You may be surprised to learn that most apps, search engines, and social media platforms are constantly mining your data. You could opt to stay offline, avoid social networks, and refrain from using your mobile device to keep companies from gaining access to your user data. Or, instead, you could get paid for your data.
Information detailing the average person's daily activities is incredibly valuable to big companies and vital to their operations, putting you in a great position to earn some extra cash.
Your Data Is Worth Money
The basic premise of data collection is that as a customer or user engages with a business in different ways, the company collects data such as consumer behavior and online activity.
Companies use various methods to capture your data. For example, most social media platforms prompt users to create personal profiles. When making their profile, users willingly provide identifiable information – or personal data – such as phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, etc.
When discussed in detail, the concept of having your data collected each time you visit a website, swipe your credit card, or enter your email address may feel intrusive and uncomfortable. Yet, the reality is in most instances, the use of your personal data is entirely benign and often anonymized.
Your data is a valuable asset that companies use to analyze consumer patterns, spending habits, and other online activities that provide essential insights into the company's customer base.
In addition to using your data to improve their platforms and processes to increase revenue and customer satisfaction, the market value of data is so high that many companies also sell the information they collect to other companies.
Recently the European Union (EU) has instituted strict laws regarding privacy and user data. Businesses that don't comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, face hefty fines and penalties. Unfortunately, the US is slow to catch up.
According to the New York Times, the United States has no federal privacy laws regulating data collection. Therefore, if companies are legally allowed to collect and sell your data – whether or not you approve – it makes sense they compensate you in some way.
How To Get Paid for Your Data
One of the easiest ways to earn extra money in exchange for your personal and online data is by downloading free apps to your mobile device that pay you for your data. Most of the apps on this list need little attention from you beyond downloading the app and allowing it to run in the background as you go about your daily life.
We've put together a list of the best apps that will pay you for your data. While these companies are collecting your data to craft their online advertising and marketing campaigns, you'll be earning dollars.
Earning Potential for Data Collection Apps
Depending on the app and how much detailed information and anonymous data you're willing to share with them, you could earn anywhere from a few dollars to $20 a week. More importantly, this is money you'll be earning passively, requiring little effort on your part.
Consider using multiple apps together to increase your earning potential. While it's unlikely this additional income source will significantly impact your finances, it is an excellent way to earn some extra spending money.
Data Collection Apps
Tapestri is new on the scene and pays you for a different kind of information: your location data.
As a Tapestri user, you can earn up to $25 per month simply by sharing your anonymous location data. Tapestri truly puts the “passive” in “passive income,” as once you install and set up the app, no further interaction is necessary.
Comscore, a media measurement and analytics company, is responsible for developing MobileXpression, which gathers data based on your browsing history and duration.
Install the app on your phone and earn credits you can redeem for gift cards. Make sure not to delete the app; the longer it stays on your device, the more you earn. For example, new users will earn a $10 gift card after remaining a member for one week.
3. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
Nielsen Research developed the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel, one of the largest consumer research companies. The company has been measuring television audiences since 1950 and is famous for its “Nielsen Ratings.”
Install the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel app, sign up, and you have the potential to earn $50 a year as well as gain entry into weekly sweepstakes. In addition, agree to let the app run in the background when you're online, and you'll also have the opportunity to accumulate points. Users can redeem their points for gift cards and merchandise.
Honeygain monitors your web usage and then reports the data to different companies. So, potentially, you could earn up to $19/mo if you install the application on three devices.
That adds up to almost $230 a year simply for permitting Honeygain access to your web usage.
UpVoice tracks the ads you're served while browsing various social media platforms.
If you visit participating sites while logged into the app, you can earn up to $175 or more annually. In addition, you'll receive a sign-up bonus of 300 tokens (which translates to about $5), and paying daily visits to your social sites will earn you ten tokens each day.
Earn 600 tokens – around $10 – to redeem them for a gift card to popular sites like Target, iTunes, and Spotify.
Apps That Collect Your Shopping Data
Dosh is an app that allows you to earn cash back for in-store and online purchases. Connect your credit or debit card, and Dosh will automatically credit your account with cashback on qualifying purchases. Most stores pay 2% to 3%, yet offers can run up to 10% cashback.
