Earn money with your smartphone: five apps that pay

Here’s a sure-fire way to earn a little pocket money. Use your smartphone to snap a photo of a restaurant or scan a barcode in a store. You can earn cash or gift certificates. Companies pay for such information, often because they want to know how their stores and products look in the real world. Here are five free smartphone apps that can earn you money.

Joe Skipper/REUTERS
A customer holds iPhones she purchased shortly after the phone went on sale with the Verizon Wireless network in Boca Raton, Florida February 10, 2011. Free apps that earn users money are available for download to the iphone and other smartphone devices.

1. Gigwalk

Courtesy of Gigwalk
Gigwalk offers its users 'gigs' in eight cities – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle – which pay anywhere from $4 to $7.

Gigwalk is a free iPhone application that notifies its users when “gigs” are available in their area. A gig can range from taking a photo of a restaurant menu or street sign to confirming that a product is in a store and pays between $4 and $7. The more gigs a Gigwalker completes, the more “Gigwalk Streetcred” one earns. Streetcred helps unlock higher paying jobs, which can pay up to $90.

Gigs are available in eight major US cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle. The app uses Google maps to guide a “Gigwalker” to each gig.

“As I walk home, I probably pass 1,000 gigs and I choose the ones I like,” says Jennifer Silver, a human resources manager at a Boston architecture firm. She uses the money she earns to pay her $140 monthly phone bill. “It’s a really easy way to do what you want when you want to do it,” she adds.

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