Best Money-Making Apps

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Earning some extra cash is simple and easy
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Updated May 11, 2021
The average person spends about four hours a day on their cell phones—and about 90% of that time is spent using apps. So why not turn your mindless scrolling into cold, hard cash? We rounded up our favorite money-making apps, from apps that help you earn cash back on online purchases, those that pay you for your opinions, to those that will invest your spare change for you, even apps that will pay you to exercise. Yes, really. Read on to see which apps made the list.

The 9 Best Money-Making Apps of 2021
Best for Bargain Shoppers: Rakuten
Runner-Up, Best for Bargain Shoppers: Shopkick
Best for Automatic Payment: ibotta
Best for Photographers/Videographers: Foap
Best for Investors: Acorns
Best for Surveys: Google Opinion Rewards
Runner-Up, Best Survey App: iPoll
Best for Passive Earning: Slidejoy
Best for Fitness Buffs: Sweatcoin
Best Money-Making Apps
Cash back can apply to in-store purchases

What We Don’t Like
Must have a PayPal account to receive payout electronically

Non-electronic payments sent out via check

Payouts every quarter

Also a great browser extension for those on a desktop computer, Rakuten (formerly Ebates) has a solid money-making app, as well. With this tool, you can use in-store coupons, scan items as you go to compare prices, and perhaps its most well-known feature – earn cash back on certain purchases from certain retailers.

Here’s how it works: Once you download and start using the app, you’ll earn a set percentage of cash back when you shop with Rakuten’s list of 2,500-plus eligible retailers. While cash back is usually between 1 to 2%, we’ve earned as much as 10%. You’ll also get access to in-store coupons and other perks. Rakuten even compares coupons for you, so you can be sure you’re getting the very best deal.

Another plus of this app? Once you sign up and start using it, you’ll automatically get paid every three months, as long as you’ve earned at least $5.01. Rakuten is an industry staple in the world of money-making apps. Founded in 1997, it’s doled out more than $1 billion in cash back to its customers.

Download on iTunes or Google.

RUNNER-UP, BEST FOR BARGAIN SHOPPERS
Shopkick

SIGN UP NOW
What We Like
You can earn rewards by walking into partner stores

Alternative ways to earn points, such as watching videos and scanning select barcodes

Over 250,000 retail locations offering walk-in and barcode scan rewards

What We Don’t Like
Can only redeem rewards via gift cards

Only works on mobile app, no browser capabilities

If you love to shop, and frequently find yourself at your favorite retail destination browsing the aisles, then Shopkick is a great money-making tool. Though to be fair, Shopkick pays solely via gift cards, so keep that in mind.

Making money with Shopkick is easy. You download the app, then engage in one of eight activities: walk into the store, no purchase necessary (yes, it’s just that easy), scan barcodes of select products (again, you don’t have to buy anything), purchase items at an eligible store with your Shopkick-linked card, purchase items and submit your receipt, visit online stores or view online products (no purchase necessary), make an online purchase with a Shopkick partner, or watch in-app videos.

While you aren’t paid in actual cash with this app, you don’t always have to make a purchase to earn, which is a nice perk.

Buy on iTunes or Google.

BEST FOR AUTOMATIC PAYMENT
ibotta

SIGN UP NOW
What We Like
Actual cash back, no points or coupons

Works on mobile app and via browser extension

Low cash out threshold

What We Don’t Like
Lower cash back than other apps

Eligible retail locations may not include regional and local stores

ibotta is another great cash-back app, and you have three options to make money using it: Upload your receipt to the app when you purchase eligible items; link a store loyalty card before you shop to get access to special offers; or make purchases at eligible stores via the ibotta app.

With ibotta, you’ll have to complete tasks within the app to get access to its money-saving tools, which can be a drawback, depending on how much free time you have. You’ll also have to manually upload receipts, and there are only about 300 eligible retailers. However, you can get cash deposited directly into your ibotta account, which you can then withdraw. No waiting on checks via snail mail or trying to navigate cryptocurrency.

BEST FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS/VIDEOGRAPHERS
Foap

SIGN UP NOW
What We Like
Doesn’t require a DSLR camera

No commitment

Only $5 needed to withdraw cash

What We Don’t Like
Payouts

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