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Make Money with Your Smartphone: What is Ibotta?

Updated on April 26, 2015

What Is Ibotta?

Ibotta is the newest app in the "make money while you shop" craze. Unlike digital coupons, Ibotta is considered a rebate program. This means that instead of taking $0.50 or $1.00 off your grocery total at the register, you will receive money for completed offers after you make a purchase. This also means that you can combine Ibotta offers with manufacturer and store coupons to increase your overall savings.

Ibotta's list of stores includes most local and chain grocery stores and drug stores.
Ibotta's list of stores includes most local and chain grocery stores and drug stores.

How Does Ibotta Work?

Earning money with Ibotta requires a little bit of work both before and after a shopping trip.

  1. Create an account here, then download the app on your smartphone.
  2. Link Ibotta to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Many offers require that you post your activity to your wall. (You can disable this activity in your Facebook settings if, like me, you do not wish to fill your newsfeed with Ibotta offers.)
  3. Start adding offers. For every $0.25 worth of savings, you must complete an action step. This might be reading a recipe, taking a short poll, watching a video, or posting your activity to Facebook or Twitter. Offers typically take between five and thirty seconds to complete.
  4. Figure out where you can shop. You must choose from Ibotta's list of stores in order to complete offers, but don't worry, most chain grocery and drug stores are on the list, and they are adding new stores all the time.
  5. Go shopping. Be sure to purchase items you have already saved to your list of offers. You must "verify" items by scanning the barcode before submitting your receipt so be sure to purchase the correct product.
  6. Upload your receipt. The steps for this are relatively simple and outlined right on the app. Once you've purchased a product, you must take a picture of the entire receipt showing both the purchase and the total spent.
  7. Scan the product's barcode. Again, the app makes this very simple and automatic. Once the barcode scans in, you can submit your receipt. The purpose of this is to make sure you purchased the correct item.
  8. Receive payment via PayPal. Once your account totals a minimum of $5, you can receive payout through a PayPal or venmo account, or you can redeem for gift cards to Starbucks, Whole Foods, Regal Cinemas, or iTunes. (It is totally legit, as evidenced by the photo below.)

There is almost always at least one non-name brand item (like milk or eggs) with a rebate attached.
There is almost always at least one non-name brand item (like milk or eggs) with a rebate attached.

Ibotta Tricks and Tips

I have been using Ibotta for less than a year now. On average, I redeem about an offer a week. So far, I have redeemed over $85 in rebates. All of this is only for products I would normally purchase. In this time, I have discovered a few tips and tricks that I wish I would have known from the start.

  1. Check your offers list just before you shop. Keep up with offer expiration dates. If you've saved offers but did not shop immediately, check back to make sure the offer is still available.
  2. Scan product barcodes in the store to make sure they "match" the rebate.
  3. Upload your receipt the same day you shop. Like the above tip, if an offer expires before you upload your receipt, even if you purchased it on time, you will be unable to receive your rebate.
  4. Review additional offers immediately after submitting a receipt. Ibotta attempts to tailor offers directly to what you are purchasing, which means that once you redeem an offer, you might get another one that is very similar or identical. This is especially helpful if a featured product is on sale or has manufacturer coupons available. Instead of purchasing several at a time, wait to see if you can receive another Ibotta rebate for the same product and submit another receipt.
  5. You cannot submit the same receipt twice. You may claim more than one offer on the same receipt, just make sure you do it before submitting.
  6. Link Ibotta to your Facebook account so that your friends who are using the app will be added to your team. This will earn you teamwork bonuses.

If You Experience a Problem

Because it is a relatively new app, Ibotta is naturally still working out some kinks and bugs. Here are a few troubleshooting tips I have personally run into:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the app at all times.
  2. If your receipt fails to upload for submission or you cannot scan a barcode, try shutting down your smartphone completely and turning it on again.
  3. If the above step does not work, try deleting the app and downloading it again.
  4. If you experience any other problems and the above solutions do not work, you can contact Ibotta on their Facebook page or via email. They are quick to respond and helpful.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Ibotta is a great app. I hate that they don't post expiration dates too! But a great way to save an extra buck.

    • kschang profile image


      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      There's another one called Endorse, but that requires a Facebook account.

    • cherrycrime26 profile image

      January Moon 

      5 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      I have to try this, I'm a Groupon Girl and Scout Mob, Will download to my phone, thanks.

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      I use Ibotta and LOVE it. It is pretty easy to use! Great hub!


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