The High Tech Society

Ibotta App Review – Should You Use This Free Cash Back App?

Ibotta App Review –  Should You Use This Free Cash Back App?

If you’re on Facebook or have friends anywhere online, you’ve likely seen a post about an app called Ibotta. How have you seen or heard about it? More than likely because you’ve seen some posts from your friends saying how thrilled they are at just how much money they’ve saved thanks to this awesome app called Ibotta, which of course then follows with, “and you should get it too, just click here!”

But if you’re anything like me you may be a little skeptical about clicking on their overly positive, “I just saved millions of bucks (okay, maybe not millions) and so can you with this app” post no matter how much you like them. Why the skepticism though? Because these apps often seem to require more work than they are worth or even worse, they’re some annoying spy bot app that you just invited into your life so that you can be targeted even more online with ads than you already are. That’s why it’s wise to investigate before you just go grab another so called, ‘money saving app,’ and good for you, that’s just what you’re doing by reading our Ibotta App review!

So without further wait, let’s investigate! We’ll consider: Is the Ibotta app worth it (your time and privacy that is),  what does it do, how do you get your cash, and should you use it? Let’s find out!

What is Ibotta?


Let’s start first with just what ibotta is. According to their website, Ibotta, which basically stands for “I bought a….”, is a company that began in 2012. And now, as of 2016, with over 18 million downloads and over $100 million in cash already given back to the users, it is the largest consumer technology company in Denver, CO.  As for what they are, Ibotta says that they are a company that partnered with the largest brands and retailers in groceries, electronics, clothing, gifts, home and office supplies, and restaurants, in order to work out an  easier way to offer rebates, which they did by creating their app.

What was the older, more difficult way of rebates? The old way, if you recall ever having to do it, was that you would have to fill out forms and make copies of your receipts and usually too the barcodes of the item you purchased. Then you mailed in it and waited for 4-6 weeks (usually a lot longer) just to see if your submission was accepted. A few weeks later, if you were lucky, you got a check.

Some still do it this way, so it’s not yet a dinosaur of the past, but it’s getting there with companies like this one that have found a way to simplify the rebate and coupon process with technology, allowing the rebates to now be instantly submitted when using their app. We’ll get into more of that in the ‘how it works’ section, but it does indeed sounds like a great idea.

How Does The Ibotta App Work?

how Ibotta app works on phone

We just covered the way the old process worked on submitting a rebate, so how does Ibotta make it simpler? The way it works is to first download the Ibotta app, which is free. It’s available on both iOS and Android devices. You can login with your Facebook account or setup a new account with your email.  

Next, to get this app to work for you, you kind of have to work for it. How so? You have to perform certain tasks, such as watch videos, answer a question, or read a little info about the product. After you complete the task, which takes in most cases just a second or two, you are eligible to get the rebate. This may be a bit irritating at first but it seems they had to find a way to make their money and this is it. 

Ibotta tasks

And don’t think you can just skip the videos, you’ll have to watch them as you see from my screenshot below. But again, not so bad, just let it do it’s thing and when done go shopping!

ibotta app video warning

How Do You Get Your Ibotta Cash?

ibotta app giftcards

So, as you recall from our earlier conversation on how rebates used to work, and of course many still do, you would submit all your proofs of purchase via snail mail and then eventually you’d get a check that you could deposit to your bank account. With the Ibotta app you don’t get a check and it doesn’t take weeks, instead you get your earnings transferred directly to your PayPal or Venmo account within 48 hours.

Don’t have a PayPal or Venmo account, they have another option too and that is that you can get the cash put onto a gift card. At this time they have several eCards (electronic gift cards you can have and use immediately) available including those you can use at Gap, Best Buy, Amazon and Starbucks.  

The Pros, Cons and Bottom Line

Ibotta screenshot


There are quite a few pros. I like that it is easy, no more mailing in the barcode from the box and the reciept, no more waiting weeks for your money, and it’s also very easy to find rebates. As for how many products you can find, I also liked that there were plenty of common, everyday name brand items, so there’s no shortage of good finds. The app itself is laid out nicely too and was very easy to use. Since Ibotta is connected with 239 stores including some of the largest ones like Walmart, Target, Publix, Walgreens and CVS, I also found that I had no problem finding a local store to shop at.


One downside that I would mention and already kind of did in the ‘how it works’ section, is that instead of being able to simply find a rebate and submit your receipt as proof, you have to instead perform certain ‘tasks’ to unlock the rebate first. They have to make money somehow I suppose, so this is the way they’ve found to do it. I did find that after using the app a few times that I got used to the tasks and pretty much fly through it now when adding products, except for some of the videos, those still stink to watch of course, but oh well. My other downer comment would be about making money through your friends, which you can read more about in our how to use the app article, but as I said earlier, I don’t love it. But since they get something for it as well I can live with it or I just won’t share it. 

Bottom Line: save money on groceries

In the beginning we said we would evaluate whether the Ibotta app was worth your time and privacy issues, since it’s free we had to find a way to evaluate what it is that you’re giving them in exchange for their app, and in our opinion, the Ibotta app is worth it, your or our time that is, but of course your time is something for you to evaluate. And as for privacy, we found an opt out box so that they won’t be (hopefully) targeting you terribly when shopping online. We do think that it is a nice way to make a little money back on your purchases that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Sure, there’s a few downsides, but nothing so bad that makes it not worth using. As long as you keep in mind that nothing is ever truly free without you having to give them something in return, and in this case it’s only a little of your time, it’s definitely an app worth having. Also, if the tasks do have you a bit bummed out, I will admit that you do get used to them. The unlocking tasks becomes pretty routine and you don’t even seem to notice it after awhile. 

We’ll be using the app here, and if you have the time to click through and unlock your rebates and then scan and submit your barcodes and receipts after shopping, then we think you’ll like it wherever you are too. Afterall, getting money back just from doing what you already had to do (shop), is really nice. Ibotta definitely figured out a way of making rebates not suck like they used to, and that’s a good thing. 

Like saving money? Checkout our Checkout 51 rebate app review too!