The Best Apps to Earn Free Gift CardsFree Stuff
We may receive a commission if you sign up or purchase through links on this page. Here's more information.
Will Rogers once said, “The fastest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.” However, Will Rogers didn’t have access to the internet or smartphones. Today getting a little extra play money can be as easy as wasting a little bit of time on your smartphone.
If you’re willing to spend a little time watching ads or taking surveys, it’s not that tough to rack up a few dollars in gift cards. It’s important to note that you’re not going to get rich doing any of these, but if you can score enough free gift cards to pay for a pizza, that’s still a win in my book.
The internet is deluged with promises of winning money from games and videos, many of which fail to deliver, so we’ve put together a list of the best free gift card apps that have paid off in the past.
Table of Contents
Use the Swagbucks Search to Earn Free Gift Cards
Parents shouldn’t play favorites, but out of all the apps that let you earn gift cards, this one is my top choice.
It’s easy, it requires very little extra effort (unless I have some time to kill), and it’s paid off. I earned enough points on here to get a $20 iTunes gift card on two different occasions.
Swagbucks offers a few different options for earning points. The simplest option is to make Swagbucks your homepage and then use it to do your normal searches. You’ll earn Swagbucks (SB) randomly. Once you have enough SB, you can cash them in for free gift cards.
Other ways to earn SB include surveys, games, watching ads, and shopping. A few examples of gift cards available include a $25 cash card for PayPal (2500 SB), a $25 Amazon gift card (2200 SB), and a $5 iTunes card (425SB)
Pro tip: The games don’t pay out often. Skip them unless your only aim is to have fun.
Earn Free Gift Cards by Shopping With Ibotta
The Ibotta app lets you earn gift cards while you do your grocery shopping. When you sign up for Ibotta, the app will ask for favorite stores and apps so it can personalize offers to locations that match your shopping habits.
Before you shop, log onto the app and choose products or tasks for your shopping trip. Once you’ve completed your purchases, take a photo of your receipt and upload it to the app. Ibotta then deposits the cash you’ve earned into your account within 48 hours.
Some common tasks in the app include purchasing any bread for 25 cents back or any orange juice for 25 cents back. There are some brand-specific deals that can earn you a little more money back.
Ibotta offers some bonuses for using the app regularly or referring friends. You’re not likely to earn a ton of money quickly, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to save up $20 or more in a month.
Get to Steppin’ to Earn Gift Cards with Sweatcoin
If you’re trying to squeeze more steps into your day, Sweatcoin may be the motivator you need to get moving. There are a few catches, the first being that the app has a maximum of 5 coins per day. And you must walk outside for the app to calculate your steps (sorry, treadmill lovers). Also, you must keep the app open to track your steps.
You earn .95 coins per 1,000 steps. Once you’ve earned enough coins, you can trade them in for different gifts ranging from money off your energy bill to gift cards.
One current promotion (as of publication) is cash for invites. If you invite 20 people, you get $20. You’ve got to put in some serious street time to earn higher gift cards, but if you’re walking outside a lot anyway, it’s a quick and mindless way to win gift cards.
Use Your Credit or Debit Card and Earn Free Gift Cards on Drop
Drop is a free gift card app that lets you earn gift cards when you link debit and credit cards to your account. Every time you spend money using one of your linked cards, you earn points. Those points can be traded in for different gift cards.
The idea behind this app is that more people are shopping where they can get rewarded and are less concerned about brand loyalty as long as they get a benefit from switching.
When you’re first asked to link credit cards, you may not see your card or bank. At the bottom there’s an option to search; most customers will be able to find their bank there. You should also note that you can’t switch retailers after you pick them, so choose wisely.
You can earn points by adding a second card to Drop, referring friends, and spending money where you normally do. When you shop at one of the brands or locations you chose, you’ll automatically earn points.
You’ll need to have 5,000 points to earn a gift card. Note: Each retailer earns a different number of points per dollar spent.
You should also know that sometimes Drop offers in-app deals one-that offer a much higher reward. While most points credit to your account within three days, the larger offers may take longer to deposit into your account.
Earn Free Movies and Gift Cards with Microsoft Rewards
While Microsoft Rewards isn’t technically an app, it’s still a program you can use in the background and earn points.
