Websites and apps offering the opportunity to earn free gift cards are not additional income streams. No matter how much time you spend logged on, or how many activities you participate in, there is no way you can make enough money to consider these sites a second job, side gig, side hustle, or source of passive income. But they can serve as fun, easy ways to give yourself a little free gift or bonus once in a while, or to fund some small purchase or goal. You could earn enough gift cards to pay for a special dinner, purchase a jacket or bag that’s just a little out of your budget,or get a free book or album or two.
Shopkick promises to provide such opportunities. All you have to do is download the free app on to your phone, sign up, and participate in some of the simple activities to earn points, which they call “kicks.” Once you earn a certain number of “kicks,” you can redeem them for free gift cards, or small amounts of cash added on to your PayPal account.
Shopkick receives nearly all positive reviews online, and has been around since 2010, becoming more popular over the past year due to brand deals with a few YouTube video creators.
My Shopkick app was downloaded after I watched a February9, 2022 video from the YouTube channel “couponwithStar.” There were no issues downloading the app, and I was able to enter the code from the channel, redeemable for a $10.00 bonus, soon after signing up.
Points,or “kicks,” can be earned for walking into local stores, scanning barcodes for specific items in those same stores, purchasing selected items while there, or for shopping online. You can also earn the odd one to three points for watching videos.
I earned my first few points for watching videos, just to test out the app. They posted as promised.
On offer for February 10, 2022 was 10 points for walking into my local Target. Malls are among my least favorite places to spend time, but our local mall is where I go to walk for exercise, and I had been sitting around far too much lately. I was also in need of clothes hangers, so I spent the $12 on an Uber ride, and decided to try to earn back the money I spent on the ride.
Shortly after entering Target, I pressed the button to notify the app that I had walked into the store. My points posted, and the combination of the videos and the walk-in points were enough to generate my $10 bonus from the YouTube video.
Walking around the mall, stopping for a quick lunch at China Express in the food court, and looking around to see if anything new was coming in gave everything the chance to post to my account. It all looked legitimate.
I selected the Paypal $10 cash deposit option for a reward, only to learn that I was in fact 25 points short. But that was not a problem. There was also the chance to earn points for scanning the bar code on any Tidy Cats cat litter, and a new eco friendly line of home cleaning products. I would only need to walk back across the mall, go back into Target, and scan two items, and I would get all but $2 from my Uber ride back.
Standing there in the aisles scanning products felt embarrassing at first, but honestly, nobody even gave me an odd glance. There are so many of these gift card apps, coupon apps, and price checking apps out there today, scanning something with your phone is no more disruptive to anyone else’s shopping than pausing to compare the prices of two items the old-fashioned way or pull a paper coupon out of your pocket or bag. And I had my points for the $10 to be sent to my Paypal account.
My money never made it. Every time I tried to redeem my points, all I got was a notification that my payment could not be sent. Assuming there was a glitch with Paypal, I decided to choose another reward. I tried to redeem my points for ten dollar gift cards to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, only to get error messages in return.
Reaching out to customer service got me a message, three days later, reading, “Thanks for reaching out! Please go ahead and try redeeming your reward again-it should work now, we think :) “ (Smiley faces and exclamation points theirs.)
I tried it again, only to receive an error message stating that I was trying to sign in on an unrecognized device and they could not email me. Notifying the company about that error got me a link to register my device.
This finally worked. The free $10 to Paypal was deposited.
Shopkick is not quite as quick and easy as it seems in the beginning, but getting back $10 of the $12 I spent on my Uber ride was a nice bonus. I will continue to use the app as a resource to earn the odd free gift card or cash to spend on an Uber ride. But like any app or website offering the chance to earn free things, the payoff is never going to be big enough to justify daily logins or extra hours added to every chore.