, making it almost like you were paid to shop.

You Can Stack Coupons

Oftentimes, you may see a generic coupon, such as “Save $0.50 on any granola bar.”

In this case, if you see a branded granola bar that you wanted to buy on the app, you can combine the two to save even more.

This happens often, so be sure to see what you can “stack” on your next shopping trip.

Always Scan Your Receipts

No matter where you shop, always make it a habit to at least check the app to see what you can save.  You will be surprised as to how many retailers they work with.

Even if you’re purchasing two items, keep them for seven days as the offers are always changing.

Who knows?  You may see an offer pop up on the sixth day that your receipt qualifies for.  It is said new offers come out every Wednesday, but this could change.  They do come eventually, however!

Scan Your Items as You Shop

Don’t know if the item qualifies?

You can scan bar codes as you shop inside the search bar.  You will just want to look for the small bar code icon.

Just scan the item, and if it does qualify, it will show up in the search results.

You Can Use Manufacturer Coupons

If you still print/clip coupons from the newspaper/online, then you can still use these on top of the Ibotta app.

Be sure to check out the very popular coupon match-ups on to see what coupons you can get online to save even more.

Use More Than One Receipt App

Yes, there are more apps that work just like Ibotta.  I talked about the more than 20 Ibotta alternatives.

If you have the time, consider downloading more of these apps to save even more.  There’s no limit as to how many of these apps you use, so scan away!

What the Internet Is Saying

I always feel a good review brings in other opinions.  It’s best to be non-biased, right?

As with all of my reviews, I scour the internet to see what others are saying, both good and bad.   This is the reason I will always include this section.

In my hunt, I found a lot of great (and bad things), most of which I included below:

The Pros

It’s 100% free to use.

You can link your shopper’s card for many retailers to see instant rewards.

They work with hundreds of retailers.

You get cash back for purchases you already going to make.

The Cons

Customer service seems to be slow at responding to your queries. (a very common complaint)

Like a lot of apps, it does have some privacy concerns, such as tracking.

Stories of accounts being deactivated for no reason.

Credits may be missing from receipt scans.

One of the highest minimum cash-out thresholds in the rebate app industry.

Final Thoughts

9/10If you love saving money and technically getting paid to shop, then Ibotta is definitely one of the few receipt scanning-like apps to consider.

It’s easy to use, they work with hundreds of retailers and they always seem to have thousands of offers.  Plus, it’s FREE.

As long as you scan your items and add it to your account as you shop, there’s no reason you can’t earn $5, $10 or maybe even $20+ a month just from going to the grocery store.  If you start to get good at it and take advantage of bonuses and invite friends, then the sky is the limit!  Just get in the habit of doing so while shopping and you will be surprised as to how much you can earn.

Now, I turn the table to you.

Have you used Ibotta?

Are you thinking about it?

Have any questions?

That’s what the comment section is for.  Feel free to sound off below!  I always love hearing from you.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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