What is Ibotta? (We Tried It!) Find Out Everything You Need to Know about this Rewards Shopping App

Getting cash back rewards just for shopping as usual sounds great. But many wonder, “What’s the catch?” with money back apps like Ibotta.

how to use ibotta

It sounds easy enough just to keep track of what you buy and use an Ibotta reward code to earn money. Many think it sounds a little too easy though, and wonder, “How does Ibotta make money and why do they offer cash back?”.

These shopping and grocery rebate apps have been becoming more common in the last few years. Some money back apps act as portals through which you do online shopping for a rebate, while others also have you scan receipts. 

In our AdvisoryHQ News Ibotta review, we’ll take a close look at this shopping rewards app and answer the questions, “How does Ibotta work?” and “What is Ibotta?”. We’ll even look at Ibotta hacks.

You’ll also find out about Ibotta rewards codes that earn you extra cash just for signing up and what’s in it for the company when they give you those cash back rewards.

If you’ve been wondering whether you should or shouldn’t try out the Ibotta app, you’ll want to read on for a full Ibotta review. We’ve even downloaded the app to test it up close and we’ll tell you everything!

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AdvisoryHQ Ibotta Review | The Company Behind the App

Ibotta is headquartered in Denver, Colorado and was launched in 2012. Since that time, it’s become one of the most used shopping money back apps in the U.S.

The name Ibotta, actually comes from the term “I bought a…” and the company was started as an innovative way to connect brands, retailers, and consumers. They state they’ve paid out more than $200 million in cash back to users since inception.

So, how does Ibotta make money? If they’re giving cash back to users just for shopping with their app and it’s free to use, why do they do it? The key is advertising revenue.

Ibotta earns affiliate compensation similar to publications that put out manufacturer coupon offers. They also earn advertising revenue from sponsored videos that users can watch to get special rebates and Ibotta rewards codes.

So, how does Ibotta work exactly? We’ll tell you next!

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How Does Ibotta Work?

When looking at the website for how to use Ibotta, it initially looks pretty easy. But we did run across some Ibotta reviews (which we’ll get into shortly) that said it was a little confusing.

When reviewing the webpage on how to use Ibotta, you get the basics. You download the app and can then earn money three ways through their platform.

  • Send a copy of your receipt from a connected retailer
  • Link a store loyalty card
  • Purchase from stores directly through their money back app

So how does Ibotta work in real life? Is it really so simple that you just shop and take a photo of your receipt?

To fully answer the question, “How does Ibotta work?” we downloaded the app to see for ourselves. And here’s what we experienced.

What is Ibotta Like to Use?

After downloading the app, there’s a note to sign up to claim a $10 “Welcome Bonus” – no special Ibotta reward code needed. You can sign up with your Facebook login or with an email address. You’ll be asked for some information like name, birthdate, zip code.

If you have a referral code from another user (users earn bonus points for referrals) you can enter it as well.

Next, you’re asked to pick some favorite stores you use. In our Ibotta review of the stores, we found popular ones like Walmart, Best Buy and CVS pharmacy. You also pick some favorite shopping apps like Amazon, Target, or Hotels.com.

What comes next in the Ibotta app review might be why some people think it’s a little confusing. You don’t just scan your whole receipt and earn points on everything, you have to choose from different shopping rewards and follow those instructions for each.

Ibotta Offer Types

What is Ibotta offering for cash back options? Here are just a few we saw immediately in the app:

  • $0.50 cash back on any grocery item
  • $2.00 cash back on Spiked Selzer® and any food item as a combo
  • $1.00 cash back on Red Baron® MultiServe Frozen Pizza
  • $1.00 cash back on Malt O Meal® Cereals
  • $0.25 cash back on any brand of orange juice

How to Use Ibotta for Redeeming Offers

After choosing the 50 cents offer to redeem, we then were prompted to scan the QR code at the bottom of our grocery store receipt (which we promptly fished out of the trash) and then asked to take a full photo of the receipt itself including the total and all the items.

Then, a few seconds later, we’d earned 50 cents. It was pretty quick and easy. But in a short scan of the Ibotta app review of offers, we can tell in order to earn more, it’s going to take a little more effort to go through the offers and match our shopping items and stores.

What is Ibotta’s Payment Policy?

Ibotta reward code and shopping offers are deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Once your account total reaches $20, you can transfer 100% of the earnings to either a PayPal or Venmo account to get the cash or opt to get a gift card instead.

Where Can I Find an Ibotta Reward Code?

If you search online for Ibotta rewards codes, you’ll find some listed on sites like Coupon.com, DealsPlus.com, and Facebook. Most of these have that same $10 welcome offer given initially in the app. Some also have an extra bonus and cash back offers.

