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Best Money-Making Apps

Earning extra cash can be simple and easy

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If you're looking to make some extra cash using your phone during your spare time, consider using a money-making app. A money-making app is an app or browser extension that can help you earn extra cash, whether from selling goods and services, getting cash back, or a combination of the two.

The best money-making apps are free to download, offer a variety of ways to earn money, are compatible with iOS and Android devices, and send payments quickly.

The 7 Best Money-Making Apps of 2022

Best for Bargain Shoppers : Rakuten


Rakuten

Rakuten

  • Cost: Free
  • Payout method: Check or PayPal
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • No fees

  • Over 3,500 stores available

  • Cash back can apply to in-store purchases

Cons
  • Must have a PayPal account to receive payout electronically

  • Non-electronic payments sent out via check

  • Payouts every quarter

Why We Chose It

With Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, users can search and shop using in-store and online exclusive coupons, scan items to compare prices, and get money back on specific purchases from certain retailers including Macy's, Marriott, and Sephora. Users can choose to shop with the mobile app or browser extension.

Here’s how it works: After signing up for a free account, you'll need to download the app or extension to start shopping. Once you make a purchase, you’ll earn a percentage of your cash back (i.e., a rebate) when you shop from Rakuten’s list of 3,500-plus eligible retailers.

While the cash back is usually between 1% to 2% on a purchase, some may earn as much as 10%, depending on what you buy. You may even earn extra cash back by signing up for the Rakuten credit card. Additionally, new users can earn a $10 welcome bonus, as long as you spend at least $25 on eligible purchases within the first 90 days of signing up.

Payouts are issued every three months, provided you earn at least $5.01 in cash back. You can receive your funds electronically with PayPal or by physical check in the mail.

Runner-Up, Best for Bargain Shoppers : Shopkick


Shopkick

 Shopkick

  • Cost: Free
  • Payout method: Gift cards
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • Earn rewards by walking into partner stores

  • Alternative ways to earn points

  • Over 250,000 retail locations offering rewards

Cons
  • Can only redeem rewards via gift cards

  • Only works on mobile app; no browser capabilities

Why We Chose It

For those who like to shop in person and online, Shopkick might be a good option for making some extra cash. Like Rakuten, it's a rebate-based program but rather than earning cash back, you earn points (called "kicks") that you accumulate and redeem for gift cards.

To use Shopkick, all you need to do is sign up for an account, download the app, and engage in one or more required actions. Some of the actions include: walking into a store, scanning barcode of select products (no purchase necessary), purchasing an eligible product with your Shopkick-linked card, or watching an in-app video.

Shopkick partners with more than 250,000 in-person retail locations (and 80+ online stores) so finding one near you should be easy. You can earn gift cards to major retailers including Starbucks, Amazon, and Target.

Best for Automatic Payment : ibotta


ibotta

 ibotta

  • Cost: Free
  • Payout method: Bank account, PayPal, gift cards
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • Earn actual cash back

  • Works on mobile app and via browser extension

  • Low cash-out threshold

Cons
  • Lower cash back than other apps

  • Eligible retail locations may not include regional and local stores

Why We Chose It

Ibotta is another app that offers you the option to get cash back on your in-person and online purchases. Similar to the others, you'll need to sign up for a free account and download the app or browser extension to earn money.

Once that's done, you have three ways you can earn cash back: 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 or website. Users can also earn extra cash back by purchasing gift cards or referring friends to the app.

One drawback to ibotta is that you’ll have to complete tasks within the app to access its money-saving tools. It's not overly time consuming, but could be a hindrance depending on how much free time you have. You’ll also have to upload receipts manually, 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

Best for Photographers/Videographers : Foap


Foap

 Foap

  • Cost: Free to join; split profits 50/50 with app
  • Payout method: PayPal
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • Doesn't require a DSLR camera

  • No minimum needed to withdraw cash

Cons
  • Payouts are only through PayPal

  • Payments are sent at least one full month after withdrawal

Why We Chose It

Great for aspiring photographers and videographers, Foap is a money-making app for Apple and Android devices that makes it simple to sell your photos and videos. To use it, you'll need to download the app, create an account, and then upload your photos and videos to your online portfolio.

If your work is purchased by an agency, brand, or another user on Foap, you’ll get paid. Be aware, though, that you’ll share the profits with the app 50/50. So, if Foap sells a photo for $10, you’ll make $5. But one photo can sell more than once, which can lead to some significant earnings.

