Ibotta Review (Free Digital Coupon App)–Good and Bad


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:
1. Register.
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:
1. Register.
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!

This post may contain affiliate links. When you take advantage of my affiliate offers, you help to support GoodStewardess.com (thanks)! For more information, read my disclosure policy.

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Ibotta Review (Free Digital Coupon App)–Good and Bad — 26 Comments

  1. I used the ibotta app 4 the 1st time today and found myself very disouraged because I was not aware that 2 of the stores I frequent were not on the list of stores where I find the best savings w/ coupons! I purchased things according to the offers and the tresseme shampoo was not one of the offers however the offer ws not specific hard to tell w/ just a picture I had several receipts and had to go back and forth between them all still not sure I will get all the savings I had planned on because 2 of the stores were not on the list and had nco ( other) choices to use for another store such as family dollar or save a lot.I go to the places where I can get the best bang for my buck.I also noticed a disclaimer that stated that ibotta did not have any association with the stores listed so what difference does it make? Very frustrated

  2. I have not used the ibotta app, I went to their website and was reading on how you earn and how to earn more by referring friends. The more people you get to sign up the more you earn etc. This really has shades of an old fashion ponzi scheme; so I won’t be using this app. It just seams fishy

  3. Very helpful review–I think I’ll pass on this particular app for now. I’m a beginning couponer, shopping only for myself as opposed to a family, but I’m on a budget and would still like to save as much money as possible. What apps or websites would you recommend for someone like me?

    • So glad you found the info helpful! I haven’t been using the Ibotta app for a while. It just became too cumbersome to scan barcodes and photograph receipts after my shopping trips. Some people seem to like it, though.

      What grocery stores do you shop at? Kroger, Meijer and many others have apps that make it really easy to load digital coupons to your account. Just search by store name in your phone’s app store. You can also find lots of printable coupons right here on my site – try Coupons.com, Coupon Network, Red Plum, and Smart Source to start.

      Using a blog that provides coupon match-ups for the stores where you shop is a huge time saver over having to read all the grocery ads yourself. I do match-ups here primarily for Chief stores in NW Ohio. If you’re looking for other stores, let me know which ones and I can help you find additional blogs. Just don’t overwhelm yourself with too many at once! :)


  5. I installed Ibotta app earlier in the week waiting for payday to shop I studied the products and bonuses and with my first two trips I’ve earned $49 and spent $63 ish. I would have made money had it not been for my own errors. Ex the deal to buy crest toothpaste toothbrush and Kleenex I forgot to but the Kleenex so I bought the toothbrush and toothpaste for nothing loosing about $6. Also same thing happened w cotonelle TP and whipes offer I bought whipes forgot the TP lost $5 on that offer(actually planned to buy TP elsewhere and didn’t realize it had to be purchased in same trip) the saving in combination w the bonuses are great and I ended up w a great deal of useful items that I usually just go without for free. I have my food item trip planned for monday that will add another $20 to my ibotta account its not a scam it’s marketing genius!!

  6. I absolutely LOVE this app. I agree with another post that this is not for everyone, but it certainly is worth the time and energy to get money back. I too thought it was cumbersome at first but once I understood it and saw that I could price match, stack coupons, use loyalty cards, use CVS extra bucks and use the Ibotta app on top of everything, I was amazed! It takes patience and organization, but with the bonuses on top of their regular cash back, I’ve gotten back about $80 this week alone! Yes, for a stat at home mom, this is well worth my time! I’ve saved a lot of money too. The comment on the Ponzi scheme….do your homework on that. It’s illegal to do that. This app has been advertised on Good Morning America and in some well known reputable magazines that I’ve picked up as well. Ibotta gives you a referral fee of .50-$7 or so, depending on the number of people that you’ve referred……much like Groupon or Living Social or similar sites that bank $10 or whatever in your account for a future purchase when someone joins from your REFERRAL link. Not Ponzi. :) Plus with Ponzi schemes, you’re talking not only illegal, but with much more money than the referral fee that Ibotta pays out. Ibotta is basically marketing to primarily the main shoppers of the household and “pays” users to “advertise” for them essentially. With today’s market, social media is huge and free for the most part. It’s just another way for companies to remain competitive and I think it’s genius. As far as the tasks for posting on Facebook to receive an offer, you don’t have to post on Facebook if you don’t want to. You’ll still receive the credit for the other tasks in that offer. So what if you don’t get .50 here or there if you choose not to post to Facebook. There again, it’s a way for companies to advertise. What better way than hearing from consumers. I’m quite happy with the app and I’m so glad that I’ve stumbled across it!

  7. Oh, and I think Ibotta is doing their due diligence, so to speak by requesting that we scan bar codes and upload receipts. It’s not a big deal, and if I was paying out thousands of dollars, I too would be thorough. It’s a proper way of tracking everything to help prevent scammers, which I’m sure can easily be done. This way they have at least some protection. Plus I think it’s great that I can scan a bar code in the store with my phone to see if a certain product qualifies. I like having that immediate confirmation if a product qualifies for an offer or not, that way I’m not stuck with the wrong product or stuck with having to make a return. Kudos to Ibotta.

