17 Legit Ways to Get Free Gift Cards (Apple, Visa, & More)
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Everyone loves free gift cards.
Getting a gift card is like being handed a guilt-free pass to spend on something you otherwise might not have purchased. New clothes, books, video games, a massage — anything you wouldn’t normally buy is fair game when it comes courtesy of the ever-glorious prepaid plastic.
But outside of birthdays and holidays, free gift cards don’t normally fall into your lap. You either have to purchase them yourself or wait for those special occasions that only come once a year.
That is unless you know where to look.
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How to Get Free Gift Cards Without Spending Money
Shopping isn’t the only way to earn free gift cards (although we’ll get to that in a minute). Here are a few options for earning rewards that don’t require you to spend money.
1. Help big brands with market research
With Branded Surveys, users earn points by taking surveys through the platform that you can redeem for free gift cards. The surveys generally take between 5 and 15 minutes to complete, and your answers help brands make improvements to products they seek feedback on. Your demographics and purchase history help shape which surveys you see, so you can share feedback on things you actually use and love.
You’ll instantly earn 100 bonus points toward a free gift card just for signing up.
In my Branded Surveys review, I share some tips and tricks on how I earned about $10 worth of gift cards less than 24 hours after creating my account.
You need 1,000 points to cash out through PayPal, direct deposit, or for gift cards to Amazon, Airbnb, Lowe’s, Chipotle, and many more. So while it’s not entirely free in the sense that it costs some of your time, if you take surveys consistently, you can earn free gift cards as a Branded Elite member.
On a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, Branded Elite members are chosen to receive up to 1,000 bonus points, equal to a free $10 gift card. The 50 top-earning members of each day receive an additional 50 points and the top 20 earners of each month earn 300 bonus points. That’s a possible $20 or more in free gift cards each month.
2. Try a new search engine
Swagbucks is a free rewards site where users earn points for activities like taking surveys, shopping online, playing games, and searching the web.
When you make Swagbucks your default search engine, you earn points each time you browse. Swagbucks isn’t clear on exactly how many points each search is worth, but you’ll receive a notification each time they credit your account. You won’t earn free gift cards super fast with this method, but the upside is that it requires very little effort.
Swagbucks also offers a $10 sign-up bonus for new members. You only need $3 to cash out for a free gift card code or $25 to exchange your points for PayPal cash.
3. Scan product barcodes at your local stores
Shopkick offers several unique ways to earn free gift cards, three of which require no spending.
When you download the Shopkick app, you can earn points (called “kicks”) just for walking into certain stores such as Target or CVS. Once you’re inside the store, earn additional kicks by scanning products in the app. If you have kids in tow, you can turn it into a family scavenger hunt — keep them entertained while earning rewards in the process.
While you’re waiting in line to check out or if you can find a few free minutes in your day, earn more kicks for watching in-app videos. The exchange rate is roughly 250 kicks per dollar. Choose free gift cards to clothing retailers like American Eagle and Aerie or department stores such as Target or Walmart.
4. Use Instagram to find gift card giveaways
Companies are always giving away free stuff on Instagram. You can enter these giveaways and win free gift card codes. The rules of the giveaways vary, but you’ll usually need to follow the account that posted the contest and like the image, comment, or tag someone.
The best way to find these opportunities is to search for hashtags like:
Instagram allows you to follow hashtags, which means you don’t have to manually search these terms every day. Instead, once you follow the hashtags, they’ll show up in your feed automatically. If you win any of these giveaways, the host should get in touch and let you know how to claim your prize.
5. Sell your internet
Sounds weird right? But Honeygain allows you to do exactly that. I’ve used it for a little over a year now and I’ve racked up over $300 in earnings.
Most simply, Honeygain affords users the opportunity to earn passive income by allowing the application to use some of your internet resources.
They use the extra internet resources you provide to perform market research for companies — notably, they like to see what consumers search for when they’re shopping online. The information sent is anonymously, and they don’t sell your private information to a third party.
As long as you have an unlimited internet bundle (no bandwidth allowances), you can cash in on free “honey” and the completely free gift cards that can come with that.
6. Refer friends to services you love
When we find something we really love, the first thing many of us want to do is share it with the people in our lives. In many cases, you can earn rewards and free gift cards for doing just that.
Banks, apps (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, etc.), and retail websites are all good places to start.
Even the game apps most everyone has on their phone have a referral link you can share.
