Loosely categorized and listed below are a number of smartphone apps I’ve come to use to make a few extra dollars. Whether out and about, away from the computer, or relaxing at home watching the game on TV, my smartphone adds change to my pocket.
All of the apps listed here are available for the iPhone. Many have an Android counterpart (or plans to release one soon), but this may not be true for all of them. Some of the apps pay in cash (usually as a deposit into PayPal), others pay with gift cards to popular merchants.
Rather than worry about how much it will cost to buy a new smartphone, think about how much money that new smartphone can EARN! My iPhone 5 has paid for itself multiple times over just by using the apps below! I have received payment from most of these apps (a few I am still working toward my first payment). You can see proof of those payments here.
Like the PTC sites, the trick here is to COME BACK EVERY SINGLE DAY and spend a few minutes with each app to earn maximum rewards. The earnings don’t happen overnight, but they definitely add up over time when you stick with it!
Peko is a social game available for iOS or Android. It pays you to socialize and play mini games against other users.
This is a free app, but requires you to log in through Facebook. You can play mini games with other users and earn points to your Peko account with 100,000 points equal to $10. It includes one mini game very similar to Candy Crush. You can challenge other players to see who can earn the top score in a 30 second timed game.
You can “peko” other users (very similar to the “poke” feature that Facebookers used to love and hate) – if you get a peko back from another user – you each get a chance to play a mini game similar to a roulette wheel. You earn more points depending on the color that the ball eventually lands on. Simple, but very addictive – especially when you can win free money!
When I first downloaded the app, I didn’t know how the games or interaction worked — but it is really quite simple once you know what you’re doing. If you download Peko and can’t figure it out right away, send an e-mail or a tweet and I’ll get your earnings started! I started to Peko in March of 2014 and I’ve already earned over $77.00.
Check-ins & Scanning
Jingit allows you to watch short ads for products and earn cash. You can also check in at your local stores and scan the barcodes of some of these products and take a quick 30 second survey to earn even more cash! Lastly, if you purchase the item and scan the barcode from your home, you can earn even more cash!!!
Jingit recently changed its payout method to gift cards. I signed up for Jingit in October 2012 and have earned over $99.00 since then.
Shopalong is another mobile community that pays you to complete tasks at the stores you visit. They may ask you to log your grocery shopping trips or shopping for special occasions. I first joined the app in February 2014 when Shopalong was looking for users to log their Valentine’s Day budget and shopping plans. Once the assignment is completed, Shopalong sends the task price to your PayPal account.
Since I joined in February 2014, Shopalong has paid me $25.00. In my experience there have been no long delays in payment, I received my payment instantly! But there may be delays in between shopping assignments. When a new assignment is available, you will receive an in-app notification. You must then apply for the job and you may or may not be accepted.
CheckPoints and Shopkick allow you to check in at local retailers and earn money by scanning barcodes of select products. If you have young children, you can turn a shopping trip into a scavenger hunt game. My seven year old loves to go shopping with me and often asks if we have any scans to do when we frequent certain stores. For some quick bonus points, input the code “luke35” after downloading CheckPoints. I’ve earned over $223.00 using CheckPoints and over $393.00 using Shopkick both since January of 2013!
StockUp (formerly known as Price Spotting) pays you money to scan grocery products on sale at the store and enter the sale price and information. There are also a few products designated on a weekly basis that will earn cash even if they are not on sale. Scan it. Price it. Earn money. It’s that easy!
I started using StockUp in January of 2014. Since then, I have earned nearly $46.00.
Qriket “used to be” a way to make money using those QR codes that you seem to see everywhere these days (like the ones displayed below). You scanned a code using the Qriket app and may or may not earn some change. If you didn’t earn automatic money by scanning the code, Qriket gave you a second 50-50 shot at earning some coins by using a “magic wand” and a spin of a wheel (similar to playing red or black on the roulette wheel).
Qriket has undergone significant design changes from that model described above and no longer emphasizes scanning QR codes. It no longer has the same earning potential as when I first signed up, but I still am able to earn a little bit each week.
