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Something For Nothing: How Tech-Savvy Consumers Are Finding Extra Cash At Their Fingertips

It’s no secret that Millennials are having a few financial bumps in the road. Between not being able to save for retirement, and not being willing to splurge on items now, it’s no surprise that even those who are employed may be looking for some new, easy ways to make some money on the side. Some are tapping into peer-to-peer services, using what they have (cars, apartments) to earn extra dough. But thanks to technology, even members of the generation who don’t have anything to leverage can eke out some additional income, sometimes for doing nothing more than downloading an app. Some are taking out the middleman and letting consumers control and sell their own personal information, others are giving turnkey opportunities to rack up coins with the swipe of a finger.

Here are some of the apps that are letting users make money for little to no effort, and how brands can get involved. 


1. Foap: Next Generation Stock Photos.

Millennials are taking thousands upon thousands of pictures with phones every year, so why shouldn’t they earn some cash for their mobile artwork? Foap is a “next generation stock photo” app that puts all those pics to work, letting users sell the use of their images and brands to buy them royalty-free. After downloading the app, users simply start taking pictures as they normally would and uploading them onto Foap Market. Once a photo has received a rating of 2.5 or higher from the Foap community, it is put up for sale for $10, which is split 50/50 between the app and the user if the image is purchased. The same image can be sold over and over again, creating limitless opportunity in a single snap. Brands can also run Foap Missions, essentially image scavenger hunts for users that produce crowd-sourced visual content that is tailor made for whatever the Mission starter might need. 


2. Locket: Swipe In. Cash Out.

79% of 18-22-year-olds have their phones with them 22 hours a day, and in those hours they swipe them open hundreds of time. That same group sees around 5,000 ads every day. Currently available on Androids only, Locket is an app that pays users for both. The app creates an additional lock screen that turns the phone into a mini-billboard, showing a relevent ad (usually an attractive one) behind the swipe lock. Users can then either swipe right to open their phones, or swipe left to engage with the content, claiming a deal or viewing a trailer—they get paid a penny for their swipe either way. Once they have accumulated $10—which might take a little while, but still gives them virtually free money for already existing behavior—they can cash out to Paypal, with a gift card, or donate their loot to charity. 


3. Ibotta: Cash, Not Coupons.

Couponing—especially the extreme variety—blew up thanks to the recession, but these days it’s beginning to fall out of such high favor here in the states. Perhaps the effort that it requires might seem monumental to a generation that is used to deals being delivered to them. Ibotta brings deals to users in the form of cash instead of coupons. First, users can choose products from hundreds of items in the Product Gallery from orange juice to cereal, and then complete one or more of the variety of tasks below the item. Tasks include sharing on Twitter, watching a video, getting a recipe, playing trivia, and more. The more tasks are completed, the more credit a user earns. When the same product is purchased in a supported store, those earnings are unlocked automatically. After snapping a picture of their receipt and scanning the barcode of the item, Ibotta sends cash to the user for their purchase within 24 hours. Ibotta is partnered with PayPal so they are delivering actual money that can be transferred to a users account after just $5 is earned.

4. Handshake: The Power of You.

Young consumers are hyper-aware of their value to brands. They know that their information is worth a lot, and that brands and websites are collecting and selling it constantly. But so far they haven’t been able to benefit from that arrangement. Handshake (currently in beta) cuts out the middleman and makes them the purveyors of their own valuable data. Handshake works as a “revolutionary negotiation engine” that “lets [users] name [their] terms with brands” and negotiate with those who want to talk to them. Organisations can become a part of Handshakes network, and talk to consumers about their opinions and behavior. But the users set the terms of the conversations, and the price—they’re even able to haggle to get more for their insights. The more deals a user does with the brands who want to tap into the Handshake community the more rewards they earn through the app.