After spending so much money buying smartphones and paying for apps, consumers may be interested in how they can actually make some money using their phones. With the convenience of certain mobile apps, you have the opportunity to earn a few extra dollars whenever you have some time to spare.
Get Paid to Take Surveys
Offer your opinion on popular brands and products through a range of consumer surveys.
Surveys On The Go
Available for both iPhone and Android, Surveys On The Go (pictured above) pays you in actual cash for completing surveys put forth by companies, political campaigns and jury trials. Each survey is worth between $0.25 and $5.00, and most take just a few minutes to complete. An estimated time to complete each particular survey is shown before you accept to take it.
In operation since 2006, InboxDollars enables its members to earn up to $15 an hour by taking surveys, purchasing Groupons, searching the web, or discovering new offers from its partners. It is a free download from the iTunes App Store for iOS devices and from the Google Play Store for Android devices.
Instead of earning actual dollars and cents for each survey you complete with Swagbucks, you are rewarded with Swagbucks (SB) that can then be redeemed for gift cards to retailers such as Amazon, Target and Starbucks. SwagBucks can also be earned by shopping local deals, answer polls, or shopping eCommerce sites. The effective value of each survey is about $0.75. The mobile app is compatible with iOS and Google Android.
As its name indicates, NPolls allows its users to participate in various polls and share their opinions with the "global community." The polls are offered to different targeting profiles based on gender, age, country, occupation and annual income. The initial reward offered is $10 for completing the first 50 surveys. NPolls is available through the App Store for iPhone and the Play Store for Android, although the Android app does appear to suffer from compatibility issues, particularly among Galaxy S3 users.
Earn Cash Back Rebates
For consumers who already enjoy shopping, taking advantage of free cash back rebates is a great bonus.
In business since 1998 and paying out over $250 million during that time, Ebates is also available as an iPhone app and an Android app. Users browse through the list of available offers and, when completed, become eligible for cash back rebates of up to about 26%. Offers are available from hundreds of stores, including Sephora, JCPenney, Home Depot and Walmart.
While Ibotta for the iPhone and Android devices provides you with the option of browsing for rebates, it also allows you to create your own shopping list. The app will then match available coupons to the items on your list and personalize the rebates on products from brands like Chobani, Kellogg's and Nestle.
Snap by Groupon
Unlike some other cash back rebates that only work in certain stores, Snap by Groupon can provide cash back on everyday grocery purchases from any store. Designed for Apple iOS devices as well as Google Android, Snap works like other rebate apps which require you to submit a photo of the receipt with the promoted products you purchased.
Rather than simply rewarding users for buying certain products from certain stores, Receipt Hog is an app that's meant to provide market research data to brands and retailers. To protect your privacy, you will submit your receipt data anonymously. In exchange, you are provided with coins or spins for the Hog slot machines, which in turn provide the opportunity to win more coins. The coins can then be converted into PayPal cash or Amazon gift cards. Receipt Hog is available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
Unlike other shopping apps that require you to complete a purchase at select retailers, Shopkick allows you to earn "kick" points by simply walking into stores like JCPenney, Macy's and American Eagle. The "kicks" can then be converted into free gift cards to such stores as Sephora, Best Buy and Starbucks. Despite some concerns over privacy due to location tracking, the Shopkick iPhone app and Android app have received mostly positive reviews.
Complete Actions on Your Phone
It's possible to earn some extra cash simply by using the apps below on your phone.
AppTrailers rewards users with points for watching video trailers for various apps from developers like Supercell, Glu Mobile, Rovio and EA. The points can then be converted into gift cards for such retailers as Macy's and The Gap. Payment works out to around half a cent per video view and as much as $1 for trying a demo of a promoted app. AppTrailers can be downloaded for the iPhone or Android mobile devices.
One of the more unique apps on this list, Slidejoy replaces the lock screen on your smartphone with trending news, deals and advertisements. While there is the option to slide in different directions to interact with the ads, like downloading promoted apps, these actions do not result in increased payment potential. Users can expect to earn $1 to $2 a month. Slidejoy is only available for Android.
Complete Real World Tasks
In addition to tasks and surveys you can complete on your phone directly, you can earn more money by using your phone as a tool in the real world.
By completing "micro" jobs around the neighborhood, users on Rewardable can expect to earn up to $20 per task. The jobs, like recording the wait time at a restaurant or counting the number of products on a store shelf, typically only take only a few minutes to complete. Users can browse through the available jobs via the iPhone app or the Android app, and payments are distributed via PayPal. Users can also earn bonuses for social actions, like sharing products with friends.
Regular people have errands to run and no time to run them. As a Tasker with TaskRabbit, you can complete those chores for them and earn money for doing so. Typical tasks include things like house cleaning, performing handy services, helping someone move, or delivering groceries. TaskRabbit is available in 19 major cities with apps for iPhone and Android smartphones. Effective hourly rates fall within the wage ranges for the related jobs.
Offering the opportunity to earn between $10 and $15 an hour, GigWalk is very similar to TaskRabbit. Community members post "gigs" that they would like to have completed, like walking the dog, and users can accept these gigs to earn some extra money. The availability of gigs depends on the user base in your area. The iPhone app and Android app can provide a map of nearby gigs, including a description and payment.
Warning Signs for Scams
As tempting as many of these reward programs may be, it is equally important to remain vigilant about possible scams. The offers may not be nearly as lucrative as advertised, and the programs may take your personal information without your knowledge. Keep an eye out for these warning signs.
- Reviews and user feedback for the app are overwhelmingly negative.
- The app or program requires you to pay a fee to start or be included.
- The payment or redemption details are unclear.
- The company lacks easily accessible contact information.
- The organization has no website.
- The app requires for too much personal information, like a driver's license number or bank account information.
A Little Extra Cash on the Side
There are many opportunities to earn some extra pocket money completing surveys, redeeming rebates, and running errands around town using your smartphone. However, it should be clear that these tasks typically cannot replace regular full-time or even part-time income. At best, they're simply a fun distraction that may represent a better use of your time than playing more casual games on your phone.