Given how many apps there are out there now that claim to save you money, it’s understandable if you find yourself asking “Is Ibotta legit…really?”
This is why we’ve done the hard work in this Ibotta review to look into every aspect of the app, to show you whether Ibotta is worth it or not.
You’ll see how to use Ibotta, how much money you can make with it, if Ibotta is worth it and, yes, how exactly Ibotta is legit.
(In summary, it comes down to the fact that you can make literally hundreds of dollars from the Ibotta app, just from doing the shopping you’d be doing anyway. Not to mention that it’s completely free to use!)
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back on your day to day purchases at over 300 online and in-store retailers throughout the US.
To date, it’s paid out over $682 million to its users. And its 35 million+ users are definitely happy about it, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the App Store based on more than 900,000 reviews.
Things are just as positive in the Google Play Store, where the Ibotta app has an average score of 4.3 out of 5 based on more than 470,000 reviews.
How to use Ibotta: review of its features
What Ibotta does is give you cash back when you buy certain items at its partner retailers, with the list of qualifying items changing frequently.
You can use Ibotta for getting cash back for groceries, medicine, clothes and more. Basically, anything you’d be buying anyway, you can earn money on – meaning it really is free money.
Once you’ve signed up with Ibotta and downloaded the app (and grabbed that sweet free $20 sign up bonus), there are a few ways that you can start to earn this cash back.
For all those times when online shopping isn’t the way to go, like grabbing your groceries at the supermarket, Ibotta works super easily to get you cash back on what you buy in-store.
You can take advantage of this in over 300 retail chains, restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, home improvement centers, pet stores, and pharmacies throughout the US. These include:
- Best Buy
- Dollar Tree
Once you’ve found your store on the list, there are a couple of different ways to get cash back on your in-store purchases.
Link your store loyalty card
If you have a store loyalty card with one of Ibotta’s partner retailers, one of the easiest things you can do is link it to your Ibotta account.
Then, when you buy something at the store and the cashier scans your loyalty card, Ibotta will automatically receive your purchase information within 48 hours. The cash back will then be processed and immediately added to your Ibotta account.
Take a photo of your receipt
After shopping at one of the stores in Ibotta’s system, take a photo of your receipt and upload it to the app. In some cases, there’ll also be a QR code on the receipt for you to scan.
Then check your Ibotta account 48 hours later and your cash back will be there!
Ibotta is also recognized by a ton of different online stores. Some of them include:
- Uber Eats
The best way to take advantage of the Ibotta deals available on these sites is to find what you want to buy when using each site normally – but don’t press “pay”.
Instead, once you have your wishlist, go to the Ibotta app on your phone or to the online portal if you’re using it on your computer. Then, select the online store where you want to buy something.
You’ll be sent to the retailer’s website in the same window. At that point, simply follow the standard purchase process and Ibotta will automatically get the information on what you’ve bought, with the cash back appearing in your account shortly after.
(You can also skip a few of these steps if you install the Ibotta Chrome extension – see below for more information on this.)
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Is Ibotta legit?
Yes, Ibotta is a completely legitimate app that lets you actually earn cash back.
As mentioned earlier, Ibotta has paid out over $682 million to its users. And all reports are that this money is received very quickly once someone requests to cash out what they’ve earned through the app.
In fact, on the question of whether Ibotta is legit, Reddit users have some thoughts. According to Ibotta reviews on there, a significant number of people confirm that their earnings were well received and fairly substantial, including someone that’s used it to earn $4,000.
To be fair, they don’t say how long it took them to do this. And most people on there report earning “only” a few hundred dollars per year, which is more in line with Ibotta’s statement that average earnings per user are around $25 per month.
How to use Ibotta: step-by-step
Ibotta is extremely easy to use and you really only need to follow a few steps to get started.
1. Sign up for Ibotta
Creating your Ibotta account here will take you around 20 seconds. And doing so will get you a sweet free $20 new user bonus.
(Note that you do have to be at least 18 years old to use Ibotta, meaning teens wanting to make money may have to look elsewhere.)
2. Download the app for iPhone, iPad or Android and sign in
Head on over to the App Store or Google Play, depending on your device and download the app. It’s not at all bloated so won’t take up much space on your phone or tablet.
3. Install the Ibotta Chrome extension
If you use Google Chrome and do any sort of online shopping, it can be a good idea to install the Ibotta Chrome extension.
Once you’ve done that, login to your account through the extension. From there, when you’re on a site, it will alert you if there are any Ibotta deals available on there. At that point you simply have to press “Activate” in the extension window that will appear.
Then, if you end up buying something, Ibotta will automatically credit the cash back earned to your account, without you having to do anything further.
4. Link store loyalty cards
Linking your Ibotta account with any store loyalty cards that you have with Ibotta’s partner stores is a good way to make sure you receive every cent of cash back to which you’re entitled.
5. If you buy something in-store, scan and upload the receipt
Not every store has a loyalty system so, sometimes, you’ll have to get your cash back the (partially) manual way.
