Get Paid Virtually Nothing to Check Your Car's Mileage in Monthly: An In-Depth Review of Parked (Web)

WHAT IS IT?

Parked is a fairly new website that pays you to “check in” your car at regular intervals, with Amazon gift cards paid out for check-ins and bonuses offered for low mileage.

INTERFACE/NAVIGATION

There’s pretty much only one thing you can do in Parked, and that’s checking in your car. That makes navigation a breeze. Once you sign in, you simply click on the “Check-In” button, and follow the onscreen instructions, which consist of taking a picture of your car (with the license plate visible), and then a separate picture of the odometer. That’s it.

Of course, you can also access information like past check-ins, and your profile, which are offered in a navigation menu off to the left of the screen. But there’s really not much of a need to do this, well, ever.

A screenshot of Parked's "How It Works" page.
It really is that easy.

SIGNING UP

The sign-up process is simple and straightforward. You can sign up using an email address, or you can opt to sign up using your Google sign-in info. I went with the latter, because it makes it much easier, and why not give Google more monetary gain from my personal info?

Sign-up methods.

Once you get that info squared away, you are asked to fill out information from your car, such as the current odometer reading, license plate number, etc. This is the way the app will keep track of the miles you’ve traveled in the previous month. You can then check in the first time to earn an $8 check-in bonus, which is nice.

Or, you can wait a little while to check in after signing up, like I did (albeit by accident), and they will send you an offer for an additional $3 bonus, making it a total of $11! Not too shabby for barely any work.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE?

In most apps, this is a hard question to answer because they can vary on a wide variety of variables. For example, your monthly earnings in Swagbucks can range from a few pennies to a hundred dollars or more, based on your activities and how much time you put into it.

A screenshot of Parked's My Rewards screen, detailing your meager earnings
The "My Rewards" page, where you are reminded of just how worthless your info is.

For Parked, the answer can be found right on their FAQ: You get a one-time "bonus" of $8 for checking in your first time, and $3 per month every month after that. Additionally, you can get $10 if you drive under 200 miles in a month; $5 if you drive 201-400, or $3 if you drive 401-700. Anything over 700 nets you nothing additional, but you still get the $3 for signing in.

However, and this is something I didn’t even notice when I signed up, but you only get paid for the first 7 check-ins. After that, you can still continue to check in monthly, something the founder of Parked encourages, but you will get nothing for it. Yeah, great business model there, d-bag.

Anyway, we can still calculate the high-end and low-end maximums that you can expect to earn in those 7 months. On the low-end, you’re looking at $3 per month for checking in; multiply that by 7 and you get a maximum of $21. Add in the $8 bonus for your first check-in, and you end up with $29. On the high-end, if you drive less than 200 miles every month, you get an extra $10 (on top of the standard $3 check-in rate). That equals out to $70. Along with the $21 standard check-in rate, you’ll net a maximum of $91 before you stop getting paid. Add in the $8 first-time bonus, and you're looking at $99. On the extremely high end.

Is that really worth it? Obviously, it depends on the person. Oh, and even moreso, it also depends on what state you live in…read on for more information on this app's very limited potential.

AVAILABILITY

As of now, Parked is a web-only app, meaning it can be accessed from any web browser. While there are no associated mobile apps for Android or iOS devices, you can still access the site from your phone using a mobile browser, and check in from there, which is the easiest way to do it. According to the website, an app is “coming soon”, though no exact date is given.

Additionally - and this is pretty unusual for apps in general - it is only available to users in the following states: Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, or Kentucky. Six states. So if you live in one of the other 44, then you are unable to gain any monetary compensation whatsoever. It just seems weird to me to even release it to such a small potential user base. And how are insurance companies getting that much usable info when it’s relegated to such a small sample size?

I’m sure it has to do with some type of law, but hopefully they’ll be able to reach more states in the near future.

