Shopkick is an app that offers a lot of ways for you to earn free gift cards to places you probably already shop, like Target or Walmart.
At face value, it’s a great way to actually earn free money. But you need to know how to avoid some pitfalls and learn little-known hacks to get even more kicks.
What is Shopkick?
Shopkick is a rebate app that offers “kicks” (or points), when you take certain actions either at a store or from home. Actions include walking into stores, scanning items, and more (listed below). Some of these actions don’t require you to make a purchase, and some do.
Once you earn enough kicks you can redeem them for gift cards to popular stores.
You need 250 “kicks” (that’s what Shopkick calls points) to earn $1.
Roughly 250 kicks equals $1 cash back, and you can cash out for free gift cards once you’ve earned as few as 500 kicks.
Here’s a breakdown of kicks per dollar:
- 500 kicks = $2
- 1,250 kicks = $5
- 2,500 kicks = $10
- 3,750 kicks = $15
- 6,250 kicks = $25
Each individual kick is worth $0.004.
To calculate the value of a single kick, divide the total reward you’ll receive by how many kicks it takes to earn it.
Total reward value / How many kicks it takes to earn = The value of a single kick
So, for a $2 gift card the equation looks like this:
$2 / 500 = $0.004
You know how some loyalty programs reward you with a higher point value for saving up a lot of points? Not Shopkick. Save up your kicks, or don’t — it doesn’t matter, because every time you earn a kick, it’s worth $0.004, no matter if you redeem it for a $2 or a $25 gift card.
Download the Shopkick app and create an account.
After you download the Shopkick app, you’ll need to enable Bluetooth inside the app so you can take advantage of walk-in offers. Also be sure GPS is on so you can see offers near you.
Create an account and you’re ready to get started!
Earn “kicks” six different ways.
Shopkick offers a variety of ways to earn kicks in order to get a free gift card. I’ll get more into how to do each of these next.
- Walk in
- Scan products
- Link your card
- Make a purchase online
- Watch videos
- Scan receipts
Take advantage of three free ways to earn kicks.
These actions result in free money since you don’t have to buy anything to earn kicks. It’ll take longer to reach a free gift card, but it’ll truly be free.
1. Walk in
Open the app and walk into participating stores that show “Walk-in” kicks available under “Nearby.” You’ll automatically earn 10 kicks just for walking into the store. Shopkick has a limited budget for walk-ins, so if you don’t see the option to earn walk-in kicks and you know that store offers them, it means you’ve reached your limit for the month. Keep checking back to see if they’ve reset.
2. Scan products
Select the store you’re shopping at and tap the “Scan” icon, choose a product, and scan it with your phone camera to earn 15-30 kicks. You do not have to buy these items!
3. Watch videos
Tap “Discover” at the bottom of the app and watch ads to get between one and five kicks per video.
TIP: Get walk-in kicks without actually walking into a store. Just open the app as you drive right by the location and you’ll probably earn the kicks. Thanks, Bluetooth.
If you live near a store, scan Shopkick barcodes in your pantry to earn kicks.
OK, this one is controversial and your mileage may vary, but I’m including it because it works. If you’re not comfortable doing it, I get it.
If you own items already that Shopkick lists as earnable by scanning the barcode, you might be able to earn kicks for scanning them. If you live within a half mile of a store, this could work.
Earn higher-value kicks three ways (but you need to spend some money).
These actions require you put some skin in the game in the form of buying products, but the payoff is that you earn more kicks for doing these things and you’ll reach a free gift card faster.
1. Link your card
Link your credit or debit card to Shopkick, make a credit purchase with that card at a participating retailer, and within 48 hours you’ll earn up to six kicks per dollar you spend.
2. Scan receipts
Choose your store and tap “Receipts” to see which offers you can buy to earn kicks. Select your offers and once you’ve made a purchase, upload your receipt to the Shopkick app to earn between 200 and 650 kicks (more if you buy bundles).
3. Make a purchase online
Buy something through the Shopkick portal (this just means you’ll click through the Shopkick app to buy from Hulu, BarkBox, and more), and you’ll earn between one and three kicks per dollar you spend.
Redeem your kicks for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Sephora, Walmart, and more.
In order to keep saving money on groceries, redeem your kicks for gift cards to grocery stores like Walmart or Target. Or splurge on something you’d never buy yourself — redeem your kicks for a Tory Burch gift card and get a new bag.
