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 competition is fierce, 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 and worth your time.
Here are some legit ways to make money with your smartphone:
Swagbucks is one of my faves! With Swagbucks, you earn points called SB, which can be redeemed for gift cards, coupons, and sweepstake entries. The platform can be accessed via your laptop or their via smartphone app for iPhone and Android operating systems. You can 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!
Want more info on Swagbucks? You can check out our full review here.
App Bounty rewards you for downloading and trying out new smartphone applications. You can also earn points for spreading the word or liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter. Points can be redeemed for iTunes and Amazon gift cards, as well as Xbox Live, PS Network Points and paid apps for free. Available for iPhones and Android operating systems.
Need to sell your car? Blinker is a smartphone app that allows you to easily and securely sell your old car. Simply download the app, take a picture of your car, list it, and then wait for the offers to roll in. With Blinker your car is automatically listed on other major marketplaces, so you don't have to do any additional work. When you download the Blinker app to sell your car, use the promo code HOLLY HANNA and Blinker will reward you with an extra $200 when your car sells!
CheckPoints 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.
DoorDash is a smartphone app that connects Dashers (delivery drivers) to individuals who needs items delivered to their homes. Fill out the online application, wait for your background check to clear, and once accepted start taking assignments via the app. With DoorDash you can use your vehicle, scooter, motorcycle, or bike, and in particular locales, you can even walk to make deliveries. Dashers are paid weekly via direct deposit.
I love this app — because it is totally passive earning! With Drop, you earn points for shopping at individual stores. All you have to do is connect your credit card to their secure (256-bit encryption) smartphone application, and each time you purchase at a participating retailer, you'll earn points. One thousand points equals $1, and when you earn enough points, they can be traded in for gift cards from stores like Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon and many more. You can also invite friends to join with your own personalized referral code. For each friend who signs up with your referral code — you'll earn 1,000 points. Drop is available in the US and Canada and for both Andriod and iPhone users. Drop has been featured on Business Insider, Pop Sugar, and Fox Business.
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 in USA Today, All Things Digital, and Mashable. Is currently only available for iPhone users.
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.
Foap allows you to make money by selling photos you take on your iPhone. Download the Foap application to your smartphone and upload your photos. Once your image receives five positive ratings from other Foap users – your photo will be published for sale. You will earn $5 each time someone purchases your photo. Payments are made via PayPal when the user requests a cashout.
Getaround is a smartphone application that allows you to rent your car out for short periods of time. List your vehicle in their marketplace and download the app. When you're not using your vehicle, individuals can rent and unlock your car using the app. Payments are made monthly, and the average Getaround renter earns $10,000 a year ($800 a month) — not bad! Getaround is available for both iPhone and Android users.
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.
Another one of my favorites! 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 or gift card and can be transferred as soon as you earn $5.00. Ibotta has been featured on Mashable, Good Morning America, and Business Insider.
Job Spotter is a smartphone app from the job site, Indeed. To earn points using this app, all you have to do is snap pictures of Now Hiring Signs along with a photo of the store's signage. For every approved submission you'll earn a varying amount of points. You can also earn points by verifying other user's submissions. I tried this out one day and earned $2.97 for snapping pictures of four help wanted signs and verifying a few submissions. Your points can be redeemed for an Amazon gift card. Job Spotter is available for Android and iPhone applications.
Lyft is a smartphone app that allows users to tap a button to request a ride (almost like a taxi cab on demand). So if you have some downtime and want to be a cabbie on demand, sign up to be a driver. Choose your own hours, drive your own car, and make $35+ an hour. You must be at least 21 years of age, have a 4-door car that is from the year 2000 or newer, and a clean driving record. Drivers get 80 percent of payment from passengers. Money is deposited into your account each week.
Mobee is a secret shopper app that allows you to earn rewards for shopping at certain stores. To get started, download the app, accept a mission near you, and answer the questions once you arrive. It takes approximately 48 hours for someone to review your submission, but once it's approved, you'll earn points that can be traded in for gift cards from Starbucks, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and many others. You can also earn points by referring friends to the app; once they complete their first mission, you'll both receive 300 points. Mobee is available for both Android and Apple smartphones.
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 percent of the sale price into your account. Payments are made either by direct deposit or check.
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.
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.
Uber is a smartphone app that allows users to tap a button to request a ride (think taxi on demand). So if you have some downtime and want to be a driver on demand, sign up with Uber. Choose your own hours, drive your own car (or rent one of theirs), and make good money on demand. Money is deposited weekly into your account.
Uber Eats is an on-demand, smartphone app where you can make money by delivering packages and food via your car, bike, or scooter. The more deliveries you make, the more you'll earn. With their Instant Pay system, you can get same day payouts up to five times a day. Both Uber and Uber Eats are available on Apple and Android operating systems.
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 smartphone apps I use to earn money 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 comment on your favorite money-making smartphone apps below!
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Originally published October 9, 2013. Content updated April 26, 2018.
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