Check to see if any of your favorites have referral programs. If they do, grab your referral link or code and send it to people you think would also enjoy or benefit from using it. Anyone you refer will likely need to complete a certain action, such as setting up direct deposit or booking their first ride or trip, before you receive your referral reward. Be sure to read the program details for each one so you know what to expect.
7. Ask for free gift cards instead of gifts
This method doesn’t involve any apps or technology and is probably the fastest and easiest way to get free gift cards.
All you have to do is ask. When it’s a gift-giving season or your birthday and people ask you what you want, tell them you’d like gift cards to your favorite store. Or, if you want the flexibility to spend your newly found free money in more than one place, ask for a Visa prepaid debit card.
Your friends and loved ones want to get you something that you genuinely want. Some people think gift cards are a cop-out, but in some cases, they actually make the perfect gift.
If you’re saving for a large purchase like a new MacBook Pro or home appliance, tell your friends and family how gift cards would help lower the expense. More than likely, they’ll be glad to help you reach your goal.
8. Return unwanted gifts
The least savvy but most underappreciated of ways to get free gift cards, returning gifts that completely missed the mark is my favorite way to get free gift cards.
A receipt or not, nearly every store now offers store credit on returns so long as the merchandise is in its original condition — even the item is missing its ever-so-easily-lost tag.
You can still appreciate the thought (or lack of thought) someone put into a gift purchase, but don’t pass up a chance to put the money towards something you actually need.
Earn Free Gift Cards for Everyday Purchases
Many shopping apps and services give away free gift cards when you shop through their website or app. Oftentimes, these companies receive a small commission on your purchase. That said, there’s no additional cost on your end, and you can get them without taking the surveys stores pester you to take at the bottom of your receipt.
9. Use a rewards browser extension
Another passive way to accumulate points towards free gift cards is by using any of a number cashback or rewards browser extension when you shop online. Consumers can earn Capital One Shopping credits, which can easily be redeemed for gift cards to retailers like eBay, Lowe’s, and Nordstrom. There are two ways that customers can earn these credits.
Once the browser extension is installed, shop online normally and when you see Capital One Shopping pop up with a rewards offer, click on it. Once that’s activated, you’ll receive a notification from Capital One Shopping if reward credits are available when you go to make a qualifying purchase.
You can also earn Capital One Shopping credits when you link a credit card and use that card at a participating store. Capital One Shopping credits are usually disbursed within seven days of purchase.
Note: CapitalOne Shopping compensates us when you get the CapitalOne Shopping extension using the links provided.
Related: Capital One Shopping Review 2022
10. Exchange grocery cashback for free gift cards
If you like saving money with coupons but hate the idea of clipping them, carrying them around, and remembering to bring them with you, then the Ibotta app may be your perfect solution. Ibotta began as a cashback app for grocery stores, but they’ve added other retailers like Target, Macy’s, and Walmart.
Frugality expert and DollarSprout reader Tana Williams says she’s able to recoup about “20 to 25% per month on grocery bills” through the free gift cards and other rewards she redeems through the app. It all added up to over $830 in savings last year alone.
In the app, you’ll find offers for cashback on various products. Select the ones you want, then claim the offers by completing a simple task (read a short fact, answer a poll, etc.).
Purchase the item and upload your receipt to the app to redeem your cash-back offer. If you link your store loyalty card, then you can skip the receipt upload and get paid automatically within 48 hours of your shopping trip.
Once you reach $20 in your Ibotta account, you can cash out through PayPal or select free gift cards from major retailers like Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Starbucks, and dozens more.
11. Shop till you Drop
The perfect complement to a computer-based rewards browser extension, Drop is a smartphone rewards app that’s 100% free to join and use. The iOS app currently has over 1 million downloads and 46,000 reviews averaging 4.6 stars. There are several ways to earn gift cards with Drop.
One option is to shop offers directly through the app. You can also link a credit or debit card and earn points automatically when you shop at your chosen retailers. If you like the app and share it with others, you’ll earn another 5,000 points for the first 10 friends you refer who link a card and confirm their email address.
It can take 5-8 days to see the rewards from purchases with your linked retailers and up to 60 days for in-app offers. Once you reach 5,000 points, equal to $5, you can redeem them for gift cards to Netflix, Starbucks, or other popular retailers.
12. Snag free gift cards from lifestyle brands
Fetch Rewards partners with some of the biggest household brand names, including Pull-Ups, Dove, Lay’s, and dozens more. According to their site, “Every time you purchase one of these brands you are guaranteed to get points and save on your shopping trip.”