There is also an Ibotta reward code of sorts from the site that they call promo codes. They allow users to earn special offers and bonuses and send Ibotta promo codes via email, app notifications, or handouts, according to the site.

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Ibotta App Review

The Ibotta money back app is available both for Apple iOS and Android devices. The app is needed to connect to your phone’s camera to scan a receipt’s QR code and take a receipt photo to send for earning rewards.

ibotta reward code

Here’s how Ibotta app reviews by users rated this cash back app:

  • Google Play Store: 4.5 out of 5 (327,459 Ibotta reviews)
  • iTunes Store: 4.5 out of 5 (59,452 Ibotta reviews)

Most Ibotta app reviews say the app is very easy to use, with a few of them complaining that the scanner for the QR code doesn’t work well. Overall, both app store users give pretty high ratings and positive reviews for Ibotta.

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Ibotta Reviews from Cash Back Shoppers

How does Ibotta work for the average shopper? Is it worth the time and effort to earn a little extra cash? We’ll find out next by taking a look at highlights from both positive and negative Ibotta reviews.

What is Ibotta’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) score? They have a “B” and have been BBB accredited since July of 2016.

We’ll start with those that didn’t enjoy using the app and then hear from the other side of the spectrum that has good things to say about it.

Ibotta Review Highlights | Unhappy App Users

  • In a 1-star Ibotta review, the reviewer said working with the app started out great, but went downhill within a few months. They began having trouble redeeming legitimate receipt offers and had cash reversed out of their account balance due to their errors.
  • A shopper that found the receipt scanning too cumbersome said in their Ibotta review that they stopped using the app and found it getting harder to navigate over time. They did say that they received about $90+ while they were using it and didn’t have any trouble withdrawing the money.
  • Not paying out on promised referral bonuses was the complaint in two Ibotta reviews at Sitejabber. Both users said when too many friend referrals came through, they had problems getting the promised bonus cash.
  • An issue with a scanned barcode caused an app user to give a negative Ibotta review at Google Play. They said the barcode for the particular cat food they bought wouldn’t scan and give them the rebate promised, which was why they purchased it in the first place.

Ibotta Review Highlights | Happy App Users

  • In an Ibotta review on Sitejabber, the reviewer said they’d had the app for 9 months and earned about $145 during that time, but it was a lot of work to redeem offers. They said they didn’t have any trouble getting their money transferred to PayPal.
  • An app user that had Ibotta for a month said they had already earned $40 and they found the app very easy to use. They gave a 5-star Ibotta review and said they loved the platform.
  • “Way better than couponing,” said a user in their positive Ibotta review. They enjoyed getting money back on purchases and found the app easy to use.
  • Another happy reviewer said they’d earned $414 in a little over a year just by purchasing the things they normally do. Their happy Ibotta review also mentioned the great selection of stores and product rebates to choose from.

Are There Ibotta Hacks?

There are a number of Ibotta hacks online that you can use to optimize your experience with this money back app. If you’re looking for how to use Ibotta to the fullest, we’ve gathered a few Ibotta hack ideas for you.

  • Link your store loyalty card for more rebates
  • Take advantage of bonus rebates
  • Stack rebates for brand specific and “any brand” together
  • Scan barcodes as you shop to see if there’s a rebate
  • Take advantage of their mobile shopping portal for deals

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AdvisoryHQ’s Ibotta Review Conclusion

what is ibotta

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash on shopping rebates, Ibotta offers a legitimate and fairly easy way to do that. It is going to take up some time to choose rebate offers and upload your receipts, however, so some users find it worth the time and others don’t.

If you’ve been holding back because you’re wondering, “How does Ibotta make money?” and were afraid it was a scam, you’ll be pleased to know that users report getting their money that’s due.

But the company isn’t without its share of complaints. The main ones we found in Ibotta reviews were related to the scan feature not working consistently, and people that had rebates not credited properly due to errors.

We also found in both positive and negative Ibotta reviews that people complained about customer service and said it was hard to reach anyone.

Ibotta app reviews on both the iOS and Android platforms are very good, and most users say the interface is easy to use and they don’t have any problem getting their cash when it reaches the $20 mark.

Overall, Ibotta is a great app to get bonus cash from purchases you’re already making. It does take some time to go through and redeem the offers, but no more than if you were clipping coupons. For those with some time on their hands, you may want to check it out for some extra cash.

Image sources:

  • https://ibotta.com/           
  • https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibotta-cash-back-rewards-app/id559887125?mt=8      
  • https://ibotta.com/register

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