Posted by Chuck on January 23, 2017
Portals

Published on January 23rd, 2017 | by Chuck

25

Ibotta Review – Earn Cash Back for Store Purchases and Online Shopping

Ibotta is a site which offers rebates and cash back for in-store purchases and online shopping. It functions primarily through their app.

In-Store Rebates

The majority of the site is dedicated to in-store rebates which offers cash back when you purchase specific items from a participating store.

After saving a specific deal in the app, proceed to buy the product and get cash back into your Ibotta account. You might get $.75 back on the purchase of Kleenex tissues, $.25 back on milk, or $3 back on a case of beer, for example.

Always make sure to save – ‘Unlock’ – the deal before making the purchase. Go to the Unlocked Deals tab in the app to see which one’s you’ve already added. Once added, it doesn’t need to be added again until it expires.

They often make it a hassle to save the deal, especially for the better deals. Sometimes they’ll make you watch a two minute video, for instance, before being able to save the deal. Or they might make you answer a question about whether this is the first time you’re buying this product.

How to find a deal

Most deals are specific to a given store. Before shopping in Walmart, browse the Walmart section of the app and see if there’s a deal on any products you’re planning to buy. Alternatively, you can search by category, such as Grocery or Clothing, for all items in that category from all stores combined.

To be eligible for the rebate, items need to be purchased at specific stores. Usually, the deals are specific to one store (Target, Sears, Giant, etc). Other times you can get the rebate by purchasing the item at any partner store. Here is a list of all ibotta store partners. Look at the offer details carefully before buying.

Confirm your Purchase

In order to confirm that you purchased the item and thus qualify for the rebate, Ibotta requires one of two things:

  • Link your store loyalty card before the purchase (e.g. you Plenti card for Rite Aid or SYW for Sears). This option is only available at select retailers.
  • Scan the barcode and submit receipts after the purchase.

For products which need receipt submission, they need to be scanned into Ibotta within 7 days of the purchase and before the offer expiration date which might sometimes be just one or two days away.

Generic Offers

Aside from the item-specific offers (milk, Kleenex, etc.), we’ll occasionally see an offer to get a few dollars off any purchase at a given retailer. For example, there was once a deal to get $5 off $50 for any Staples purchase or $5 off $100 for any Best Buy purchase. Currently, I see $20 off $100 for any Orvis purchase in-store.

These offer are way more useful since they’ll work for anything purchased at that store.

Shopping Portal

Ibotta also has a shopping portal for select merchants with competitive rates. The portal is only found in the app, not on the computer.

Before we dive into their portal rates, here’s how to find the available shopping portal merchants. Go to the bottom of the home page in the app and click on Mobile Shopping > All to see all merchants. You can also pull up a specific online retailer that from the search bar in the app.

Portal Rates

There are currently around 25 retailers on their shopping portal; it’s by no means a full-scale shopping portal.

I checked through some of their portal rates and there are very good deals available.

eBay: One interesting portal deal is a 2% eBay cash back rate which is a bit higher than other portals. You can either click through Ibotta to the eBay app or shop within the Ibotta app on eBay. I’ve used both of these options and they’ve consistently tracked the portal properly. There is a limit of $10 per transaction, though, so keep that in mind for large purchases. [There is one bug I bump into sometimes when shopping within the Ibotta app, without the eBay app, where the system wouldn’t allow the purchase to be completed properly. Might be better to use the eBay app option.]

Here’s a sample of some other attractive portal deals:

Note all these portal offers and rates can change at any time. Our goal here is to give a sample of the opportunities. And, as always, be sure to cross-check on Cashbackmonitor to make sure another portal isn’t offering more.

And readers note that some portal rates only work once. After using it one time, the cash back rate showing in the app changes for the worse.

Teamwork

Another feature of the app, called Teamwork, is to connect with friends and become one group for earning targets. If the group meets certain hurdles you’re all eligible for a bonus. For example, you might be offered a bonus if the team collectively redeems $6 in rebates during the calendar month.

There are numerous bonus levels. The bigger the team, the faster and easier it is to meet finish Teamwork levels.

The person who referred you is automatically on your ‘team.’ You can also add teammates by connecting Facebook, Twitter, email, text and more.

