Searching for some ways to make extra cash without much extra effort? Then you’ve come to the right place.
This article will share 11 of the best ways to make money directly from your smartphone by using popular rewards apps.
If, like most people these days, you find yourself spending a lot of time on your phone then you need to read about these simple ways to make extra money.
These apps pay you for doing things like shopping online, watching videos, taking surveys, or even to play games.
They don't provide free money - but for the most part, the work is passive - like coupons or cash back based on certain purchases - or is an easy activity that you could do instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed for the umpteenth time.
Rewards typically come in cash paid to your bank account or in the form of gift cards to major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more.
You won’t be replacing a full-time income with a money making app, but it never hurts to earn cash - even just a little, does it?
Especially when you can earn rewards for doing something you would already be doing like grocery shopping or ordering items from Amazon.
The best part is that these money making apps offer rewards for doing all kinds of different things.
The list has perfect options for coupon-clippers, survey-takers, video-watchers, gamers, retirement-savers, and more. Try one or try them all - it’s up to you!
- Potential Earnings: Up to $25 to $50 (gift cards)
- Cost: Free
- Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus
BEST REWARDS PROGRAM
- Potential Earnings: Up to $10 to $30 (gift cards)
- Cost: Free
- Promotion: $10 Amazon gift card
BEST FOR PAID SURVEYS
- Potential Earnings: Up to 0.50 to $5.00 per task
- Cost: Free
- Promotion: $5 sign-up bonus
11 Best Money Making Apps for Your Smartphone
One of the highest paying apps out there, Swagbucks offers you the chance to earn points by watching videos, searching the web, answering surveys and providing coupons and cash-back shopping.
Their cash-back shopping offer is valid at over 1,500 retailers so you’re bound to earn points for things you’re already buying.
You can redeem your points for gift cards from your favorite retailers like Amazon and Walmart or get cold hard cash from Paypal.
To date, they have paid out over $418 million in rewards to their members and they give out 7,000 free gift cards every day.
Swagbucks is seriously well reviewed too. 4.3 with 91,000 votes on the Google Play store, 4.4 with 67,000 reviews on the iOS App Store, and over 16,000 reviews on Trustpilot with a rating of 4.3 stars, why not try it out?
Acorns is a favorite for those of you who want to start saving up for your future and have been checking out investing apps.
Their micro-investing app automatically invests your spare change when you shop with one of their Found Money partners.
These include retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, and Lyft.
Their investing services are not free, but they are also not expensive. Their subscriptions range from $1/month for their Basic plan up to $3/month for their Premium plan.
The Basic plan is the simplest, offering access to their Acorns Investment account.
With both the Plus and Premium plans you gain access to the Acorns Retirement account and, finally, the Premium plan also offers a checking account.
If you want to put your spare change to good use and start saving for your future, it’s hard to beat an app like Acorns.
MyPoints is another rewards shopping service that lets you earn rewards for everyday shopping.
MyPoint members can get up to 40% back with every purchase from 2,000 top retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, and more.
Every time you shop you will earn points. As your points accumulate you are able to redeem them for gift cards or transfer them to your PayPal account.
The process is simple and you’ll earn points for doing your regular online shopping.
As an additional incentive to join, MyPoints is offering a $10 bonus when you sign up.
While I wouldn’t ever encourage unnecessary online shopping, it’s nice to earn some rewards for the shopping you already plan on doing.
InboxDollars, as the name suggests, is a free app that will pay you to read emails. Additionally, they offer rewards for watching videos, playing games, taking paid surveys, and more.
In business since 2000, InboxDollars has paid out over $59 million in cash rewards to its members.
Unlike many others in this industry, InboxDollars members do no accumulate rewards that then must be redeemed. Instead, everything earned is cash that is then redeemable in cash or gift card form.
InboxDollar is partners with major retailers and trusted brands in retail, technology and market research and the list of companies they work with includes Netflix, Target, H&R Block, and Walmart.
Ibotta is another of the cash back apps that rewards its members for their everyday purchases.
Ibotta’s popularity around the globe is in large part due to its partnership with grocery brands and it’s referral system allowing members to invite friends and family and receive additional bonuses and rewards.
The addition of grocery brands like Safeway and Instacart makes Ibotta even more valuable to consumers. You may not shop at Target or Walmart all of the time, but you do have to making in-store purchases sometimes - like buying food.
The ability to earn rewards for simply buying your groceries for the week is a game-changer.
With Ibotta, your earning potential is unlimited and they have paid out over $680 million in cash rewards to their members.
Paribus is a unique cash app that helps you get money back on purchases you’ve already made if prices drop in the future.
