WHAT IS IT?
Cashwalk is a GPT app, and one of a few mobile apps that pay you for the amount of steps you take in a day.
CashWalk’s interface leaves a lot to be desired, but mainly it’s in all the permissions you (supposedly) must grant the app in order for it to run. It has to be able to draw over other apps, you have to allow it to run in the background, you have to keep the logo in the top bar, you have to override battery settings, and you have to use their lockscreen…that’s a lot of questionable steps just to get paid for taking them.
I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t really have an issue with the privacy aspects; after all, any company can get any information they seek with just a few clicks of a mouse these days. So my issues with these demands have nothing to do with that, and everything to do with personal preferences: I hate having an icon running in the top bar at all times, and I won’t allow anything to interfere with the battery optimization on my phone. I easily make it out of a full day with at least 20% remaining…and that’s on a day with heavy use. Usually, it’s much higher. So, naturally, I tested this theory and disabled both the top bar and the battery optimization option, fully expecting to abandon the app if I got less than satisfactory results.
Much to my surprise, the app still works perfectly fine. I’ve gotten credit for all of my steps, so I guess those things aren’t really required; either that or I’ve somehow just gotten lucky.
As for the app itself, navigating around is easy thanks to the limited choices and specific focus on only one thing. You are treated to your step count as well as random videos of people’s legs walking on the main screen, which seems kind of pointless but I guess it’s supposed to motivate you to move more.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Unlike other health apps which link to your existing health app to gain information from it, Cash Walk uses its own system to calculate your step count (supposedly by arm swing).
Generally I was surprised to see that results were around what I had in Google Fit. I was expecting them to severely cut back on the step count to avoid paying members out, like I’ve heard other apps are guilty of doing, but to my surprise most days it was within 2 to 300 steps in either direction when compared to Google’s numbers…that’s right, sometimes the count was higher.
The most annoying characteristic of the coin system is that, once you earn a coin for walking 100 steps, you have to manually “accept” them via the lockscreen. There’s a little treasure chest that sits there, along with the number of coins you have earned since the last time you checked; you must click the chest once for every coin you’ve earned in order to put them in your balance. Even worse? If you forget, they expire at the end of the day, meaning no matter how many steps you took, you’re out of luck.
Another annoyance: The developers have placed annoying little “notes” that pop up on the chest at random intervals, and directly in the path of most users’ fingers, meaning you’ll click on them at least once. Other users have complained about this on Reddit, with the founders stating that the things that pop up are not ads, but rather tips and tricks for how best to utilize the app.
This is technically true. The lockscreen does have ads, but they’re located at the very bottom and well out of the way from most accidental touches (although I will say I hit it a couple times and completely by accident). And the things that pop up are little tips and suggestions, such as how you can refer other people to use the service. But that makes things even more rage-inducing: What the hell is the point of this? If the company is not getting paid per click, then why have such intrusive pop-ups that virtually beg you to click into them? Why can’t these just pop up at the top of the screen instead? It’s completely baffling, and something that automatically makes me hate virtually everyone involved in the company. It just seems like an egregiously douchey thing to do, and yet another ignorant requirement in an app already swarming with them.
Once you reach 1,500 coins, you’re able to turn your hard-earned blood and sweat into…well, a $5 gift card. That’s right: There are no “cash” options like PayPal and Venmo. While that used to be a dealbreaker for me, I’ve grown accustomed to stockpiling Amazon gift cards, because why not?
There really isn’t a wide selection of gift cards, but they at least cover a broad general area: Beyond Amazon, there’s Walmart, Chipotle, Banana Republic, Barnes and Noble, eBay, Starbucks, Uber, Sephora and Stubhub, just to name over half of the available options. If you’re going to have a limited selection, you should at least make sure they cover the wide interests of users, and CashWalk does a decent job of that.
Keep in mind, though, that some of the gift cards – such as Hulu and Southwest Airlines – are only available in higher amounts, so you’ll be grinding it out for a while before you’ll be able to afford them. Even worse? Some apps give you “discounts” on higher-priced gift cards, in order to encourage you to keep working toward them (and thus, keep using their app). CashWalk gives no such discounts. So in order to hit the number of coins required to get the $25 Hulu card, you’ll be grinding it out through 7,500 coins (which is still equivalent to $5 for every 1,500).
As can be expected, CashWalk is available only as a smartphone app, which makes sense considering it has to be able to track your steps.
HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE?
