12 Best Apps to Earn Free Gift Cards [2024]: Maximize Your Earnings

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Some of the best gift card apps include Capital One Shopping, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Survey Junkie.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Adult man using phone apps to earn gift cards

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The 12 best apps to earn gift cards include Capital One Shopping1, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Survey Junkie, and more.

Capital One Shopping, Ibotta, and Fetch Rewards are excellent apps that can help you earn rewards on your everyday shopping trips. Survey Junkie provides an easy way to earn rewards for taking surveys in your spare time.

Even better, you can use as many of these reward apps as you want to boost your earning potential. And some of them, like Ibotta and Fetch, can work very well together.

Let’s dig into the details of the 12 best gift card apps to see how they work and help you decide which one(s) may work best for you.

Key takeaways:

  • Many of these apps provide multiple redemption options, including gift cards or PayPal deposits.
  • Some of the listed apps, such as Rakuten and Dosh, don’t offer gift card redemptions, but you can redeem for cash reward options that may be more flexible.
  • Most of these apps can be easily used on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • You can use some free gift card apps online, in-store, or both.
  • Swagbucks has the lowest minimum redemption at $1, while Ibotta has the highest at $20.

In this article

The 12 best apps to earn gift cards

  1. Capital One Shopping
  2. Ibotta
  3. Fetch Rewards
  4. Rakuten
  5. Dosh
  6. Honey
  7. Survey Junkie
  8. InboxDollars
  9. Branded Surveys
  10. Swagbucks
  11. MyPoints
  12. Upside

Comparison of the best gift card apps

App Best for Usage Minimum redemption Learn more
Capital One Shopping Online shopping deals Online $5 Visit Capital One Shopping
Ibotta Grocery shopping Online and in-store $20 Visit Ibotta
Fetch Rewards Earning rewards from receipts Online and in-store $10 Visit Fetch Rewards
Rakuten Online shopping cash back Online and in-store $5.01 Visit Rakuten
Dosh Everyday cash back Online and in-store $15 Visit Dosh
Honey Online shopping cash back Online $10 Visit Honey
Survey Junkie Online surveys Online $5 Visit Survey Junkie
InboxDollars Online surveys Online $10 ($15 for 1st-time redemption) Visit InboxDollars
Branded Surveys Online surveys Online $5 Read Branded Surveys Review
Swagbucks Online shopping and activities Online and in-store $1 Visit Swagbucks
MyPoints Online shopping and activities Online $3 Visit MyPoints
Upside Local offers and cash back In-store $10 Visit Upside

Keep in mind that many of these apps offer sign-up bonuses for new members, which can almost immediately help boost your earnings. Many apps also provide referral bonuses where you can earn rewards for referring friends to sign up and use the app.

These sign-up and referral bonuses can help you earn more than enough rewards to get a gift card at one of your favorite stores. Common redemptions include iTunes, PlayStation, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, Xbox, and Amazon gift cards.

1. Capital One Shopping

Pros Cons
  • Easy to sign up and get started
  • Offers many ways to earn rewards
  • Has a mobile app and a browser extension
  • Can be a bit confusing at first when locating specific offers
  • May not always offer the best deal

What it is: Capital One Shopping is a one-stop shop or tool for earning rewards from online purchases. It can also help you save money by finding coupon codes at online stores.

Why we like it: Capital One Shopping is especially easy to incorporate into your online shopping trips if you download and use its browser extension. The browser extension can alert you when it finds a potentially better deal or if you can earn rewards on your purchase. But keep in mind that it’s still possible for you to manually find a better deal than what Capital One Shopping shows.

What we don’t like: The one thing slightly confusing for us was trying to search the Capital One Shopping website for specific products to see if a deal was available. There were simply too many product results to sift through, so it’s likely easier to use the browser extension while searching the retailer’s website.

Visit Capital One Shopping

Read our Capital One Shopping review.

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2. Ibotta

Pros Cons
  • Can be used online and in-store
  • Easy to use while shopping for groceries
  • Buying gift cards gives you rewards
  • Doesn’t always have useful offers
  • Has a $20 minimum redemption

What it is: Ibotta is a mobile shopping app that provides cash back for some online and in-store purchases. It allows you to earn rewards by submitting receipts, and you can redeem your rewards for real money or gift cards to various retailers.

Why we like it: We enjoy using Ibotta for our grocery trips because it’s easy to open up the app and see if there are any good offers we can use while shopping. Using the offer is as simple as adding it, making the necessary purchase, and scanning the receipt or barcode to redeem the offer.

What we don’t like: We don’t love that the minimum redemption is $20 because it often takes us a while to reach that redemption point through grocery trips alone. But the option to earn rewards for buying gift cards through the app is intriguing, and you can also earn more rewards with successful referrals.

Visit Ibotta

Read our Ibotta review.

3. Fetch Rewards

Pros Cons
  • Useful for quickly scanning receipts
  • Every eligible receipt you scan gives you rewards
  • Quick delivery of gift cards after redemption
  • Rewards don’t add up quickly from scanning receipts unless you use special offers
  • Rewards can only be redeemed for gift cards, not cash

What it is: Fetch Rewards is essentially an app that rewards you for scanning receipts. We haven’t necessarily earned loads of rewards using Fetch, but it’s easy to use, and almost any receipt will work.

Keep in mind
You need to upload your receipts within 14 days of purchase to be eligible for rewards.

Why we like it: We like that Fetch Rewards is user friendly and straightforward, allowing us to quickly and easily upload receipts and start earning rewards. The app offers a broad range of reward redemption options, including gift cards to many popular retailers.

What we don’t like: We didn’t earn much by simply scanning receipts. You may earn more rewards than us if you were to refer friends and take advantage of special in-app offers. These offers are typically tied to making specific purchases and provide way more rewards than simply scanning receipts.

Visit Fetch Rewards

Read our Fetch Rewards review.

4. Rakuten

Pros Cons
  • Easy to use while shopping online
  • Browser extension notifies you of available deals
  • Many redemptions, including redemption to American Express Membership Rewards points
  • The earning rate isn’t always the highest among cashback portals
  • Cash back may take days or weeks to reflect on your account

What it is: Rakuten is a cashback platform that allows users to earn rewards for shopping online through its app or website. Rakuten offers online cashback rewards and in-store cash back by linking your credit card or debit card to the app.

Why we like it: Rakuten is one of our favorite cashback apps because it’s so easy to use. If you do a lot of online shopping, simply download the Rakuten mobile app or browser extension and then activate your cash back before making a purchase at an eligible retailer. Rakuten doesn’t provide a gift card redemption option, but you can opt for a PayPal deposit, a mailed check, or earning Amex Membership Rewards points if you have an eligible Amex account to link.

In our opinion
These types of rewards are more valuable and flexible than gift cards anyway, so you aren’t really losing out. For example, a retailer gift card can typically only be redeemed at a specific store. But cash can be used just about anywhere, and Amex Membership Rewards points have more uses, too.

What we don’t like: We found that Rakuten doesn’t always offer the best cashback rate among similar platforms. Additionally, some cashback rewards took a while to appear, as rewards may take several days or even weeks to be credited.

Hot tip
Rakuten isn’t the only cashback portal out there. Use a site like CashbackMonitor.com to see available rates for retailers from different cashback portals, including TopCashback, InboxDollars, Capital One Shopping, and more.

Visit Rakuten

Read our Rakuten review.

5. Dosh

Pros Cons
  • Almost no effort is required to link a card and then use it for your everyday shopping
  • Automatic rewards remove the need for submitting receipts or using coupons
  • Wide range of partners allows for various earning opportunities
  • At least $15 is required to cash out your balance
  • Cash back may be limited based on factors such as location and purchase type

What it is: Dosh is an easy-to-use cashback app that enables you to link a debit or credit card and then use that linked card at specific retailers that have cashback offers.

Why we like it: We appreciate how easy it is to use Dosh. You don’t have to save any offers, you simply link your card and then use it like you normally would. So if there’s an online cashback offer at Adidas, you wouldn’t have to do more than use a linked card to make a purchase on the Adidas website.

What we don’t like: Cashback offers may have limits. For example, you may not be able to earn more than $10 on an offer in a day. And you’ll need to earn at least $15 to cash out your balance. There aren’t any gift card redemptions, but you can cash out your rewards as bank deposits, Venmo deposits, or PayPal deposits.

Visit Dosh

Read our Dosh review.

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6. Honey

Pros Cons
  • Easy-to-use browser extension that highlights available coupons and cashback offers
  • Many online partners that fit a wide range of online shoppers
  • Price tracking allows you to monitor item prices
  • No in-store cash back
  • Listed coupons may be unusable or expired

What it is: Honey is a browser extension and shopping tool similar to Capital One Shopping and Rakuten. Honey helps you save money on your online purchases by automatically finding and applying available coupons, promo codes, and discounts to your online shopping carts. You can also earn rewards for making purchases with certain retailers.

Why we like it: We like that the Honey browser extension is easy to install and use. Honey automatically searches for and applies the best available coupons and promo codes for your purchases. It also has a price tracking feature that lets you get notified when an item’s price drops.

What we don’t like: Honey is limited to online shopping, so we couldn’t use it for in-person purchases. The app and browser extension works well and can help you save money and earn gift cards, but some other apps offer similar features while also providing in-store rewards.

Visit Honey

Read our Honey review.

7. Survey Junkie

Pros Cons
  • Easy to use and accessible via desktop or mobile devices
  • Most surveys are simple to complete
  • Great mobile app ratings on the App Store and Google Play
  • Limited number of surveys
  • The reward amount you earn for the time you take can be low

What it is: Survey Junkie is an online survey platform that allows you to earn rewards for taking surveys. You can complete surveys on various topics, including new product opinions, brand preferences, and lifestyle habits, and earn rewards such as cash, gift cards, and merchandise in return.

Why we like it: We view Survey Junkie as one of the top online survey sites because it’s been around for a while, it’s easy to use, and it has great app ratings and reviews. This doesn’t mean it’s actually all that different from other online survey sites, but you can expect a satisfactory experience. This typically means you can complete surveys as they become available during your free time

What we don’t like: Some of the surveys can feel repetitive or time-consuming, especially when you compare them to the reward amount you receive. You can’t typically make tons of extra money from sites like Survey Junkie, but the surveys aren’t hard and may involve topics you might be interested in.

Visit Survey Junkie

Read our Survey Junkie review.

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8. InboxDollars

Pros Cons
  • Straightforward interface makes it easy to participate in activities
  • Various ways to earn rewards, including surveys, games, and more
  • Surveys are simple to complete
  • Doesn’t always have available surveys
  • Some surveys can take a while

What it is: InboxDollars is a rewards platform that can give you cash-earning opportunities by participating in online surveys, playing games, and performing other tasks. The platform is free to join, and it pays out rewards via PayPal, checks, gift cards, or prepaid Visa gift cards.

Why we like it: We view InboxDollars primarily as an online survey app, but you can also earn rewards in other ways. For example, you can download and play mobile games or use InboxDollars as a cashback portal when making online purchases.

What we don’t like: if you’re mainly using InboxDollars to take surveys, it likely has the same pitfalls as other online survey apps. In general, you may not always have available surveys, and the payoff for certain surveys might not be worth the amount of time it takes.

Example
We recently saw a survey with a $0.25 payout and an estimated time of 10 minutes. At the same time, we saw another survey with a $0.25 payout and an estimated time of 21 minutes. Something didn’t quite add up there.

Visit InboxDollars

Read our InboxDollars review.

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9. Branded Surveys

Pros Cons
  • User friendly and easy to navigate
  • Surveys are straightforward and simple
  • Provides opportunities to earn bonus points
  • Doesn’t always have available surveys
  • Surveys can have random point rewards

What it is: Branded Surveys is all about online surveys, similar to Survey Junkie. Branded Surveys pays you to provide your opinions through online surveys. You’re rewarded with points that can be redeemed via direct deposits, gift cards, PayPal, charity donations, and more.

Why we like it: we like how Branded Surveys provides multiple ways to earn bonus points, including taking premium surveys and participating in different competitions. For example, you can earn badges for completing a certain number of surveys. As you earn higher badges, your survey payouts increase. You can also compete against other users for top survey spots on different leaderboards. If you make it high enough, you earn bonus points.

What we don’t like: We don’t love how surveys can seemingly offer a random number of points. For instance, 36 points for a 16-minute survey. We’re not sure how the points total is calculated because we also saw a 21-minute survey offering 36 points.

Read our Branded Surveys review.

10. Swagbucks

Pros Cons
  • Plenty of rewards-earning activities
  • Low minimum redemption requirements
  • Simple, easy-to-use platform
  • Slow payment processing and delays in receiving some rewards
  • Many tasks have low payouts

What it is: Swagbucks is an online portal where you can participate in a large number of different activities to earn rewards. This includes making online purchases, playing mobile games, signing up for different products, and more.

Why we like it: We found Swagbucks to be especially useful when it comes out with special offers that provide more rewards or Swagbucks than normal. For example, some offers can reach into the tens of thousands of Swagbucks, which is the equivalent of hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards.

What we don’t like: Like other online shopping portals, Swagbucks sometimes has issues tracking your purchases, which often results in not receiving the rewards you thought you would receive. Swagbucks has many reports of certain purchases not tracking correctly or payout taking a long time to happen. Additionally, aside from special offers, many normal tasks on the platform have a low payout.

Visit Swagbucks

Read our Swagbucks review.

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11. MyPoints

Pros Cons
  • Plenty of rewards-earning activities
  • Low minimum redemption requirements
  • Many redemption options
  • You might have to dispute not receiving cashback for completed offers
  • No in-person activities

What it is: MyPoints is very similar to InboxDollars and Swagbucks, offering a variety of ways to earn rewards for online activities. This includes playing games, taking surveys, and making certain purchases.

Why we like it: We like using MyPoints as an alternative option in a line of survey and rewards platforms. This means we check it every now and then and keep tabs on any special offers that MyPoints may have that other sites don’t. Using this strategy, we can maximize our earning potential across multiple apps.

What we don’t like: MyPoints suffers from similar issues as Swagbucks, with certain offers not tracking correctly. This can cause missed rewards or delayed payouts. Additionally, MyPoints used to offer ways to watch videos and earn points, but this option may not be available anymore.

Visit MyPoints

Read our MyPoints review.

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12. Upside

Pros Cons
  • Easy to link cards and use in-store offers
  • Cashback rates can get fairly high (above 10%)
  • Offers might not align with your everyday spending
  • There might not be many offers in your area
  • No online offers

What it is: Upside is interesting because it’s a cashback app that shows you nearby offers where you can earn rewards. This may include the gas station, grocery store, or restaurant down the street. Upside is similar to Dosh in that it works by having you link a card and then use that card at a retailer with an offer, but make sure to claim relevant offers in the app.

Why we like it: We like that Upside gives you access to offers in your area. This may provide you with cash back from stores you already shop at. You can earn rewards by checking in or submitting your receipt from the store and cash out via PayPal, gift cards, or direct bank deposits.

What we don’t like: The downside of Upside is that it does take a little bit of effort to use since you need to check for offers and add them. You also can’t use it online, and you may not have many available offers in your area.

Visit Upside

Read our Upside review.

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How to choose the best app to earn gift cards

Consider these factors as you try to figure out how to make money from apps that help you earn gift cards.

Compatibility

It’s important to consider your preferences when deciding between different types of apps that could help you earn gift cards.

Most gift card apps can be used on phones, tablets, and computers via an Android app, iOS app, or website. But you may find that you prefer using a mobile app because it’s easier to access on the go. Or you may prefer using a web browser on your laptop because it’s easier to view and use while you’re at home.

The best gift card apps are typically available on iPhones, Androids, web browsers, and sometimes as browser extensions.

Ease of use

The harder it is to use an app, the less likely you are to fit it into your schedule. Fortunately, many gift card apps can easily align with busy schedules.

For example, it’s not difficult to jump on a survey site and take a 15-minute survey whenever you have some free time. Or to link your credit card to a cashback app that provides extra rewards for purchases you already plan on making.

Reviews

A quick search online can reveal what people think about different apps. If the reviews are generally bad, you might want to stay away, especially if it seems like there are issues with reward redemptions.

You can check out specific app reviews on the App Store or Google Play for apps that use those platforms.

Types of gift cards

You’re here for the gift cards, but what types of gift cards do you want to earn? Amazon, Walmart, or Target? Or maybe you want Apple or Microsoft gift cards.

You can typically find out what gift cards are available on an app’s website, by checking with their customer service team, or by using an app and redeeming your rewards. If an app doesn’t have the gift cards you’re looking for, you might want to move on.

Rewards amount

Earning gift cards is fun, but at what cost? And by that, we mean the time you have to spend to earn the gift card. You may not be spending any actual money, but your time is valuable, too.

So if it feels like using an app is too much of a hassle for the potential rewards, maybe it is. Keep in mind that these types of apps aren’t meant to make you rich, and they most likely won’t replace your full-time job.

However, if you don’t mind taking a certain number of 30-minute surveys to earn a $5 gift card, then there’s no problem. The point is to be aware of whether you mind how much time you put into some of these apps in relation to your earned rewards.

FAQs about gift card apps

Are any gift card apps legit?

Yes, many gift card apps are legit. You can earn gift cards from different apps by making everyday shopping purchases, taking surveys, and completing simple tasks. Here are legit gift card apps to consider:

  • Capital One Shopping
  • Ibotta
  • Fetch Rewards
  • Rakuten
  • Dosh
  • Honey
  • Survey Junkie
  • InboxDollars
  • Branded Surveys
  • Swagbucks
  • MyPoints
  • Bing
  • Nielsen
  • Upside
  • Drop

How to get free gift cards?

Some of the ways to earn free gift cards from your shopping, spending, and other activities include using the following methods:

Which app is best for earning gift cards?

Here are some of the best apps for earning gift cards in different ways:

  • Capital One Shopping: Earn rewards on everyday purchases that you can redeem for gift cards.
  • Ibotta: Earn rewards from shopping offers that you can redeem for gift cards.
  • Survey Junkie: Earn rewards for taking online surveys that you can redeem for gift cards.

Best apps to earn gift cards: Bottom line

The best gift card app for you depends on your shopping habits and how you like to spend your time. But overall, Capital One Shopping is an excellent choice for finding shopping deals online and earning rewards on purchases.

Still, the beauty of these apps is that you don’t have to pick just one. Many of them work well together, which helps increase your opportunities to earn gift cards.

For example, you could use Capital One Shopping to find a great online shopping deal and then use Rakuten to earn cash back on your purchase. Or you could use Ibotta to earn rewards for in-person shopping trips and then use Fetch to scan your receipt for more rewards.

For more ways to help earn and save money in your spare time, check out our list of the best side hustles.

Methodology

To determine the best apps for earning free gift cards, we prepared a list based on various criteria such as the number and variety of reward options, earning potential, ease of use, availability of gift card redemption, and free sign-up.

Note that some apps on this list don't offer gift cards as a redemption option, but you can still redeem for cash or cash-like options, such as direct deposits. Keep in mind that we didn’t review every available option in the market. Some of these companies have been or are current FinanceBuzz partners.

SurveyJunkie Benefits

  • Over $55,000 paid to members daily
  • Earn up to $130 a month taking 4 or more surveys daily
  • $76 million paid out to date
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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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