There’s no shortage of apps to make money these days. And given that 96% of Americans now own smartphones, you are primed and ready to start doing just that! But despite all the money-making methods out there, some are decidedly better than others.
So how do you know what are the best money making apps? That’s what we’ll cover in this article. In most cases, you probably can’t make a full-time living using apps, but you can ease the financial burden in a variety of ways.
There are also a variety of different types of apps to make money, such as:
…and countless more. In reality, we could probably go on all day listing different apps/app categories, but these are the main ones.
What’s the Catch?
If you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. You are providing something of value, so it only makes sense to be compensated. With surveys, in particular, you are providing valuable input about market trends.
Brands can’t read your mind, after all. They need to know what their potential customers want so that they can make better products. Anyone who has an audience knows that understanding those folks is the most critical element of business success.
Because if you don’t know your audience, how can you succeed? Well, you really can’t.
Don’t Be Fooled By Money Making Scams
Something I feel is important to call out in regard to apps to make money is the potential for scams. In many cases (especially with survey sites), you will be redirected to a partner site to complete the survey.
While these surveys are usually legitimate, there are some unscrupulous ones. The biggest red flag to look out for is a survey asking for your contact information. A survey should never need that info beyond maybe your country of residence. Anything more specific than that is cause for concern.
In general, survey companies might need to know things like your gender, household income, the industry in which you work – but your name and contact information should never be necessary.
Why Use Apps To Make Money?
If you’ve never used an app to make money, you might ask yourself, “What’s the point? Wouldn’t it be better to just get a second job or something?”
In a way, your logic is sound. These apps probably aren’t going to make you rich and you can most likely earn more with a second job. But that’s looking at it the wrong way.
See, a lot of these apps can be partially (or totally) automated, then they simply reward you for doing the things you were already doing. In general, the less time you spend doing something, the better.
And, of course, that applies to a lot of things in life – not just apps to make money. Being more efficient means getting more things done, and you can easily do that with a lot of these.
So, what are these apps, and what makes them stand out? Let’s find out.
Survey apps have been a popular way to make money online for years now. Simply give your opinion on certain products and services and be paid in exchange.
Each survey has different requirements though, so you won’t be eligible for every survey. Some surveys can be especially lucrative, such as research studies – though these are more difficult to come by.
#1 – Swagbucks
Swagbucks is always a favorite of anyone looking for apps to make money. Undoubtedly, the reason Swagbucks is so popular is that it offers a wide variety of ways to make money.
In reality, Swagbucks is more than just a survey app. Here are some of the main ways you can earn money on Swagbucks:
- Completing surveys
- Making purchases (cash back)
- Special offers
- Watching videos
- Completing web searches
Basically you can spend a ton of time on Swagbucks and quite possibly not even run out of things to do.
Swagbucks claims their surveys can pay as much as $50 each:
But you’ll notice they also say that most pay 40 cents to $2. Again, it may not be much, but the surveys don’t take long to complete. Plus, after you’ve completed a few, you’ll have enough to buy yourself a coffee at the local coffee shop (or whatever your daily fix is).
Once you’ve earned enough points, you’re able to redeem them for gift cards from popular stores like Amazon, iTunes, and Starbucks. Or, if you prefer, you can just cash out via PayPal.
Cashing out is easy as long as you have a bank account and your routing number handy.
#2 – InboxDollars
InboxDollars will draw you in with its $5 signup credit, but is it worth doing after getting that crisp Lincoln? It depends upon how you approach it.
The primary way to make money with InboxDollars is by completing surveys. Bear in mind though, the payouts from InboxDollars surveys do tend to be a bit low. As a result, it may not be the best survey site to try first.
However, it’s common with surveys that you won’t meet one or more criteria for completing the survey. If you find yourself striking out everywhere else, this might be a decent fallback.
Once you reach $30 in your account, you can cash out via PayPal or by check.
The apps in this section will pay you for completing specific tasks. These apps fall into what is often called the “gig” economy or sharing economy.
