This review of Phewtick looks at how it works, new and old rules and features of Phewtick, my thoughts on the app, and where to get Phewtick QR code to scan for points. If you're just here for the QR codes, feel free to jump right to the Phewtick QR code section.
Update 25 March 2013: If you're wondering if Phewtick really pays its users, here's what they sent me.
Update 27 March 2013: Sharing QR-codes is no longer allowed.
What is Phewtick?
Phewtick is an app created by the Japanese start-up, Parmy Inc. The app is available for download on the iOs and Android and a Facebook account is required to sign up.
Phewtick generates a QR code for your device and lets you scan QR codes from friends and people near you for points. Users get points for both scanning and having their Phewtick QR code scanned. After earning a minimum of 24,000 points, you can then exchange the points for cash through PayPal or use them for Amazon gift cards. Users can also choose to donate their points to charity.
How does Phewtick QR code work?
Phewtick generates a unique QR code for every device and by scanning these codes, users receive a random amount of points ranging from a single-digit number up to the thousands. These points can be converted into whatever currency your country uses and is based on the Japanese Yen's rate.
Changes in app function and rules
However, using Phewtick is not as straightforward as it seems. Since its inception in June 2012, Phewtick has had numerous changes to its features and rules for using the app. The following is a video of Phewtick when it was just released:
As you can see from the above video, the initial version of Phewtick allowed you to search for people, scan their QR code in person, play a mini-game, and receive points ranging from the hundreds to the ten thousands. This version of Phewtick looked pretty fun. Unfortunately, I signed up after the rules changed and the above version of Phewtick had already been overhauled.
How Phewtick worked in January 2013
When I joined Phewtick around January of this year, the search function and mini-game were no longer available and the amount of points awarded became lower, ranging from just ten to a few thousand. A 15% commission was also deducted when you exchange the points for money. The video below shows a version of Phewtick during January this year.
In this version, you still had to scan someone's Phewtick QR code in person in order to receive points. Even though the amount of points awarded was lowered, it was still pretty fun because there was an element of chance and after all, you only had to scan someone's code to get free money so what's there to complain about?
However, by then, many were abusing the system by uploading their QR codes, faking their locations, and coming up with various ways to cheat the app. Users who participated in fraudulent activity were penalized by having their points reset, prevented from withdrawing cash, or were simply banned.
People were also going online and claiming that Phewtick was a scam because they didn't get their payouts. Some claim they've never cheated but it was impossible for the rest of us to tell whether it was Phewtick banning people indiscriminately, or just a few cheaters crying wolf.
Phewtick in February 2013
Perhaps due to the rampant cheating, Phewtick changed its rules again in late February. Instead of banning cheaters, Phewtick made it so that all users had to download sponsored apps in exchange for "Meet-up tickets" to earn points. You could still scan QR codes but without the meet-up tickets, points were no longer awarded.
They also made it legal for people to scan screenshots or photos of QR codes online. What was previously considered fraudulent was now accepted or even encouraged. You no longer had to scan QR codes from people near you. As long as their code was not expired, you could even scan QR codes from people on the other side of the world. Phewtick also changed the rules so that scanning a QR code from the same person was possible every minute instead of having an hourly limit like previous versions.
Even though Phewtick doubled the amount of points you could earn and made it much easier to scan codes, many users were upset because they now had to download apps for a miserable number of meet-up tickets. A 30% commission was also imposed, up from the previous 15% when users exchanged points for money. To me, it felt like Phewtick had become a chore instead of a fun app although I thought it was more sustainable that way because Phewtick could now earn revenue from the app downloads instead of just giving money away.
What are the rules now?
Just when we thought the rules were here to stay, Phewtick removed the app downloads and meet-up tickets.
The following rules and features apply as of March 19 2013:
- Everyone has 9,999 meet-up tickets and apps no longer have to be downloaded
- The hourly limit is back again for scanning QR codes from the same person.
- Photo scanning is still allowed but limited to the same country*
- Commission deducted for withdrawals is still 30% :(
- Points are lowered yet again, I've gotten as little as 8 points per scan
*This is valid for Singapore but because it's so small, I'm not sure if it's also country-wide for other countries or if it's limited within states, etc
Is Phewtick still worth using?
I wouldn't call Phewtick a money-making app (for the user) because you'd earn more working at minimum wage. If Phewtick is trying to get people to meet up through their app (which was their intention but I'm not sure about now), it's not working because they've removed all the fun elements that were in original version.
To be honest, Phewtick stopped being fun after they introduced the meet-up tickets. Although they've removed that now, the amount of points awarded are so low it's not even worth my time loading up the app.
The rules are also changed too frequently and often to the disadvantage of the user. Phewtick has mentioned that they would be releasing a completely new version but I think they'd do better if they promised consistency.
At the moment, I'm just waiting for my payout to arrive. Unless Pharmy Inc manages to do something amazing to Phewtick before that, I'll probably delete it as soon as I get the PayPal notification.
List of Phewtick QR code resources
*As of 27 March 2013, Phewtick has made sharing QR codes illegal again.
For those of you who need Phewtick QR codes, these are some places you can get a lot of them:
- Instagram: If you do not have the Instagram yet, download it and search for the hashtag #phewtick
- http://statigr.am/tag/phewtick has some but many of the codes are outdated
- Twitter: Search for the hashtag #phewtick for people who are putting up their QR codes
- Search for Phewtick QR Code on Facebook - with the new changes, you'll need to look for a country/location specific group
Note: Because Phewtick keeps changing their rules, be sure to visit their Facebook page to check whether scanning Phewtick QR codes is still allowed before you do this.
Payment from Phewtick
Phewtick sent me the payment today even though it's only been less than a week since I requested the payout. Here's the screenshot: