It seems like everyday I see a larger charge from iTunes on my credit card. Between mobile apps and music purchases, my phone ends up costing me quite a bit more than my monthly plan.
So…I’ve found a way to balance it out by downloading mobile apps that actually PAY ME to use them. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites. Enjoy.
1. Nielsen Homescan
This app will pay you to scan your groceries. Crazy, right? Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Homescan family (yep, the same company that tracks TV ratings), the company will send you a free scanner or you can use your smartphone. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen.
If you want to give it a try, you can fill out the application here: Nielsen Homescan Application (you can’t download this one from the app store).
As an active participant, you earn gift points which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items, and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points towards prizes. You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles.
2. i-Say Mobile
This i-Say mobile app is one of the only legitimate paid survey apps out there. It’s actually a part of the Ipsos company, which might be a name you’re familiar with because they do a lot of the polling you see during presidential races.
I’ve heard some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10-15 minutes. Also, the i-Say app rewards you with points which can then be redeemed for Paypal or gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, etc. (example: 1000 points can be redeemed for $10 Paypal). Use the link above to fill out an application and then they’ll send you a link to download the app.
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps. The Ibotta app will pay you cash to take a picture of your receipts.
Here’s how it works:
1. Sign up for a free account with Ibotta (just need a name & email address).
2. Download the mobile app and then click on the “Rebates” section.
3. From here, you should see dozens of different rebates you can take advantage of. For example, right now the app is offering me 50 cents if I upload a picture of a receipt showing that I bought milk. And there’s another rebate for $10 if I upload a picture of a Best Buy receipt.
Now, you obviously don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need, but I think you’ll find tons of rebates for things you are already buying. Plus, you can stack regular coupons on top of the rebate, meaning some of you savvy shoppers will be able to get free stuff.
4. Media Research Panel
Media Research Panel is a smartphone app that helps media companies better understand how consumers use, view and share TV, social, digital and mobile media. Their app “measures activities conducted on a device, such as sharing, viewing, clicking, chatting, downloading and more. The app also listens for TV shows, and, using technology of Gracenote, Inc., identifies which TV shows was captured.”
If you install their app, they’ll pay you $5/month per device. And you can install the app on up to 3 devices. Plus they’ll send you a $5 bonus after the 12th week. (Totals $185/year)
Here’s how to do it:
1. Sign up for the Media Insiders Panel here. (you can’t download this one from the app store)
2. Install and activate the MI Mobile app onto your device(s).
3. Watch your e-mail for important information and instructions on next steps. Also, at no time is a member’s personally identifiable information ever shared or released publicly, nor will they ever interact with you via social media.
Here are the devices that they support: Android™ smartphones and tablets that run Android version 4.0 or greater, and are not rooted. They also accept the Kindle Fire HD, but not the first generation Kindle Fire. iPhone®5, iPad®, iPad mini®, and iPod touch® devices that run iOS version 5.0 or greater. ***You’ve got be a US resident, 13 years or older, and have a valid email address.
5. Field Agent
The Field Agent app will pay you to complete small tasks around town for their clients. The tasks are pretty simple: scanning barcodes with your iPhone, checking prices at your local grocery store and conducting field surveys.
Payouts vary and depend on the job and area that you are in. For example, as I write, a job is posted in Mission Viejo, California is looking for an agent to take 4 separate photos of products in the toothbrush section of the local Target. This particular gig pays 9 dollars.
And in Brooklyn, New York, a field agent can jump in to a local Toys “R” Us store, snap a shot of the $19.99 & under video game display and zip out a healthy $5.50 richer.
Remember though: you’re in this to make money; don’t bust out the plastic when you see a new Xbox 360 game nearby that you’ve been itching to buy. Field Agent job payouts typically vary between 2-8 bucks (payable through PayPal). Most of the jobs only take 5 minutes, so the real time involved is with driving to each location. Still with travel time and gas, you could easily make $10-$20/hour completing mini-jobs.
InboxDollars has been around since practically the beginning of the internet, but they just came out with a pretty cool mobile app that will pay you to search the web, play games, and take surveys.
The app is totally free to download. Plus, they give you a free $5 just to signup.
Once you’ve accumulated $30 earnings (it’s possible to do this in only a couple of hours), you can request payment via check. It does take about 2 weeks to get the check, but I’ve successfully cashed out five different times now.
7. Receipt Hog
RecieptHog is very similar to Ibotta. You take a picture of your receipts and the “hog” rewards you with points that you can redeem for Paypal or Amazon gift cards.
The difference with this app is that you don’t have to shop anywhere specific, or buy anythings specific. You can take a picture of any of your receipts and the app will reward you with points. I like the fact that I earn points for shopping anywhere, but I also find that it takes me a lot longer to cash out with this app in comparison to Ibotta.
The Bookscouter app is really useful when you want to sell your old books that are just collecting dust on the shelf. You scan your book’s barcode with a smartphone and Bookscouter will let you compare the payout of 20+ different buyback companies.
Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent and prepare the books to be shipped. Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.
9. ESPN Streak for the Cash
Think you know sports? The ESPN Streak for the Cash app will let you make predictions for upcoming games and then reward you with cash if you have the longest streak of correct predictions. To make it tougher, you have to make call for 10 different sports.
The person with the longest winning streak earns $50,000 every month. Pretty sweet!
Have you ever tried mystery shopping? The Mobee app will pay you to go undercover in your local stores and rate the level of customer service and cleanliness, among other things.
Most of you know that I’ve done quite a bit of mystery shopping, so I was pretty excited to find this app. I found it really easy to use and the shops went pretty quickly, but I wasn’t too impressed with the payment amounts. For example, there was a Subway mystery shop in my area that was paying $8. That’s not a huge amount for a mystery shop, plus I had to buy a sandwich during the shop that wasn’t reimbursed. Regardless, it was like getting a free lunch, so I’ll take it!
11. SlideJoy – 12. ScreenPay
The SlideJoy app doesn’t specify how much you earn (it’s based off how often you look at your phone), but the ScreenPay app will pay you a flat fee of $3 a month, plus they’ll give you $1 just for signup up. These are both Android apps, so they won’t work on your iPhone or Blackberry.
Your Turn: Are you currently using any of these apps? What’s your experience been?