Ibotta is a free online resource that allows you to earn cash back on groceries and other purchases by uploading your receipts.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at four things to know about Ibotta before you download the app and get started. I downloaded the app and tried out Ibotta myself to see exactly what you can expect.
4 Things To Know Before Earning Cash Back with Ibotta
No matter how much you typically spend on groceries, there are always ways to reduce your bill. One way to save big on groceries and other essentials over time is by earning cash back through an app like Ibotta. You simply download the app or install the browser extension, claim offers, shop as normal and earn cash back on eligible purchases.
Once you’ve earned a total of $20 in cash back rewards, you can withdraw your earnings via PayPal or Stripe and have the cash sent directly to your bank account. While most cash back offers vary from $0.25 to $2.00 per eligible item, the savings can really add up over time.
If you’re ready to start earning cash back with Ibotta, here are four things to know:
Below, you’ll find more detailed information on Ibotta including what to expect once you’ve created an account and how to start earning cash back.
What Is Ibotta?
Ibotta itself was founded in 2012. Since then, it’s paid out more than $1 billion in cash rewards to more than 35 million users according to the company’s website. Ibotta partners with more than 300 retail chains, restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, home improvement centers, pet stores, pharmacies and more.
While Ibotta is typically associated with groceries, you can earn cash back on non-grocery purchases as well. You may find offers available at pharmacies, restaurants, liquor stores, gas stations and other major retailers including online merchants such as Amazon.
“I use Ibotta sometimes if I want to give a bottle of wine as a gift since they have pretty good rebates on alcohol,” says Team Clark member Beth. “I’ve also used it to get money back on hotel stays by booking through the app!”
You can check out a full list of stores where Ibotta works online.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on groceries or other purchases, earning cash back through Ibotta is a great place to start.
How Does Ibotta Work?
Ibotta works by making cash back offers to users. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to find your favorite/nearest retailers, browse available offers and claim cash back on purchases you intend to make.
Once you’ve found an offer you’d like to redeem, you just claim that offer and add it to your shopping list. Then, when you’re at the store or browsing online, add items to your shopping cart that are eligible for the offers you’ve claimed. Once you’ve made the purchase, you can claim the cash back with Ibotta. After your account reaches $20 in earnings, you can transfer the money to your bank account.
Below is detailed information on each step of the process from registering with Ibotta to claiming offers to redeeming your earnings.
When you first register, you’ll need to provide an email address, create a password and enter some basic personal information including your name and birthdate. You’ll also have the option to allow notifications and location services. This helps Ibotta find out what stores and offers are available near you and let you know when there’s an opportunity to save.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to select the retailers where you shop regularly. Ibotta has partnerships with 300+ retailers, which means you’ll likely find at least a few stores and websites that are Ibotta partners. When I signed up, I selected Walmart, Kroger, Target, Meijer, Aldi and Amazon as my “favorites.”
If you regularly shop in stores or on a retailer’s mobile app, the Ibotta app will likely be the most convenient way to save. If you regularly shop online with your computer, especially at stores where you have a loyalty membership, you’ll also want to install the Ibotta browser extension.
Claim Offers With Ibotta’s App
Once you’ve created an account with Ibotta, you’ll be ready to start earning cash back instantly. To get started on the app, simply search for a particular retailer or product.
Similar to clipping coupons, you should take the time to find and claim offers before you actually visit the store. This will help you get an idea of what’s eligible for cash back offers and save you time once you get to the store. For example, if you know you’ll be making a trip to the grocery store later, you can pull up the store in the Ibotta app and browse cash back offers. I pulled up the Meijer page on Ibotta, and here’s what I found.
On a store’s Ibotta page, you can see recommended offers, offers on items you’ve previously bought, popular offers, best value offers, “any item” offers and more. You can click on individual offers for additional details including purchase amount limits, requirements, eligible products, other stores with the same offer and more. Unlike many coupons, you can typically use these offers multiple times on the same receipt and combine them with other discounts for the most savings. If there are limitations, they’ll be noted in the app.
If you need to buy a specific item, you can search the app for brands and products to see if there are any active offers.
When you click on an offer for additional details, you’ll be able to see the names of stores where the product is available. If the offer is a part of any bonuses, that’ll be listed here as well.
When you find an offer for a product that you’d like to purchase, click the small plus sign symbol (to the right of the product photo) to add the offer to your list. Once the offer is added, make the qualifying purchase(s) to earn cash back.
Claim Offers With Ibotta’s Browser Extension
If you typically shop online using your computer’s web browser, consider downloading the Ibotta browser extension. This is a great way to take advantage of cash back offers on grocery delivery/pickup and any other purchases you make at online retailers.
Once you install the browser extension, you’ll be able to shop at your favorite online stores just like you would normally. When you visit a supported retailer’s website, the browser extension will turn pink and you can click on it to link your loyalty account or activate cash back.
I installed the browser extension and visited Walmart.com to see how the cash back offers work with this method.
When I first visited the website, I was prompted to link my Walmart account to my Ibotta account. To do this, I simply entered my login information for Walmart.com in the Ibotta browser extension.
Then I was able to see promoted cash back offers in the extension or search for products. When I came across eligible products with cash back offers, they were highlighted by a pink box. When you see the pink box come up, be sure to click on the plus sign icon to add the offer to your list before purchasing.