Qriket is based in Canada; therefore, these funds are paid in Canadian Dollars. Upon request, PayPal will convert those to U.S. Dollars using current exchange rates. Since mid April of 2013, I’ve earned over $111.00 (that is the current U.S. Dollar value). I have those funds in my PayPal account as Canadian Dollars, but have yet to convert them to U.S. Dollars and withdraw them because I am waiting to see if the exchange rate improves closer to a 1:1 ratio. Lately the value has decreased so my total earned listed above fluctuates accordingly.
Grocery and Restaurant Purchases
iBotta gives you rewards for purchasing grocery items and select restaurant purchases. Simply select the items you are interested in, buy the item(s) in a qualifying store (there is a LONG list of participating stores), and take a photo and upload your store receipt showing your purchase. Voila! Your cash will be credited shortly to your account! Recently branching out from just grocery purchases, iBotta has now added the ability to earn credit from some restaurants and home improvement store purchases. I’ve earned (or saved depending on your perspective) over $119.00 since mid April 2013 buying groceries and household items using iBotta.
Checkout 51 is an app very similar to iBotta. Buy specific grocery brands and get cash back after uploading your store receipt. I joined Checkout 51 in January of 2014 and have earned over $13.00. This app requires a minimum of $20.00 before cashing out and only pays by check — no electronic options are available at the moment.
A third app in this same mold is Shopmium. They offer rebates on various grocery and household items. Buy one or more of the products featured on Shopmium, snap a photograph of your store receipt and submit it to Shopmium. Once verified, they will deposit funds directly into your PayPal account. (They claim to be working on the ability to deposit rebates directly into your bank account, but I think I prefer the PayPal buffer in between them and my personal bank account). I joined Shopmium in February of 2014 and have earned over $59.00 so far. (For disclosure purposes, a portion of those earnings has been through referring other users). If you sign up with Shopmium, please use my referral code “GUEAGFWT“. You will receive a FREE Lindt Chocolate bar offer if you use this code.
BerryCart is a new app in the same vein as the ones above, with one exception. BerryCart focuses upon natural and organic food items. As they state it in their own words: “you will NOT see products On BerryCart that have High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Sweeteners, or chemicals that you can clean your floor with.” I joined BerryCart in late July 2014. I’ve earned $2.00 so far “buying healthy”.
SavingStar allows you to link up your shopper loyalty cards from dozens of grocery stores. Approximately every week, electronic coupons are released by SavingStar which you have to activate. Some have limited availability which may run out if you aren’t quick to select them. You will pay full price for the items when you checkout, but provided you use you store loyalty card on checkout, you will receive cash credit in your SavingStar account within a few weeks after your shopping trip. You can then request that money be deposited into your PayPal account once you’ve earned a $5.00 minimum, or you can request Amazon gift cards. I’ve been paid over $59.00 from SavingStar since January of 2012.
ReceiptHog just asks you to photograph and upload your grocery store receipts for cash. With each receipt submitted, you earn a few cents toward your payout. You cannot scan gas station or restaurant receipts, but most grocery store, pharmacy, and supercenter store receipts are eligible for rewards. (To avoid scheming the system, receipts dated more than seven days prior to submitting are rejected, and you may only submit receipts for items that you personally purchased). Look for other ways within the ReceiptHog app to earn extra coins and reach your payout even faster!
I started submitting my receipts to ReceiptHog in mid April of 2013 and have earned over $93.00 so far!
ReceiptPal works on the same concept. Photograph your store receipts and earn money. Submit four valid receipts and you will earn 100 points (roughly equivalent to 30 cents). They do have restrictions on how many receipts you can submit each week to avoid users gaming the system. You are paid in gift cards to Amazon or Restaurant.com, or you may choose to donate your points to charity.
I joined ReceiptPal in January of 2014. My store receipts have earned me over $21.00 in that time from ReceiptPal.
WinePays will give you money for snapping photos of the wine list at local restaurants. Depending on the alcoholic beverage selection offered, you can earn up to $5.00 per menu that you photograph (most will get you $1.25 if you photo the menu cover and at least one wine page). I joined WinePays in January of 2014 and have made $14.00 so far.
Walmart Savings Catcher (actually just a feature of the overall Walmart app) allows you to scan your Walmart receipts (it must be no more than 7 days old). The app then checks circular ads from local retailers to find any advertised deals matching the items you purchased. If they find a price cheaper than what you paid at Walmart they will pay you back the difference (on a Walmart e-gift card).
The Savings Catcher feature was added in August of 2014. I have not yet earned back any credit using it myself, but hope to accumulate funds in the future.
App Video Trailers
You can get paid to watch videos and phone app demonstrations right from your phone! If you have an Android or iOS device (including an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) you can download App Trailers to your phone and start making cash immediately simply by watching short video demos of various apps available for your device.
You will earn 5 – 25 points per video (most are under 60 seconds long) and you can redeem points for gift cards from popular retailers or PayPal credit. iTunes and Amazon credits are also available. As for the exchange rate, 10 points = $0.01. You can redeem your points for PayPal funds at the low minimum cashout of $0.50!
You can watch the same trailers over and over again for additional points and you can try to increase your points by completing a daily “scratch off” ticket. In my first week, I earned a quick and easy $5.00. In total, I’ve earned over $58.00 from App Trailers since October 2012.
ONE WORD OF CAUTION that I recently learned the hard way. Apparently you CANNOT transfer your AppTrailers credit from one device to another when you upgrade, so be sure to cash out before you get the latest iPhone — otherwise all of your unredeemed earnings will be lost forever.
Locate the Referral Code box from within the app and enter “souredsign0” (without the quotes and that is a <ZERO> on the end) to earn a small additional bonus!!!
Instant Rewards pays you to download apps and complete tasks. I am still new to this app and don’t have a lot of information about it just yet, but will supplement this description in the very near future.
If you want to give Instant Rewards a try, enter fOcNSIQua8ino as your BONUS CODE on the registration screen.
FeaturePoints is a similar app for iPhones and Android phones that also pays you to watch video trailers for other apps. Once you get the app, be sure to enter Referral Code 49GT6C to get an additional 50 point bonus! You can supercharge your earnings by downloading and trying out some of the apps that you review.
Please note (VERY IMPORTANT) that FeaturePoints requires you to download at least one app every 60 days to keep your account and points active. If you decide after trying it that the app isn’t for you, you can delete it from your phone. But if you keep the app, you MUST do this a minimum of every other month to avoid losing your points. Given the extra points you earn for downloading and trying an app, it really isn’t that much of a burden to satisfy this condition. I’ve found a few apps I like using FeaturePoints, and some others that weren’t worth the space they took up, so I deleted them. But I still got to keep the points they earned!
I started using FeaturePoints in late March of 2013. I’ve earned over $141.00 since then.
AppJoy and AppNana work similar to AppTrailers and FeaturePoints, except there is some variation in other ways to earn points (or in this case to earn “Nanas”). This one takes a little bit of work to earn points, but once you make it to 15,000 nanas you can enter the code “t1795181” to add another 2500 points or nanas to your account. (You cannot enter this referral code until you independently reach the 15,000 minimum on your own). I made it to 15,000 about a month after downloading the app, but about three-quarters of that time, the app sat dormant on my phone as I forgot about it!
I’ve had AppJoy/AppNana since the end of December 2013 and have earned over $10.00 since then.
Also in this category is the app Mobile Rewards. It has added over $27.00 to my pocket since December of 2012 just by watching videos and clicking through to get additional information about the items shown, tweeting the Mobile Rewards website link, and completing other simple offers through the app.
Viggle is an app that gives you credit for watching television. Open the app when you sit down for a show. It listens to your television and matches up to determine what TV show you are watching. You receive one point for each minute that you watch! It allow allows for quick access to the current Twitter buzz for the shows you are watching. With some shows or movies, Viggle gives you the opportunity to earn more points by answering trivia questions about the show or subject matter. There are many other opportunities to earn bonus points throughout the Viggle app.
