OK, we all know the drill…
“You’re the 1 millionth visitor! Click here to receive your free gift card!”
If you like getting paid for surveys, and are going to join only one site, I would recommend you choose Ipsos-iSay. Ipsos is the most fun and well-paying panel. Give it a try to see how you like it. It is free anyway!
“You won $100 free gift card.”
We’re all used to those ads being synonymous with risky-clicks. At best, you’ll be assailed with pop-ups, and at worst, you’ll end up downloading malware, or giving up your information to people who will sell it to telemarketers and e-mail scammers.
However, you might be surprised (and pleased) to learn that free gift cards are not impossible to find on the internet.
They aren’t strictly free, of course– you’ll have to put in a little bit of effort to get your hands on them. But you won’t need to give up any vulnerable information or crack open your wallet, and that’s a pretty good place to get started!
There are a few exceptions to this (like this one where I explained how you can get a free $3 Amazon gift certificate), where you can get gift cards by taking part in promotional offers and the like, but for the most part, these are all real ways to get gift cards in return for nothing more than a little effort on your part.
If you’re willing, keep reading and we’ll discuss how you can do it!
Getting Free Gift Cards Without Completing Surveys & Offers
Now, I know a lot of you guys don’t like the idea of doing surveys and completing offers to earn gift cards. You want to get it fast without any hassle.
Thankfully, there are a few totally free ways you can get free gift cards without completing any offer or filling out a survey.
1. Taking Advantages of Social Media Giveaways
Let’s start with this one, since it’s the closest to free money that you can get!
We all know that social media is growing every day and increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. As such, there are more opportunities to nab cool stuff via social media than ever before, and people are willing to spend a little cash to grow their social media followings.
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
Bloggers will often host things called a “Twitter party,” which just means that from a set period of time (X o’clock until Y o’clock) you and others will all be tweeting using a specific hashtag. This is done to raise awareness for the person’s blog on twitter, and you can even find a list of people who are throwing these parties through a site like TwitterPartyGuide.com.
Of course, bloggers will often offer gift cards in return for participating. Just don’t show up near the end and expect a reward! You’ll have to participate in good faith.
Bloggers are also famous for the tactic of offering gift cards in return for liking their pages on Facebook or Pinterest. This is literally pay-for-click, and you should definitely take advantage of it!
Just go to your favored search engine and type in “blogger gift card giveaway“. You’ll see a whole list of results for bloggers giving away gift cards (and guess what, there are entire websites devoted to tracking them, making this even easier on you!)
Usually, they’ll just want you to do things that boost their social media presence – ‘Like us on Facebook, like our affiliates, like us on Pinterest.’ Easy things that take less effort than just about anything.
The exposure you offer them through liking and sharing is more than worth it to them, compared to the value of the gift card.
2. Transfer Your Prescriptions to a New Pharmacy
This one is a way to get gift cards that has arisen from the rising variety in pharmacy locations.
As more Super Walmarts, Super Targets, Walgreens, CVSs, and other chains with pharmacy department appear across the country, there are more incentives coming from them, trying to earn your business.
These deals aren’t constantly ongoing, but they do pop up pretty frequently– just do a quick web search for “Prescription transfer coupon” and you’ll find the deals that are going on currently.
Normally, they’ll offer you $25 dollars in coupons for a single transfer, and offer you up to $50. That’s pretty good money for a transfer you might have been planning to make anyway!
You can see an example of Kmart giving a $30 gift card for anyone transferring their prescription to Kmart, here.
3. Start Charging up Points on a Rewards Card
I’ll be the first to admit that your mileage may vary with this technique, but there are certainly a few people out there who have learned how to make it work.
If you sign up for a Rewards card (and just about everyone offers them nowadays, even Amazon) then you can potentially be earning cash back on every purchase you make. This is a good way to recoup some losses from your spending, but there is of course, one major catch: you need to regularly pay off your cards in time!
So, it is a good method, but you shouldn’t pursue it if you’re not in a fairly stable place, financially. Falling behind on your Rewards card payments would be a detriment that would far outweigh the initial benefits. This method is for people who can play the long game with their money making tactics.
4. Test Driving Cars for Rewards
Alright, I’ll admit that this one came as a shocker to me because I’ve absolutely never heard of this method before.
But it is, in fact, a real method!
Car manufacturers and car dealerships care very much about getting you on their premises, even if it’s just to look at their cars for a little bit.
Occasionally, car companies (usually American car manufacturers like Ford or Dodge) will offer promotional events wherein you can test drive their vehicles in return for rewards.
These nationwide events tend to pay out a $50 dollar gift card in return for a test drive, but local dealerships may send out mail with their own specialized promotions.
Keep your eye out for these promotions because they can sometimes be even better than the national ones!
There is actually an entire thread on FatWallet dedicated to this. People actually post lists of car dealerships in their local area that offer gift cards for test driving cars. That would be a good place to check as well.
A word of advice: be courteous to the salesman when you’re there to take part in the promotion. Don’t let him get 10 minutes into his sales pitch before you let him know that you only showed up for the gift card!
Earning It with Surveys
For those of you who don’t mind doing offers and surveys in return for Amazon gift certificates (or any other gift card for that matter), here are some options.
5. Sign Up for Bing Rewards
Bing is running hard to catch up to Google in the search engine department, and they’re prepared to offer incentives to stay in the race.
Sign up for Bing Reward and you’ll build points towards gift cards with every search you make (though there is a daily cap of points to discourage people from abusing the system.)
