Why Pay for Gift Cards? Here are 6 Clever Ways to Get Them for Free

Target gift cards in a store display.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder
Honest Abe


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I love gift cards to Target. And Amazon. And even Forever 21.

But my favorite kind of gift cards? The FREE kind.

That’s right; I said free. Once you know where to look, you’ll find all kinds of opportunities to earn them.

Want to earn free gift cards to places like Amazon and iTunes and Walmart? Keep reading. I’ve searched the interwebs and found a bunch of different strategies.

All you have to do is…

1. Practice Retail Therapy

Just to be clear: I’m not telling you to go on a shopping spree or anything. But if you’re already planning to make an online purchase, why not earn a free gift card while you’re at it?

One of my favorite ways is with a site called Ebates. Whenever you shop through its platform at one of its 1,200 retail partners, you’ll earn cash back. Most sites offer around 5%, though sometimes you can earn as much as 25%.

So, for example, if you spent $100 at Macy’s online today, you’d get $6 cash back — just for shopping like you normally would.

And right now, Ebates is offering a special bonus for signing up: a free $10 Walmart gift card!

2. Tell it Like it Is

I know, I know: more surveys.

But hear me out: Swagbucks is one of the most legitimate paid survey sites out there. If you’re new to survey sites, here’s how Swagbucks works.

Translation? It’s worth your time. Most surveys take about 10 to 15 minutes and pay 100 to 200 points (although you can occasionally find ones that pay a whopping $95!).

Once you’ve earned 500 points, you can redeem them for a $5 gift card to popular retailers like Starbucks or Target. Venti almond milk latte, here we come!

3. Let Your Voice Be Heard

Ever complained that no one listens to what you’ve got to say? Well, I beg to differ: MyPoints will pay you to let your voice be heard.

After signing up and telling MyPoints a little bit about yourself, you’ll receive invitations to surveys.

For each survey, you’ll need to fill out a brief questionnaire to ensure you qualify — but even if you don’t, MyPoints will give you five points. You can earn up to 25 of these “disqualification points” per day.

And if you do qualify? You can earn anywhere from 50-600 points per survey, which you can later redeem for gift cards from popular retailers.

4. Scroll Through Instagram

Brands are always giving away stuff on their social media accounts, and staying on top of these promotions is a great way to earn gift cards.

Start by following your favorite brands via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; you’ll often see contests just for liking or tagging a friend. Make sure you follow the rules to the letter so you have the best shot at winning.

You can also search the hashtag #giveaway or #contest on any of the same platforms — you’ll probably stumble upon promotions for brands you never would’ve found otherwise.

5. Get Paid to Open Emails and Complete Tasks

You’re going to check some emails anyway, so why not turn it into a paid habit?

FusionCash is a site that pays you for doing a number of tasks, like watching videos, taking surveys — even opening emails.

You’ve got mail — now get paid!

6. Walk Into (and Shop at) Stores

Sick of shopping online and headed to a real, live store? Download the Shopkick app first.

Once you sign up, the app pays you “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Target, Walmart, TJMaxx and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and more.

It pays you even more “kicks” for scanning items in stores and purchasing them with a connected credit or debit card, as well as for scanning receipts and mobile shopping.

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