Short Answer: Whether you’re trying to pay down student loan debt, saving up for your next big purchase, or just want money for your daily coffee, finding a side gig is a great way to reach your financial goals. One often-overlooked source of income is texting — yes, you can get paid to text. These three services make it easy to make extra money doing what many of us do every day: text. Check out 1Q, FreeEats, and IMGR. Continue on for more details.
How Can I Make Money Texting?
There are essentially two different ways to make money texting: answering questions or viewing ads. Multiple services throughout the 2000s allowed you to make money by answering questions via text (including ChaCha, AQA, and TexTango), but many of these have stopped service because of how easy it has become to search via Google or another search engine on your phone instead. However, this type of service still exists in the form of questions from companies looking to survey people for marketing purposes.
The other type of paid-to-text service involves viewing ads for a fee. This helps marketers by getting their name and message in front of an audience without the investment of buying expensive ad time. If you don’t mind a banner ad here or there, this type of service will pay you for doing what you’re already spending a lot of time doing, anyway — looking at your phone.
A Word of Caution About Paid-to-Text Services
While these services all seem fairly straightforward, there’s always the risk — especially with new start-ups — that you might not eventually get paid. For example, KGB, a now-defunct directory service company, once operated a service in which clients could text questions and users would do the research to provide answers. It was found that researchers were not being adequately paid, resulting in a $1.3 million class-action lawsuit.
And then there was Drizzle, which had mixed reviews and wasn’t able to offer payment. (The app is no longer operating.) If you don’t like the idea of waking up one day to find out the app you think you’ve been earning money on is no longer in business, then we suggest using caution going forward.
Check out each service’s reviews when you download the app and keep expectations for your earning potential realistic. These apps typically pay well under $1 per text message or ad view, so a paid-to-text gig is never going to be able to replace your regular source of income. Determine whether the time needed to complete each task is worth the rate you’ll be paid.
It’s also important to note that while these services are free to join, text message and data rates still apply; this is particularly important to keep in mind if you don’t have an unlimited text messaging and data plan.
The 3 Most Popular Apps or Services That Pay You to Text
- How it works: Marketers are looking for valuable consumer insight every day, and 1Q helps users cash in on that need by directing companies with survey questions to the demographic that can best answer them. Companies ask a question (called an “Askvert”), 1Q texts the question to members who can provide meaningful responses, and those members get paid per answer.
- Requirements: All you need to use this service is a cell phone — it’s free to sign up and use, whether you have a smartphone or a flip phone. Check 1Q’s FAQ page for more details on registering to earn.
- What it pays: $0.25 to $0.50 per question answered — 1Q recommends choosing the lower payment per response in order to get more questions.
- Minimum earnings for payout: There is no minimum earned before payout for this service, every time you answer a question, 1Q pays you.
- How you get paid: Via PayPal, but if you don’t have a PayPal account yet, 1Q has resources to guide you through the process of setting one up on their FAQ page.
- Sign up: Sign up on the 1Q registration page to receive 1Q’s texted survey questions and get paid to answer them.
- How it works: FreeEats offers an opportunity to earn money for viewing ads texted directly to your phone. No need to download an app to participate. According to FreeEats, don’t expect to be flooded with texts right away — the company is still working on growing its list of participating clients. But as far as passive income goes, it doesn’t get much easier than opening a text every now and then.
- Requirements: You’ll need to have a smartphone, US cell phone number and zip code, and agree to FreeEats’ terms of service.
- What it pays: $0.25 per ad viewed and $1 when you register.
- Minimum earnings for payout: No minimum — payments are made when text messages are sent.
- How you get paid: PayPal. Make sure the phone number you use to register is the one that is associated with your PayPal account.
- Sign up: Visit the FreeEats website to register
- How it works: Like Drizzle, IMGR requires you to download and text through their app, which will add small, emoji-like brand icons to your texts to earn points. The only catch is that the people you’re texting also need to be using IMGR — no points are earned if you do not receive IMGR texts as well as send them. So be sure to invite all of your friends to join, and you can earn together.
- Requirements: You just need to register on their site and be over 13 years of age.
- What it pays: You accumulate points for using the app, with each point equaling roughly $0.01. You can earn $3 to $50 per month, and point-to-dollar conversions can be found on a chart on the IMGR Points page.
- Minimum earnings for payout: The minimum payout is $3 — 300 points, which takes 150 texts sent and 150 texts received to earn. Points reset at the beginning of each month, so you’ll have to send and receive at least 150 texts per month to get your payout.
- How you get paid: Paypal Cash, iTunes Gift Card, Google Play Gift Card, or select a charity for donation. You can find more about points and redemption on IMGR Points page.
- Sign up: Start using the app by downloading from iTunes or Google Play, but be sure to register as well in order to get paid.
And that’s how you make money with text messages. You might not be able to retire early with these texting-for-cash programs, but you can definitely earn enough to support your Starbucks habit. If you’re looking for easy, passive income as a side gig, give one of the above a try. Be sure to research the company before signing up and know that text messaging and data rates will apply if you don’t have an unlimited cellular plan.
Wondering what happens to your text content? If you have U.S. Cellular, here’s how long it keeps text message content.