Do I still have to preface this section by saying it won’t be anywhere near livable wage? That being said, I would put the potential earnings of Cashwalk somewhere on the low end of the GPT spectrum.
Every 1,500 step coins get you a mere $5. Every 100 steps gets you one step coin. However, you max out at 100 coins per day, meaning anything over 10,000 steps does not count toward your coin balance. So if we do the math, which is really simple this time: 100 step coins a day will take us 15 days to hit 1,500 coins, the bare minimum to cash out. With that in mind, assuming you walk at least 10,000 steps every single day in a given month, you can make a whopping $10 a month.
However there are a couple of additional ways that you can earn a little bit of extra “coin”, which goes above and beyond the 100 coin daily limit: lottery tickets, and surveys. Making things easier is that both of these are accessible from the same menu.
Located on the bottom right of the navigational menu is an icon marked “Games”. This takes you to the lottery page, which offers you two “different” scratch-off tickets, which are essentially the same thing, only with different background colors and icons. “World Champion”, with the image of a hand holding up a trophy, appeals to macho men (apparently), while “Treasure Box”, featuring an image of a treasure chest, is there for female users. I guess. At any rate, the point of both are the same: match 3 “special” icons, and you win 300 stepcoins. That’s equal to the maximum amount you can accrue in 3 days of maximum walking!
Playing each card is free, and you’re guaranteed one stepcoin in every scratchoff, which makes it somewhat worthwhile. Every day you get three “free” spins, but you can up that number by watching ads; each ad viewed will give you an additional five attempts. It cuts you off after 3 ads in one sitting, but I’m not sure if there’s a set daily cutoff…after getting the “try again tomorrow” message, I’ve come back a few hours later and managed to get three more scratches. At any rate, even being limited to three ads, that gives you 18 attempts – and, at the very minimum, 18 additional stepcoins – per day. And remember, this is in addition to the 100 coin “max”, which can help you get to the 1,500 cashout minimum at least a couple of days quicker.
As expected, winning a stepcoin “jackpot” is virtually impossible. The first time I tried it (I had the app for about two weeks before I even perused the menu), I won 300, which seems to be the norm. Since then, I’ve done probably somewhere over 500, and have won 100 once, and 10 a small handful of times. Rather than winnings being randomized among all users, I have a feeling winning comes down to a set number of scratches per user (for example, every x amount of scratches equals a win, or something to that extent), however, this is just pure speculation on my part.
There are also surveys, courtesy of Pollfish, which appear in the games screen via the “Missions” tab. These surveys range anywhere from one-to-several minutes long, and each of them pay out a rather paltry 50 coins (equivalent to 5,000 steps). These are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis, seem to go rather quick, and are subject to the typical failings of other survey sites: Expect loads of frustrations and difficulties involved with actually filling them out. I’ve clicked on the survey banner six times now: Three times I was notified that the survey was no longer available, two times I was screened out, and just one time I was successful. In my opinion, unless you luck out and get a one-minute survey, these just aren’t really worth your time. At least other survey sites pay you more for longer surveys.
I’ve never needed to use support, but if that changes I’ll be sure to update this space as soon as it’s no longer the case.
+Pays you for doing something you’re probably doing anyway
+The scratchoffs are a mindless way to get a few more daily coins
+/- Not a lot of gift card options, but covers a wide general area
+/- The games section is completely pointless
-Having to “accept” your coins gets old
-”Requires” a lot of invasive permissions just to run (although I denied most of them and it works fine)
-Takes about half a month to reach the $5 minimum
-No options for Paypal or other “cash” payouts
-Surveys are hard to come by, and only pay out 50 coins, regardless of length
-Games section is pointless
Really, the “usefulness” of the app depends on two big things: How comfortable you are with adhering to its rather intrusive permission requirements, and how many steps you take in a day. Seeing as how I frequently hit 10,000 steps every day at work, I manage to hit the 100 coin daily limit at least five times per week, which makes it somewhat worthwhile, seeing as how I don’t really have to put forth any additional effort (I do partake in the scratchoffs, but that’s also during downtime at work, so what else would I be doing?)
As for the permissions, as mentioned earlier, I disabled both the top bar notifications (specifically listed as a “requirement” by the app), and dismissed the also “required” battery optimization settings, and it has still counted every one of my steps. Maybe I just got lucky with my phone, so YMMV, but it’s worth trying.
You won’t make much, but if you’re just looking for an extra $10 a month and you already take a lot of steps, I suppose there’s not much harm in adding it to your GPT arsenal.