Get paid to shop with these apps

  • Article by: TRAE BODGE , McClatchy News Service
  • Updated: December 20, 2012 - 3:37 PM

These four apps will make your next shopping trip a little less guilt-inducing. They actually help you make money while you shop.

Yes, there's an app for that. In fact, here are four that will make your next shopping trip a little less guilt-inducing. These ingenious apps actually help you make money while you shop.

SMOOPA

Download this price-checker app for free on your iPhone or Android phone. Just scan a product's bar code, select the store you're shopping at and enter the price to compare it with those in the app's database. This latter action helps keep Smoopa updated on prices at certain locations, and you will be rewarded for contributing to the database. The app will then evaluate the product's price and show a yellow light (keep looking) or green light (buy it now). Smoopa can also be programmed to provide price alerts for specific items. Simply by using Smoopa, users earn bonus credits that can be redeemed for gift cards, cash or even charitable donations. Friend referrals result in a $2 bonus.

LEVELUP

Available for iPhone and Android, this free app links to your credit or debit card via a QR code. You can then pay for items with a simple scan of the code, which unlocks more and more cash credits to spend at retailers with each use. You also can earn instant rewards the first time you pay merchants with the LevelUp code. Not only is the app free for the user, but it's also of no charge for retailers (many of whom already pay fees to MasterCard, Visa and American Express). Not all businesses accept the app, so check the LevelUp website to see a list of supporting merchants before you shop.

CHECKPOINTS

You don't even have to buy anything while using this free app for iPhone and Android. When you're out and about, turn on CheckPoints to see the locations where points are available. You can earn by walking into a store ("checking in"), taking photos of certain items with your phone, scanning bar codes and purchasing featured items. Additional points also can be earned by referrals and playing CheckPoint games. Redeem your points for things like iTunes and Amazon gift cards, airline miles and electronic devices.

SHOPAROO

Use this free app for iPhone and Android to convert smartphone pictures of your grocery receipts into "Roo Points," which are cash donations to a school or charity of your choice. Shoparoo launched in August, and more than 500 schools in 43 states have already registered to participate. As a Shoparoo participant, the app will treat you to coupons, free items and even recipes. In September, Unilever, a leading supplier of packaged goods, partnered with Shoparoo to double the money schools receive when shoppers buy Unilever brands (Ragu, Skippy, Country Crock, Knorr, Breyers, Hellmann's, Dove, Axe, Degree, Suave, etc.) at Walmart.

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