We all know that driving while using our cell phones — be it for texting, talking or navigation — is a dangerous habit. But many of us still engage in those risky behaviors, putting both our lives and others’ on the line by failing to pay attention behind the wheel.
Perhaps we think we’re not really that distracted and can manage to multitask safely. Or perhaps we just don’t realize the scale of the problem.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills approximately nine people every day, and injures another 1,000. In all, around 400,000 people are hurt each year in car accidents that involve distracted drivers.
We seem to have gotten the message about drunk driving, which is something most of us wouldn’t dream of doing. But today, our cell phones are such an integral part of our lives that we can’t seem to put them down — even when we’re operating a 4,000-pound machine at 40 miles per hour.
A new app called OnMyWay: Drive Safe aims to help address that problem by promising to pay you to stay off your phone and keep your focus on the road.
In this OnMyWay review, we’ll explore how the app works, how much money you can make, and whether or not the app is legit.
OnMyWay App Review: Get Paid For Safe Driving
The concept of the OnMyWay app is simple: it promises to pay you to keep your phone locked while driving. The app uses proprietary technology that recognizes when your phone is traveling faster than 10 to 12 miles per hour, and claims to pay you for every “safe” mile of your journey.
There have been a few apps with similar names produced over the years. Back in 2014, an app called “OMW – On My Way” was released that also aimed to cut down on dangerous driving. That app allowed you to text someone a link to a private webpage, which would let the recipient to track your progress on a map. Instead of having to call or text people to keep them updated about your itinerary, you could just send them an On My Way map when you started your trip.
OMW has been discontinued, but today you’ll also find the On My Way Realtime GPS in the App Store. So make sure you download the correct app (as shown in the screenshot below).
There are lots of apps and sites that pay you for things you already do, like shopping online, watching videos and reading emails. But OnMyWay aims to pay people to do something they should do. Its goal is to incentivize good behavior with small rewards — kind of like your parents paying you for every “A” you earned on your report card as a kid.
How It Works And How You Earn
Users can download the OnMyWay app for free. The app activates automatically when your car is traveling more than 10 miles per hour, disabling text message and app alerts. Drivers can still make and accept calls as long as their phone is connected to in-car Bluetooth.
In order for the app to function as described above, you have to grant it wide-ranging permission to administer your phone. Apps can’t, by default, simply disable parts of your phone’s normal system without your express approval.
A few users have examined the app’s code and noted the extensive list of access that you’re required to provide (which can be seen a few comments down in this Reddit thread). This raises red flags from a privacy standpoint — especially considering that the app is produced by a little-known startup rather than a recognized software company with a proven reputation and a track record of safeguarding users’ personal information.
Note that other common apps that drivers use, such as Google/Apple Maps and music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, will still work as long as they’re activated before you start moving (or while the car is stopped).
New members are offered a $10 sign-up bonus, and users earn “$.05 OnMyWay Cash” per mile driven (note the quotation marks… more on that below). The site also offers a “$2” referral bonus when new members sign up using your link, plus “$.02 OnMyWay Cash” for every safe mile your referrals drive.
Sounds great right? We have nothing against rewards sites, but earning cash is always preferable.
If you go to the OnMyWay app homepage, you’ll see the word “cash” 10 times (as of the time of this writing).
The site explicitly states…
“Automatically get paid cash for every mile you drive over 10 MPH and don’t text.”
“DIRECT CASH DEPOSIT Use your Available Cash on purchases to top local/national brands and cash offers, and get your earnings deposited directly to your bank account.”
So, you’re earning cash right? Probably cash sent to your PayPal account, as that’s how a lot of rewards sites work.
Well, not exactly.
When I log into the app, the only way to cash out is through a so-called “Marathon” deal. And, in order to cash out using that deal, I would need to refer 250 users (see the screenshot below).
Of course, that’s not exactly an easy thing to do. It’s probably an unattainable benchmark for 99.99% of users.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “but what about that five cents per mile you mentioned above?”
