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Shopkick Review: Earn Free Gift Cards For Shopping

Shopkick Review: Earn Free Gift Cards For Shopping
Amy Baum Oct 10, 2017
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

Shopkick is no new player to the rewards app game. They’re known for giving you free gift cards for walking into stores and scanning barcodes. However, they’ve greatly expanded on their cash back features, and that’s why we’ve put together this Shopkick review.

In this review, we’ll be discussing whether Shopkick is a scam or legit, how much you can expect to make and if it’s worth your time or not. The great thing about Shopkick? It’s absolutely FREE to join.

From pros and cons to tricks and tips, we’ve got you covered in this review. With that said, let’s dive right in.

What Is Shopkick And How Does It Work?

Shopkick is a free smartphone app that lets you earn points for shopping. On the company’s About page, they describe it as “indispensable app that makes everyday shopping more personal and rewarding”.

You earn points when you shop in stores and online. There are a few other ways to earn points that I’ll discuss later in this post.

The points you earn are called kicks, and you cash them in for gift cards. The gift card selection includes many brands. Some examples are Toys R Us, Sephora, Target and other major retailers. Points are available for everyday items like food and toiletries. This makes it fairly easy to earn points.

shopkick review app how it works

Shopkick was founded in 2009 and started gaining significant attention in 2013. The app and company have positive feedback from Forbes, Inc. Magazine, World Economic Forum, and Huffington Post.

It’s also been featured on and Using the app is pretty simple, and I’ll cover everything you need to know below.

Pros And Cons Of The Shopkick App

Most apps for earning money have a few pros and cons. I’ve gathered a few based on reading blog posts, Google Play reviews, checking out the app myself, and reading the Shopkick website. Here’s a list of what I believe are the most important pros and cons.

Shopkick Pros
  • The app is 100% free to register.
  • You can legitimately earn rewards like free gift cards.
  • It can be fun to use while shopping.
  • You get information about store sales.
  • Earning “kicks” or points is very easy.
  • The selection of rewards is large.
  • The app has a sleek and user-friendly display.
  • Once you read the guide below, using the app is simple.
Shopkick Cons
  • It can take a long time to accumulate points.
  • You need several hundred points just to get a small gift card.
  • Not all stores are available for earning points (though there are many).
  • You cannot earn money, just gift cards.
  • The app requires a lot of permissions when you download it. You allow it to access your identity, contacts, location, SMS, phone, media, camera, microphone, and more.

The pros are very straightforward. You don’t have to invest a single cent in the app. It’s pretty fun to use; it reminds me of a digital scavenger hunt. And the rewards section is diverse enough for everyone to find something they’ll enjoy. The user-interface is modern and easy to understand.

For me, the primary con is all of the permissions the app requires. The app itself doesn’t use some of the features it requires. But this is purely my personal preference. If you don’t mind giving the app permission, it won’t bother you. Many free rewards apps require these things.

I’d say the biggest overall con is the amount of time it takes to earn points. You need a certain amount of points to redeem for gift cards. It can take quite awhile.

However, I’ll discuss several tips and tricks for earning Shopkick points faster. I’ll also list every possible way to earn kicks so you can get the most out of Shopkick.

How Do I Get Started With Shopkick?

I know you’re eager to see how much you can earn with Shopkick. But first, you’ll need to understand how to use the app. How much you earn depends on how you use the app. These 12 steps show you how to get started.

1. Download Shopkick.

You can easily download Shopkick using this link here.

shopkick review app register

2. Pick your reward.

On this page, you’ll choose which gift card you want as your reward. You can see how many kicks/points it takes to earn the gift card. You are able to change your reward preference at any time.

I chose a Target gift card, which requires 500 kicks. When I browsed the app, the kicks you needed for a gift card ranged from 500 to 75,000 kicks. You can even earn a Vespa if you get 1.9 million kick points.

The more points you get, the higher the gift card worth is. I’ll break down the kicks to dollar ratio in just a bit.

shopkick review app pick reward

3. Create an account.

You can sign up using Facebook, Google, or e-mail. You will need to click a verification link that you’ll receive in an automated Shopkick e-mail. You’ll also be asked to provide your birthday and gender.

shopkick review app create account

4. Invite your friends.

You can always do this later, and I’ll tell you how. Skip this page to get to the main page.

shopkick review app invite friends

5. Complete offers.

This shows you all of the available items you can buy or scan for points. I browsed this page and clicked various icons to get a feel for the app.

shopkick review app scam legit

6. To view items by store, click the Store icon at the bottom of the screen.

It will take you to the screen in this picture. I selected Wal-Mart.

