Shopkick app is an easy way to get discounts and free gift certificates

If I can earn “free money” while doing things that I normally do or with a small amount of additional effort, I’m all for it.  I found the free Shopkick app (available on both Android & iPhone) a little while ago and after giving it a good test drive, I’m quite pleased with it.  Basically you have the opportunity to earn points in several different ways that can be redeemed for gift certificates to places like Best Buy, Target,, Old Navy, Toys R Us and several others.  Here’s how you can earn points or “kicks”:

  • Instant Surprises
  • Walk-ins
  • Scans
  • Linking your Visa card
  • Watching

You can use any combination or all of the options to earn kicks.

This is one of my favorite ways to earn kicks.  On the “nearby” tab look for stores that have a green bubble or balloon on the far right hand side.  If there is a number in it that’s how many points you can earn by walking in or scanning products (more about that later) or if it has a dark green star in it there is an instant surprise.  If you see a number on top of the dark green star that means you have the opportunity to earn points by walking in or scanning AND there is an instant surprise.

Shopokick instant bonus

Instant surprises are great because you don’t have to be in a store to collect them.  Shopkick randomly assigns “instant surprises” (well it’s random to me, I’m sure they have some method to their madness) to stores that show up in the “nearby” tab.  These range from a single kick, sometimes more, or one of three pieces in a collection.  Once you collect all 3 pieces you get a bonus.

This is an easy way to collect kicks.  Before I leave home I go through the “nearby” tab and collect all the instant surprises which only take a couple of minutes.  When I get to work, I do the same.  This tab is populated by your GPS location so you should have new instant surprises available when you move to a different location.  When my boyfriend and I are in the car traveling and he’s driving, I love to collect the instant surprises and refresh as we go along to get more.  I’ve been known to collect more than 100 kicks at a time this way. It would also be a good task for a child to keep them busy while you drive.


When you select a store and see points for walk-ins all you need to do to collect these points is simply walk in the store, open that store on the app, wait for the app to locate you and it will instantly award your points.  If I’m in the mall shopping or shopping next to a store that offers walk-in kicks, often Best Buy or Old Navy, I take the couple of minutes to walk in and collect my kicks and then I walk right back out.   You do actually have to be inside the store to collect walk-in kicks.  Shopkick is far more precise than Foursquare in determining your location so you won’t be able to score kicks by trying from the parking lot or even in front of the store.  Still, it only takes a couple of minutes and is usually worth 50 or 60 kicks.

Shopkick Walk In Instsructions

Scanning products is another easy way to earn kicks.  Have you noticed that these are all pretty easy?  When you select a store on the app in the “nearby” tab it will show you if there are any scans available.  Select the line that shows the number of scans and it will show you a list of the scans available and the number of kicks each scan is worth.

Shopkick scans

Locate the products in the store, scan the barcode, and you are instantly awarded the kicks.  Sometimes you will be asked to scan a QR code instead, especially for consumer electronics that are usually locked away like cameras.  I usually pass by these items as I’m shopping so it’s no big deal to stop for a second and scan the bar code or QR code.  This is a quick way to rack up kicks.  See, easy!

The newest way to earn is by linking your Visa through Shopkick.  I’m sure this is perfectly safe, but I try to put my credit card information out there as little as possible, so I am not currently using this option.

You can also earn kicks by watching commercials and other videos on your phone. 

I only use Shopkick when I am out shopping anyway and I’ve been able to quickly collect the points for 2 $5 Target gift cards.  In addition to the gift certificates you can earn, many stores offer special deals and discounts through Shopkick.  Take this recent Christmas discount from Toys R Us. 

Shopkick Exclusive Offer $10 off at Toys R Us

Here’s a few tips for using Shopkick:

  • Collecting instant surprises should be your first priority, but if you have the time and the inclination, click on every store in the “nearby” tab.  You will earn a point for every store you click on that will help you move to the next “level”.  The higher your level, the more opportunity you have to earn kicks.
  • When you select a store and are looking at the special offers and instant surprises make sure you scroll all the way to the right.  There are often instant surprises hidden there that you would otherwise miss.
  • If there is more than one person in your family with a smartphone, have everyone use Shopkick.  This way you can rack up points faster (you’ll have separate accounts but you’ll each be earning points towards gift certificates)
  • Mark the stores you go to most frequently as a favorite on the “faves” tab.  If you’re in the store for a walk in or a scan and it says it can’t locate you, go to the “faves” tab and select the store you’re in from there and you will be able to access the scans or walk-in.  I don’t know why that works, but it has worked for me every time.

Ready to give Shopkick a try?  Shopkick is free and you can download it here and you will get 50 bonus kicks (and so will I, thank you!).  You can also download it through the iTunes App Store or Android Market, you just won’t get the bonus kicks.

Happy shopping!



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