In a lot of ways, these apps have started to redefine what it means to have a “job,” giving people more flexible work hours and work arrangements in general.
#3 – Uber
Chances are you’ve already heard of Uber, but I wanted to quickly mention it because it is one of the original task apps. All you need is a car (that fits Uber’s requirements) and you’ll be able to start accepting rides.
#4 – Sweatcoin
Sweatcoin is an app that literally pays you to walk. I say that because there isn’t anything else you have to do. Just download the app, fire it up, and start walking. When you do, you’ll earn Sweatcoins (SWC) which you can then redeem for rewards.
Those rewards include valuable things like Amazon gift cards, cashing out via PayPal, and other cool stuff.
However, keep in mind that the app can sometimes have issues. I downloaded it myself and found that I wasn’t earning SWC. I had a lot of steps, but none of them were counting as “Sweatcoin steps.” Some Reddit users have said the same, so be sure you are in fact earning Sweatcoins if you decide to give this one a try.
#5 – Rover
Rover is a personal favorite of mine, and honestly, I’m surprised I don’t see it mentioned on more of these lists. If you’re a dog lover like I am, you are going to love Rover! This app allows dog (and cat) owners to find someone to sit, walk, board, or do drop-ins for their pets.
This is yet another gig economy app. For those who aren’t familiar with it, I like it to call it “the Uber of dog walking.” There’s one key difference between how Rover works and how Uber, works, though: when you use Uber, the app automatically finds a driver for you. With Rover, though, pet owners must manually search in their area to find someone who looks like a good fit.
If you’re a sitter, Rover says it will automatically adjust your rates for pet care based on your reviews and similar rates in your area. I’ve been on the app for months, have earned several positive reviews, and my rates haven’t changed. Nevertheless, this is a great way to earn a few extra bucks, and I’ve been loving it.
#6 – Instacart
Instacart is one of the highest-rated apps on iTunes, scoring a 4.8 with over 460,000 reviews. If you aren’t familiar with Instacart, it’s one of the many gig economy jobs. As its name implies, this one is a shopping app.
The concept is simple: go grocery shopping for people on the app who need it and get paid in the process. There are many reasons people might need help with grocery shopping, and this app helps fill that need.
Users reported earning between $7 and $17 per hour for an average of $13. Not great, especially if you live in an HCOL area, but it may be worth considering if you enjoy shopping.
With these apps, you shop at stores where you would be shopping anyway, then earn cashback in the process. You’ll then be able to cash out for real money, typically through PayPal.
#7 – Ibotta
It almost seems like everyone knows about Ibotta by now, but it’s worth mentioning just in case. This apps makes grocery shopping cheaper.
All you have to do is scan your receipts into the app, then you’ll get cashback on your purchases. The great thing is you don’t have to mess around with points or anything like that. Not every store is supported, but Ibotta claims 500,000 locations are, which is quite a few.
It’s worth trying, especially since you’ll be grocery shopping anyway. Minimum payout is $20.
#8 – Rakuten/Ebates
No list like this would be complete without mentioning Ebates. Ebates is now known as Rakuten. The app formerly known as Ebates is another one that works by helping you earn cash back.
The way it works is quite simple: just sign up, shop as you normally would (through their portal), and you’ll earn cashback on every purchase. They work with a ton of stores, including popular ones such as Amazon, Walgreens, and Target.
If you’re going to buy stuff through these stores anyway, why not do so through Rakuten and save money in the process? It just makes sense. You can cash out once you have at least $5.
#9 – Dosh
Spot me a few quid, will ya? If you aren’t familiar, “dosh” is British slang for cash (a “quid” is a one-pound coin). But despite the origins of its name, this is an American company based in Austin, Texas.
So how does the Dosh app work? It’s another cash-back (or should I say dosh-back) app. The way it works is sort of similar to Ebates/Rakuten. However, it’s much more convenient: rather than having to shop directly in their portal, you just link your credit card to Dosh.