You can earn points by leaving your account logged in and using Bing as your search engine, completing daily polls, and taking quizzes. Level 1 users can earn five points per day. Level 2 users earn up to 20 points per day searching Bing.
Most of the quizzes are entertaining, and they’re easy to complete. Plus, you get bonus points for meeting point goals several days in a row. If you have a few minutes to burn during the day, you can quickly snag several hundred points. You can earn up to 20 points per dollar shopping at the Microsoft store.
The kicker here is that your points can be traded in only for Microsoft rewards (however, that should have been a given, considering the title). You can use points to earn a Microsoft gift card or to enter sweepstakes to win items like an Xbox One. Are you feeling charitable? You can donate your points to charity too.
If you prefer to do your earning on the go, you can earn Microsoft Rewards points by downloading Microsoft Launcher on any Android device.
Cash in Rewards Instantly on InstaGC
InstaGC is a free gift card app that operates much the same as Swagbucks. You can earn points for shopping, surveys videos, and doing web searches.
The simplicity of the reward system on this one may be appealing for some people. For every 100 points you have, you earn $1 towards a gift card. InstaGC has many gift card options from 1-800 Flowers to Hulu, American Airlines, and iTunes. You can access the website from your phone, although there’s no app right now.
You’ll earn a different amount of points depending on the task you complete. For example, one thing you can do is visit certain websites and complete a task (like print coupons or watch a slideshow). Surveys tend to offer higher points (100+), but you can also sign up for free trials and watch videos as well.
Unlike other free gift card apps, when you redeem your points here, you have instant access to your gift card. You don’t have to wait for it to show up in your email hours or days later.
Earn Free Gift Cards and Help Businesses Improve with the National Consumer Panel App
The National Consumer Panel is a partner of Nielsen (the company known for putting out TV-watching numbers). The trick with NCP is that you have to apply to become part of the panel.
The application is simple. All you have to do is fill out a short survey and the panel lets you know when a spot opens up in your area. The market research company offers gift cards as rewards for scanning items you bought at the grocery store.
Unlike traditional apps, NCP sends you a scanner in the mail. (You may be able to scan the items using an app on your phone too depending on your neighborhood).
You transfer the data to the panel, they convert it into points, and you can save your points or redeem them for free gift cards or other prizes.
The NCP isn’t always looking for panelists in every area, but you may get lucky, or you can check back every few months.
Get $5 Free When You Join InboxDollars
You can access InboxDollars online or on the app. Unlike many other options, Inbox Dollars lets you earn actual money instead of points.
When you sign up for InboxDollars, the company connects you with companies looking for feedback on their services or products. You can earn a little bit of money every time you participate in a survey, play games, watch videos, use coupons, shop or receive certain emails.
For paid emails, you get paid for each email you read. Some may require you to complete a small questionnaire.
As of publication, InboxDollars is offering a $5 bonus just for signing up. Cash rewards range from 50 cents up to $15 or more. You can earn cash by logging in every day and completing a few simple tasks, so even if you don’t have time to complete a survey, you may still be able to stack up money. You have to accumulate at least $30 before you can cash out.
Cash in on Free Gift Cards and Electronics with the Perk App
Perk is another point-based free gift card app you can use when you have a little extra time. The idea behind Perk is that you can earn free gift cards just doing what you’d normally do online including shopping and searching.
You can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, airline miles, and donations. The Perk system is a little more complicated than some of the other free gift card apps on the list because you can earn Perk Points and Perk Coins.
You earn Perk Points by shopping, searching, and answering trivia questions. You can trade your accumulated points in for free gift cards, electronics, and donations. Perk Tokens allow you to enter bigger sweepstakes for prizes like phones and $100 gift cards.
You can purchase Perk Tokens in the catalog by using your Perk Points. You can earn also earn tokens by completing different tasks on the app.
The Bottom Line
Earning rewards on a free gift card app is possible. You’re not likely going to make enough to pay off a mortgage, but with a little persistence, you can foot the bill for dinner the next time you go out with your friends.
With easy access via your favorite mobile device, you can earn a little cash while killing time in the waiting room. Just remember to use caution when you download any app or provide personal information. A quick search for reviews should help you stay away from scam apps.
Angela is a finance and real estate writer based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. She has contributed to publications such as LendingTree and FinanceBuzz.