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Five Smartphone apps that really pay you

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The Smartphone has enabled brands to connect with people and provide incentives more easily than ever. There is a HOST of smartphone apps out there that promise you quick cash and rewards and often end up being a real hassle to deal with. I’m here to take out the hype and share with you some smartphone apps that really have earned me money, gift cards and prizes.

I earn them my checking in to local businesses, scanning products in the store, endorsing my favorite products and even just walking into stores.

I’ve been using smartphone reward apps for almost two and a half years, and here are some of the best ones I’ve come across. I use these on my Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket with Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), so your mileage may vary.

Please note that I have included my referral links with all of these products. These really are great products and I have spent a lot of time working with them to find the best out there, so if you want to sign up, please do so through the links n this post. In return, you can invite your friends and readers and get referral bonuses as well!

1. CALYP – Once called Blue Calypso, CALYP (pronounced “k-lip”) is a program you can use on your PC or smartphone to endorse products on Twitter, Facebook, email, text messages or your blog.

Getting a CALYP account is easy. You can set up an account through Facebook or Twitter. Immediately you’ll see a list of a few dozen products you can choose to endorse. Simply pick out a product, tap the “share” button, and decide which of your social networks you’ll send it to.

The more online places you endorse, the greater your earnings will be. You’ll always earn -something – and instead of being paid per click, you just get paid per share.

CALYP will send you payment via a debit card, and your earnings will be deposited once a month. They sent my debit card this week; I plan to use it to buy Amazon gift certificates or even use as rainy-day money. You can also level up and get more money per share, along with  additional perks, which get you discounts at all kinds of places. Right now I’m easily making 80 cents for every share, which gets me some solid, extra pocket money once a week.

The good:  This is, by far, my FAVORITE rewards app. The products available for endorsing are QUALITY products. You will not be sending out messages telling people how to get white teeth, gain 10 jillion followers in a day, or about the latest Acai-Pomegranate-Magic Potion that all the talk show hosts are using. Also, you aren’t given incentives for additional points by downloading adware-filled apps or signing up for any programs. You just endorse products you like and share them with your followers.

Products I’ve endorsed through CALYP include: Dingo rawhides, Blue Buffalo dog food, L’Oreal and the latest album from DEVO. Since you can only endorse four products a day, it’s a guarantee that you’ll be able to find four things you use every day that you will be proud to endorse.

The bad: CALYP is still kind of new, and I’ve found it to be buggy at times on my smartphone. However, the team has AWESOME tech support and will quickly help you if you have a problem. The good outweighs the bad on this one a thousandfold. To get started with Calyp, visit here.

2. WeReward: This is a fun Smartphone app from the folks at IZEA, one of the top sponsored-content companies in the world. WeReward is like FourSquare, except checking in can actually earn you money. You can also fill out very brief surveys to earn, and you can also take photos of yourself in stores or restaurants and with products to earn. It’s kind of like a brand scavenger hunt! It’s very fun, and I’ve earned more than $300 from them.

The good:  You can rack up points and cash them out VERY quickly. Each point you receive is worth a penny, and once you reach $10, you can immediately cash out your earnings through Paypal.

The bad: Some people think this is bad, but I don’t: any IZEA product requires you to submit your social security number. This is bona fide income, and if you earn $600 or more from IZEA during the year you will get a tax form and you will need to file it as income. I actually find peace of mind with this, because it lets me know that IZEA is playing fairly in the game. To download WeReward for your Android or iPhone, go here.

3. Shopkick:  This is a fun app that rewards you for scanning products in store and even walking into stores! It also includes coupons that the cashier can scan from your phone’s screen. The interface is cute and simple and the app has never closed on me, and I’ve earned gift cards from Target and Best Buy just for scanning.

The Good: The prizes are great! You can win gift cards to Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Old Navy and a whole bunch of other places. Also, you can register your VISA with shopkick so you can earn points for purchases in certain stores.

The Bad: Shopkick has a lot of bells and whistles and pointless badges that take your point-earning time away. I’ve also had difficulties with the walk-in, sometimes having to walk in and out of a store two or three times to get my kicks. Also, it can sometimes be really difficult to scan products in store, either because the lighting is wrong, the bar code or QR is difficult to get to, or a number of other reasons. But the app works perfectly more often than not, and if you have a great smartphone, you should have very few problems. To join Shopkick, go here.

