Ibotta Review: Is This Cash-Back App Worth Your Time?

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Our take: Ibotta's offer is hard to beat: free cash back — sometimes for 100% of an item's cost — at the places that you were going to shop anyway. Although you'd have to do a lot of shopping to achieve notable success with Ibotta, it's a potential bonus for those running households that require a lot of resources and upkeep. If you find yourself at the grocery store a few times a week, the home improvement store a couple of times per month and so on, you may be able to curb expenses by redeeming cash-back rewards. Unlike other cash-back rewards programs that cater to a niche aspect of life, like travel, you'll have a full range of choices about how to use your Ibotta rewards.
  • Customer Experience
    5.0
  • Breadth of Partnerships
    5.0
  • Innovation
    4.5
  • Privacy Protection
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

      Pros

      • Cash back nearly everywhere you shop
      • 100% cash back on many deals

      Cons

      • Privacy. Ibotta strips out customer details and sells anonymized data about shopping patterns to third parties. You can turn privacy settings on, but you'll need to remember to do so manually.
      • Ibotta charges inactive accounts $3.99 per month to cover maintenance until your balance is zero.

      What Is Ibotta?

      Ibotta is an app aimed at giving you cash-back rewards for your everyday purchases. Ibotta partners with more than 1,500 brands and retailers, from Gap to Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Petco and more. Simply shop on Ibotta, earn cash back, upload your receipts and get cash for your purchases within 24 hours. From there, transfer it to your bank account via PayPal or Venmo. Ibotta’s cash-back offer applies to in-store and online purchases.

      How Does Ibotta Work?

      While you’re shopping in person or online, look at cash-back offers from retailers and claim the deals that make sense for you. Check out using the Ibotta app, scan and upload your receipt and plan to transfer the cash you’ve earned to yourself within a day or so.

      Ibotta Features

      Here’s a look at some of the features that Ibotta offers its users.

      Browser Extension

      Prefer to shop on your laptop or desktop computer? Ibotta has a plan for that. Just download the app’s browser extension for Chrome or Firefox, log into your Ibotta account, activate the cash-back offer and shop for whatever you’re looking for. You’ll earn cash back in the same way that you would if you were shopping in-store or on the app.

      Plug-In for Loyalty Accounts

      You can spare yourself the hassle of uploading receipts by linking your loyalty accounts or cards to Ibotta’s app. That way, if you’re shopping at one of your preferred stores, such as Target, Ibotta will automatically give you credit for your purchases with that retailer — no receipts needed.

      Nearby Offer Alerts

      Ibotta can use your location to send you push notifications while you’re shopping or running errands. You don’t have to allow Ibotta to use your location, but if you do, you’ll be able to get offer alerts in real time to help you take advantage of potential deals.

      Influencer Program

      Ibotta offers publishers and content creators an opportunity to earn by promoting the app to their followers. Affiliates start out earning $2 per new Ibotta user registration and payouts can increase from there.

      Is Ibotta Safe?

      To support safe purchasing, Ibotta uses 256-bit bank-level encryption, according to its website. The company does not see your transaction details, and it partners with payment processors to ensure adherence to industry guidelines for accepting payments.

      To support your overall privacy, Ibotta offers privacy settings. There, you can prevent the app from selling any anonymized data about you to interested third parties. Your account will default to data sharing, so you’ll have to make your own privacy selections.

      Is Ibotta Free?

      Ibotta is free as long as you’re an active user. Once your account is deactivated or registers no activity for six months, Ibotta will deduct $3.99 from your balance in the app until your account balance reaches zero.

      How To Sign Up

      Download Ibotta’s app and register for an account using your email address. Once you’re registered, the app will recommend that you enable tracking, location and notifications to receive relevant, personalized recommendations on where to earn cash back.

      Ibotta’s Approach to Customer Service

      You can reach out to the team at Ibotta via the contact form on its website and expect to hear back within two business days, on average. To speed things up, you can also field a question to Ibotta’s community forum.

      Is Ibotta Right for You?

      If you’re running a busy household, Ibotta could deliver a financial advantage. Your routine will get a little busier as you look for offers on Ibotta and upload receipts, but the savings tend to add up quickly. Ibotta claims that its users have received over $1 billion so far and counting.

      Have a Plan for the Incoming Cash

      Who doesn’t love getting cash back? Whether you apply it to travel, brokerage accounts or an education fund, Ibotta seems to have built a cash-back service that has the potential to benefit anyone. Since the funds you’ll get back is money you wouldn’t have had otherwise, don’t let it disappear into the black hole known as a checking account.

      Ibotta FAQ

      Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Ibotta.
      • How soon can I transfer my earnings out of the Ibotta app?
        • You must have an accumulated balance of at least $20. You must have successfully redeemed at least one brand-name offer and you need to be an Ibotta customer for at least 48 hours before a withdrawal.
      • Do I have to transfer earnings out right away?
        • No. You can keep your cash back stored with Ibotta for as long as you'd like.
      • How much per month does the average Ibotta user earn?
        • It's estimated that the average active Ibotta user makes $10 to $20 per month, but more regular users can earn anywhere between $100 and $300 per month, CNBC Select reported.

      About the Author

      Kelli Francis is a writer and content strategist. She started her career with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and went on to work in some of the industry’s busiest newsrooms, from The Seattle Times to MSN.com, WebMD and Yahoo. In nearly a decade at Yahoo, she worked as an assistant managing editor at Yahoo Finance, specializing in personal finance content; a producer for Yahoo News; and a managing editor on Yahoo’s home page team. A perennial seeker, Kelli is currently expanding her knowledge of all things finance as a student at The American College of Financial Services. She is also the very proud mom of a wonderful and unstoppable 7-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

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