You can even build these points by doing mobile searches, but you should be aware that the daily point cap is lower on mobile than it is on a regular PC. For more details about BingRewards read my review.
6. You Can Also Use MyPoints
MyPoints is something of a hybrid between Bing rewards and Swagbucks (which we’ll discuss below.)
You can sign up for InboxDollars and start earning points towards rewards for doing all kinds of stuff – taking surveys, shopping, playing games, and more. So, it’s free in terms of out-of-pocket costs, but it will require some of your time to maximize the effect.
The best part about MyPoints is definitely that they offer a lot of highly specific rewards that you can’t get from the other sites. If you aren’t into any niche like that, don’t worry, because they’ll still offer you points towards rewards like PetSmart, Target, or Amazon.
It’s also worth noting that MyPoints has a referral system, where you’ll earn points for refering your freinds and family.
Now THAT is an easy way to get points!
For tips on how to maximize your earning with MyPoints, read this.
7. Get in on Swagbucks
Swagbucks is definitely the king of the hill when it comes to GPT (Get Paid To) websites. It functions quite alike the MyPoints website we discussed above, including search engine rewards and various tasks on-site, like surveys and promotional offers.
The noteworthy thing about Swagbucks, aside from its massive popularity, is that they have a better payout rate than other websites of their kind.
A site like MyPoints will probably offer you $3 in gift cards for 300 points, but Swagbucks will offer you $5 for 450 points. That’s a 10% deduction of point cost, which can really add up over time.
When I talked about GPT sites up above, I’m referring to sites that have a similar range of activities that you can do in return for their points. These are very general, low-effort tasks. Watching videos, ads, and movie trailers, for example.
Taking surveys is another popular way to bring in the points, and yes, they do actually reward you for taking them! In fact, surveys are one of the highest rewarding activities on these sites, because they’re trying to target specific demographics.
8. Consider Checking out EarningStation
Like MyPoints and Swagbucks discussed above, EarningStation is a GPT site.
They offer the usual suite of activities; surveys, web searches, and promotional shopping are all mainstays of the website.
The good news is that their gift cards are wide and varied, so you can really choose the type of reward you want.
9. Other Rewards Programs
Other than the sites mentioned above, there are a few other rewards sites worth trying as well.
Some of the oldest and most trusted online reward programs include:
10. Survey Sites
Unlike our good ol’ GPT sites discussed above, there do exist some sites that are specifically focused on surveys and consumer climates.
These websites bear more to the side of, and sometimes cross into, the territory of focus groups. Your opinion as a shopper is important to them, and they’re prepared to dish out the gift cards in return for your candid opinion. Some of them will ask you to take part in actual online focus groups or to be a product tester, which will net you a higher reward in addition to some much-needed variety.
Here are a few legit ones you may want to consider:
When it comes to these survey sites, stick only to names you’ve heard from trusted sources– there are some scammers when it comes to survey sites.
A Few Tips to Make It Easier
To take advantage of these opportunities, especially the online ones, you need to have a plan. You need to get organized. Here are some tips to help you do that.
1. Don’t spread yourself too thin
Carefully consider all of the sites above before you start going in deep on one. The biggest mistake I see when people try to take advantage of these opportunities is spreading themselves too thin. You should look into what will work best for you and commit to it, after all, you’re trying to build small amounts of points into a worthwhile sum! And that will be very hard to do if you’re on 6 different sites throughout the day.
2. Do not pay a membership fee
All of these sites should be willing to get you in the door for free. They want you to take part in their activities that are relevant to their sponsors, of course.
You are the customer and their tasks are the products, so the benefit they gain from your participation is more than enough payment.
If a site is putting up a paywall that prevents you from taking part, that’s a huge red flag. Close the page and move to somewhere that is more eager for your participation.
3. Know what information to give and what not to
Those survey-centric websites we talked about up above care who you are, personally.
They don’t need to know your name, necessarily, but they’re going to want to know how old you are, what your hobbies are, and what demographics you fit into. So, you should look elsewhere if that seems too personal for you.
Furthermore, if you do somehow end up on a sketchy website, it’ll be more important than ever to protect your information. Which leads us to…
4. Make an email address solely for the purpose of using these sites
Let’s be frank: some of these sites are going to sell your email to their affiliates, and you’re going to be getting a lot of emails.
Unless you’re comfortable relying on your primary email address’s filters (and Gmail does do an adequate job at sorting them) you’re going to want a whole new address.
This also has the added benefit of protecting you in case you do end up signing up to a website that is untrustworthy.
5. Get multiple plates spinning at once
And what I mean by this is, these sites are multi-tasking friendly. Do searches in one tab while videos play in the other, or take your phone with you and do tasks while you’re waiting for your friend to join you, or while you’re waiting for your dentist’s appointment.
You’ll get the most benefit out of these websites if you’re also maximizing your time. The participation they’re asking for isn’t too personal, so you don’t need to take it too seriously if you’re not giving them your full attention.
Taking full advantage of these sites can be the first step to stabilizing your financial flow. I think we would all benefit by shaving $100 or so off of our food budget.
People who have learned to “play the system” with these sites are making pretty tidy sums in gift cards, which translates to hard cash that you’re saving (or at least spending more freely) on the bottom line.
Getting started with these websites might only mean a few dozen more dollars coming in every month or two, but that’s nothing to scoff at. You could nab that item off your Amazon wish list just by running videos for an hour or so every day, or maybe ensure that you never have to take a coffee-less break again. By my accounts, I’d definitely put in the effort for those types of rewards.