But Experts Emphasize You'll Have To Sacrifice Some Privacy

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — No matter how you get to work, it costs time and money to get there.

But as CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported Tuesday night, there is now a new app that benefits commuters with rewards.

Elani Myers commutes to work every day by car.

“It’s basically Williamsburg to Woodside, Long Island City, Queens,” she said.

Jennifer Vance takes the subway.

“Across the Williamsburg Bridge to Times Square” is her route.

And whether you travel like they do or use another means, there is a way to turn all that distance and time into points that can be traded in for goods and services — simply by downloading a free app.

“It’s something that runs in the background of your phone,” said Shahir Ahmed, developer and chief executive officer of Commute Pays. “You earn rewards and perks for something that you do every day.”

The Commute Pays app tracks the route you take, and awards points based on miles.

As points accumulate, they can be redeemed for prizes like free gas, sandwiches, and even headphones

“We’re really excited about the partners and the strategic opportunities that these partners are bringing us, to be able to provide this type of reward for something you do every day,” Ahmed said.

There is another way to accumulate extra miles , by clicking on ads and surveys that pop up in the app . But it takes some work and you give up some privacy.

And there are other applications that offer rewards for a variety of everyday activities, such as Shopkick for shopping or Viggle for watching TV. Tech expert Ari Zoldan said consumers can expect to see more of these-reward based apps.

“The biggest challenge right now is getting people to download the app,” said Zoldan, chief executive officer of Quantum Networks. “So what you’re going to start seeing right now is a major trend for end users downloading the apps trying to get some rewards for them.”

But Zoldan had a reminder about the privacy concerns for users.

“The customer opts in to play with these applications, so they could easily not go online, they can easily not log in, they can not play with the actual app,” he said.

“It’s like big brother,” added Myers. “If you have that concern, I already know my phone is tracking me.”

Myers and Vance know that reward-based apps can give companies all kinds of information into their travels and buying habits, but they say they’ll trade that for the perks that are offered

“I love the concept of being rewarded for something you do every day anyway,” Vance said.

“It makes complete sense, kind of like the swipe cards on my key chain,” Myers added.

Reward-based apps are free to download, although there is some drain on the device battery.

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