Free Gift Cards and Certificates
You can sometimes get a free gift card from well known brand name stores by filling out forms, signing up for free offers, etc. You can also join services that let you complete surveys, answer trivia, signup for free trials and in return, you earn points toward gift certificates at major brand retail stores. We list offers here when we find them.
It’s nearly impossible to spend an hour online without being bombarded with offers for “ABSOLUTELY FREE GIFT CARDS!” While most of us take these pop-ups for face value, thousands of people a year fall for gift card scams that ultimately cost them time and money. While it’s definitely true that there are some legitimate ways to obtain gift cards online, here are a few of the things you should be aware of the next time you’re confronted with a “TOTALLY free BEST BUY Walmart McDONALDS giftcard!”
1. They really aren’t just givin’ ‘em away. There’s no such thing as a totally free gift card.
It’s not impossible to get a gift card offline without ever inputting your credit card information – that’s the good news. The bad news is, if you want that card you’re going to have to work for it…and probably pretty hard. The most common way to receive an online gift card without shelling out any dough is by taking online surveys since retailers really do need consumers’ help in determining what’s going on with customer service, user experience on a website, etc. Typically, you’ve got to first sign up for a survey site then wait until you’re requested to take specific surveys which can in and of itself be a long and arduous process. If you’re willing to put in the time to accrue enough survey points that you earn a gift card, well my friend, you’ve found the online gift card loophole – remember, though, once you spend your precious time chasing after them, those gift cards aren’t really free.
2. Brands are better. The sketchier the site is, the less likely they’re going to have a free gift card to give you.
As with all things on the internet, it’s important to use your good judgment. If you click on a link (and, disclaimer, if that link was hidden in a flashing “You’re the 1,000,000 visitor, congratulations!” banner you’re already way off track) and it takes you to a site offering hundreds of free gift cards for the taking, be suspicious. Manufacturers and the brands themselves are the most likely candidates to actually be offering gift cards, so a link to, say, www.Kangaroo.com/freegascardoffer is a lot more trustworthy than www.billybobsfreegiftcards.com/wowican’tbeliveyouclickedonit. If a site looks spammy and offers dozens of free gift card options, it’s probably not trying to give you a gift card, it’s trying to up its visit count or scam you into buying something. Run.
3. Online gift cards do exist…but they usually come at a price.
Depending on what you’re willing to shell out, you can get a “free” gift card online. For example, some retailers offer free gift cards to customers willing to sign up for a promotional credit card while some offer gift cards as an incentive for spending a certain amount on the site. These offers are usually far more believable than the idea that someone out there is sitting on a MOUNTAIN OF FREE GIFT CARDS that they want to give you YOU for no reason whatsoever. Free gift card offers are particularly reliable if you see them advertised offline as well, like in a Sunday circular or featured in a commercial – there’s a lot more regulation and less tolerance for the ol’ bait and switch in the offline world so if you hear about a singular deal somewhere else, it may be worth checking out.
4. The best “Free Gift Card” is a discounted free gift card.
Say what? There are some very reputable sites out there such as PlasticJungle.com offering gift cards for sale at a discounted rate and while these cards aren’t free, they’re a great way to score a deal just by being at the right place at the right time online. Sites like this work by allowing consumers to trade in unwanted gift cards in exchange for cash or PayPal credits then you get to sweep in and reap the rewards in the form of a cheap gift card. It’s like a pawn shop for gift cards and it’s a win-win, really. If you use a site like this make sure it’s fraud protected and has some sort of guarantee since it’s easy to get these sites confused with their less scrupulous peers, so be alert and proceed with caution.
Just like in the real world, asterisks, fine print and scams make every online deal worthy of doubt. It’s possible to score some great free gift card deals online with a little due diligence as well as a little bit of hard work…however, the adage is right: nothing is free. If you’re willing to take surveys or spend some money online you may just find yourself in possession of a great brand name gift card – just remember, the closer to the source, the better. If you’re entering in your credit card information you’d better ask yourself the question, “where is this retailer getting these gift cards?” If it’s the brand themselves, that’s a no brainer, but if it’s some super obscure third party, you may be halfway down Rip-Off Lane.
Gift cards are evolving into a type of online currency, but just like real money, no one’s just throwing them out of proverbial helicopters for people below to scoop up. If you need that gift card you’re going to have to give that online merchant what they want and if they claim they don’t want anything you should ask yourself what they have to gain from handing over the equivalent of plastic cash. Get out there and get your free gift cards but use your head – if it sounds too good to be true online, it is.