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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Checkpoints, Shopkick, Ibotta: Earn with check-ins and coupons

I just bought an iPhone.  It's about a thousand times better than my Blackberry and has more features than I could ever possibly use.  My wife is in danger of going from a Sunday football widow to an everyday iPhone App widow.  On the plus side, I'll probably lose a lot of weight, since I'll be too busy to get up and go to the fridge, my previous hobby.

Among the Apps, I stumbled across a couple that pay me for things.  I personally believe that everything on the internet should be free, but it's even better when I get points/cash for doing pretty much nothing.  I haven't decided if these programs are "loyalty programs" per se, but they're free, which is close enough.

Using these programs is easy.  In fact, it can be as easy as walking into a store to get your points.  Sometimes you might need to use your phone to scan an item.  In the case of Ibotta, you might actually need to, gulp, buy something.  Obviously, you'd only use this app if you were buying an item that you would have anyway.

Note: Feel free to use my referral link or set up a conga in the comments section.  I'm not particularly picky.

Ibotta:  If used correctly, this is the most lucrative of the three.  It gives you a (pretty large) list of qualifying items and, if you buy one, you get cash back.  You can also take a poll and quiz about the item for extra cash.  Obviously, do not ever buy anything you wouldn't have bought otherwise, but there's no reason not to have this app, since it's just free money.  Once you buy the item, just scan the receipt.  Only good on the iPhone right now and good at items purchased at Walgreen's, Target and Walmart.  Just be sure to select the item when you go shopping so the app knows where to send you.  See the short video in the help center for more details.  Full disclosure statement: I get a dollar if you sign up and use the app.

Checkpoints:  Right now, this one is my favorite.  Your phone will automatically locate where you are and tell you where there are participating stores within a certain range (You set the range.).  Walk into the store, scan selected items and be done.  You also get to play a bonus game for extra points each time you scan an item.  Use your points to buy items.  Full disclosure statement: If you use my link, you get a 300 point sign-up bonus and I get 150 points.

Shopkick:  The easiest of the three, since you literally don't have to do anything except walk into a store.  Hit the "nearby" button and it will give you a list of stores in your area.  Walk in.  Register points ("kicks") and leave.  Some stores also offer bonus opportunities to scan items.  Full disclosure statement: If three people use my link, I get 2,000 kicks.


  1. Have been doing Checkpoints for a while now. Might have to check out Shopkick. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Thanks for the note. Checkpoints is the one I find myself using the most.

  3. Has anyone actually redeemed any of these points? The comments on the app when you go to download it make it seem like you'll never actually get anything with your points.

    1. I redeemed for 500 AA miles back in September. Don't remember how long it took, but I didn't seem to have any problems.

  4. @Adrienne: I just did a redemption for a $1 Amazon gift card to see how the process worked. The request went through instantly and they sent me a confirmation email. They said the prize should appear within seven days. I'll report back if it doesn't, but it looks good from my end.

    Thanks for the comment!

  5. Don't forget in Shopkick about the instant surprises. Ok they may be worth all of 1 or 2 Kicks (valued at $0.004/each) but if you live nearby a bunch of stores with instant surprises, you can easily pickup 5-10 kicks a day sitting on the toi err couch. That adds up decently. Though, I do hate it when my walk-in doesn't register.

  6. By the way - Ibotta doesn't deal with points and is super simple. Ibotta pays users real cash almost immediately after making purchases in the store.

  7. Revisiting this thread now. I agree, Ibotta is really easy. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to use the mix of products.

    And great call on the instant surprises! They do add up after a while.