4. Checkpoints: This is another scan-to-earn app. There are no walk-in points, but for scanning products in-store, you can earn points and coins to use to play one of two games. The games can allow you to win extra points, and you can use your points to make donations to your favorite causes, or get airline miles, gift certificates or other prizes. You can also download apps to earn more coins.

The good: This is the only rewards app JUST for your smartphone (at least to my knowledge) that gives out Amazon gift cards. I actually cannot remember the last time I have used my own money to add to my Amazon balance, because I keep earning gift cards from Checkpoints, Swagbucks and other places online.

The bad: The “Easy points” section of the app allows you to download games and apps to earn extra coins. The main problem is that many of these “easy points” are riddled with adware. However, in most cases you can just open the app once and then uninstall it to get your points. You can opt not to download these extra programs, and checkpoints, in and of itself, just has ads in the app, no surprise pop-ups. It’s worth it to me to earn the extra Amazon cash. To join Checkpoints, click  here and use the code “bellesouth” to start off with some extra points.

5. Swagbucks Search Swidget and Swagbucks TV Mobile: LOVE these two apps because it makes earning a lot easier. I use swagbucks as my default search engine on my phone now. It’s not a browser add-on; it’s basically just a widget you place on one of your screens to search just as you would with Google. Essentially it’s a shortcut to the swagbucks search engine from your phone. The Swagbucks TV Mobile app allows you to watch all those swagbucks videos on your phone. You can even set it to stream continuously, put the phone down for a little while and in no time you’ve got more points in your account! Swagbucks is an awesome way to earn Paypal cash, gift cards and prizes. I can’t think of a shopping blogger who doesn’t use it. If you don’t have an account, sign up here.

I know having a smartphone is expensive, but when you combine these programs, it really does make it easy for your smartphone to pay for itself! These are all paying you for doing things you would do anyway – shopping, searching, walking into stores, playing games. I hope I’ve provided you with some great tools to get started and find new ways to pay for your stuff!

Are there any smartphone rewards programs you use? I’d love to know!

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  • Beth Anne
    Twitter:
    January 19, 2012, 1:22 am

    This is a great list! I really wish swagbucks had an ipod touch compatible app. I’ve been trying to watch the swagbucks tv on my computer.

    I might try and use some of these apps on my ipod touch! Thanks for the awesome information!
    Beth Anne recently posted..Pretty-on-Pinterest Thursday Link-Up – Black and WhiteMy Profile

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      January 19, 2012, 1:57 am

      Thanks, Beth Anne! It all depends on what suits you. I actually think the Swagbucks apps are fairly new, so hopefully they will be rolling out one for the iPhone very soon!

      Reply
  • Melissa Bybee-Fields January 19, 2012, 6:54 am

    Really great article! I’m going to share this one for sure. Is it sad that my 12 year old daughter has an Android and I don’t. I have to wait until JUNE to upgrade! I’ll get there!
    Melissa Bybee-Fields recently posted..My Top 5 Deals for the week of 1/15/12My Profile

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      January 19, 2012, 10:51 am

      I hope you have luck with the apps on your phone!!! You’re in luck – in June Samsung is supposed to come out with the Galaxy Note, which is supposed to eat my phone before breakfast! :P Again, phone envy. (See above.) :)

      Reply
  • April Decheine
    Twitter:
    January 19, 2012, 9:08 am

    Great list, I am going to set a few of these up on my cell today! I am eyeing that galaxy too! I had it when it first came out then switched to T Mobiles first 4G now I want yours!! ;-)

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      January 19, 2012, 10:50 am

      Ha! Glad I can help, and thanks for visiting!!! Probably by the time you are eligible for an upgrade, you’ll get the most awesome Android phone in the universe, I won’t be eligible for an upgrade, and then I’ll want YOUR phone! I am pretty certain phone-envy has been good for device manufacturers and carriers. :P

      Reply
  • Beth Anne
    Twitter:
    May 14, 2012, 9:06 pm

    I just got an iphone and remembered this post so I came and installed all these apps!! Can’t wait to get points!
    Beth Anne recently posted..7 Quick Takes Friday TemplateMy Profile

    Reply
  • Lisa Stover June 16, 2012, 11:22 pm

    Great tips, I never knew most of these.

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      June 17, 2012, 11:55 am

      They are all great apps. I’m about to add another one called Jingit to the list. Jingit actually pays you real money, like Calyp and WeReward!

      Reply

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