You can exchange your points for gift cards, merchandise, or even donate to charity. The exchange rate of points to dollars varies depending on what redemption option you choose, but roughly 2000 – 2500 points equals one dollar in value. At times, Viggle’s gift card availability has been an issue, but I’ve still earned over $42.00 in Viggle value since late July 2013.
FanCake awards points for checking in to televised sporting events. You earn points by predicting winners and statistics in advance of the event. You can also earn point in game by guessing the outcome of a particular drive, inning, period, etc. Points can be converted into gift cards or credits for various sporting event ticket purchases.
It takes a while to earn enough points to redeem, but it all depends on how often you check in and make your sports predictions. I’ve earned over $12.00 since the beginning of September 2013.
Secret Shopping/Crowd Sourcing
For Secret Shopping and Crowd Sourcing made easy check out Field Agent, Easy Shift, Gigwalk, Zapiddy, Mobee, and Rewardable. These iPhone apps regularly post secret shopping tasks for users to reserve and complete in a timely manner for a reasonable reimbursement. Most involve taking photographs of products or displays in local stores. These require stealth and discretion. While it is not illegal to do so, many stores have a policy against shoppers taking photographs in the store.
Field Agent has paid me over $572.00 since January 2013. Field Agent is usually the quickest to pay you for your tasks. When you see a task available on Field Agent, be sure to snatch it up quickly, but MAKE SURE that you are close enough and have no other pressing obligations because with RARE exception, you must complete any tasks reserved on Field Agent within TWO HOURS of the time you reserved it. If you do not complete the task within that time window, you will lose the task and lose reputation points. Also pay close attention to the instructions. Field Agent has been known to reject an assignment if a required photograph is not taken “precisely” as requested — wrong angle, improper display, failure to include ENTIRE product section = all grounds for having a task rejected by Field Agent.
Easy Shift has added over $761.00 to my pocket since January of 2013. Like Field Agent, Easy Shift allows users to reserve shifts in advance of completing them, but they usually have a much longer window to complete. On average you usually have about 48 hours to complete reserved shifts. Some are longer and some are shorter. The Easy Shift app also has a message board built right in where helpful users answer questions and discuss shift strategies. Although it is part of the Easy Shift app, the community also openly discusses many of the other apps listed on this page as well!
I’ve earned $235.00 from Gigwalk since early 2013. Like Field Agent and Easy Shift, Gigwalk assigns tasks to its members and pays a decent rate foe completion of Gigs. Some Gigs allow an even longer reserve time to complete. If a user fails to perform the Gig right on the first try (such as missing information or an incorrect photograph) Gigwalk will send a message and allow the user to correct the problem rather than rejecting it outright like Field Agent does.
I joined Zapiddy in July of 2013 and have earned $87.00 to date. Zapiddy is very much like the other three apps above with one very glaring exception. You cannot reserve any jobs (although rumor has it this might change in a future app update). In other words, you could very well see a Zapiddy job available and go to that particular store to complete the job, only to have it disappear right out from under you without any warning. With each of the other three apps, you have a specific time in which you know the job will remain open. With Zapiddy, you better jump on it right away when you see it!
Mobee is another similar app, initially only offering jobs in a few major metropolitan areas, it has recently expanded to many other geographic areas. A few jobs have recently cropped up in my general area.
Perhaps Mobee has a few jobs in your neck of the woods? You can download the app for iPhone or Android. If you do get the app, please enter my referral code ‘DXQZ’ and you will get an extra 300 points — after completing your first Mobee mission! (Roughly equivalent to $3.00 depending upon which reward you aim for). I joined Mobee in June of 2013. So far I have earned over $90.00.
Rewardable is another app similar to those above. The jobs I have completed on Rewardable have been geared more toward department stores asking me to document disorganized or empty clothing displays. I only joined Rewardable in late 2013, but have already received $49.00. In my experience, completed tasks have been very promptly approved and payment to my PayPal account has been immediate on my request.