shopkick review app kicks

7. As you can see, there are four ways to earn kicks at Wal-Mart.

You can earn for walking into the store, scanning items, buying items, and linking your credit card.

shopkick review app earn kicks walmart

8. By walking into Wal-Mart, you will earn 25 points.

That’s all you have to do to earn walk-in points. This is the easiest and fastest way to earn points. Unfortunately, this option isn’t available at all stores.

shopkick review app walk-in information

9. By scanning items and walking in, you can earn up to 350 points.

The second screen appears when you click the barcode icon next to any item. Scan the barcode for the items to get kicks. Items I found ranged from 15 to 50 kicks each.

shopkick review barcode

11. Redeem your points by clicking on the balance number.

You will see your chosen reward. You also have the option to change your reward on this page. Simply click Change Reward or See All Rewards.

Now that we’ve covered this, let’s explore exactly how much you can earn with Shopkick. I’ll provide some basic information along with a few examples. These example scenarios will show you various ways to earn.

shopkick review app cash out

Earning Money Online With Shopkick

You can earn kicks through shopping online, too. This works differently than the in-store kick offers. With online shopping, you earn kicks for every dollar you spend. Click the Offers icon in the app. The online kick offers will be displayed first.

When I click See All, there are currently 25 different offers from different stores. The lowest offers are one kick per dollar spent, and the highest offers are six kicks per dollar spent. Retailers on this page include eBay, Apple, Spring, and

If you see items you like, just click Shop Now next to the offer. This will take you to the retailer’s site where you can make the purchase. Some offers also give you one kick just for viewing the retailer’s website.

How Much Can I Earn With The Shopkick App?

In this section, I’ll explain how much you can earn using Shopkick. You’ll see how much kicks are worth, and how many you need to earn free gift cards. I’ve also come up with some mock scenarios to show potential earnings. This is to give you a feel for the app’s potential.

The Basics
  • 250 Kicks equals $1.00.
  • 500 Kicks is the minimum amount needed to redeem for a gift card.
  • Scanning items can earn you about 10 to 50 kicks. This is based on current offers from different stores in the app.
  • Scanning receipts can earn you about 100 to 500 kicks. Again, this number is based on current offers from several different stores.
  • Walking into a store earns you at least 25 kicks. Some reviews report earning up to 100 kicks for entering a store. Walk in kicks are not always available at every store.
  • Linking your credit card to Shopkick earns you up to 200 kicks.
  • Referring a friend to Shopkick earns you up to 2,500 kicks. Your referral link can be found in the app once you’ve downloaded it. The link says you’ll get 250 kicks for the referral. However, you get part of the referral’s kicks when they start using the app.
  • Bonus tasks can earn you about 5 kicks. This includes watching short video ads within the app.

So those are the different ways you can earn kicks and how much you can earn. Now, let’s look at some hypothetical scenarios. These are based on current kicks available at stores near me. Writing these helped me understand the app a bit better. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Scenario One

You go to Wal-Mart and get 25 kicks for walking in. You scan a jar of peanut butter for 15 kicks, ground coffee for 50 kicks, and dog treats for 25 kicks. You buy the peanut butter and get 150 kicks when you scan your receipt. You also buy the coffee and get 250 kicks from scanning your receipt.

Total Kicks Earned: 515 kicks which equals a $2.00 gift card with 15 kicks left over.

Scenario Two

You go to CVS pharmacy, and they do not offer walk-in kicks. From there you scan two bags of chocolate for 15 kicks each. You scan a nail polish kit for 50 kicks. You buy one bag of chocolate for 150 kicks.

Total Kicks Earned: 230 kicks. This is a little less than half of what you need to earn a $2.00 gift card. So, you’ll have to wait to cash out until you earn more kicks.

Scenario Three

You go to Target and earn 25 walk-in kicks. In the beauty section, you scan a nail kit for 50 kicks and lipstick for 20 kicks. There’s a Scan Any Product option that earns you 25 kicks for a random scan. In the grocery section, you scan two breakfast items for 30 kicks each. You also scan two bottles of wine for 25 kicks each.

Total Kicks Earned: 230 kicks. This is the same amount of kicks earned in Scenario Two, but you didn’t spend any money. You simply scanned a few items in two sections of Target.

As you can see, the available kicks at each store vary greatly. You may earn enough for gift cards in one visit sometimes. At other times, you’ll need to make multiple trips to earn enough kicks. But passively using Shopkick will get you free gift cards no matter what. Plus, this next section will help you earn points faster.

Tips For Earning Shopkick Points Faster

Now that you know the basics, review the Shopkick tips below. These are simple and free ways to earn more kicks faster. Most of these require little effort, so they’re definitely worth a shot. See which ones suit you and use them when you use Shopkick:

  • Turn on alerts and/or check the app frequently. There are bonus periods and other limited time offers to earn kicks. You may miss out on them if you don’t check the app daily. It takes less than a minute, and you might end up with free bonus kicks. It’s worth a shot.
  • Use the referral system as much as possible. You earn up to 2,500 kicks when you refer a friend to Shopkick and they use it. You’ll also get part of their earnings during the first 14 days that they use the app. Share your referral link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more. Share this post to show your friends what it’s all about, too!
  • Take a few extra minutes to scan extra items. For example, let’s say you’re in Wal-Mart to buy some groceries. There may be five or so items you can scan for 50 kicks each, but they’re on the other side of the store. If you have just a few spare minutes, scan those extra items. This is an effortless way to get a few hundred kicks.
  • Look for the Scan Any Item option. In some stores, you can scan any item for 25 kicks. When you’re on the store’s page, just click the barcode icon. If it’s available, it will be at the top of the barcode list.
  • Make sure you always have the Shopkick app turned on before you enter a store. This will ensure you get any available walk-in kicks. That’s 25 points here and there, and it requires no effort at all.
  • Watch short videos for a few extra kicks. Click the Discover icon at the bottom of the app. If there are videos available, you’ll see them here. I instantly found three videos for five points each – 15 kicks for streaming a short ad.
  • Consider linking your credit card to Shopkick. I know that some people are a bit wary of linking their credit cards to apps. That’s understandable, but Shopkick has a pretty solid reputation. So if you’re up for it, you can do it to earn extra kicks.
  • Read the Shopkick blog for more tips. The Shopkick Blog is full of great updates, tips, and more. For example, there’s a recent post titled Groupon and Shopkick team up to save you money. There’s another excellent post titled How to get a free gift card on every trip to Best Buy!. This is all free info straight from Shopkick, so you know they’re the real deal.

Verdict: Is Shopkick A Scam Or Legit?

After exploring the app and writing this review, I’m confident Shopkick is 100% legit. These are the main reasons for my conclusion:

The app is free, and you can earn points for free.

  • While shopping earns you points, it’s not mandatory – you can still get rewards.
  • Using the app is very simple.
  • The gift card selection is versatile; there’s something for every Shopkick user.
  • Google Play users give Shopkick a 4.3-star rating based on over 208,000 reviews. That’s seriously impressive feedback.
  • The company offers lots of tips via their blog, app alerts, and e-mail. They seem genuinely helpful and make it easy to increase your earnings.

The only truly noteworthy downside is that each kick is worth $0.004. It can take quite awhile to earn enough kicks to get a decent gift card. However, the gift cards are still 100% free. So the wait isn’t that big of an issue overall.

Final Thoughts

If you want a simple app for earning free gift cards, then Shopkick is a solid pick. Even the $2.00 gift cards help you save money while shopping. It’s a fun and easy way to be frugal. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Do you enjoy earning gift cards, cash, and other rewards via your smartphone? Check out the Frugal For Less Money Making Apps post for over 100 options. When you use a handful of apps at once, you can earn money pretty quickly. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

Amy Baum


Comments (16)

My biggest issue with Shopkick is that in order to redeem kicks for gift cards, you have to give your mobile phone number and agree to receive marketing texts and calls. That was a deal breaker for me. Another thing that concerns me is that many reviews of the app claim that the company shut down accounts when users accumulated what they consider too many kicks, so you could be doing all of that running around for nothing.

My issue with Shopkick is that it has not replied to my email requests to solve an issue. For example, I have an old account that I set up a few years ago and failed to use it. It is linked to my mobile number. Anyway, I forgot I had that account. Now I have a new account linked to a different account email and it won’t accept my mobile number because it is already linked and now I have over 6500 kicks that I cannot redeem, and the app will not allow me to delete the old account. Shopkick will not respond to my request to solve the issue.

I have tried twice to email them about deleting my account. I cannot for the life of me remember the password I used to sign up for the app and it needs it. No one has answered and I’ve been babysitting my email. It takes forever to get enough kicks for a $5 gift card to anything.

Worked on this app for like 6 months , scanning countless items , got up to $86 bucks , with the intent of buying a few Christmas present. Well some not so cool person at shopkick decides I wasn’t scanning correctly.? After 6 months of scanning? Really? Whoever you are at shopkick? And the y steal my earnings. Got nothing but a rude comment that said sorry to see you go. Worst app ever.

My issue, Something different everytime. Multiple X100 times I’ve scanned for kicks and got 0 because their servers are down. I’ve redeemed kicks only to get a response that the item(s) on the receipt are not there. but after a Email with a picture of the receipt and my complaint.. It turns out they were there after all. and still only received half the amount.
I constantly cannot bring up the receipt to turn in items I’ve bought, because the servers are down. Like right now!
It pains me but the actually legit app.. is worthless. they have more problems then they can even handle.
I recommend you use someone else’s app to get gift cards.

Shopkicking works sometimes, or when it wants to. Often times it doesn’t give the walk-in points, the system is down/busy, or I receive an error message that the items scanned could not be recognized, although I know that they are the correct items. It’s pretty good when it works, but other times it sucks!!

I have seen quite a few reviews for this site and oddly enough (snicker) all of the reviews have lots of links to sign up to the site in them. It makes me wonder if the only way to make any money with shopkick is by talking other people into signing up for it. Sounds very pyramid schemeish to me. Anybody wanna buy an alpaca?

Shopkick has a non working phone number listed with the BBB in California. Shopkick’s claim is they “can’t provide phone support at this time”, so why are they faking a phone number with the supposedly reputable BBB? (Also, do not sign up by clicking on links of any kind from someone you don’t know…it is definitely a pyramid that has connection to the linker’s referral and they will get the referral money…multiply that one.) Shopkick’s developer is in Korea and has “office” in California and some other major cities. This is the worst app out there in terms of them holding ALL the cards when you sign to their terms….BEWARE! They will kick you off and keep all your earnings not redeemed according to how THEY perceive things on THEIR end and accuse you of “cheating” when you have spent countless hours and gas gathering the kicks. Once you get “banned”… they do not reinstate you, no matter what and they do not care. I suspect they are banning more these days than signing up. Case in point: they are advertising on inbox dollars to get $3 upon sign up! Hmmmm…
Shopkick is definitely addicting but once they accuse you for “cheating”, it is definitely a letdown and depressing getting out of the habit they hold “hostage” forever your cell phone number and information about your cell phone! I do not recommend you link credit cards because they snoop and sell your shopping habits, as well. Again, you sign away ALL your rights using their site.
I do have a problem with their keeping my cell phone number of 25 years and other information connected to my expensive cell phone. So, armed with all the information I have experienced above, make an informed choice before signing on with Shopkick. It’s not worth the emotional letdown of seeing the “suspension” banner…which they changed to a “nice” way of telling you that your cell phone and number is “BANNED FOREVER.” Don’t assume it won’t happen to you because with their constant glitches, they will perceive that you are cheating when you are not.

I have been using the app for about 1 month. I incurred a couple of snags. However, to all the complainers out there, it’s an app to earn FREE gift cards for basically doing nothing. If you were already going into a store, turn the damn app on.
Its almost like passively earned income except it’s gift cards. Alpaca guy, it’s not to pay your bills. These days everyone wants something for nothing.

Hi Nonya,

Glad that you’re really enjoying the app. I also find it useful as a quick way to earn at the grocery store just by turning it on or doing a few simple tasks. Let us know how it goes.

I use to love shopkicks but now the name SHOPKICKS TURNS MY STOMACH. I got a new iPhone and installed the app and while I was in best buy scanned some of the product barcodes. two days later I got the banned notification. Shopkick will not tell me what is wrong just I violated some rule. since then I have showed the 20 people this notice and all but one closed their accounts

Shopkick is ruthless. They will not re-instate a banned account. They actually ban your phone and your cell number. It is NOT just email they ban.
We’ve been banned on our 2 cell numbers and connected iPhones. I completely removed them from any authority to any of their snooping for statistics first and then the app.
I also do not frequent the stores I spent so much at while scanning…so not spending money anymore.
Shopkick is their own worst enemy, unbeknownst to the many companies that pay them. Remember, this company is owned by a Korean company but have electronic operations in American cities.
Hope this info helps! You WILL be banned from Shopkick eventually after signing up!

Frankly, this app scams enough people to save some money and gives enough money to make people trust it. This review doesn’t show if it actually works as promised. This is the equivalent of me saying I’ll give you a dollar if you walk a mile. I promised you something but showed no proof that I’ll keep my word. My own experience was that I saved up enough for a 100$ Amazon gift card but as I redeemed it, it told me the app was down and to try again later. I thought “Ok, ill try later” and I did. I tried every day for a week until one day I opened the app and was logged out. I could not log in so I reached out to customer service who told me I was banned for suspicious activity. They refuse to tell me what is the issue and stated I violated their ToS. I did not violate their ToS and frankly neither did the other people who were banned for this.

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