  8. Thanks for the well-written review! I’m just getting into the couponing fad, and finding reliable, informative reviews like yours is akin to finding a needle in a haystack of useless propaganda. You rock! :D

  9. I just started using the app this week and to my surprise it’s pretty easy. I have earned 19.75 in my first week! I just hope it continues to be applicable in my weekly shopping. Yes a little more work is required in this type of couponing but your still earning money shopping and buying the things you need. It’s a win win in my book.

  10. This is a pretty balanced review. I have used iBotta off and on since it came out. I really liked it at first and the stopped using it because I felt it was a nuisance. I started using it again and I’m glad to see a better selction of items and stores. It’s still a bit clunky to redeem offers but it’s not unbearable. In response to the FB posts to get credit I have found that even when posting privately (choose the ‘Only Me’ option from the drops own menu) I still get the credit without posting iBotta ads all over my wall.

    • Hi Melida, I always try to be objective and balanced, so I appreciate your comment! I also still find it a bit clunky to use and have only been redeeming offers sporadically. I agree the offers have continued to improve over time. Some people have commented getting $20 or more each week from Ibotta; that’s awesome, but I personally haven’t hit anywhere near that (no more than $3 in any given week).

      Thanks for mentioning the Facebook “only me” option. I do use that now as well, so I’m no longer annoying all my friends!

    • They only pay you after one of the referrals sign up and redeem an offer. Then they will pay you, but not before otherwise they would go broke.

  11. i do agree with alot of points on your review. Ibotta could do better by adding store branded items, and up’s their pricing savings. My store has alot of sales for example 2 for 4 dollars, or 3 for 5 dollars. i saved more at my store than Ibotta. It appears that Ibotta is gears towards premium items which i do not buy because they cost way more and don’t save when buying premium items. For example you buy 20 dollars worth of items and only get one dollar in savings. That’s not savings at all. With Savingstar you could save more than 10 dollars out of 20. I would be using Ibotta more often if they come close to the price of the item. Then i would consider this worth of my time. thank you.

  12. Thank you so much for your review. I downloaded the app a week ago and didn’t have time to read all of the info that came along with it. I finally got to it tonight and initially I was turned off since you have to give them permission to go on your Facebook, Twitter or Goggle + page and it even said something like click the link you are allowing them to post for you and update your profile. I was immediately turned off. I asked friends and no one that I asked used them. I also came across your review once again I thank you. I don’t think I will be wasting my time with this app.

  13. I love Ibotta. I have saved a ton of money by stacking coupons(manufacturer/store), in store giftcards, and my two rebate apps. Since the first of the year, I have managed to save $150 dollars via my two rebate apps. I use Ibotta and checkout51. Ibotta is a far greater deal than checkout51, but occasionally the two apps have the same items, so I get double the rebate… who can pass that up?

  14. I absolutely HATE Ibotta. I am not a really tech savvy person but I do use Checkout 51 (which I LOVE —- especially compared to Ibotta) and Savingstar without any problems whatsoever. My biggest gripe with Ibotta (which caused me to remove the app from my phone and close my account) is that they force you to sign in with either your Facebook or Google account and then want to access your information from whichever site you go through to sign in. I understand you can do the “only me” option at FB but I will NOT use any site that tries to make me do this. PERIOD. In addition, when I went to try and add my store loyalty card I could not find where to do that and that was when I went to their web site and refused to login with either FB or Google. To those of you who love it, that is great and maybe I am missing something, but when something makes me so irritated and frustrated just trying to use it, I give up. I transferred my money earned to my Paypal account and am done. Hope others have better success with this.

  15. Do not waste your time with this app. It does not work with a lot of phones they say it will and it takes at least a week to get an e-mail response. Their e-mail response is very rude.

    • Yes, you need a smart phone or tablet to use Ibotta. There is no app for standard pc’s. You scan bar codes with the device’s camera to get the rebates.

  16. This is a scam…be careful…I had $20 in earned cash coming. Today I submitted a perfectly valid receipt and they just said sorry your receipt is not accepted and closed the account. Didnt even give me a chance to ask why, or at least get my money I earned. Its not worth the effort to try to fight them. Checkout 51 is MUCH better app.

  17. I used Ibotta a lot last year. I never knew where my pay went?? I didn’t receive emails or updates about my “account”. I have no idea where to find the money I made. Annoying to spend that much time shopping and scanning only to not get paid.

  18. I really like the app, but have spent hours trying to upload my receipt. I keep getting the error that it can’t read it. I look at it and it seems fine. I am not getting responses from the help desk, so I am very frustrated. I am technically savvy and I’m wondering what I have to do to take a ‘good’ picture.

  19. ibotta is currently under investigation. They’ve been aggressively blocking people while still sending in for the rebates and not releasing the money. CASH OUT as soon as you hit the $5 mark. DO NOT let it build up or they will look for a way to block you.

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