Ibotta is an app and website that says it can help shoppers get cash back on the things they want to buy. It’s essentially a paperless coupon system, allowing you to use your smartphone instead of having to cut coupons out of the paper and bring them in to the store. But can you really save with this, and are there any catches to using it?
Poor newspapers, they just can’t catch a break. First people start getting their news and information from the Internet, and now they are trying to do away with clipping coupons. But you can’t stop progress, and it’s about time an app like this came along that is trying to make getting cash back from your purchases easier, and less of a hassle.
Ibotta claims that in just 4 easy steps you can start getting cash back from your purchases. The first step they want you to take is to choose products that you want to buy so that you can get money back on them. The next step is to go buy them from pre-approved stores in their network. The third thing you should do is take a picture of the product as well as scan the barcode as proof that you bought it.
The list of stores they cover pretty much means you won’t have trouble finding a place to buy the products at. They’ve got the world’s largest retailer on board with Wal-Mart, and they follow that up with stores like Target, Kroger, CVS, Publix, Meijer, Vons, Smith’s and more. They say that this network is always growing, but even right now they’ve got the majority of big cities covered. The more they grow, the more demographics they can reach, so it’s in their best interest to keep things expanding.
The hype comes from so many positive reviews for this app, and the fact that it ranks highly on the non-paid apps page due to its popularity. This creates a positive spiral, with more and more people becoming aware of it and trying it out, and then coming back to give it a high rating.
It’s free to sign up and use the app, and should actually save you money instead of cost you. They make their money from the affiliate relationships they have in place with the retailers that are linked to inside the app. Like most of the applications out there, it does ask for your permission to a lot of your information though, including your location, and personal details about how often you call contacts in your contacts list. This might be too much of an invasion of privacy for some to tolerate.
The more you use this, the more you could get back, but it also means that you’ll be buying more things that you otherwise would have if you wouldn’t have joined. Also, they try to make the 4 step process sound easy, but it’s still just as much of a hassle as clipping out coupons, it’s just that the magic happens post-purchase and in the privacy of your home, rather than at the point of purchase in front of everyone.
With Ibotta there’s no point system or credit system, your balance in your account is actual money that you get to decide what to do with. You can even have the money transferred to a PayPal account so you can spend it anywhere. They also give you the option of donating if you want to.
They have a pretty generous referral bonus, giving you $1 for each person you refer to the service, with no limit on how many you can invite. If you know a lot of people it could be a quick way to make a few dollars.
Final Ibotta Review
Ibotta gets the Thumbs Up rating from us. It’s doing a good job of streamlining the coupon process, and as they add more and more stores to their network it will only get easier to use. They’re already in some of the biggest store chains, so it’s not like you have to go out of your way if you live in a decent-sized city. So many people have already tried this out and have given it the green light, verifying that it actually does what it says.
Since it’s free to sign up, it doesn’t hurt to see what products they have listed and see if any match up to things you buy regularly, or have wanted to buy but just haven’t yet. If you like the idea of coupons but don’t like the actual process of clipping out the little piece of paper and presenting it in the store, this is a way to circumvent that, while still getting discounts on products you like.