When I first began using Ibotta I could always depend on some type of savings on my weekly trips to the grocery. My family, as I would imagine most do, always uses milk, eggs, bread and a variety of popular brand name packaged items. Most often, at least a couple of those staple items would be available for rebate. Recently however, it would seem that many of those staple items have disappeared. They certainly appear less frequent than before, at least on my account and from my experience. Also, gauging from comments I've seen floating around on the social media accounts of Ibotta I am not alone in this observation.
It was a growing absence of the milk rebates when I first noticed this apparent change. When I first joined Ibotta the milk rebate seemed ever present and I made use of it frequently. Then, there was a period during which It was almost comical (and initially I did laugh) when I would make my trips the rebates were not available. Almost magically, a few days later, the rebate would appear again but only after the period during which I could redeem them with my receipt. I joked and thought that they must have algorithm that patterned my milk purchases and pull them at the anticipated times I might redeem. Mind you, I have no basis for this claim and it is based solely upon my own user experience with the Ibotta app.
Now however, the milk rebates seem completely absent along with many other items I would depend on for savings. I think it's been nearly a month since I've been able to redeem a milk rebate. Don't get me wrong. There are hundreds, if not thousands of rebates available; it's just lately (for me) the choices for rebates that I actually use have become sparse. I don't know whether it's simply random, intentional, coincidence, or just bad luck. But it's real and it's noticeable in terms of the time it takes me to make significant gain in my Ibotta account. There are a ton of good rebates and savings to be gained if the item happens to be something you generally purchase. Sadly, that has not been happening for me. I like to think I'm uninfluenced by temptation of grabbing a bargain just because it's available when it's something I'm not going to use.
Is this happening to anyone else? Or, am I imaging things? If you're noticing the same trend feel free to comment below.
Do you think Ibotta is too complicated or takes too much time? I assure you it is not. It's very easy. You'll discover that after using Ibotta a few times you will be zipping through the steps in seconds! If you're new to Ibotta then you can earn $10 just by following these simple steps for even a single rebate.
Step 1: Register Ibotta. To take advantage and receive your $10 bonus (limited time offer) then be sure a referral code is entered - click "Register Ibotta" to ensure it is.
Step 2: Choose the category. If you're shopping for groceries, choose "Grocery".
Step 3: Choose the retailer where you'll shop.
Step 4: Browse for rebates.
Step 5: Select a rebate. Tons to choose from and stuff you already buy!
Step 6: View rebate details to make certain your desired item qualifies
Step 7: Tap “Unlock Cash Back”.
Step 8: Unlock the rebate by completing the task. For me it's usually watching a very short video or learning a quick fact.
Step 9: The button will change from pink to green indicating the rebate is now unlocked.
Step 10: Shop at your chosen store and be sure to keep the receipt.
Step 11: After shopping, return to the app, and tap “Verify Purchases” to begin the verification process.
Step 12: Begin the verification process.
Step 13: Tap “Scan Product Barcodes”.
Step 14: Tap the product you are ready to scan.
Step 15: Using the barcode scanner, scan your product’s barcode. If the product qualifies, the rebate will check green.
Step 16: Tap “Verify Purchases”.
Step 17: Tap “Capture Receipt”.
Step 18: Take a photo of your receipt.
Step 19: Tap “Finish”.
Step 20: Success! Within 24 hours your pending earnings will be added to your account.
If you are a considering joining Ibotta you only have one shot at the sign up bonus so make it count and do it right! Currently (January 2016) Ibotta is offering new users of the Ibotta app $10 for signing up and redeeming their first rebate within 30 days. This is one of the more generous offerings they've ever made but is for a limited time only so it's best to take advantage of the offer now as opposed to later. You're absolutely nothing to lose and $10 to gain.
Make certain that you use an Ibotta referral code when you sign up for Ibotta or or you won't be eligible to receive the sign up bonus.
This latest Give $10 Get $5 promotion is for a limited time only beginning January 2016 so hurry and Invite friends to Ibotta and get $5 cash for each sign up. Your friend gets $10.
What's important to remember is that your friend MUST sign up correctly in order to receive their $10 and for you to receive credit and receive $5. Your friend must adhere to the following steps to receive the cash:
1.) Create an account using your referral link or code.
2.) Log into the Ibotta app on a mobile device that hasn't been used with the Ibotta app before. In other words, a unique mobile device.
3.) Verify a single rebate.
Once they have completed to above steps you receive immediate notification that they have been added to your account and you will receive a cash referral bonus of $5.
Some things to remember:
Just one rebate is all it takes to have $10 cash credited to your friends Ibotta account. However, the minimum payout of cash from the Ibotta account is $20 (by Paypal or Venmo transfer). So they will have to continue to use the app if cold hard cash is what they want. But there is more than one way to cash out from Ibotta. Your friends can redeem their $10 for an iTunes gift card and spend their $10 right away!* Choices are wonderful!
Clicking the referral link is the safest way to ensure that your friend receives credit for sign up. If the referral code is not added at the time of sign up then they don't receive $10 and you won't receive credit for the sign up.
*Edit: The above was true at the time of writing; however, Ibotta no longer offers $10 gift cards. They did so by raising the minimum payout applied to gift cards effectively closing this loophole.
I've found Ibotta straight forward and easy to use for the most part. For me, it's easier than traditional coupon clipping (which I no longer do) but that is not to say that there is no room for improvement.
Here are a couple ideas I believe would improve the Ibotta experience from a user standpoint.
First, Ibotta could match what items qualify for rebates on submitted receipts. Then, indicate which rebates need to have tasks performed to unlock them. In my mind, this should be the way it works for all of the Ibotta retail partners. The whole process of browsing for offers as they recommend and finding the offers is a bit tedious. That is why I simply pop in the item I intend to buy (the staples) into the search box and don't spend much time scrolling through the hundreds of other offers I'm unlikely to need or want. While you are able to scan the bar code of an item to see if it matches a rebate this too is far too time consuming to be of any real value.
Second, there needs to be better synchronization between the website and mobile app. I find doing some things easier to accomplish at my desktop/laptop computer than on my smartphone. Scrolling through the offers is but one of those things. When I've scrolled through offers on my computer and even unlocked rebates, I discover during the verification process on my phone that I have to unlock the same rebates again! This is highly annoying to me. I should not be subject to performing tasks repeatedly, akin to a circus monkey, to get my $.50 rebate! I'm uncertain to the cause of the disconnect but this needs to improve.
Overall, the entire process is simple and quick (usually) and so far I'm pleased with the little bit of savings I've obtained on items I routinely buy. Chime in your ideas for improving Ibotta in the comments.
Ibotta Review Tips & Commentary
Ibotta Review will post, from time to time, tips and commentary on some of the best (and worst) features of the Ibotta mobile shopping app.