You can also submit photos or videos to a specific project (Foap calls them "Missions") for the chance to be paid even more for your work.

Best for Investors : Acorns


Acorns

 Acorns

  • Cost: $3 or $5, depending on plan
  • Payout method: Checking account transfer only
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • No minimum deposit required

  • Easy to invest money

  • IRA, Bitcoin, and checking account options

Cons
  • High fees for smaller accounts

  • Account balance fluctuates with market

Why We Chose It

Acorns is a micro-investing app that allows you to to invest in ETFs (exchange traded funds) to help grow your retirement fund, expand your portfolio, and even invest in cryptocurrency.

You'll fund your account by allowing Acorns to round up purchases made with a linked account to the next dollar and automatically invest your spare change into a portfolio of ETFs, which are diversified across 7,000-plus stocks and bonds. You can also sign up for recurring investments with Acorns, so you invest just a few dollars each day grow your portfolio even more.

Acorns even has a list of Found Money partners that allows users to invest a percentage of their purchase when they shop with leading brands. For more environmentally-conscious investors, you can choose from ESG (environmental, sustainable, and governance) fund.

Acorns charges a $3 monthly fee for an all-in-one personal account or $5 per month for a family account, should you want to invest for your kids. But with that, you’ll get a diversified portfolio, automatic rebalancing, investment support from Acorns’ support team, and mobile access to all your accounts. You may also try the company’s other offerings including Acorns Later, an IRA, and Acorns Spend, a checking account, and a debit card.

Best for Surveys : Google Opinion Rewards


Google Opinion Rewards

 Google Opinion Rewards

  • Cost: Free
  • Payout method: PayPal only
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • $10 threshold for withdrawals

  • Users will automatically be notified when a survey is available

  • No purchases required to earn money

Con
  • Payouts only sent through PayPal

  • Survey availability varies

Why We Chose It

If you like sharing your opinions and want to get paid for them, this app might be a good option for you.

To use it, you'll need to download the survey app and complete short surveys on everything from hotels to TV shows to merchants whenever you have a free moment. It's a great way to make some extra cash during some downtime while you're waiting in line at the bank, on the train to work, or on your lunch break.

You’ll be paid with Google Play credits or via PayPal for each survey you complete. Pay ranges from $0.10 to $1 per survey, and it's available for Apple and Android users. However, your credits may expire after 12 months and the app may collect personal data.

Best for Fitness Buffs : Sweatcoin


Sweatcoin

 Sweatcoin

  • Cost: Free
  • Payout method: No cash-out option
  • Operating system: iOS and Android
Pros
  • Free to use

  • You can redeem your rewards with more than 600 partners

Cons
  • You can't redeem rewards as cash

  • Low earnings for most users

Why We Chose It

Sweatcoin is an app designed to reward people for exercising and getting in their steps. To use it, you'll need to create an account, download the Sweatcoin app, and keep it running on your phone in the background at all times. Then, get moving.

You’ll earn 1 Sweatcoins for every 1,000 steps you take. Once you earn a certain amount of Sweatcoins, you can redeem them for goods like anti-gravity yoga classes, an Audible subscription, or even vacations. There are also weekly charitable campaigns that allow you to donate your Sweatcoins to raise money for one of the app's partner charities, and if you prefer, you can also convert your earnings into cryptocurrency rather than redeem them for goods.

Most items will cost you around 20,000 Sweatcoins, which means that if you're walking 10,000 steps daily, it could take you quite a while to reach that threshold.

What Is a Money-Making App?

A money-making app is an application you can download on your phone or tablet, or add as a browser extension, that helps you make money in a variety of different ways. For instance, some may pay you a small fee to leave the app running in the background or shop in certain places and get cash back. Others pay you to take surveys or participate in activities such as exercise.

How Much Does a Money-Making App Cost?

Most money-making apps are free, although some may come with a one-time download fee or a monthly subscription or usage fee. And for the rebate apps like Rakuten, you will need to make a purchases in order to get money back.

Make sure to read the fine print when signing up, so you know what to expect, and be realistic: a money-making app isn’t going to replace your income. However, it can provide some extra cash or gift cards you can save.  

How We Chose the Best Money-Making Apps

To select our top money-making apps, we looked at features including the features and tools they offer, how they help you make money, the background and reputation of the company, and when and how you get paid—whether it’s in cash, gift cards, or another form. We also looked at how easy it was to sign up and use, number of merchant partners, and how frequently payments are sent.

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