You can cash out kicks for gift cards from one of these retailers:
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- Barnes & Noble
- Best Buy
- Cheesecake Factory
- Feeding America (donation)
- 1-800 Flowers
- Foot Locker
- Old Navy
- Papa John’s
- American Red Cross (donation)
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Tiffany & Co.
- Tory Burch
RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps
Only buy Shopkick products if they’re already on your shopping list.
Why? Because otherwise you’re spending money you wouldn’t otherwise spend to earn a fraction of that back in “free money.” The math doesn’t add up. Check it out:
Dove Men+Care Body Wash is $5.94 at Walmart. If you buy this product and upload your receipt to Shopkick, you’ll earn 200 kicks, which comes to $0.80 in earnings. If you didn’t need this, you spent $5.14 just to earn $0.80 — a terrible deal.
I’m not saying Shopkick is hoping you’ll get sucked into this vortex of over-buying because you’re powered by the idea of free gift cards. And I’m not saying they’re paid by brands when you make a purchase. But you can avoid losing money by sticking to your list.
If you do upload a receipt to Shopkick, upload it to Fetch Rewards too!
Let’s say that Shopkick offer for Dove Men+Care Body Wash was on your shopping list and you earned 200 kicks when you uploaded your receipt. Congrats!
Don’t stop there — upload that receipt to Fetch Rewards, too. Fetch Rewards gives you points for uploading any receipt from grocery stores, convenience stores, drugstores, and big-box retailers. It doesn’t matter what you bought!
Complete up to 14 receipts per week (receipts cannot be older than 14 days either).
TIP: After you’ve uploaded your receipt to Shopkick and Fetch Rewards, check Ibotta and Checkout51 to see if you bought anything that qualifies for a rebate from them, as well. In order for this to work, the product would need to have a live offer from them all — Shopkick, Ibotta, and/or Checkout51. (Not Fetch Rewards, of course, because you just need any ‘ole receipt for Fetch.)
Use digital or paper coupons with Shopkick.
Any kicks you earn through Shopkick happen in addition to coupons and offers you apply to your order.
Since you’re mostly earning kicks from scanning items you’re not buying, or from buying specific items, it doesn’t matter if you use a coupon or not. Plus, like rebate apps, earning kicks happens post-purchase, not at the register, so use coupons at the register!
TIP: If you’re shopping at Target, go ahead and use your RedCard to pay — you can still upload your receipt to Shopkick to earn kicks.
Shop through the Shopkick portal to earn up to 18 kicks per dollar you spend.
Before you make an online purchase, check the Shopkick “Online” tab to see if the store you’re planning to shop at offers kicks for buying something.
For example, if you’re planning to shop Best Buy online because you need a new laptop, initiate your purchase through Shopkick so you can snatch up two kicks per dollar you spend.
Every online retailer has a different Shopkick offer — between one and eight kicks per dollar you spend, or a flat amount of kicks just for making a purchase. The flat-rate kicks are usually for a sign-up. Like, if you sign up for ESPN through Shopkick, you’ll earn 950 kicks.
The highest offer is Warby Parker — get 18 kicks per dollar you spend online.
A quick Shopkick review: Navigating the non-user friendly parts of the app.
I won’t sugarcoat it — the Shopkick app can be a pain in the butt when you’re trying to find your way around it because it’s glitchy. Sometimes the three tabs on the navigation bar inside the app disappear or simply don’t work when you tap one of them.
At the bottom, “Nearby” means brick-and-mortar stores that you could do walk-ins and scanning products at. This tab is the home screen. “Online” refers to the options for using Shopkick’s online shopping portal to earn kicks. “Discover” is where you can find the videos to watch for kicks.
Here’s how to troubleshoot the glitch if you find you can’t get from “Online” back to “Nearby,” for example. Use the search bar (the little magnifying glass icon circled below) and type in any store, like “Walmart.” When Walmart pops up, back out of that screen and it’ll put you back to the home screen “Nearby” tab.
Share your Shopkick promo code with friends and earn bonus kicks.
Tap on the person icon in the upper left corner of the app — this is your account settings. Tap “Invite Friends” and then tap on your unique code to copy it. Share your code with your friends, and when they sign up and complete one of the six actions to earn their first kicks, you’ll receive 250 bonus kicks.
You can earn up to 25,000 kicks by inviting friends — this means you can invite up to 100 friends.
Don’t scroll up! Here are the articles I mentioned: