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Maximize Your Shopkick Rewards With 6 Quick Tips

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You may already be familiar with Shopkick, a very sophisticated and clever app that automatically knows when you've entered one of its partner stores (including Lowe's Home Improvement and Toys R Us), gives you rewards just for visiting the store, and then lets you redeem those rewards for items such as gift cards and other products. It’s easy to earn rewards using Shopkick, but if it doesn’t feel like you’re earning quickly enough to make this free app worth your while, consider employing these simple strategies to rack up the points.

1. Open the App Before Entering the Store

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To ensure that you're getting the most "kicks" possible, you should open the app before you enter a partner store, because many of them will reward you just for walking in the door. To find out which shops offer walk-in kicks, open the app and then tap "Find Kicks Waiting Nearby." The app will lead you to either stores or shopping centers near you, and those that offer walk-in kicks will be listed.

I was traveling yesterday and decided to try locating nearby walk-in kicks, and the app returned several results not far from one another, as shown in the photo at left. Best Buy and Old Navy were offering 35 walk-in kicks each, while American Eagle Outfitters offered 20.

You needn't buy anything to collect these rewards. You can actually walk into a store, get the points, and leave.

2. Check the App Daily

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You may only look at the Shopkick app when you realize you're about to enter a partner store and you want the extra points, so you open the app as you walk through the parking lot -- but to maximize your reward, you should open the app each day to check out whether any great offers are taking place.

For example, last weekend, the app offered a "Today Only" deal that required you to walk into Target with the app open. At that point, you were automatically rewarded 200 points that could be redeemed for a $2.00 Target gift card. That's a pretty good freebie -- earning a $2.00 Target gift card just for walking into the store. Of course, the caveat is that you'd have to already be passing Target or it would have to be near your house to cover the cost of gas for heading there.

3. Get Scanning

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One of the fun features of this app is the ability to collect kicks for scanning items around the partner stores. As shown in the photo at left, Target was offering 25 kicks for scanning each of the items shown. If you're already shopping there, it's easy to scan a few bar codes as you stroll the aisles, and the points can really add up this way.

The only word of caution I'd add is that these same items were offered as scannable rewards at Wal-Mart when I visited there. However, because I had already scanned these crackers and toilet tissue packs at Target, I couldn't get credit for them at Wal-Mart as well. I've noticed that certain items do tend to repeat at some of the stores, but not all. For instance, Wal-Mart offered me credit for scanning some chewing gum that Target hadn't.

4. Link Your Credit Card

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Using Shopkick's "Buy and Collect" feature, you can earn additional kicks by linking your credit card to your account. Thereafter, the app will give you points when you buy products from participating retailers.

As mentioned in point #2 above, checking the app frequently is important, because some stores will give additional points for purchases that take place during bonus periods. As shown in the image at left, Toys R Us not only offered two kicks per dollar spent last week, but also gave 500 bonus points if you spent $75 and 1,250 kicks if you spent $125. Therefore, if you have a purchase you need to make in the near future at one of the participating retailers, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on the app for a few days before hitting the store to find out if any bonus kick opportunities could be awaiting.

5. Invite Friends to Join

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Shopkick will reward you with kicks for inviting friends to join the app, and will give you a portion of their earnings for the first two weeks after they start using Shopkick.

I haven't invited anyone, but a friend invited me and did text me to thank me for all of my use of the app, as I apparently earned her quite a few points with my avid scanning.

6. Check Your Account Summary Often

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Keep an eye on your account to ensure that you've been rewarded all of the kicks that you deserve. I have never found the Shopkick app to leave out any kicks I thought I'd earned, but I always advise following your own accounts to ensure that they are crediting properly.

Note that when you buy an item and get "Buy and Collect" kicks for that, the Shopkick app typically awards those on a delayed basis to ensure that you don't return the item. Once your grace period for making a return passes, the app will deposit those kicks into your account.

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