The way it works is simple: you shop online, Paribus monitors prices so you don’t have to, and when there is a potential saving they help you get your money back.
For example, let’s say you paid $30 for a shirt that is now $25. If you purchased it from one of Paribus’ retail partners, Paribus will notify you and help you seek a refund for the price difference.
Paribus partners 25+ major retailers including Amazon, Target, Home Depot, Gap, and Best Buy.
They don’t have the longest list of partners compared to others in this article, but the partners are large enough to cover many of your online purchases.
The Drop app is a Canada-based rewards app that lets you earn points and gift cards for the money you’re already spending.
It works by lining up purchases you make on a credit or debit card with offers you’ve connected to on the Drop app.
The process is really simple: after connecting a credit or debit card, you select up to five of your favorite brands and then you simply shop these brands and you’ll begin to earn rewards.
It’s important to note that you can select a maximum of 5 brands, so choose wisely. The options are usually larger brands like Trader Joe’s, Uber, Target, and Walmart.
After earning enough rewards you can redeem them for gift cards across various retailers.
Rakuten - formerly known as Ebates - is widely popular for their web browser extension that lets you earn up to 40% cashback for everyday shopping at over 2,500 stores.
But they also offer a mobile shopping app that allows you to shop directly with businesses they partner with.
All you have to do with their app is to search their list of retailers and a link will take you directly to that business’s e-commerce store and the cashback coupon will automatically be applied to any purchases - helping you save money with zero effort.
Rakuten partners with nearly every major brand you can think of: eBay, Target, Nike, Amazon, Kohls, Groupon, and many, many more.
There are no points to redeem with Rakuten as the app pays actual cash back to their members. The cash is delivered via PayPal or they can mail a check to your physical address.
Fetch Rewards is a cashback rewards program for all of your grocery shopping.
But instead of working with a specific retailer, Fetch Rewards works with brands so you can earn rewards regardless of where you get your groceries.
It works like this: after shopping for your groceries, all you have to do is scan your receipt and you’ll earn rewards.
They partner with popular brands like Tostitos, Velveeta, Coors Light, Jell-O and Hershey’s, helping your earn rewards for your everyday grocery shopping.
Rewards are redeemable for gift cards from fashion retailers, pre-paid Visa cards, media companies like iTunes, restaurants, and more.
Lucktastic is a contest based mobile app that describes itself as “a free and fun way to win real cash and prizes and earn rewards.”
Think of it as a scratch ticket for your phone, only it’s free to pay and you have access to it anytime without having to pick one up at the gas station.
While I wouldn’t ever endorse playing the lotto as a legitimate strategy to earn more money, Luckstastic is different because it’s free to play.
Because it’s free, you won’t ever lose money on the app so it’s less like gambling and more like a simple game of chance.
Scratch tickets are the most common game on Lucktastic, but they also offer more ways to earn rewards.
There are bonus opportunities each afternoon and evening, plus daily rewards and bonuses for downloading new apps through Lucktastic, sharing it on social media, and sharing it with your friends.
After you accumulate enough tokens, Lucktastic lets you redeem them for cash, gift cards, or magazines.
You can also redeem tokens for contest giveaways that include things like iPads, cash sweepstakes, or more tokens.
The S’more app is an Android-only rewards app that lets you earn rewards and get paid for viewing ads and other content on your lock screen.
The concept is simple: S’more will serve up ads and other forms of clickable content straight on your lock screen and you will earn rewards for watching them. That’s it.
You will earn points every day, regardless of the number of ads you see or click on. After earning enough rewards you can redeem them for gift cards from popular retailers.
This may be the easiest way to earn money on this list. Your phone already has a lock screen and S’more will pay you to serve up ads.
The biggest potential downside is that every time you go to unlock your phone you’ll see an ad, which may eventually become frustrating for some.
Start Earning Cash & Rewards Straight from Your Smartphone
It doesn’t get much easier than this! Seriously, these money earning apps are worth a look if you’re interested making money with your phone.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list - there are so many cash rewards out there right now. Developers love to get people to use their apps and they are willing to pay you to do so.
These 11 apps serve a perfect starting point for anyone looking to earn extra money from their smartphone. There’s a little bit for everyone in this list, so try a few and see what works for you.
Hate surveys and survey apps?
Try an app that rewards you for watching videos instead. Want to jump-start your retirement savings? Try an app that moves your spare change from purchases directly into an investment account.
You get the idea. Try different apps to see which ones work for you and start earning extra cash today!
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Jacob holds a bachelors degree in finance and has spent his professional career crunching numbers and mastering spreadsheets in the corporate world. He moonlights as a fantasy football commissioner, back-yard bbq amateur, and freelance writer/money blogger.