What Is Ibotta and Is It Worth It?

FT Contributor  | 

Ibotta is a savings app that helps you earn cash back on eligible purchases. When you sign up for an account on the iOS or Android Ibotta app, you earn cash back from online or in-person shopping trips. You can also download the Google Chrome web browser extension to track your online purchases automatically.

You can earn credit for cash back through Ibotta when you buy:

  • Groceries.
  • Liquor.
  • Makeup.
  • Clothing.
  • Car rentals.
  • Pet food.

Ibotta is a unique cash-back app because it makes it easy to track both your online shopping and in-person transactions. This allows you to earn cash back quickly on any shopping trip. If you’re ready to turn your shopping into an investment, it’s important to learn more about cash-back rewards apps like Ibotta.

How Ibotta Works

When you make an eligible purchase through the Ibotta app or online through the browser extension, cash is added to your account. This cash can be redeemed through your PayPal or Venmo account once your balance reaches at least $20. If you’re planning to make these purchases anyway, your Ibotta account is a great way to make your money stretch.

After you’ve downloaded the Ibotta app and created an account, you can use it to log your in-person eligible purchases. There are three ways to use the Ibotta app to earn cash back on your in-store purchases, including the following:

  • Through Ibotta app payment: Link your payment method to your Ibotta account. When you pay for your in-store purchase, use the Ibotta app to pay and you’ll receive cash back in your account.
  • By linking your loyalty accounts: If you have loyalty accounts with the stores you frequent, upload your account information to the Ibotta app. When you provide your loyalty account information upon checkout, Ibotta is notified about the transaction and you’ll receive credit for your eligible purchases.
  • When submitting a receipt: If you haven’t linked your loyalty accounts or payment to the Ibotta app, you can take a photo of your receipt once the transaction is complete. Upload the photo to the Ibotta app to receive credit for eligible purchases in your cash-back rewards account.

You can also use the Ibotta app to make online purchases. You don’t need to enter any discount or coupon codes to earn cash back with participating retailers.

When you sign into your account through the app, you’ll see your cash-back rewards balance and you may choose to activate store alerts. With store alerts activated on your smartphone, the Ibotta app notifies you if you’re close to stores that offer cash-back rewards.

Features

There are many features you may benefit from as an Ibotta member, including the following:

  • Sign-on and referral bonuses: When you sign up for Ibotta, you may be eligible for a sign-on bonus. You’ll also receive a referral code that you can provide to friends. If they sign up and participate in Ibotta using your referral code, you’ll receive bonus cash back.
  • Additional offers: Some retailers may also offer additional bonuses when you make specific purchases or you can earn bonus cash back if you purchase the same product multiple times within a certain timeframe.
  • Expiration notices: The Ibotta app notifies you before offers expire so you can take advantage of them before they’re gone.
  • Activity tracking: With activity tracking in your Ibotta account, you can review the transactions you engaged in that earned cash back.
  • Multiple ways to log eligible purchases: The program offers several ways to log eligible purchases, including through your shopping loyalty programs, by uploading photos of your receipt, through Ibotta payment, or through the online browser extension.

Pros

Ibotta users experience several advantages to using the cash-back savings program, including the following:

  • The ability to track both in-store and online purchases for potential cash-back rewards.
  • Fast cash-back redemption through Venmo or PayPal payments.
  • Different ways to track in-store purchases, such as through a loyalty account or by uploading a photo of the receipt.
  • Ibotta offers cash-back rewards for many different retailers and types of purchases, not just groceries.

Cons

While Ibotta is a free way to earn cash back for your purchases, there are some disadvantages to the program, including the following:

  • You may buy items you don’t need simply to earn cash back.
  • You can’t redeem your cash until you’ve earned at least $20.
  • For in-person shopping, you may need to remember to upload a photo of your receipt to receive your cash back.
  • There aren’t additional discounts or coupons offered through the program that you can add to your shopping cart to save more money.

How to Sign Up For Ibotta

To begin earning cash back through Ibotta, you must create an account and begin using the Google Chrome extension or app. If you want to incorporate it into your financial strategy, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Ibotta website.
  2. Provide your personal information to create an account or use your Facebook or Google account to sign in.
  3. Download the Google Chrome website extension.
  4. Begin shopping at participating retailers.
  5. Redeem your cash through your Venmo or PayPal account once your balance reaches $20.

If you also plan to shop in person, download the Ibotta iOS app or Android app on your smartphone. Sign into your account and link it to your payment method or loyalty accounts. Upload photos of your receipts on eligible purchases if you don’t use your loyalty account or Ibotta payment.

When you use the Ibotta app or browser extension, you earn cash back for eligible purchases. The program makes it easy to track your buying activity so you can redeem cash quickly.


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