After all, that’s the meat and potatoes of OnMyWay app’s value proposition, right? Get paid cash for every safe mile you drive.
First, understand that you’re earning “$.05 OnMyWay Cash” per mile.
OnMyWay Cash is not redeemable as cash into your bank, Venmo or PayPal account.
Let me reiterate: you cannot withdraw those funds.
Instead, you can accumulate those funds in your OnMyWay account, and then redeem them for Marathon offers, or for special offers from the app’s partners.
The company itself confirms this on its support website, writing:
“OnMyWay Cash can not be […] deposited directly to your bank, your cash is to be used for Marathon Deals only.”
When it comes to Marathon offers, you can in theory redeem your OMW Cash for gift cards/bank deposits.
Since I’ve downloaded the app, there has been a small number of Marathon deals ranging in value between $10 and $100.
However, each time I logged in over the course of a week, those offers were sold out. From what I can see, it looks like the total number of people who were able to get the $10 gift card offered in the screenshot below was limited to 200.
You may also have the option to redeem your OMW cash for special offers, like discounts to local merchants. For example, this report from TV station 3 News Now in Omaha (Nebraska) highlighted an offer for $25 off a purchase of $25 or more at the Sham Creek Inn in Charleston (South Carolina).
When I log in to my account from the Chicagoland area, I do not see any offers.
So… you could say the choices are limited.
New apps constantly change in form and function, so we wanted to circle back to OnMyWay after six months to ensure the accuracy of this review and touch on any new features or changes to the payment structure.
As we originally reported, there is still no realistic way to earn actual money by using this app.
However, since the original date of publication, OnMyWay has made slight (but welcome) tweaks to its marketing language.
For example, the onmyway.com website originally stated (emphasis added):
“Automatically get paid cash for every mile you drive over 10 MPH and don’t text.”
The site now reads:
“Automatically get rewarded for every mile you drive over 10 MPH and don’t text.”
Additionally, while the website still uses the word “cash” eight times to describe how the app pays its users, there are also multiple references to redeeming your “cash” for special offers from the company’s partners.
Unfortunately, while the selection of available offers has been significantly expanded, our view is that they’ll be of little value to most users.
In the cases we reviewed, the offers were either for small discounts off random items (such as knock-off wireless earbuds) or “deals” that could be easily obtained outside the app.
It’s also worth noting that OnMyWay has been teasing the ability to cash out your earnings via PayPal and Venmo for months, though no such option has yet been added.
OnMyWay App: Pros and Cons
Here are a few of the benefits and drawbacks you should keep in mind.
- The app is free to download.
- It’s available for both iOS devices (iPhones) and Android smartphones, via the App Store and Google Play.
- It promotes and rewards safer driving behavior.
- Unless you’re able to refer 250 users, you cannot currently redeem your rewards for cash (unless you happen to snag a Marathon deal before they sell out).
- The app asks for a ton of access, including your identity via your driver’s license, your contact list, your location, your call log, and your camera (among others).
- This app is not produced by a well-known tech company or a well-funded startup. Why does that matter? If the company runs out of money, any rewards you’ve earned but haven’t redeemed will disappear.
- Additionally, the company does not have a proven record of handling users’ data safely and responsibly — a concern for an app that makes you hand over so much personal information.
Is OnMyWay App Legit or a Scam? Final Thoughts and Verdict
I wanted to love this app. It has a lot of potential, and it really does provide a valuable service by rewarding people for better driving habits — something that positively impacts all of us.
As of today, there’s no realistic way to redeem your “OnMyWay cash” for real cash. And while the company has made slight changes to its marketing language to clarify that fact, most readers will see the word “cash” and skim over the fine print, only to be disappointed when they discover the actual payout options.
Still, the app is new, and to my understanding, it is not funded by a large VC firm. As I’m an optimistic person, I hope they can eventually get to a point where they can indeed deliver on their promise to let you make money by not picking up your phone while driving.
But until then, I’d recommend passing on this.