Dosh makes it easy to earn cashback when shopping online by paying on qualifying purchases without requiring the user to search for offers or upload receipts. Once your account balance reaches $25, transfer your cashback to your Paypal account, deposit it directly into your bank account, or donate it to charity.
Drop rewards you for shopping at your favorite stores. After you download the app, link a credit or debit card. Next, the app will prompt you to select the five stores you frequent most often when online shopping; each time you complete a purchase at one of these stores, you'll receive points.
Different stores will offer varying amounts of points. Earn 5,000 points (or $50), and you're eligible to redeem them for gift cards at places like Domino's, Trader Joe's, and Amazon.
Pei is a newer app that will reward you with cashback for purchases made at qualifying stores and restaurants. After you link a credit or debit card, the app will begin tracking your spending at participating stores and award you points automatically.
Once you accumulate at least $15 worth of points, you can deposit the money via PayPal, bitcoin, or gift card. The cashback percentages range from 1% up to 20% – link multiple cards to maximize your earnings.
OnMyWay aims to reward people for safe driving. Navigate to OnMyWay's website, enter your phone number, and you'll receive a link to download the app.
You will earn $0.05 for every mile you drive without texting – better yet, OnMyWay gives new users a $10 welcome bonus. Boost your earnings by referring your friends; you'll receive $2 plus $.02 for every mile they drive without texting.
OnMyWay does not offer PayPal or direct deposit as cashout options. Instead, redeem your earnings for deals offered within the app at stores like Jordan Lash, Hollywood Sensation, and more.
Mobilio is another mobile app that rewards you for driving safely. Once you download the app, it activates the GPS feature on your phone and will automatically start tracking when it detects a speed greater than 12mph.
You'll earn one point for every minute you don't use your phone. However, if Mobilio senses you touch your phone, it will deduct a point. Redeem your earnings through the new cryptocurrency Mobilio.
11. Safe 2 Save
Safe 2 Save rewards you for paying attention while driving. First, download the app and create an account to earn points. Then, you will receive two points for each minute you drive safely at a minimum of 10mph. However, if you touch your phone while driving, Safe 2 Save also deducts points.
Your points are redeemable at various local businesses in your area. Being a Safe 2 Save user is a win-win. You'll get paid for your data while fostering safer driving conditions and supporting local businesses.
Apps That Collect Exercise Data
As an Achievement user, you'll earn points when you walk, meditate, log your meals, and participate in other tasks. In addition, you can link the app to more than 20 different health and fitness apps.
Your earnings depend on which apps you use and your specific activities. You'll earn $10 for every 10,000 points and can redeem your points via PayPal transfer, direct deposit, or as a charitable donation.
Earn points in multiple ways, including:
- Tracking your heartrate = 6 points
- Complete a diabetes survey = 100 points
- Walking 14,000 steps = 39 points
13. PK Rewards
PK Rewards is another app that incentivizes you to move your body by awarding you convertible coins when you exercise. The longer your workout and the higher your heart rate, the more coins you'll earn. In addition, you'll receive an effort score after each session.
Redeem your coins for prizes from popular brands such as Lululemon and Nike or even Amazon gift cards.
Runtopia is a program that motivates you to run every day. The app allows you to create personalized goals and training plans and monitors fitness data such as distance, pace, and calories burned.
Complete these steps to earn Sports Coins: download the app, participate in the daily exercise tasks, and track your steps. Then, you can exchange your Sports Coins for Paypal cash, workout gear, and other complementary products.
Level the Playing Field
While the idea of social media and big tech companies, among others, having access to your digital data may make you uncomfortable, using these apps can give you some semblance of control over who gets access to your data.
Unfortunately, while all the data collection apps listed here are legitimate, not all apps are. So before handing over your valuable data, it's good practice to protect yourself from scams by researching the company and reading user reviews. Above all, if a company – or its practices – doesn't sit well with you, discontinue use and delete the app.
Additional Articles From the Wealth of Geeks Network:
- The Best Places to Live in the U.S.: 25 Small to Mid-Size Cities with It All
- The 10 Cheapest States to Live In the U.S. in 2022
This article was produced and syndicated by Savoteur.
Claire started Femme on FIRE after struggling with the debt cycle and realizing that she had to create better habits. She became inspired along this journey and now strives to help others achieve financial freedom as well. When she isn’t working on her blog, you can find her on the couch with a good book, cooking up recipes in the kitchen, or playing outside with her ducks.