The best part? You don’t have to preselect your offers with Fetch Rewards. Just download the free app, shop as you normally would, then scan your receipts after.
You can also earn points for referring friends and family. Every time someone signs up through your referral link, you’ll each receive 2,000 points when they submit their first receipt. There’s no limit to how many people you can refer.
You need at least 3,000 points to cash out for free gift cards to retailers such as Airbnb, Sephora, Best Buy, and Stitch Fix. However, some offers require a minimum of 5,000 points or more.
13. Leverage a rewards credit card
Credit cards aren’t for everyone. If you have a history of overspending or are trying to get out of debt, then this probably isn’t your best option.
However, if you don’t have credit card debt and trust yourself to only spend what you can pay off every month, then consider getting a rewards credit card. These cards typically pay 1-3% in cashback or travel points, depending on the card.
Some offer higher rewards for certain categories, such as groceries or travel, and there are many rewards credit cards with no annual fees. You’ll need to do some research to figure out which card makes the most sense for you.
Get Free Gift Card Codes with Online Surveys
Taking paid online surveys won’t make you rich or even help you pay rent, but they’re an easy way to earn free gift cards without much effort. For the best use of your time, be sure to fill out your profile completely when you first sign up for each site.
This will ensure that you’ll receive the surveys most relevant to you and spend less time answering qualifying questions only to be told you’re not eligible for the study.
InboxDollars is currently offering a $5 sign-up bonus for new members. The site is free to join and has a 4-star Trustpilot rating based on over 7,400 reviews.
According to InboxDollars’ site, most of their surveys take 3 to 25 minutes to complete and pay from $0.50 to $5 each. Occasionally you’ll find surveys worth up to $20 if you match the demographic profile for that study.
Once you reach the minimum payout amount of $30, you can request payment via PayPal, a check in the mail, or free gift cards. You can also donate your earnings to the American Humane Society, Red Cross, or another charity of your choosing.
15. Survey Junkie
Unlike some other survey sites that offer multiple ways to earn points for free gift cards, Survey Junkie focuses solely on paid online surveys. The biggest benefit of this for you as a user is a simple, easy-to-use platform.
When you sign in to Survey Junkie, you won’t be overwhelmed with options or find yourself watching multiple videos or playing games for a few cents each. Each available survey shows the payout and estimated completion time. After you complete the questionnaire, points will be credited to your account immediately.
You need at least 1,000 points, worth $10, to redeem your rewards. Choose a gift card, transfer your earnings to PayPal, or send cash straight to your bank account.
MyPoints users can earn points for participating in online panels, completing surveys, and testing products from home. As a new user, you can claim a $10 sign-up bonus when you create your free account and make a purchase of $20 or more through their online shopping portal.
When you sign up for SurveyMail, MyPoints will send surveys straight to your inbox. You’ll earn points each time you click and complete a survey.
The number of points you can earn depends on the length of the survey, but they typically range from 50 to 600 points each. You’ll also earn 5 points for every 10 profile questions you answer and up to 750 for each friend you refer.
The lowest amount you need to cash out is 480 points, which will get you a $3 gift card. Redemption requirements vary depending on the retailer and free gift card value. For example, a $10 gift card from Retailer A might be 1,400 while a $10 gift card from Retailer B requires 1,580 points.
According to its website, PrizeRebel has paid out over $19 million in prizes and free gift cards since its inception in 2007. There are currently over 500 gift cards and rewards to choose from.
As a PrizeRebel member, you can earn points for gift cards by taking surveys, watching videos, completing daily challenges, and signing up for offers with partner companies. Once you complete a task, points are instantly added to your account. Exchange your points for free gift cards to places like Xbox, Gap, Kroger, and iTunes.
You can also use your points to enter drawings for larger cash prizes.
Related: 40 Creative Ways to Make Money Fast
Earn Gift Cards for the Things You Already Do
The best way to get free gift cards is to find a way to earn rewards for things you already do. For example, if you buy groceries or do at least some of your shopping online, then you could potentially benefit from apps like Ibotta, Drop, or Fetch Rewards without changing your spending habits.
If you don’t do much of the shopping for your household, then you may be better off earning free gift cards with online surveys, Shopkick, entering giveaways, referring others to your favorite products and services, or another method that doesn’t require you to spend money.
Regardless of your shopping habits, there’s likely a way for you to earn free gift cards in your spare time. You just have to try a few different options and find the methods that best fit your lifestyle.