Shopkick Review: Location-Tracking Cash Back At Your Fingertips

August 25, 2023

Shopkick is a cash back app that relies on innovative technology largely based on location tracking. There are several ways to earn the Shopkick currency, called Kicks and some of these don’t require you to spend any money. Shopkick can be a profitable way to earn extra cash if you’re well organized and are able to take advantage of their offers. It’s also a good choice if you happen to live somewhere where there are many of Shopkick’s partner retailers.

However, Shopkick’s kicks aren’t worth very much. Running for only 0.4 cents per point, it takes lots of kicks to accrue any substantial amount of rewards. Additionally, Shopkick’s partner network isn’t as wide as other cash back apps. If you don’t mind scanning your physical and online receipts every week and want to earn more than what you’ll get out of Shopkick, you can try out Fetch Rewards instead.

If you’re on the constant lookout for great cash back apps that let you save on all your purchases, then you may have heard of Shopkick, a popular loyalty program in the U.S. In this Shopkick review, you’ll learn what Shopkick is, how it works, what features it offers, and whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

What Is Shopkick?

Shopkick is a cash back program with a unique feature. Members earn points called Kicks by making eligible purchases, entering participating stores, and interacting with certain brands and products. Kicks can be redeemed from a selection of gift cards or cash through Paypal.

Shopkick review website home page

Shopkick was founded by Cyriac Roeding, Jeff Sellinger, and Aaron Emigh in 2009 and is based in Denver Colorado. It holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and it’s a respected cash back program that uses your smartphone’s technology in a creative way. Some participating stores have a scanner near their entrance that emits an inaudible signal, which is detected by the app. The visit is then registered and earns the customer a number of Kicks. This might be deemed quite an investment, for the store and Shopkick but it gives great data to both companies about who is visiting the stores and about the choices consumers make.

Related: You may also be interested in our Swagbucks review where we go in-depth into the popular cash back and paid surveys site.

Features Of Shopkick

While the biggest difference between Shopkick and other cash back apps is the earning of Kicks just for entering participating stores, there are other ways to earn them. Let’s review those Shopkick features, beginning with the different ways to earn Kicks.

#1 Walk-In Kicks

As stated above, certain stores have a scanner near their entrance and members can earn points simply by entering the store. Users can set up the app to notify them when they’re near a participating retailer. As long as Bluetooth is enabled on the phone and the app is open, the visit will be registered and you’ll earn Kicks.

The customer will be asked to allow Shopkick to access the microphone on their smartphone, which can be alarming but that is just so the technology will work. If the app is not open, even if all the relevant permissions are granted, then the visit won’t be registered and you won’t earn walk-in Kicks.

Related: You may be interested in finding engagement rings in Canada for cheap.

The amount of walk-in Kicks will vary depending on the store and what other promotions they’re currently offering. The number of walk-in Kicks available can be seen on the app. There are limits to how many times you can earn walk-in Kicks at a store to prevent multiple visits for no other reason than to earn them.

#2 Barcode Scans

You can find certain products in the app and earn Kicks by scanning the barcode of that item. Choosing Kicks Nearby in the app will show the participating stores and once a retailer is chosen, the list of scannable products will be listed under the scan icon. The phone's camera will be activated, and ready to scan. All you do then is line up the barcode with the blue line showing in the middle of the screen and press the shoot button. You will be awarded Kicks immediately, earning between 15 and 30 Kicks for each scan (worth around 6 to 12 cents). Best of all, you don’t even have to buy the items.

Shopkick Review: Location-Tracking Cash Back At Your Fingertips

#3 Shopping In The App

Members can earn Kicks when shopping online through the app. Once a purchase is completed, Kicks will be credited to the account within 72 hours. You’ll usually earn up to 6 Kicks per dollar spent, equivalent to a 2.4% cash back rate. Available Kicks will be shown next to the cart icon.

#4 Linked Card Kicks

Another way to earn Kicks is by linking your credit or debit card to your Shopkick account. You will immediately receive a number of bonus Kicks just for doing this, but you’ll also earn Kicks every time you use your linked card at affiliated stores.

Under the Kicks Nearby tab, you’ll find affiliate stores and you can see if the store you are in offers linked card Kicks, and how many. If they do offer them, simply pay for your purchase with the card to earn Kicks. Retailers participating in this program include American Eagle, Reebok, and Marshall's. All purchases earning Kicks from a linked card will be treated like a credit transaction, rather than debit. It may be easier to incorporate this program into your everyday shopping routines rather than looking for participating shops all the time.

#5 Scanning Receipts

Some participating stores offer Kicks on certain items. Check the app for eligible purchases under the receipt icon. The amount of Kicks available will also show up here. Once you have paid for these items, save your receipt and go back to the app. Click Receipts and select the item purchased. Lastly, scan your receipt as prompted and the Kicks will be awarded. There are some rules around scanning that members should be aware of before relying on this part of Shopkick to earn money. These include:

  • You can only upload 20 receipts per week.
  • Receipts must not be older than ten days.
  • Only one receipt per participating retailer can be submitted each day.
Shopkick Review: Location-Tracking Cash Back At Your Fingertips

#6 The Discover Tab

Under the Discover tab, users can find Lookbooks created and curated by the Editorial Team and retail partners. It has all sorts of helpful information about newly available products.

