These days, it seems like you can earn cash by doing just about everything or absolutely nothing. In the past couple of months, we’ve looked at all the different ways to make money by taking surveys and even playing video games.
How about getting paid to spend cash? It almost sounds too good to be true. And while you won’t make millions, it is an easy way to put a few extra bucks in your pocket.
In this case, we’re talking about Shopkick. You may have heard of apps where you scan receipts. Shopkick is one-part this, but there are even more ways to make money (in the form of redeemable gift cards), including just entering certain retailers.
In this Shopkick review, we’ll give you the lowdown on what you need to know about the app and whether it’s a good way to earn a few dollars.
What Is Shopkick?
Shopkick is a shopping app that rewards both online and in-store activities. This includes:
- Walking into certain stores
- Scanning items
- Making in-app purchases
- Submitting receipts
Once you do so, you’ll be awarded a “kick,” which are basically points that you can add up and exchange for gift cards.
Just handful of Shopkick partners include:
- Best Buy
- American Eagle
Shopkick also partners with charities like Feeding America and the Red Cross. They also directly offer “product kicks” from big names like Unilever and L’Oréal.
How Does Shopkick Work?
Some of us are old enough to remember Foursquare. It basically was a platform that allowed you to check-in to certain locations if you’re not familiar. This worked as a social network to tell friends where/what you were up to you.
Shopkick operates in a similar way, except it removes the social element and gives you points instead.
But it doesn’t use GPS. Instead, partnering businesses install a device that emits an inaudible sound that the microphone on your smartphone detects as long as your phone is unlocked and the app is opened. There is a mutual advantage here. This gives users more privacy and control over their location sharing while also encouraging them to actually go into the store (with GPS, you could be up to 1000 feet away), which is a potential win for retailers.
How Do You Make Money With Shopkick?
Shopkick offers a few different ways to earn some cash. They include:
Walk-Ins (25 Kicks)
Our favorite. Literally, you just walk into a store. You don’t have to buy anything. In some cases, you can just pass by a store in the mall, for example, and get kicks.
Scanning In-Store Items (10+ kicks)
Using your smartphone camera, you scan select products. Often these products are tied to special promotions and discounts.
Scanning Receipts (100+ kicks)
After you’ve made a purchase, scan the receipt and get rewarded.
Linking A Payment Card (200 kicks)
If you connect any of your credit/debit cards, you’ll get an automatic 200 kicks.
Visiting Online Shops (10 kicks)
Similar to the physical world, you can get kicks in the virtual. But you have to do so by navigating to them via the Shopkick app.
Watching Videos/Ads In The App (5 Kicks)
There is a lot of ad and other content you can watch and get rewarded.
Referral (250 Kicks)
If you get somebody to sign up and start using the app, you’ll also get rewarded.
How Many Kicks Do You Need To Get A Gift Card?
Typically, 250 kicks will equal $1 in gift cards. So, $10 would be 2,500 kicks though cards can be redeemed for 500 kicks.
How To Earn Money Quickly On Shopkick
There are a few strategies you can use. We recommend just keeping the app open anytime you are near a participating store. If you have a few extra minutes, then go ahead and scan some items even if you’re not likely to purchase them.
Be aware from the start that you won’t make millions with Shopkick. But it’s pretty easy to make a few bucks each week just going into stores and making purchases with linked cards.
But even earning $5 a week will take some effort unless you want to visit a lot of online stores/watch a bunch of videos.
Is Shopkick Legit?
Though you might not have heard of them, Shopkick has been around since 2009. That’s practically ancient in the app era.
Currently, Shopkick has 7.5 million active users and over $2.5 billion in sales for partner brands and products.
How Does Shopkick Make Money?
Shopkick makes money in a few different ways. The main revenue stream is they anonymize all your shopping data and sell it to partner retailers and market research firms.
This is similar to other receipt scanning apps and the apps that allow you to earn points from playing video games.
They also earn money from their partnerships and various sponsorships and promotions.
Is Shopkick Safe?
It’s definitely not for somebody who has concerns over their data privacy. Yes, it is anonymized, but these retailers do get a pretty good sense of who you are.
The one upside is that it doesn’t track GPS, but it does use your microphone, and we all have been suspicious about our phone listening to us.
The platform itself is secure. Your identity won’t get stolen from using it, but if you’re creeped out already by Facebook ads based on your Google search history, then this app probably isn’t for you.
Is Shopkick Worth It?
It’s pretty low effort, and while we wouldn’t recommend randomly touching products inside stores given the times we now live in, it is easy to walk in and earn a few points.
It will take a long time to earn any significant amount of money, so if you’re looking to make an extra $500 a month or more, you may want to consider other options. Additionally you have to actually remember to have your phone, and the app unlocked to credit.
The key thing is to have a linked credit card where you’re already earning points or cash back. As part of an overall personal finance hack, then it’s a decent enough strategy. Just don’t quit your day job!
- Get rewarded for shopping.
- Easy to get kicks, don’t even have to walk into stores
- Simple to use
- Doesn’t use GPS so a little more private
- Huge number of partner retailers
- Linking a payment method speeds up kick process
- Can take a long time to earn real value unless you also watch videos and do other activities
- Have to shop through their portal, which can be annoying
- Not great overall for data privacy
- Can’t redeem for actual cash.
Shopkick vs. Rakuten
Rakuten is the biggest name in the game, and you may have even seen their commercials or ads. What we like about Rakuten is you just shop via their portal, and they automatically will give you cashback.
And that’s the other bonus. They give you real cash and not just gift cards. Do note the same issue applies to data privacy, and you don’t get physical in-store points. So, you might want to use Shopkick for offline and Rakuten for online.
Shopkick Review: The Bottom Line
Shopkick rewards you for shopping. With it, you can earn a little bit of cash just by making purchases or walking into stores. If you’re into a little, and we mean little, effectively passive income, then give it a shot. Just don’t invest too much time and effort into as any other side hustle will be a better use of time!