My account is primarily popular in the Debt-Free and Couponing communities on Instagram, so I’m sure many of the people reading this are already familiar with ibotta. If you aren’t, though, here’s the scoop:
ibotta is an app that provides rebates on items from particular grocery stores. Generally, more traditional, large chains participate (Food Lion, Publix, Giant, etc.)-you won’t find stores like Aldi or Lidl on the app. As you create your grocery list for the week, you can look through the app to see if there are any participating products from the participating brands and click on those to receive cashback in the denomination noted in the app for that product. You’ll then either need to link your rewards card (Food Lion MVP cards, for example, link into the app and you see your cashback added to your account within 48 hours) or upload your receipt to the app to receive cashback. It’s very worthwhile to go through the app to see if anything you’ll be purchasing has cashback-I’ve seen rebates of as much as $8 on items like alcohol. Generally, there’s a .$.25 “Any Brand, Any Item” rebate available for any of my shopping trips-not much, but this adds up to $13 over the course of the year and takes 10 seconds to activate. There are also “Any Brand” rebates that usually apply to things like produce, and I am personally glad to see a rebate program promoting produce purchases instead of the traditional boxed/processed foods that coupons usually apply to.
Cashout is available once you’ve reached $20 cashback. You can request cash via PayPal, venmo, or a host of gift cards (some of the gift cards that are currently available include: Nike, Apple Music, Aeropostale, Amazon, Applebee’s, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Sephora, Starbucks, Target, The Home Depot, Uber, Ulta, Walmart, and Whole Foods.)
ibotta has a generous referral program that is ever-changing. They offer monthly incentives: April 2018 is Cash Match-whatever your referral earns, you’ll earn as well…plus an additional $5 for each friend you refer who redeems an offer besides “Any Brand, Any Item.” The app doesn’t specify anymore, but they have offered a $10 instant bonus in the past to anyone referred once they redeem within a week of signing up.
My referral code, in case you’re interested in using (thank you if you do!) is: qsjxsfd
You can also use this link: https://ibotta.com/r/qsjxsfd
Customer Service/Support Encounters
I’ve had one encounter with ibotta Support, when a rebate didn’t post properly from a rewards account (Food Lion MVP, which is supposed to be automatic.) I contacted support, they asked me to upload a copy of my receipt-which I conveniently still had-and applied the cashback to my account. From the time I reached out to them to the time the whole thing was resolved was less than 12 hours-very quick turnaround!
As with all of these apps, they’re useful if you’re buying items/brands you would be purchasing regardless. As long as you shop the way you normally do, you’ll make money. If you normally buy a store brand but choose to buy a brand name that costs more and the rebate doesn’t offset the additional cost, you’ll lose money. The easiest, quickest way to ensure you make money is to add the rebates and shop as normal. If you want to invest additional time and potentially make more money, you can price-check between brands to see if it’s worth it to buy the brand name with the rebate saving you more money than the store brand with no rebate.
Why Does This App Exist? Is it a scam/gimmick/what’s going on here?
Just like the coupons that are available to be clipped from the newspaper or are put up to be taken off the shelves in grocery stores, this app exists to promote brand name items. The thought process behind it is that if you’re offered a $1 rebate for a brand name item, you’re more likely to buy that item because it lowers the overall price. The psychological buying process is a complicated one, but brand confidence plays a large part in the way that we make purchasing decisions. Large brands are hoping that even though XYZ brand is more expensive than the store brand by $2, if they offer you a $1 rebate it will be enough to entice you to purchase their item instead of the generic because you’re familiar with/have seen advertising for/have more confidence in their brand than the store brand. There are some people who purchase exclusively based on price, but we’re so bombarded by advertisement that it shifts our way of thinking. Essentially, coupons and rebates are another branding, money-making effort by large brands…who will end up making more money if you shop differently because of the rebates offered.
All opinions are my own, and based off my firsthand experience with the app. While I make every effort to provide the most accurate information possible (and will update as I learn about changes), things do change. Please see each individual app for the best and most accurate information.