#7 New Member Signup Bonus

Currently, Shopkick is offering a free $5 gift card for all new members signing up.

#8 Refer A Friend

Under the Invite tab, you can find a unique link and code you can share with other people by tapping the Invite Friends button. Friends can use either the link or code to sign up for Shopkick. Once they download the app using the link or code, their account will be linked with yours. The new member has 14 days to earn their first ten kicks (excluding video rewards). You can earn bonus kicks for the first 100 people you invite, and who successfully begin using their Shopkick account. Each referral is worth a bonus of 500 Kicks for you, as long as they start earning Kicks within the first week after signing up.

#9 Watching Videos

Shopkick offers Kicks simply for watching advertising videos. You must watch the available videos in their entirety, and in full-screen mode. The app will show the number of Kicks available for each video. Most videos earn around 50 Kicks (20 cents), so it’s a slow but easy way to earn them.

Cashing Out On Shopkick

The number of Kicks you’ve earned shows at the center of the app. Clicking on this takes you to your Kicks Center. There, you’ll be able to see what rewards you can redeem your Kicks for. Kicks are worth 0.4 cents each, and the following table shows some common redemption amounts.

Number of KicksDollar Value

You can redeem Kicks for gift cards or cash through PayPal. Once a denomination is chosen, the e-gift card should be available within the app in a few hours. You can also donate your Kicks to non-profit organizations.

Shopkick review available giftcards

Social Media/Blogs

Shopkick has a very active social media presence as well as its own blog. They all feature more ways that you can earn Kicks as well as competitions to win more Kicks and special prizes during the holidays.

You can find Shopkick actively publishing content on:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Pros Of Shopkick

  • There are many ways of earning Kicks. By interacting with the app, in particular, you can find a lot of deals.
  • Earn money without spending money, just to enter a store or scan a barcode.
  • The app is fun to use and the website is easy to navigate.
  • The amount of Kicks is reasonably good.
  • For some of the Kicks earning methods, you can double-dip with other cash back apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, or Swagbucks.
  • For people who like new and exciting technology, this app is different from most others.

Cons Of Shopkick

  • The process of looking for available offers is lengthy and unnecessarily complex. Customers must open the app, check what stores are participating nearby, and then toggle the options to see what products are eligible. Not only that, but they will also have to see if it’s a linked card offer, a specific product offer, or a barcode-scanning offer. This means you’ll likely end up losing many earning opportunities if you’re not on top of the app at all times.
  • There are limits on scans so you might visit a store and not be able to scan a product.
  • As some deals for Kicks are very specific, you may end up spending more than you wanted to.
  • The Kicks’ redemption rate of 0.4 cents per Kick is odd and makes it difficult for most people to accurately estimate how much cash back they’ll get from a given purchase.
  • You need to live or work in an area with participating stores to access most of the features.

Shopkick Pricing

Shopkick is free for users to download as an app or use online. They earn their revenue from referral commissions and advertising.

In Summary

Shopkick is a cash back app with a difference. It offers Kicks for completing certain shopping activities, which include purchasing specific items, scanning the barcode of certain products, and paying for shopping with a linked card. It also offers a unique feature called Walk-In Kicks, which rewards you with Kicks just for walking into a participating store. It’s an innovative and creative cash back app but only if it suits your current lifestyle.

That said, Shopkick is heavily reliant on location tracking and members need to regularly be in an area where the participating stores are. You also have to grant the app access to your microphone and camera to take advantage of many of the offers, posing a risk to privacy. Also, the ability to earn Kicks is limited in some cases. Other cash back apps like Fetch Rewards offer similar returns with much less hassle and with a much wider reach.

Shopkick Review FAQs

Can I trust Shopkick?

Shopkick is a long-standing program with generally good reviews. You can trust it but just consider it carefully before signing up. You will need to permit the app to track your location and access your microphone in order to receive its full benefits. There is also an option to link a credit or debit card. This means giving Shopkick a lot of personal information.

Is Shopkick worth it?

Shopkick is only worth it if you live near plenty of partner stores and frequently shop in them. If you’re able to consistently take advantage of Shopkick’s offers, you can earn a good bit of cash back on your purchases (up to 2.4% cash back) for little effort, and you can earn extra Kicks without spending money by walking into partner stores and scanning barcodes of certain items.

However, if you don’t have any partner stores nearby, you won’t be making any significant amount of extra cash from Shopkick. Other options like Fetch Rewards make it easier to earn money on any receipt, regardless of where you made a purchase, and are therefore better options to Shopkick in certain locations.

How much can I earn on Shopkick?

You can earn up to 2.4% cash back on some purchases, around 20 cents every time you scan an eligible item, and more just by entering participating partner stores. There’s no limit to the amount you can earn as cash back on Shopkick, but there are limits to how much you can earn from walk-in Kicks, scans, and receipts.

If you are shopping for a large household and you still have the time to complete all the tasks, you should be able to earn a decent amount. You won’t get rich but it might help supplement your household income.

Can you cheat Shopkick?

The internet is full of ways that you can try and earn more Kicks without actually completing the required tasks. However, you will just get banned so it’s not worth it.

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