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How your smartphone can make you money

There’s an awful lot of power in your smartphone – and admittedly you’ve paid for it, so perhaps it’s time it starts paying its way.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this without simply selling your phone (but we’ll cover this at the end), that mostly involve getting apps to make or save money.


Sell stuff with your phone

The eBay app is a great place to start. Everyone has kit they want to sell and the app could well be easier and faster to use than your computer. With the ability to snap pictures of your wares in real-life, edit, add details and upload, it beats the same laborious process from camera to PC.

Notifications sent to your mobile also mean you can keep track on bidding and quickly answer any questions.

With PayPal also available in a handy app, making and receiving online payments also miraculously painless and fast. Tie this to eBay and bang, you’re a retailer.

Smartphone Stocks

IG Index is a site that allows you to bet on what the financial markets will do next. There’s now an app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry handsets that lets you spread bet on the markets.

We talked to someone who works in finance, who uses the IG Index to make extra money; he said the most he made in a single month was in excess of £4,000 – you could buy ten new phones with that. In addition he uses the Bloomberg app on his iPhone to ensure he can constantly study market info.

We should point out that, financial spread betting isn’t without risks; it’s a leveraged product- and this means it can result in losses exceeding how ever much you initially invested. The financial markets are always on the move; whilst it’s highly addictive, you can’t follow the changes 24-7, and you could suffer losses if you’re unable quickly to respond to market fluctuations

Betting on making a profit

If you don’t want to bet on the markets, how about betting on football or horse races? Several betting apps will offer you a free bet when you first register with them. That’s almost money for nothing – but you’ll need to bet something to win something.

It’s possible to make a tidy sum from this type of better.  Recombu spoke to one London-based man (who preferred to remain anonymous) who won £500 in a month. He uses Betfair, because it uses a similar concepts to city trading, and as the biggest betting site let syou bet across a variety of events and sports.

He advises using iBetMate (iPhone), which uses data from the BetFair app but alongside a more personalised interface, with a better user experience.

Here are some more popular bookie app and web-app deals. William Hill offers a free £25 bet when you register, whilst Paddy Power offers up £50 (worth of) bets.

Of course, the disadvantage of being able to bet through your phone is that it can be done anywhere, so bet responsibly, and remember you have to be over 18 to bet (Check the individual sites for the terms and conditions).

Saving money with your smartphone. (Well it’s like making money…)

Voucher Cloud, Money Supermarket, Facebook Deals and even O2’s Priority Moments offer you discounts, and location-based offers.

If you’re really into your social networking, repeat visits (and logins) with the likes of FourSquare mean you can often net exclusive offers; a good example is 20% off food at Wetherspoons Pubs. You just have to become Mayor.

A good tip, visit to find all the deals near you. Some are quite bizarre, but it’s well worth checking in at some restaurants for free drinks or a substantial discount.

The QuidCo app (Android and iTunes) app is yet another good one, just going into stores like BestBuy will afford you a 20% discount – often well worth checking out if you’ve investing in a high-value tablet. The app is now available for beta testing on Android phones.

OK it won’t save you money, but if you’re someone who commutes through London, it could be worth downloading. It’s 69p, but the Tube Tap app allows you to claim a refund if you’re more than 15 minutes later than the estimated duration of your trip on the underground.

Start up the app, and it’ll time your journey, and then compare to estimated travel times- you’re then only a tap away from claiming a refund.

Writing to riches

A trend that began in Japan, but one that looks set to explode alongside the popularity of the Kindle and tablets as reading devices, Cell-phone novels could provide another way of making income through your phone.

A cell-phone novel is a story created using your smartphone. Stories are typically episodic and posted onto sharing websites, such as Maho i-Land. They were originally tapped away on a numeric keypad, so think of the writing speed once you’ve downloaded the likes of Swype and SwiftKey. Lord Of The Rings-style epics can’t be far away.

Amazon offers a similar royalty structure to Android and iTunes’ app stores, with the author getting a 70% cut. Check out the full self-publishing deal online. You can also enable them to be downloaded for free on the Kindle app, and hook readers into paying for future instalments.

Make money- make a move

Time to make a move career-wise. Get more money from your next job by using apps like Xlance and Monster Jobs to search where-ever you are; whether that’s on the depressingly long commute or crying in toilets on your tea break.

Make your own app

You love them, you download them you pay for them. Why not switch this around and launch your own app. Granted you’ll need an amazing, or at least popular, idea, but don’t be held back by a lack of programming know-how.

There are several sites, like FundedApps, that’ll help you along the way, provided you give them something back. The economics of it are pretty simple: once the people behind FundedApps decides to commit to your soon-to-be best-selling app, you get £250 paid up-front and a 25% share of the profits, given quarterly.

Alternatively if you’ve got some programming chops, or a friend who does, there’s plenty left to decide; will you make it a free app, and try to make money through advertising?

Remember you’ll need huge download numbers to make this resemble a respectable amount, whether you charge for the app at the initial download stage or through in-app purchases.

With in-app purchases, although the initial download is free, you then offer users advanced features, remove advertising, or simply customisable characters and new levels – at a price. In-app purchases on Android phones and the iPhone is a relatively recent addition, but has meant you’re connected to your app users – and connected to their wallet.

We talked to Adam Bunker who created the Flaregun (friend-finding) location app for both iPhone. Flaregun doesn’t use in-app purchases, instead charging a small up-front cost.

To make you own app, “you definitely need to know how to code (the language is Apple’s own
‘Objective C’), but they make it easy from there.” You will be able to ‘drag and drop’ components of your apps, but be warned, “you’d be surprised at how much you need to think about – even for such a simple app.”

He added: “Everything needs sense-checking and working out. From idea to launch, it took us about a month and a half of spare time, of which 7 days were taken while Apple reviewed it. In its 6 days of life we’ve sold 694 apps.”

Develop your app for all smartphones

The likes of PhoneGap means it’s even easier to develop your app for several different smartphone platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian) at the same time, making it available to as many prospective customers as possible.

Be smart selling your smartphone

Perhaps the smartphone isn’t all it was cracked up to be, and you’re willing to sell up and return to the work of WAP, text and batteries that’ll last a few days.

There’s so very many sites to check, be sure to shop around to find the best price you can for a very painless way of selling your phone. Some phone reselling sites will even send out a jiffy bag. You return the phone, and wait for the money to… cheque to arrive in the post.

We’d advise sticking with ones you recognise from TV or newspapers. One of note is Envirofone. And if the buy-back value is too good to be true – it probably is. Envirofone currently offer £265 for a 16GB iPhone 4.

We’ve covered selling your phone before, and reiterate that you should be careful meeting up when selling your phone to a stranger “in the wild.” Make sure you’re in a public space, and perhaps go with a friend for security. Safety first.


Any other ways of making money on your phone? Let us know if you have any tips below in the comments.


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