CASHING OUT

The process for cashing out in Parked is incredibly simple…because there really isn’t any cashing out necessary. Once you sign in, you are immediately sent an Amazon gift card for $3, and an additional one for whatever bonus you earned for that month (if applicable). For example, say you only drove 150 miles since the last check-in. That means you’ll get a $3 gift card (just for checking in), and then an additional $10 gift card for driving less than 200 miles.

That’s it. The gift card was sent immediately to me all three months I checked in, with no delays or requests to support necessary.

The obvious downside to this: They only pay in Amazon gift cards. So if you don’t shop there, or are looking for cold, hard cash, then that’s yet another reason to never use this app. Hmm…it seems there are an ever-growing number of reasons not to use it, which kind of makes it a rather tough sell.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

A screenshot of Parked's "How We Work" page
How this whole system works.

Unlike some apps, at least Parked is mostly straightforward as to their intentions: They partner with insurers to give them your data in order to get more accurate mileage information. That’s how they make money, and they kick back a portion to you in the form of Amazon gift cards. If you don’t like the idea of your mileage being tracked - or shopping at Amazon - this definitely isn’t the app for you. (Curiously, they mention on their site that none of your info is sold...so do they just give it to them for free? Or does selling your information anonymously count as not selling it?)

However, since you only check it once per month, there is no software that tracks you or any other information taken from you: only the mileage and car information that you share. I don’t mind personal info being out there - it is anyway - but those that are more stringent with their data won’t find much to like here.

And being limited to only seven paid check-ins means there will be no reasons for anyone to continue to use it beyond the seventh month. What exactly is the long-term business model here?

I honestly have no idea. If things stay at this current pace, I wouldn't expect this to be around for very long at all.

SUPPORT

I haven’t needed to contact support at all, and this is one app where there aren’t really a whole lot of reasons why you would need to. It’s so new (and hard to find) that no real reviews exist pertaining to the quickness of support responses, so unfortunately I can’t help you there. If you use this program and have reached out to support, please feel free to comment on your experiences below!

OVERALL

PROS:
+Incredibly simple and straightforward to use
+Almost qualifies as passive income (just snap a couple photos every month)
+Receive payment immediately after checking in (in form of Amazon gift cards)
+Bonuses available for low mileage

CONS:
-Potential earnings max out at $99, assuming you barely drive
-Only available in six states
-Amazon gift cards are the only payout option
-No additional ways to earn money
-Only get paid through first 7 check-ins…nothing after that. 

This one’s a toughie. For starters, the limited availability to users in only six states means there are a ton of people that don’t even qualify to use it. Furthermore, my payouts are very small: I travel 200 miles per week just going to and from work, so there aren’t too many months I travel less than 700 (the cutoff for earning additional rewards). That means I’m only on track to make $29 for the seven months I’m able to get paid for using it.

Which brings me once again to the whole idea of this: what is their long-term business model? Assuming they gain some sort of traction (I only heard about it through an ad on Instagram), they’re only going to keep users for a max of seven months, since no one is going to keep submitting their mileage for free, no matter how easy it is. And that’s a best-case scenario, considering in this app-infused world people tend to either give up, or forget about it, after a month or two. That’s why it’s a completely idiotic decision to limit the number of paid check-ins. I mean, they’re selling your data…so can’t they keep mining it further out than 7 months? Does my mileage info become useless after that point? Hopefully they’re going to change this in the future. If not, I’ll be peacing out by the middle of the year.

The upside is that it’s so gosh darn easy to do that I continue to do it. Just snap two pictures every month (your car’s license plate and the odometer) and you’ll receive your Amazon gift cards instantly. It takes about a minute to do, which equals out to $180 per hour. It really is some of the easiest money you can make, even if it is an amount that many (including myself) would consider pointless.

This is a brand new program, so maybe once (or if) it spreads to other states, the opportunity for rewards - and the 7-month check-in limit - will increase. Until then, it’s a very niche app for a small group of people that just isn’t really all that worth it. And one that I can't see lasting very long at all.

RATING: 3/10


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