Lots of store loyalty programs reward you for your buying behavior. But can you earn valuable rewards for window shopping? With the Shopkick app, you can earn gift cards to your favorite stores just for walking into stores or scanning certain items.
If you regularly visit stores in the Shopkick app (or you even walk by those stores on your commute), you can quickly and easily rack up “kicks” which you can exchange for gift cards. But will all this “shopping gamification” only trick you into spending more?
This Shopkick review will tell you if the app is worth your trouble.
- Earn rewards for shopping and checking in at stores
- Decent reward earning power without much work
- Can be fun to see how quickly you earn rewards
How Shopkick Works
Shopkick is similar to apps like Foursquare where you earn points for “checking in” at certain locations. However, with Shopkick you don’t just earn points (called “kicks”) for checking in, you can also earn kicks by doing any of the following tasks:
- Walking into a participating store (25+ kicks) — some stores allow you to earn kicks just for walking by the store, so if you’re at a shopping center, be sure to have your Shopkick app open
- Scanning items in the store (10+ kicks)
- Scanning receipts where you’ve purchased select items (100+ kicks)
- Linking a card to the app (200 kicks)
- Buying items with a linked card (100+ kicks)
- Watching videos in the app (5 kicks)
- Visiting online shops (10 kicks)
- Referring a friend to Shopkick (250 kicks)
Generally speaking, it takes 250 kicks to earn $1 in gift cards, and it takes 1,250 points to redeem your cards for a $5 gift card (although some cards can be redeemed for just 500 kicks).
I’ve found that the easiest way to rack up kicks is to open the Shopkick app before entering a participating store, and then checking the app to see if I can scan items to earn kicks.
How Quickly Can You Earn Rewards?
When I first downloaded Shopkick, I had a walking commute that took me by a Target and a CVS. Simply walking into the stores each day allowed me to earn 50 to 60 kicks five times per week.
I also typically tried to scan items whenever I actually shopped at the stores, so I managed another 100 points per week. That meant that I earned about 400 kicks (or $1.60) per week without much effort.
When you combine that with referral bonuses (250 kicks) and occasionally buying items with my linked credit card (my Target REDcard is linked), I was typically able to redeem my kicks for a $5 gift card every two weeks.
Earning $5 every two weeks is on the high end of earning potential unless you’re willing to visit online stores or watch videos to earn points. These days, I rarely visit stores, so my earning potential is much lower, probably closer to $5 per year — if I remember my phone when shopping.
Is Downloading Shopkick Worthwhile?
If you frequently visit Target, Walmart, CVS, or another store that’s involved in the Shopkick app, downloading the app might be worthwhile for you. It’s actually pretty fun to see how quickly you can earn kicks, especially if you’re in a friendly competition.
However, I would caution that scanning the items in the app leads to more in-store browsing. I almost always made some sort of impulse purchase when I was scanning items in the store. If you struggle with impulse buying online or in stores, you’ll probably end up spending more than you earn when you download Shopkick.
Overall, Shopkick is a fun app, and it’s a great way to get rewarded without having to spend money. However, if you’re prone to impulse buying, it may be best to avoid it.
- Ease Of Use - 80
- Choice of Stores - 90
- Redemption Process - 90
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.