NOTE: I wrote a revised review of Ibotta in December 2013. While I still agree with the information below regarding Ibotta’s grocery offers, they continue to add new offers and features and I do believe Ibotta is a valuable app for most shoppers. It’s FREE, so there’s no risk to check it out for yourself!
If you’re a coupon shopper, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the Ibotta digital coupon app recently. Have you tried it yet?
I’ve heard a ton of praise for Ibotta, and no negative feedback. Which always makes me skeptical. Now that I’ve had a chance to try it for myself, here’s my completely honest opinion.
What I like about Ibotta:
1. The app isn’t limited to stores that use loyalty cards, so there are a lot more stores included than with other digital coupons.
2. You can stack Ibotta offers with other coupons (paper or digital).
3. The offers appear to be retroactive – you can load new offers today, upload a receipt from last week, and still get the credit (this could change, but it did work with one of my receipts).
4. So far, I’m impressed with the products and brands that are featured.
What I don’t like:
I found the whole process to be a bit cumbersome. I’m not thrilled with how many clicks it takes to receive the maximum value for a single offer (up to three clicks per offer). Some of the tasks are quick and simple, like read a fact or answer a survey question. Others are more time consuming (watch a video) or more invasive (share this offer on facebook).
I also don’t like that I have to select each offer twice. Once to add it to my “master list” and then again to assign it to a specific receipt. Select offers, upload photo of sales receipt, select offers again, scan barcodes. It’s a pain in my rear.
There’s also a lot of room for human error. If I purchase an item but forget it’s on my receipt, it’s my loss (you have to scan the barcode for each item and apply it to a specific receipt in order to get credit). If I remember later, I have to upload a photo of the same receipt again. Once a receipt has been submitted, you can’t retrieve it to apply additional offers.
Room for improvement? Let’s compare:
2. Select offers.
3. Take up to 3 different actions per offer in order to get the maximum reward (read a fact, watch a video, share on facebook, etc.).
4. Go shopping.
5. Return to Ibotta to upload a photo of your receipt.
6. Select the offers AGAIN.
7. Scan the barcode for each item.
8. Review receipt carefully to be sure you don’t miss any participating items.
Other digital coupons:
2. Add store loyalty cards to your account.
3. Select offers.
4. Go shopping (coupons are automatically applied to your order). DONE.
Of course I don’t expect Ibotta to be exactly like other digital coupons, but I do think they could eliminate some steps from their process.
The Bottom Line:
I’ve redeemed 4 offers on 3 different receipts so far and earned $3.75. I didn’t plan a shopping list around the Ibotta offers, it was a coincidence that I purchased those items (i.e. they were items that I was planning to purchase even without the Ibotta reward).
I prefer coupons that are discounted directly from my sales receipt at the register. Money received after the fact as a rebate isn’t as enticing. Which is why I won’t plan my shopping trips around Ibotta (or SavingStar) coupons.
I do see Ibotta falling into the same category as SavingStar. Because you can’t get multiple offers per item, the savings potential is limited (though the earning potential with Ibotta is a little greater since there are more stores included). I’ve been using SavingStar since its inception in 2011, and have accumulated a mere $13 in my account (in fairness, if my Meijer and Chief shopping trips had been applied to SavingStar, the value would be much greater).
Will I continue using it? I’m not sure yet. But without some streamlining, I’m betting I’ll get tired of it pretty quickly. Kind of like Rite Aid’s Video Values, which I almost never watch anymore.
So that’s my honest opinion. But there’s no reason not to try Ibotta for yourself; the app is free.
Have you used Ibotta yet? Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
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