By Holly Reisem Hanna
Before I started working online, I never really understood why companies would pay individuals to participate in activities like shopping online, reading emails (basically, reading advertisements), watching videos, playing games, or using a specified smartphone application.
But online competition is fierce, to say the least, so companies and brands have become creative with how they reach customers. Instead of spending marketing dollars on traditional advertising methods, brands are reaching out to consumers in unique ways – which has been great for app and web developers, as well as individuals who are looking to make a little extra cash.
Another great thing about using your smartphone to make money, is there are tons of real customer reviews for each app, so you can get a better idea of which ones are legit.
Here are 12 legit ways to make money with your smartphone.
One of my faves … Swagbucks is an online platform where you can earn points called SB, which can be redeemed for gift cards, coupons, and sweepstake entries. They also have a smartphone app for iPhone and Android operating systems. You can quickly earn SB by watching videos, answering questions, completing offers, and even surfing the web using their toolbar. Refer your friends, and you’ll earn even more SB. Your SB points can be traded in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Starbucks, PayPal, and Walmart. You also get a $5.00 sign up bonus when you register, sweet!
- Open to residents of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.
Allows you to make money by scanning barcodes, taking quizzes, watching videos, searching the web, and completing offers. Trade points in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, and Walmart or earn entries for giveaways. CheckPoints has been featured on Mashable and is both Android and iPhone compatible.
- Open to US residents only.
Easy Shift is a micro-task application where you can earn money by completing shifts. Shifts usually entail checking prices, seeing if a product is in stock, or taking photos of a store display. Once you have successfully completed the shift, payment will be made through PayPal within 48 hours of submission. Shifts pay anywhere from $2.00 to $20.00 per task. Easy Shift has been featured on USA Today, All Things Digital, and Mashable. Is currently only available for iPhone users.
- Available in most US cities.
Field Agent allows you to make money by completing various micro tasks, from checking shelf availability to checking demo and display compliance. Jobs pay anywhere from $3.00 to $12.00 per job and payments are made via PayPal. Field Agent works with brands like Tyson, Target, Hershey’s and has been featured on CNET, Forbes, and The New York Times. Only available for iPhones.
- Open to residents of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, and Romania.
GigWalk is a mobile workforce of individuals using their iPhone or Andriod smartphone to connect, explore, and earn a second paycheck as they go about their day. Just register, apply for an assignment, and then complete the task (usually verifying roads and street signs, geographic landmarks or transportation options). Gigwalk’s workforce is available in multiple US cities. GigWalk has been featured on CNN, Business Insider, and Forbes.
- Available in most major US cities.
Is a way for you to make money from working out. Simply download the app (available for both iPhone and Android systems) set some workout goals and then check in when you go to the gym or workout at home. But here’s the catch … if you don’t exercise, you’ll have to pay a pre-determined fee for not working out. This money is used to pay others who did exercise. Rewards generally pay out been $0.30 to $0.40 per workout and once you’ve reached a $5.00 threshold you can request payment via PayPal. GymPact has been featured on CNN, The New York Times, and ABC News.
- Works in 75+ countries internationally.
Ibotta is an iPhone and Android application that you can use to earn money when you go shopping. Before you head out on a shopping trip complete tasks relating to your favorite brands and companies. Next, go shopping at stores like Target and Walgreens and take photos of your receipts. Once your transaction has been verified, your account will be credited with a specified cash back amount. Refer your friends and earn even more money. Payments are made via PayPal and can be transferred as soon as you earn $5.00. Ibotta has been featured on Mashable, Good Morning America, and Business Insider.
- Open to US and Puerto Rico residents.
Locket is only available for Android systems, and it basically pays you to place advertisements on your phone’s home screen. Once you unlock your phone, the ad will appear, swipe one way to interact with the ad, and the other way to access your phone’s functions – either way, you get paid. Locket uses a proprietary algorithm that pays based on how often you unlock your phone throughout the day. Your account must reach $10.00 to request a payout and payments are made via PayPal.
Poshmark is an application where individuals can sell women’s fashion clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories. Download the app on your iPhone, create an account, and then start taking photos of the items you wish to sell. Once the item sells, print out a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label and send off your item. When the buyer receives the item, Poshmark will deposit 80% of the sale price into your account. Payments are made either by direct deposit or check.
- Available in the United States and its territories.
Available for Android and iPhone systems, Receipt Hog pays you money for shopping and taking surveys. Download the app and take photos of your receipts from any grocer, supercenter, club store, dollar store, drug store, convenience mart, beauty supply, or pet supply store. Once receipts are inputted into the system, Receipt Hog will award you with virtual coins that can be traded in for cash through PayPal or an Amazon gift card. The information that Receipt Hog collects is summarized and used in market research reports that companies will pay for. The number of coins you earn per receipt depends on how much your total bill is. You can submit 20 receipts per week and trade 1,000 coins in for $5.00.
- Available for use within the United States and the United Kingdom.
I'm totally addicted to this app! Shopkick is a really cool rewards program that is available for iPhone and Android phones. Just download the app to your phone, and when you walk into your favorite stores (Old Navy, Crate & Barrel, Exxon, Target, Macy’s, etc.), you’ll instantly earn kicks. Scan specified barcodes once you're in the store to earn more kicks. Link up your credit card, browse through lookbooks, or refer your friends for even more kicks. Kicks can be used for gift cards from Target, Old Navy, Starbucks, or on items like clothing, electronics, or even a cruise! Shopkick has been featured on The Huffington Post, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.
- Open to US Residents.
Do you love to watch TV or listen to music? Then Viggle is for you. Just download the app to your Android or iPhone, check in with Viggle button and start earning points by watching TV or listening to music. You can even engage and answer questions for additional points. Points can be redeemed for rewards from companies like Starbucks, Foot Locker, Groupon, and Best Buy.
One last word about smartphone apps. Not all apps are legit — you need to do your due diligence and read the reviews before installing on your phone and entering your information. I'm fairly cautious when trying out new apps. If there are zero reviews listed on iTunes or the Android app store – I won't download it. You'll also want to read reviews online and via the Better Business Bureau website.
If you want to see what apps I use on a weekly basis, check out this post — these apps pay for my Starbucks addiction!
Which smartphone apps are you using to make money? Feel free to drop your favorites below.
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