I Signed Up to Get Paid for Texts From Free Eats… And Here’s What Happened

is free eats a scam
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Conventional wisdom says there’s no such thing as a free lunch — but Free Eats markets itself as a simple way to earn one.

This curious penny hoarder (who’s always eager to earn an extra buck) decided to investigate. Here’s what I found out.

What is Free Eats?

First of all, there’s nothing to eat. (Bummer, right?!) And unless you have unlimited text messaging in your wireless plan, it’s technically not free.

Free Eats is a company that pays members for having ads delivered via text messages to their cell phones.

It’s easy, really — just register (you’ll earn a dollar), provide your active mobile phone number and receive texts containing ads and links. Every time you get a Free Eats text, you earn a quarter.

Free Eats pays instantly via PayPal, but be careful — your number must be linked to the account to avoid complications and possible lost payments.

What’s the Catch?

The whole thing sounds pretty great, right? Passive income, nearly no startup effort and it’s free — or virtually free, unless you’re way overpaying per text message.

It’s definitely legit: I received payment to my Paypal account for registering and receiving ads immediately, as promised.

The problem? I’ve been a member for a week and a half — and I’ve only received one ad.

This is a well-documented issue. One of the FAQ entries on their site is “Why haven’t I received any text messages?”

Free Eats explains they’re working to grow their client base — the companies who pay Free Eats to send you their ads. Since the company doesn’t have many clients, don’t expect to make more than a quarter every now and then.

Once their client pool grows, Free Eats hopes to send its members one to two text messages per week. But, no matter how many advertisers Free Eats acquires, the ads will be capped at two per day, according to their site.

What’s the Verdict: Is Free Eats a Scam?

If you have unlimited text messages, there’s no reason not to sign up for Free Eats: it’s free money, and it’s delivered immediately.

Plus, as the business grows, you could potentially earn between 50 cents and $3.50 in extra cash each week.

Just don’t expect large payouts any time soon.

Your Turn: Have you tried Free Eats? What did you think? Would you consider signing up?

Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hi to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.