Ibotta Review 2024: Pros, Cons & Tips to Boost Earnings

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The grocery cashback app is legit and safe to use, but it's not without its inconveniences. Here's what to know about Ibotta before using it.

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Ibotta Review Summary

  • Over 50 million users; $1.6 billion in paid earnings.[1]
  • Average Ibotta saver earns $256 in cash back every year.[2]
  • Over 2,000 participating retailers.
  • Real cash back, not points. Paid to bank account, PayPal, or via gift cards.
  • Rating: 4.0 out of 5 (see methodology)
  • Best for: Shoppers who frequently purchase groceries and other essentials willing to invest time into searching for and applying cash back offers to maximize savings.

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ibotta logo

In the ever-evolving world of cash back apps, Ibotta stands out as a popular choice for savvy shoppers looking to earn money back on their everyday purchases. With its user-friendly interface and a vast network of retail partners, Ibotta promises an enticing way to save on groceries, dining out, and more.

As readers frequently inquire about the most effective ways to maximize their savings, DollarSprout is diving deep with a first-hand review of Ibotta.

Today, we explore everything from the sign-up process and available cash back offers to expected earning potential and how it stacks up against competitors. Then, ultimately, determine whether it’s a cash back app that can truly benefit your shopping habits.

What Is Ibotta?

ibotta app listing

Ibotta is a cash back app designed to reward users for making everyday purchases from a variety of retailers and online stores.

By linking offers to their accounts before shopping, users can earn back a portion of their spending on items ranging from groceries to electronics.

Beyond straightforward cash back, Ibotta also features bonuses and referral rewards, enhancing the potential for earnings.

This app aims to incentivize smarter shopping habits and integrate seamlessly into a user’s lifestyle, offering a practical approach to saving money without significant changes to their buying behavior. In essence, Ibotta stands as a bridge between consumers and brands, rewarding the former for their loyalty and purchases.

Free Price
$5 Sign Up Bonus
DollarSprout Rating

Earn cash back when you shop at Target, Amazon, Kroger, and more. Visit stores or shop online, scan your receipt or link a loyalty card, and Ibotta will credit your account within 24 hours.

How to Get Started with Ibotta

Steps to download Ibotta with screenshots

Getting started with Ibotta is a straightforward process. It takes just 30 seconds from start to finish.

First, download the Ibotta app from your device’s app store.

Then, create an account using your email address, Facebook, or Google account for seamless access.

Note: If you use our referral link, you’ll earn a free $5 in cash back when you submit your first receipt. We’re reader-supported, so we appreciate the assist!

That’s it. You’re ready to start adding offers to your list.

How Ibotta Works

Ibotta offers four ways to earn cash back: in-store shopping, online shopping, referrals, and bonuses.

1. In-store shopping

Ibotta makes in-store savings easy by allowing you the option to link your store loyalty account for automatic purchase detection, or, scan receipts after you shop. You can also turn on notifications for Nearby Offer Alerts to stay in the loop about offers in your area.

Link your store loyalty account

Ibotta Target Circle Account Linking

This is the most convenient way to use Ibotta. From within your Ibotta account, all you have to do is find a store that offers account linking, click “Confirm & link account,” add offers you want from that store; then, shop as usual.

Once you check out, Ibotta will automatically scan through your purchases, match them with offers in your Ibotta account, and add the cash back to your total earnings.

If you have the Ibotta browser extension installed, you’ll also receive a pop-up notification whenever you visit a site that allows account linking. You can add your information straight from there and link your account with the click of a button.

Scan your receipts

The process is similar to linking your loyalty account: find the store you want to shop at in the Ibotta app, add the offers you want, and shop in store. The only difference is that you’ll need to take a picture of your receipt to receive your cash back.

2. Online shopping

If you’re more of an online shopper, or want to hunt for deals in stores that aren’t in your area, Ibotta offers two options: shopping online with their browser extension or directly through the Ibotta app.

Shop online with the Ibotta browser extension

The Ibotta extension is available for Firefox and Chrome and works similarly to other cash back browser extensions. When you’re shopping on a site where they offer cash back, you’ll get a popup notification. Click the “Activate” button to claim the deal and continue shopping as normal.