In those cases, make sure you use the Ibotta app to scan your receipt and upload it. It’s best to do this as soon as possible after completing your purchase, so you don’t lose the receipt, but also because you only have a week after the date on your receipt to upload it to the app.
To find out how to upload receipts, check out the Ibotta website for instructions.
You may also be interested in: Working Part Time: 9 Reasons Why To Seriously Consider It
How do I sign up with Ibotta?
You can sign up with Ibotta here, which will take you literally 20 seconds.
Plus doing so will earn you a free $20 sign up bonus once you’ve redeemed one offer within 15 days of signing up.
What’s the Ibotta referral code to get a free sign up bonus?
To get the free $20 new user bonus, use the promo code VKOVMQV. Then just make sure you redeem one offer in the next two weeks and the money will be yours.
You can find more information about using the Ibotta referral code here.
How do I make money with Ibotta?
There are a few ways to make money with Ibotta:
- Cash back earnings from shopping – The most common and most lucrative way to make money with Ibotta is to use the app how it’s intended: to get money back on what you buy. Just make sure you’re not buying anything extra in order to get cash back, as that won’t really make it worthwhile.
- Referral bonus – If you refer your friends to join Ibotta, you’ll get $5 for free once they redeem their first offer.
- Take advantage of bonuses – There are frequently bonuses available to help you earn more money. These may relate to the things you’re buying, such as a blanket cash back percentage in addition to item-specific offers. They can also involve being paid extra money if you refer friends to join the app within a certain time period, like by the end of the month.
Does Ibotta really give you money?
It’s been very much confirmed that Ibotta is legit and will really give you money. In fact, it’s given out over $682 million to its more than 35 million users, with all reports online indicating that payment is received very quickly once you’ve earned it.
How do you get your money from Ibotta?
You can get your money from Ibotta through two different ways:
- Gift cards – Ibotta can pay out your earnings through a gift card to over 20 different stores, including Amazon, Walmart, Target and Starbucks. All you have to do is ask to withdraw your cash in your Ibotta account, select your desired gift card and then you’ll receive an email with your digital gift card within 24 hours.
- PayPal or Venmo – These are how you withdraw your Ibotta earnings as cash. All you have to do is link your Ibotta account to your PayPal or Venmo account and then once you ask it to transfer the money, you’ll receive it in a matter of minutes.
Does PayPal charge for Ibotta?
PayPal doesn’t charge any fees for withdrawing money you’ve earned through Ibotta (and neither does Venmo).
Is the Ibotta app safe to use?
There is no indication that Ibotta isn’t safe to use. No major data breaches have been reported and while it has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau, most of the complaints there appear to be about misunderstandings on how to qualify for offers.
This is also reflected in the fact that no Ibotta lawsuits appear to be discussed online, strongly suggesting that no one has had to take such action – which is a good sign.
Tips and tricks to use the Ibotta app
There are a few tips and tricks for using the Ibotta app that you should keep in mind to make sure you’re really maximizing your earnings.
1. Don’t buy more than you need just to get cash back
One of the major temptations of an app like Ibotta is to buy more items to take advantage of the cash back offer that applies to each one.
But this still involves you spending more money than you’re earning, so will mean that you end up worse off. Instead, you should stick to your shopping list and only buy those things that you actually need through Ibotta in order to get the most out of it.
2. Get free stuff from dollar stores
Some “dollar stores” are simply stores that stock cheap items that don’t necessarily all cost $1. But for those stores that do, you can use Ibotta to get things that are completely free.
For example, at the time of writing this, there are a bunch of rebates available in the Ibotta app for the Dollar Tree where you can get $1 off certain items – meaning that those things will be completely free.
3. Combine rebates
From time to time, Ibotta offers “any brand” rebates in addition to its usual item-specific offers.
For example, you may see something offering $0.30 off any toothpaste and $1 off a specific brand of toothpaste. In those cases, you’re able to redeem both offers on the same purchase, giving you an extra boost to your earnings.
4. Create a team
Ibotta is a legit way to earn money with your friends, as another great feature it offers is the ability to form teams with them. In fact, if you get your friends to sign up with Ibotta through your referral link, not only do you get a $5 bonus for them doing so, but they’ll be automatically on your team.
The main benefit of this is that there are often bonuses where all the rebates your team members redeem are all pooled together. If you all cumulatively redeem enough, you’ll all be able to additional bonuses – which means more free money for all of you.
Which is better: Ibotta or Rakuten?
The question of whether Ibotta is better than Rakuten (or Ebates, as it used to be known) can be a bit tricky to answer, as they’re both pretty similar in terms of what they do – and also very similar in terms of their benefits for users.
Raluten also gives you money when you shop at its partner stores. In fact, it has offers available at over 2,500 online stores, which is a huge amount. Like Ibotta, you can also redeem offers in-store, although there seem to be much fewer of these available compared to Ibotta.
To redeem in-store offers with Rakuten, you have to select an offer in the app before making your purchase and then link this to your bank card. This means no paying in cash and no being able to upload receipts to take advantage of deals.
However, Rakuten’s referral deal is incredible. You’ll get a free $10 welcome bonus just for signing up (which you can do here) – plus, for each friend that you get to sign up, Rakuten will send you a whopping $25.
So who wins in Ibotta vs Rakuten?
There’s no real winner in the discussion of Ibotta vs Rakuten, but their pros and cons can be summarized as follows:
- Ibotta is far better than Rakuten for in-store deals given its different options for being able to redeem offers
- Ibotta’s $20 welcome bonus is unbeatable – although that $25 referral bonus with Rakuten is pretty incredible
- Rakuten has more online stores, but all the major ones that you’re probably shopping on are in both apps. These include things like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and so on.
Basically, the best way to use these apps is to check both of them before making any online purchase to see which one has the best deal based on what you’re looking to buy.
The easiest way to do this is to install both the Rakuten and Ibotta Chrome extensions. That way, you’ll be automatically notified by both when there are deals on any page you’re on, and you’ll be able to immediately see which one is better.
What’s better than Ibotta?
Ibotta is one of the market leaders when it comes to cash back apps. For the range of offers you get and the amount of money you can earn – especially given that it’s completely free – you can’t go wrong if you decide to use it to make money on your shopping.
However, if you’re looking for an app that gives you extra ways to make money, you should also consider Swagbucks. Swagbucks is another legit app that also gives you the chance to earn cash back at hundreds of online stores, many of which are the same as Ibotta.
But what gives Swagbucks a boost is that it also has a bunch of other ways that you can earn money through it. This includes watching videos and playing games, making it a great way to earn a few extra dollars when you’re procrastinating or, say, on the bus to work.
Our favorite way to make money with Swagbucks is the fact that it pays you to do internet searches through the app – with the results being identical to searching directly in Google.
Plus the free $10 sign up bonus just to verifying your email address is pretty amazing too.
What is the best cash back app?
The question of what is the best cash back app out of Ibotta, Swagbucks and Rakuten is going to depend on each individual offer.
That said, there’s no reason why you can’t sign up for more than one of these apps and cross-check the deals in each one to make sure you’re earning as much cash back as possible.
It’s worth doing this for the sign up bonuses alone. While Ibotta’s is higher than the others, the fact that Swagbucks and Rakuten are offering free money just for signing up isn’t anything to sniff at. Specifically:
- Sign up with Ibotta and receive a $20 welcome bonus
- Create a Swagbucks account and get $10 for free
- Signing up with Rakuten will earn you a free $10 gift
Still got questions on Ibotta after all that? Hopefully we can help below.
How do you get $20 on Ibotta?
The first way to get $20 on Ibotta is via the welcome bonus. Simply sign up here, use the referral code “VKOVMQV” and redeem an offer within 14 days of registration, and the $20 will be yours.
How much money can you make with Ibotta?
Ibotta claims that the average amount that most people earn with Ibotta is around $25 per month.
Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t earn more. For example, someone in this Reddit post said that they’ve earned $4,000 through Ibotta, although most of the comments are more in line with Ibotta’s stated average.
Related: 37 of the Highest Paying Online Jobs
What gift cards can I get from Ibotta?
There are over 20 stores offering gift cards for cashing out your Ibotta earnings. These include:
- Best Buy
- Whole Foods
- AMC Theatres
The gift cards will be digital, so you’ll receive them by email almost immediately after you request to withdraw your earnings in your Ibotta account.
Does Ibotta charge a fee to use it?
Ibotta is completely free to use. They make their money by taking fees from retailers, not by charging users to use the app.
Is there an Ibotta inactivity fee?
There is an Ibotta inactivity fee. Specifically, if you don’t use your account for over six months, Ibotta will charge you $3.99 per month until the account balance reaches zero. They’ll also email you before this fee is incurred to remind you to use your account before you get charged.
They won’t, however, take any fees from your linked bank card nor will your Ibotta account balance go into negative figures – once you have zero dollars in your Ibotta account, the maintenance fees will stop being charged.
The best way to avoid this is to simply redeem one offer every six months.
Can you use old receipts for Ibotta?
You have seven days from the date of purchase to send your receipt to Ibotta to redeem any applicable offers. After that, the receipt will be considered too old so won’t be accepted.
How to unlock rebates on Ibotta?
Ibotta offers can be found very easily in the app. Simply search for the store where you want to buy something and the deals will all be listed there, with no need to actually unlock rebates in order to access them.
So is Ibotta worth it?
Ibotta is definitely worth it and is definitely legit as a way to make extra money from what you’re already buying.
That is, if you know you have to buy bread, milk and cheese this week, why not use Ibotta to get some cash back on these things? After all, any money you can make from something you’re already doing is pretty much the dream.
It’s true that you won’t become rich from using cash back apps like Ibotta. But in terms of a way to earn, say, an extra $30 each month, it’s super easy and takes almost no extra work at all.
The one trick, as we mentioned above, is to make sure that you’re not buying extra things in order to get more cash back. If you pay $10 for a shirt you don’t actually need and get $1 back on it, that’s still $9 out the door.
But as long as you keep that in mind, Ibotta is highly recommended as a way to cut back your shopping bill (almost) automatically.
About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.