GapNSnap was once my favorite app (when it was putting $40 a week into my PayPal account). But its favor fell drastically in July of 2014 when they revamped their payout system. Although cash campaigns will supposedly appear when “opportunities arise” gap snappers are no longer adding $$ to PayPal, but are instead earning points toward gift cards and other merchandise.
You can earn GapNSnap points when you snap a photo of a gap on the grocery shelf when GNS campaigns are available. In the past (still to be seen if this schedule continues in GapNSnap 2.0), usually on Tuesday of every week, GapNSnap released a new “campaign” giving its users the opportunity to snap empty shelf spaces at local grocery retailers. Users are asked to include BOTH the empty shelf AND the shelf tag showing the unstocked product in their photos.
Each “quality snap” earns credit toward gift cards or merchandise. Under current supplies: 32,000 points can be redeemed for an iPad mini; 61,000 points can be redeemed for a 32GB wireless iPad Air. Higher denomination Amazon gift cards are available on a sliding value scale: $200 for 22,000 points; $300 for 31,000 points; $400 for 40,000 points.
Unless you have an unlimited data plan, be sure to set the app to only sync your photos while connected to WiFi!!! GapNSnap has paid me over $1,291.00 in cash and gift cards since mid August 2013!! It is one of the few apps that allows multiple accounts per household and the only app that my wife has also downloaded to her phone as well. She has earned $605.00 since late December 2013!
A SIGNIFICANT portion of these earnings were paid out in cash when users of GapNSnap 1.0 could earn up to $40 a week. Although the earning potential dropped dramatically in July of 2014, I have continued my use of GapNSnap in the hopes of finding an elusive cash campaign sometime again in the future, while slowly chipping away at a $200 Amazon gift card.
Some survey panels are strictly web based and others are strictly smartphone app based (and some, like iPoll, Toluna, and MySurvey are both). This section is devoted to a few survey panels that are strictly mobile phone apps. Because they are all fairly similar, there are no individual reviews here. Each of these apps offer short opinion surveys, some also request on site reviews of local stores or businesses if the app detects you are in close proximity.
Surveys on the Go: I joined in October of 2012 and have earned over $54.00 to date.
Survey.com: has paid me $15.00 since November 2012.
SurveyMini: member since September 2013 and earned over $40.00.
Other. . .
mPOINTS is not an app itself, but rather a collective payout source used by dozens of other apps. Apps like craigslist, dictionary.com, and even game apps like Family Feud can be linked together on your smartphone through mPOINTS. Watch an ad, view some listings on craigslist, check in on the dictionary.com word of the day and earn mPOINTS. They can be exchanged for many different gift card options. I started earning mPOINTS in November of 2013. I already have over $101.00 earned.
The Ride App gives you credit for traveling — like frequent flier miles for your smartphone. Whether its your daily commute to work, or a cross country trip, you get credit for the number of miles you’ve traveled. Using your smartphone’s internal GPS, the credits add up slowly as your personal odometer rolls along. I earned $5.00 from this app over a 11 month period from late April 2013 through March of 2014. Based on that payout rate, I decided that it was not worth it for me to keep and take up space on my phone. I deleted the app after receiving my $5.00 Amazon gift card, but added that payment proof to the site for anyone who might still benefit from the app. This app could be a goldmine for anyone who travels a lot or does any type of driving for a living. If you link the app to your Facebook account, you can earn bonus points by adding your comments to some of the discussions on the page.
Scantopia was a favorite app of mine, offering the chance to win money by scanning various UPC codes of items in your own home. I started using Scantopia in late December of 2013 and earned over $104.00 by Mid-May of 2014! But on May 13, 2014, they announced suddenly without any warning that the prizes and promotions would stop on June 1, 2014. I hope to continue earning until that time, but I can no longer promote the app here in good conscience. It was fun while it lasted, but they apparently weren’t able to sustain their business model. My apologizes to any referrals who began using the app in or shortly before May of 2014 and weren’t able to reach the minimum cash out amount.
Now GRAB your smartphone and GO MAKE SOME MONEY!!!
(Earnings updated August 11, 2014)