Ibotta American Eagle Browser Extension Deal

In about a week, you’ll see your cash back added your Ibotta account.

Related: 7 Frugality Experts Share Their Best Hacks for Saving Money

Shop directly through the Ibotta app

If your laptop isn’t handy, you can shop online with Ibotta directly from the app.

Unlike the browser extension that pops up when you’ve landed on a site with a deal, you have to be more intentional when shopping through the Ibotta app. That is, you have to know where you want to shop or browse through the available stores until you find a place you like.

When you choose the store you want, the website will open in Ibotta’s app, where you can shop like normal.

3. Refer friends and family

Like many apps of its kind, you can earn for referring new users to Ibotta with your unique referral code. You can share your code via text, email, or social media straight from the app.

When your new recruits sign up with your code and submit their first receipt, you’ll both earn a $5 referral bonus.

4. Bonuses

Ibotta offers two types of bonuses: specific and non-specific. Specific bonuses are usually related to a single brand. For example, “Earn $0.50 when you redeem three offers from Chameleon Organic Coffee.” Non-specific bonuses are typically time-bound, like “Redeem 15 offers of any kind this weekend and earn $1.”

You can see both types on the “Bonus” tab on the bottom menu of the app.

Other Notable Features

Part of what makes Ibotta so user-friendly is that there aren’t many features to be aware of. Outside of earning cash back through everyday shopping, the most relevant thing to know about the app is that you can earn 1% to 10% cash back on gift card purchases.

Cash back on gift card purchases

Ibotta’s gift card feature is pretty simple. From inside the app, you can purchase what amounts to discounted gift cards to over 175 retailers, including Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, Walmart, Uber, and more.

To purchase a gift card on Ibotta, you can either add a personal debit card or use your Ibotta earnings. Either way, you’ll get cash back.

If you’re buying the gift card for someone else, you can toggle the “This is a gift” option. On the next screen, you’ll choose how you want to send the gift card off. Whoever you send it to doesn’t need an Ibotta account to use the card.

Getting Paid

Infographic highlight the cashout process for Ibotta via Paypal.

Ibotta offers flexibility in how you receive your cash. Users seem to most often choose to transfer earnings to their bank or PayPal account, which is a convenient option for users who prefer cash.

Alternatively, one can opt to exchange earned cash back for free gift cards to popular retailers.

Once you’ve selected your preferred payment method and have at least $20 in your account, navigate to the “Withdraw Cash” or “Gift Cards” section of the app. Follow the prompts to initiate the withdrawal process. For PayPal or bank transfers, you’ll need to link your account the first time you cash out.

After you initiate the withdrawal, your funds should be transferred within 1 to 3 business for PayPal and bank transfers. Digital gift cards hit your account email address within 24 hours.

Earning Potential

Your earning potential with Ibotta varies widely depending on several factors, including the frequency of your shopping trips, the types of products you buy, and how diligently you use the app to find and redeem offers.

  • For casual users who only occasionally remember to check for deals or who shop infrequently, earnings might range from $2 to $20 per month. These users typically take advantage of the more straightforward offers without much planning ahead.
  • More active users, those who plan their shopping around Ibotta’s offers, use the app for both in-store and online purchases, and participate in bonus offers and challenges, can see significantly higher returns. This group might earn between $20 to $100 or more per month.

The key to maximizing earnings is to consistently check the app for new offers, refer friends to increase bonus earnings, and combine Ibotta rebates with other coupons and sales for maximum savings.