Signup Bonus

There’s a $10 bonus when signing up for Ibotta, whether you use a referral or not. To qualify, you need to complete your first shopping trip within 7 days.

Other necessary conditions (as I understand it):

  • The rebate must be a specific-item rebate, not a generic “Any Brand” or “Any Item” rebates. This might exclude online shopping portal cashback as well.
  • You must login on a unique mobile device which has never been associated with Ibotta before.

After I signed up, I got another offer sent via email that after earning the $10 during the first week, I’d be eligible to earn another $5 during Week 2 and another $5 during Week 3. Total bonuses of $20. Keep an eye out to see if you get that offer too.

Be sure to read the signup bonus details carefully as they can change at any time.

Referral Bonus

You can refer friends to Ibotta and get a $5 bonus with each qualifying referral.

A few conditions necessary to get the $5 bonus:

  • Your friend needs to be eligible for their $10 signup bonus by completing a shopping trip within 7 days. If they don’t do that, you won’t get a bonus.
  • The rebate must be a specific-item rebate, not a generic “Any Brand” or “Any Item” rebates. This might exclude online shopping portal cashback as well.
  • Friend must login on a unique mobile device which has never been associated with Ibotta before.

The $10 signup bonus of the new member is the same whether they signup with a referral or without one. The only advantage for the new member is that by using a referral they’ll be automatically be part of the same Team as the referrer (see Teamwork, above) which might result in some extra rewards down the line.

Feel free to leave you Ibotta referral on this dedicated page. Please don’t leave them in the comments of this post.

Cashing Out

There are two options for cashing out your Ibotta balance: Paypal or Venmo. Both require a $20 minimum to cash out. Another option is to get merchant gift cards instead. These also have a $20 or $25 minimum so I don’t see why anyone would choose that.

Your Ibotta balance is only viewable in the app, not on the website.

Our Verdict

Personally, I find the whole app way too confusing, though admittedly I’m new to it (I signed up a couple weeks ago) and I’ve only spent a couple hours poking around.

The in-store deals which require linking or receipts are too time-consuming for me given the small reward. The more generic offers that come up occasionally (like $5 off $50 on anything at Staples or Best Buy) I can see as being more useful. Readers add that the alcohol or beer offers are the most lucrative.

The thing that catches my eye is the online shopping portal. While ibotta doesn’t have a lot of portal merchants, the one’s they do have are highly competitive and can offer significant savings. Much as I hate needing to check another portal which doesn’t show on the aggregation sites, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind.

My appreciation if you use my Ibotta referral link when signing up.

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25 Responses to Ibotta Review – Earn Cash Back for Store Purchases and Online Shopping

  1. Carl Parkins says:

    So glad you are doing these reviews!

    I have been on Ibotta for a little over a year now. Personally this is my favorite online shopping app because of the frequency that I am at the grocery store with/for my family. I totally agree that the app is a little wonky and cumbersome when using it, it really isn’t user friendly but compared to Checkout51 and SavingStar it is eons better for navigating.

    As far as the the rebates go – the alcohol ones are what are probably the best. But for your everyday groceries they have cash back ranging from .25 to around 2 dollars.There is one specific rebate where you buy tostidos, salsa, and some kind of beer and get like 6 dollars back. That is worth it alone lmao. Also when you go to a restaurant/bar, lets say you have a wine or beer that is one the “any restaurant or any bar” list boom cash back for stuff you would already be drinking anyway.

    As far as the portals go – this is a newer feature to Ibotta. I will use the portals when I am close to cashing out near my 20.00 mark. I usually just hop on eBay or Jet and purchase something that is needed for the house.

    Will you get rich of this – hell no. Like I said I have been using this for about a year now and have gotten back around 300 cash back. But you know what, this is stuff I’m buying anyway and I find it totally worth my time to take 10 minutes a week to snap receipts.

    • lc says:

      I’ve been using ibotta for over a year and the alcohol ones are the biggest savings. Stack this with the bevRage app for even more savings.

      • Carl Parkins says:

        bevRage has been awesome as well. They actually ticked me off for a while. I was not able to log onto bevRage for 2 weeks and couldn’t get customer service to address my account. It is fixed now, but I lost out on some easy money.

    • Nick says:

      I always thought the alcohol rebates were the best as well, but some states are excluded from (seemingly) all of them. That includes NC. I am sure it is due to state law, but it limits the usefulness of Ibotta. I live close to the border with SC…I wonder how they verify “residency”.

      • Bill says:

        Nick: its not based on residency when you redeem it is based on location of purchase – pretty much all receipts will list am address/zip code. They often state on their Facebook page that while a certain state might not be included – users can redeem if they travel to a state that does.

  2. Bill says:

    I agree – these are great reviews! i have been using ibotta for about 9 months and have seen a return of $500.00.

    I hope you take an opportunity to review BevRAGE next. (Great rebate app if you enjoy Adult Beverages) – purchases at stores and/or restaurants/bars.

    Thanks!

  3. Andy says:

    One important thing you missed is that some portal cash back rates are one time offers only. For example, I got 15% and my wife got 20% on Boxed for the first time. Then it became 3% for the both of us.

  4. SkayDk says:

    Little over 200 for 6 month, the most profitable for me were spending bonuses for some special events (xmas, thanksgiving etc), 10-20 dollars for buying 10-20 branded items (need to be careful not to spend on unneeded things). Also keep close watch on “Spend x” in certain shops – it nets 5-10 per receipt (just ask friends to snap their receipt)

    You also can enter receipts for 1 week and unlock deals afterwards, no need to do it before each shopping trip.

  5. Ben says:

    Do we get cash back for boxed.com and ebay for using Ibotta on our laptops/desktop computers rather than tablets or smartphones? Thanks.

  6. Matt P says:

    My wife uses it but we rarely earn much since we buy mostly fruits and vegetables, meat, etc and not much alcohol or packaged stuff. Probably gotten $75 over the past year.

  7. momosan says:

    I kept ridiculously accurate records last year on what I was getting from various reward programs. I made $38.35 on iBotta. $24.50 on Checkout21 and $56.05 on SavingStar. $5 from iBotta was from BestBuy, the rest from groceries. So from a strictly grocery perspective, I made $110-ish on $5K in spend or about 2%, which is decent enough to keep using it.

    Now, personally I don’t drink, so the many offers for adult beverages are useless to me, but those could rack in significant amounts.

    I actually like the iBotta interface better than Checkout21, however that app doesn’t make you answer questions or watch videos.

  8. Kien Huynh says:

    Also don’t forget that receipts need to be submitted no more than 7 days after purchase and before the offer expiration date/time. Basically they should be submitted almost right away as I have forgotten to do it until it’s too late when I made the purchase a day or two before expiration.

  9. Peter says:

    They have an extremely invasive privacy policy. Essentially they collect all personal information they can, including contact and transaction info to market to you, advertise to you, and whatever future technology and analytics they would like to do.

    They also will share this with any third party they like.

    I did not signup for this service.

    https://ibotta.com/docs/privacy/5

  10. J.M. says:

    Been using iBotta for 15 months. Over $250 in cash back so far. Easy.

  11. jojo says:

    i have a whole system going on, i buy online through a shopping portal using my cash back credit cards, i use ibotta, checkout51 and mobisave for rebates, and all the receipts i get from the stores i use apps like Yarloo, Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal that pay you for uploading the receipts. I dont keep track of all the cash back but i know damn well its been way over $400 in about 6 months of using this system. Hope this helps everyone, i know its helped me.

    [Edited]

  12. EastsideBK says:

    Chuck, per what you wrote in your informative post, how do you use “the Ebay app option” when trying to check out from Ebay via Ibotta? I think I’m coming across the exact same bug you are: I’m at the last stage of the checkout, i have everything in my cart, I’ve already been verified by PayPal and there is no button to “Make Purchase”. I’m stuck at the last screen and cannot make my purchase to go thru.

    Is this the bug you are referring to?

    If so, how do I check out? How do I access the Ebay app within Ibotta to complete my purchase?

    Thanks for your help in advance. Much appreciated!

    • Chuck says:

      Yes, that is exactly what I’m referring too. I recommended installing the eBay app on your phone. In that case, the ibotta app redirects you to the ebay app and you won’t have any problem.

  13. Matt E. says:

    Is there a way to file a cashback claim? I tried this for the first time Feb 26, wiht a purchase through eBay that tracked properly. I’ve since had 4 purchases on eBay that I’ve made thru the app and nothing has tracked. Any ideas?

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