OK, we all know the drill…
“You’re the 1 millionth visitor! Click here to receive your free gift card!”
Try YouGov, a survey panel that rewards you for participating in their market research studies. If you join now, you will get 2000 free signup bonus!
Or, “You won a $100 gift card.”
Only if it was that easy!
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 time and effort.
A. 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. Use Twitter Parties
Let’s start with this one since it’s the closest to real 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.
And to take advantage of this popularity a lot of businesses giveaway stuff, like free gift cards, to draw attention to their products and services.
For example, sometimes you see small businesses and website owners host Twitter parties where they giveaway free gift cards to people who tweet using a specific hashtag for a certain period of time.
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
This is done to promote the business and get the word out.
So how do you find Twitter parties?
There are a few ways to do this.
Follow your favorite companies
One simple way is to follow a few of your favorite companies so you can find out when they have one of these parties.
Follow people in the know
Another way is to search on Twitter to find and follow a few people who Tweet about Twitter parties.
Use Twitter Party Calendars
Another great way is to use sites with Twitter Party Calendars such as:
- Mommy Blog Expert Twitter Party Calendar
- Kathy’s Calm to Chaos Twitter Party Calendar
- Freebies for Mom Twitter Parties
Search on Google
Of course, you can always Google it. Just visit Google and search for “Twitter parties free gift cards” (without the quotes).
2. Enter Blogger Giveaway Contests
Another way win free gift cards is through giveaways. There are a few kind of contests bloggers run.
- One is a sponsored one where a company sponsors a contest in order to promote their service or product and they giveaway prizes.
- The second kind of contest is the one where bloggers themselves giveaway free prizes that include gift cards in order to get more likes, tweets, follows, etc.
How do you find these contests?
Again, there are a few ways.
Search for ’em
This is as simple as doing the following:
- Go to Google and type in ” blogger gift card giveaway” (without the quotes).
- Google will then display the result which contains sites that have gift card giveaway contests.
- Pick one (or more) from the list and click the link to visit the site.
- One you are on the site find out what the requirements are and participate.
Use giveaway directories
Another much better way is to use giveaway directories.
And the beauty of these directories is that you can search by type of prize you like, in our case, free gift cards.
Here are a few:
- Gift Cads/ Gift Certificates Giveaways – BlogGiveawayDirectory.com
- Cash + Gift Cards Giveaway – Giveaway Monkey
- Blog Giveaways Directory – Bvdtest.com
“Why would they give away free gift cards just for just a Like or Tweet,” you ask?
Promoting themselves for much cheaper than traditional advertising.
It’s much cheaper to have a contest where you have hundreds of thousands of real consumers promoting your business and you give away 10 or 20 gift cards – each worth $50, $100, $500… – than paying thousands of dollars to advertise on Websites, TV, Radio or Newspapers.
The exposure you offer them through liking and sharing is more than worth it to them, compared to the value of a $50 or $100 gift card they give you.
3. Transfer your prescriptions to a new pharmacy
These days there are drug stores at every corner. Pharmacies have to literally giveaway stuff to get people to switch over to them.
These deals aren’t constantly ongoing, but they do pop up pretty frequently.
You can earn anywhere from $25 to $100 or more in free gift cards.
Here are a few pharmacies that give you free gift cards for transferring your prescription:
- Safeway: $75 gift card
- Walgreens: $25 gift card
- RiteAid: $25 gift card
- CVS: Points? (They used to offer $25 but now it seems like you earn points for every prescription filled.)
- Kmart: $30 gift card
You can find more deals by searching on Google for phrases like:
- “Prescription transfer coupons”
- “Switch prescription get free gift card”
It’s an easy way to earn a free gift card or two for doing something that you might have done anyway.
4. Earn points on a Rewards Card and redeem for GCs
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 have to pay off every month or else you’ll pay more in interest than you gain as points.
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.
5. Test Drive cars!
What’s the first thing every car dealer wants you to do?
Get on their lot!
You have seen the ads – Golden Key, Win a free car, etc.
That’s one way they get you to step foot in their lot (and once there, they know how to get you!)
Some dealers also give you money for test driving new cars, other give you free gift cards. Either way, it’s a technique that seems to work.
Because they are hoping once you drive the car you’ll grow attached to it and buy it.
How you find ’em?
Keep your eye out on your mail, local classifieds, etc.
You can also search online or use forums where people share deals and freebies.
There is actually an entire thread on FatWallet dedicated to this. People post lists of car dealerships in their local area that offer gift cards for test driving cars.
B. Earning it with Surveys
For those of you who don’t mind doing offers and surveys in return for free gift certificates (or any other gift card for that matter), here are some options.
6. Search and earn
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.
7. Shop and earn
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 referring your friends and family.
Now THAT is an easy way to get points!
For tips on how to maximize your earning with MyPoints, read this.
8. Watch videos and play games to earn
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.
9. Do offers to earn
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.
10. 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:
11. 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 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.