Earn Cash Back
Once you have added offers to your list in Ibotta, simply purchase the eligible item(s), provide proof of purchase and earn cash back. If you have linked your store loyalty account to your Ibotta account, eligible purchases will automatically be picked up by Ibotta. That means you don’t have to do anything other than purchase eligible items and collect cash back!
If you’re shopping in a store where you don’t have a loyalty account, you can upload receipts manually once you’ve made your purchase. This worked well when I shopped in-store at Meijer and Target.
First, make sure the items you’re purchasing are actually eligible for the offers you’ve claimed. You can do this easily in-store by clicking on the offer you’re hoping to redeem and using the app’s barcode scanner to check the product you’re holding.
Once you do check out, click on the “Redeem” tab in the Ibotta app. From there, click on the retailer’s name and then take a picture of your receipt. The app will scan your receipt and find any eligible claimed offers.
The cash you earn will accumulate in the Ibotta app. You’ll be able to withdraw your earnings once you reach $20. You can transfer your earnings to your bank or PayPal account, or you can redeem them as a digital gift card.
If you withdraw your earnings via PayPal, the funds will be available immediately. Transferring money directly to your bank account may take 1-3 business days.
Tips for Earning More With Ibotta
Team Clark member Beth has used Ibotta regularly over the last few years, and she says she’s found that one of the biggest downsides can be forgetting to check the app before going on a grocery trip. For this reason, the best way to maximize the cash back you earn with Ibotta is by planning ahead. Be sure to check Ibotta for offers before you go shopping and put those items at the top of your grocery list.
In addition to planning ahead, Beth also recommends comparison shopping in order to save the most cash overall.
“It’s still important to comparison shop, especially with store brands,” says Beth. “Even after factoring in the Ibotta earnings, another brand of the same item can still be cheaper.”
If you take the time to plan ahead and comparison shop, you’ll be on track to maximize the cash back you’ll earn with Ibotta. For even more ways to save and earn, here are five additional tips:
1. Combine cash back offers with coupons and sales. Check your grocery store’s weekly ad circular for items that are on sale and see if these products are on Ibotta. You can also combine these offers with other manufacturer coupons (paper or digital) to get additional savings. If you make a grocery list, search for those items on Ibotta to see if any cash back offers are available.
2. Complete bonuses. In addition to individual rebates, Ibotta also offers bonus opportunities. When you first sign up, you’ll be eligible for a welcome bonus of up to $20. My welcome bonus was $15 once I redeemed nine offers. I’m also currently working on a $0.75 bonus that requires you to redeem three offers on eligible breakfast items. You can see available bonuses by clicking the “Earn More” tab in the Ibotta app. Click individual bonus offers to see details including eligible offers, exclusions and more.
3. Use “any brand” rebates. As you’re browsing offers in Ibotta, you’ll see “any brand” rebates, which is a great way to save on your favorite regular purchases. These rebates may be a little lower in value ($0.25 to $0.50), but they don’t require you to buy a specific brand. This way, you can save on generic items including fresh foods. You can search for these offers by typing “any brand” into the search bar on the Ibotta app.
4. Use the in-app scanner while you’re shopping. If you’re not sure whether a product is eligible for an offer, use Ibotta’s barcode scanner to check. Sometimes there are details in the fine print involving item size or quantity that makes certain products ineligible. Use the scanner to verify an item’s eligibility so that you don’t lose out on any earnings.
5. Build a team. Ibotta offers tons of incentives to help you earn more — including a welcome bonus for new members and a referral program. Every time a friend joins Ibotta and begins redeeming offers, you’ll get a reward. A lot of people share their referral codes on social media to build a larger team. The larger your team is, the easier it will be to earn teamwork bonuses for everyone.
Overall, Ibotta is a great way to earn cash back for regular purchases.
“I used it a lot when I first downloaded the app, but I found that I started to forget to check it before I went to the store,” says Team Clark member Beth. “Still, I think it’s worth downloading because there really isn’t a downside other than it can take a bit of time.”
Since I’ve been testing out Ibotta to earn cash back on groceries, here are the biggest pros and cons I’ve found.
- Wide range of products. You can use Ibotta to earn cash back on groceries and non-grocery purchases that you already plan on making.
- Easily find offers. Whether you’re browsing your favorite retailer in the app, looking for specific or “any brand” rebates or shopping online using the browser extension, offers are easy to find and claim.
- Fast cash back. You can link your loyalty accounts or upload receipts manually to earn cash back that’ll be added to your Ibotta account within 24 hours.
- Three payment methods. You can choose to have your earnings transferred directly to your bank or PayPal account or redeem them as gift cards.
- Offers can’t be applied after purchase. To earn cash back from Ibotta, you’ll have to claim offers before you make a purchase. It’s just like a coupon in this way. For this reason, it’s important to plan ahead.
- $20 threshold before transferring. When you start saving with Ibotta, you’ll have to earn $20 in cash back offers (including any bonuses) before you can withdraw the cash. Still, with your $15 to $20 welcome bonus, this won’t be hard.
- Account maintenance fees. Ibotta is free to use, but it will deduct $3.99 per month from your earnings if you don’t use the app for 180 days. To avoid this, redeem at least one offer every six months.