Rewards Apps: Hoax or money saver?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. – When you hear that you can save money and earn rewards for doing things you do every day, you probably think it’s too good to be true. A new wave of smartphone apps allow you to save with ease.
“These applications are a fantastic way [to save], because it rewards you for things you already do,” said Jason White, account manager at Verizon Wireless.
Smartphone apps like Shopkick, Viggle, and Gympact reward users for everyday things like going to stores, watching TV and going to the gym.
Shopkick gives users points and discounts for walking into stores, scanning barcodes, and viewing catalogs that are available in the app. Users can cash in their points, called “kicks” for rewards ranging from gift cards to cruise vacations.
"You can see the stores you already shop at, you can see the different rewards and sometimes adjust your shopping schedule and it will make things a lot more convenient for you,” said White about the Shopkick app.
But can it really be that easy? Four in Your Corner’s Julian Glover went to a local Target to put the Shopkick app to the test.
There he found a family that had never heard off the app before, but was looking to save money.
“I refuse to pay full price for anything,” said Amy Johns.
Amy, her husband Mark, teenage daughter Rachel, and seven-month-old Avery are frequent target shoppers. Mark says they shop at Target almost every other day.
Four in Your Corner’s Julian Glover explained how the free app worked to the family and they downloaded it on the spot.
JULIAN: Using an app like this that will give you points for just checking in or coming to Target. What do you think about that?
AMY: I think that's great. To be able to get rewards from shopping, it's just a bonus."
It was only a matter of seconds until the family got their first reward.
“You just got 10 – 10 points,” Mark said, reading from the app.
First up, the app asked the family to choose the reward they wanted to unlock. Mark chose a Starbucks gift card.
After just a few clicks, Mark realized that he would need 1,250 kicks to unlock that $5 reward.
The Johns family started using the app to save right away. They looked through a Target catalog on the Shopkick app to grab another 50 points.
The app then prompted the family to start scanning item barcodes from a select list that Target had on display.
Experts say this is what makes it beneficial for businesses, the opportunity to expose the consumer to products you normally would not grab.
"Maybe something that I'm necessarily not going to purchase, I'm more inclined to purchase because I do see that suggested to me,” said White.
The app then prompted the family to scan several products at the store – ranging from Kikoman marinade to baby diapers.
After testing out the app for a day, the family was able to earn 105 points just for doing things they would have done anyway.
“You may think that the rewards are somewhere out there and they're not attainable, but the thing is they are,” said White.
Four in Your Corner’s Julian Glover met back up with the Johns family at Target a week later to see just how easy it is to earn those points.
“There are three of us that have downloaded the app at this point, probably collectively we have 300 points,” said Mark.
That’s about a third of the way to earning Mark’s Starbucks gift card.
"Some things seem too good to be true and sometimes they are, but with applications like Shopkick, it's absolutely the real deal,” said White.
TOP REWARDS APPS:
- Viggle: Gives you points for checking into your favorite TV show. The app uses technology similar to Shazam and listens into what you’re watching to sync your phone with the TV show. You can then join the conversation on what you’re watching. Users accumulate points for their check-ins and can cash in for gift cards.
- Shopkick: Gives you “kicks” (points in the world of Shopkick) just for walking into your favorite department store, scanning barcodes, and flipping through catalogs on the app.
- Checkpoints: Is similar to Shopkick and gives you points for scanning featured products. You’ll rack up points that are redeemable for everything from gift cards to airline miles.
- Gympact: Is aimed at getting you to workout by paying you when you do and penalizing you when you don’t. You commit to exercising one or more days a week and agree to be fined if you don’t reach your goal. Rewards range from $0.50 and $0.75 per workout and penalties can add up to $50.
- Wikets: Gives you points for making recommendations on all of your favorite things – like your favorite book or most frequented restaurant. Members can then purchase the recommended product without even leaving the app.
- App Trailers: Gives you rewards for watching trailers about other apps. You help the app makers improve their trailers by giving your honest opinion, and you earn points for doing it.