Once you link your card, you’ll earn points for shopping at participating stores. Once you’ve earned at least $25 worth of points, you can cash out via PayPal or direct deposit. Pretty sweet deal.
#10 – Drop
Because you need yet another cash-back app. Don’t lie – I heard you say it.
Drop is a cash-back/rebate app that works in a way similar to Dosh, with some slight differences. What’s similar is that all you have to do is link your credit card to the app, then earn points for shopping at those stores.
The biggest difference is that you also choose five stores that are your favorite places to shop. Strangely, you can’t change these once you select them, so be sure they’re your favorite. Those stores will occasionally receive special offers you won’t get with the others.
Once you have enough points – at least 5,000 – you can redeem them for gift cards at popular stores, such as Amazon. 5,000 points are worth $5.
Other Apps to Make Money
The remainder of the apps on this list don’t necessarily fit neatly into any of the other categories, but they are worth mentioning. They’ll help you in a variety of ways including simplifying your life and investing for the long haul.
#11 – Acorns
Acorns is a little different than other apps mentioned on this list. Whereas most of them either pay you for completing tasks or give you rebates, Acorns is more of an investment app.
What’s unique about Acorns is that it’s both an investment app and sort of a psychological one as well. I say this because its main feature is that it rounds up your purchases to whole dollar amounts and then invests your “spare change.” That way, you get lots of nice numbers on your bank statements while constantly investing more money.
You must have at least $5 in your account before the money is invested – hardly a high minimum. Once that happens, Rover claims it will invest your money in over 7,000 stocks and bonds with automatic rebalancing.
This is definitely a great way to grow your money!
#12 – M1 Finance
M1 Finance takes more of an active approach to investing than Acorns. Whereas the latter handles all of the investing for you, M1 Finance allows you to create a customized investment portfolio. That makes it ideal for the more advanced investor.
What’s especially nice about M1 Finance is that it allows you to buy partial shares of stock. Some stocks and ETFs have shared valued at over $1,000, so buying partial shares means you could invest in that stock with even as little as $5.
You can do the same with ETFs, making this a great app for both beginner investors and advanced investors alike.
#13 – Robinhood
Robinhood and M1 finance are two similar apps to make money. In other words, both are apps that allow you to invest in things like stocks and ETFs.
There is no account minimum (M1 has a $100 minimum) and no commission fees for trades. However, one drawback of Robinhood compared to M1 is you can’t buy fractional shares. For the beginner investor, this can be a pretty big drawback.
Still, the app is worth comparing to M1 before you decide to go all-in on one or the other.
#14 – Decluttr
Got lots of stuff, but wish you had less stuff? And make money in the process? Then you should probably take a look at Decluttr.
You can’t quite sell everything on Decluttr, but it still accepts some popular items – and there’s a good chance you have quite a few of them lying around. For example, you can sell:
- Cell phones
So, dust off that CD from The Offspring; unearth iPhone 4 and let’s see what you can get for them! Okay, so they probably have to be newer items to be worth much, but you get the idea.
Just pack your items in a box, bring them to a UPS location, then get paid for them. Payment options include direct deposit, PayPal, check, or even donating to your favorite charity.
Apps to Make Money: The Bottom Line
There are dozens, if not hundreds of apps to make money out there. Just remember the basics of building wealth first. Then, use these apps to boost your money-making potential.
Most of them are legitimate opportunities, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to quit your job if this is your only source of income.
There are surveys, cash-back apps, task apps, and even investing apps. Just watch out for apps that seem to be getting a little too personal in terms of collecting information about you.
The great thing about apps to make money is that they will often cash out via PayPal – meaning you get cold, hard cash. Some only let you redeem gift cards, but those are useful, too.
Hopefully, you have found this article helpful and are now ready to start making money!
Bob is a freelance personal finance writer and blogger. After paying off nearly six figures in student loan debt, he decided to not only take control of his own finances, but to help others do the same. Today, he’s working toward financial independence while pursuing a location-independent lifestyle. He also loves dogs and walks dogs as a side hustle. Find him at The Frugal Fellow.