How to Maximize Your Earnings with Ibotta

Maximizing your earnings on Ibotta involves a blend of strategic shopping, utilizing the app’s features to their fullest, and a bit of creativity. Here are some insightful hacks and tips gathered from our personal experience and real users that can help you get the most out of your Ibotta experience:

  1. Buy Smaller Quantities: This may seem counterintuitive, but when rebates are offered per item regardless of size, purchasing smaller quantities maximizes your percentage of savings​​.[3]
  2. Claim Old Purchases: Ibotta allows you to claim rebates for purchases made up to a week ago. This is especially handy if you forgot to check the app before shopping​​.
  3. Stack Rebates with Sales and Coupons: Combining Ibotta’s cash back offers with in-store sales and manufacturer coupons can amplify your savings significantly. Look for items that are both on sale and have Ibotta rebates, and use coupons for an extra discount​​.[4]
  4. Shop for Bonus Rebates: Ibotta often offers bonus rebates during holidays or for purchasing specific brands. These bonuses can stack with existing rebates, increasing your cash back on a single purchase​​.
  5. Ditch Brand Loyalty: This is by far the easiest of ways in which Ibotta users can save money. If you’re not married to a specific brand of detergent, shampoo, or bread, you’ll find opportunities to save abound.
  6. Utilize Hidden Offers and Promo Codes: Keep an eye out for hidden offers within the app, your email inbox, or Ibotta social channels.
  7. Link Loyalty Cards: For in-store purchases, linking your store loyalty cards to Ibotta can simplify the process of claiming rebates (and it’s more accurate than snapping a photo of your receipt).[5]
  8. Check Ibotta Before Shopping: Always check Ibotta for offers before you go shopping to plan your purchases around available rebates and bonuses. This proactive approach can significantly increase your earnings​​.

User Reviews

While Ibotta boasts strong app store ratings, it’s become common knowledge that companies — while generally stopping short of incentivizing 5-star ratings — commonly invite users to review the app at times when they’re most likely to leave a positive review (like when they redeem cash back).
While we at DollarSprout have found the app to be a legitimate and straightforward way to earn meaningful cash back, especially in the grocery niche, it helps to understand what other real Ibotta user reviews are saying. Here’s what we commonly see:

Positive Experiences

I’ve earned more than $1500 from Ibotta so far. I get paid to buy things that my family actually needs like toilet paper, deodorant, food, etc. I love Ibotta.
Missy Crystal, Quora
Missy Crystal
[Ibotta] is definitely worth it if you take advantage of all the bonuses and frequently cook at home. We are a family of four and have been averaging $30 to $40 in cash back each month, not including referrals. The trick is to combine your cash back offers with the bonuses they offer from time to time.
Nermeen Ghneim, Quora
 Nermeen Ghneim

Negative Experiences

After slowly building a balance on Ibotta and getting close to the $20 amount required to redeem your earnings, I became ill. No grocery shopping, didn’t bother with emails, etc., for 6 months — that sick. When I finally got online and checked my Ibotta account there was nothing in it! They drained it with $3.99 monthly service charges until it was empty…all that work for nothing.
Linda D., Sitejabber
Linda D.
I’ve been using Ibotta for years now. It’s always been so easy. The last two big purchases I made built around Ibotta offers didn’t even show up in my account. It’s way too much effort to have to manually email all of the offers to them each time to try to get the money now. I believe I’m done with them.
jingleheimerstick, Reddit

Ibotta Alternatives

When exploring popular alternatives to Ibotta for cash back and savings, several apps stand out for their unique features and benefits:

  1. Fetch Rewards simplifies the process by allowing you to scan receipts from any purchase to earn reward points, which can then be exchanged for gift cards at major retailers like CVS, Target, and Amazon. Its straightforward approach makes it a strong contender for those looking to earn on all their shopping without restrictions​​.
  2. Dosh focuses on passive earning by linking directly to your credit or debit cards. When you shop at partner merchants, cash back is automatically credited to your account without the need to scan receipts or activate offers beforehand. This makes Dosh an appealing option for those who prefer a hands-off approach to earning cash back on their purchases​​​​.
  3. Rakuten integrates directly with your web browsing experience, unlike apps that require receipt scanning or specific in-store action. Their browser extension or mobile app alert you to cash back opportunities at over 2,500 stores. The combination of ease of use, a broad(er) network of retail partners, and industry-leading cash back rates makes Rakuten a compelling alternative or complement to apps like Ibotta for maximizing online savings​.
  Ibotta Fetch Rewards Dosh Rakuten
Earning Method Scan receipts, link loyalty accounts, in-app purchases Scan any receipt Linked credit/debit purchases Shop via app or browser extension
Cash Back Type Specific items and brands, online offers Any item from any store, focus on brands for higher points Automatic cash back on linked card purchases Cash back on online purchases
Payout Options PayPal, Bank Transfer, Gift Cards Gift Cards Bank Transfer, PayPal Check, PayPal
Minimum Payout $20 $3 (3,000 points) $15 $5
Referral Bonus $5 1,000 points None $30
Availability Primarily USA USA USA USA, Canada, and more

Final Thoughts: Is Ibotta Worth It?

Every app has its issues, but I think with Ibotta, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s a good way to earn cash back for shopping that you’re probably already doing and especially shines with grocery and department stores.

Your favorite brands and items may not always have a deal, so the more willing you are to try new brands, the more money you’ll save. With well over 200 online shopping deals and 2,000+ total retailers, odds are you’ll find a few offers meaningful to you.

It’s a little cumbersome having to find and add offers to your account before you shop. My hope is that in the future Ibotta finds a way to automate the process so you can link all your loyalty accounts, shop as normal (without telling them what deals you want beforehand), and they can match deals with your receipts.



Is Ibotta legit?

Ibotta is a legitimate cash back platform that has paid out $1.6 billion to more than 50 million users since the company’s inception in 2012.

Ibotta’s Better Business Bureau profile shows that the company is not accredited but maintains a B rating. They’ve had over 700 complaints in the last three years, however, all complaints are marked resolved, meaning the person who wrote the complaint verified that the issue was dealt with to their satisfaction.

Ibotta has a 4.8 rating from the Apple app store and a 4.5 rating from the Google Play store. The company has a combined 2.4 million reviews between both platforms.

What retailers can be found on Ibotta?

A comprehensive, up-to-date list of Ibotta Retailers can be found here.

Are there any dangers to using Ibotta?

Using Ibotta will involve sharing personal information, location data, and detailed shopping habits with the app and third-party partners. (Ibotta collects and shares users’ personal details, purchase history, location data, and device information for personalized offers and advertising.) Privacy-conscious users should be aware of data collection practices, how their information is used, and with whom it is shared. Ibotta’s privacy policy further outlines these aspects.

How does Ibotta make money?

Ibotta generates revenue by partnering with retailers and brands who pay the app for driving customers to their products and stores. When users purchase featured items, Ibotta earns a commission from these partners. Additionally, the app monetizes through in-app advertisements and selling anonymized data on shopping trends and consumer behavior to help companies improve their marketing strategies.


The rating of 4.0 out of 5 for Ibotta was synthesized based on a comprehensive analysis of various sources including but not limited to our first-person experience, third-party user reviews, expert opinions, and competitor app comparison. The methodology involved aggregating insights from these diverse resources to present an unbiased assessment of the app’s performance, user satisfaction, and overall value proposition. Here’s a breakdown of the criteria used and explanations for each:

Megan Robinson

Hi! I'm Megan. I'm a personal finance enthusiast on a mission to help millennial men and women understand and make more money. Along with writing and editing content, I work one-on-one with individuals as a financial and behavioral money coach.

S King
S King

I tried Ibotta and did not have a good experience. I linked 2 grocers, one linked correctly but the other did not. OK. So I scanned and sent in my receipt for the grocer that did not auto-update my purchases. That did not work. I filled out the support request, and the process wanted me to provide the total savings amount for the items purchased.

(I really could not be accurate as some of the offers had expired, and I really didn’t know the exact amount of the rebate).

Then I was contacted by a support person and they wanted me to resubmit my receipt (already did that one) and then scan and submit the barcodes of all the items (and to detail the bonuses involved). I don’t understand why I should have to do all this work. I would not have to if their process worked properly. I canceled my account because it wasn’t worth the hassle.

S Mather
S Mather

I just check off every single item under my store listing, that way I don’t have to do a search on each item to see if it is listed in Ibotta. It automatically redeems every available item. This is a big time saver.

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