You’ve probably heard of money-making apps that pay you to play games, take surveys, and earn real cash. If you’re kind of skeptical like me, you’ve probably wondered if any of them are legit.
The reality is that there are apps that pay you real money for doing pretty simple things. You’re not going to quit your day job or get rich with any of these apps, but they’re an easy and fast way to make extra money in 2021.
I’ve put together a list of the most legit and best money-making apps. These are researched options, and you’ll learn what you can expect to make and how they all work.
25 Best Money-Making Apps | Apps That Pay You in 2021
1. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie pays you for taking online surveys. These are market research surveys that take between 5-20 minutes on average. You’ll be asked questions about your shopping habits, opinions on products and brands, etc.
Survey Junkie, like most survey sites, pays in points that convert to cash. One Survey Junkie Point = $0.01, and you need 500 points to cash out. Survey Junkie pays an average of 100 to 300 points. You also get paid to fill out profiles, which are short questionnaires used to match you with surveys.
The average survey pays around $1.50, and it’s not common, but sometimes there are opportunities for longer surveys that pay close to $50. A motivated survey taker can make around $100 per month on Survey Junkie.
The Survey Junkie app pays you real money via PayPal. You can also redeem your points as gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and more.
Besides surveys, you can make money testing products, participating in focus groups, and sharing your online browsing behaviors with SJ Pulse — Survey Junkie’s browser extension.
InboxDollars is another one of the best money-making apps for surveys. This survey site is known for being transparent about earnings, saying you can make $0.50-$5 per survey and that surveys take between 3-25 minutes to complete.
The InboxDollars app is 100% free, and it takes just a couple of minutes to download and sign up. InboxDollars pays cash via PayPal or check, or you can cash out to a gift card.
Swagbucks is a free money app that pays you cash back on in-store and online purchases. You can also make money taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and more.
You’re not going to make a ton of money with Swagbucks, but it’s mindless cash. You’re first paid in points that you convert to cash and 100 Swagbucks = $1. You can redeem your points for PayPal cash, Visa gift cards, or gift cards to over 140 different companies.
Swagbucks says the average user makes a couple of dollars a day, spending 15-30 minutes using the app.
MyPoints is owned by the same company that owns Swagbucks, and these two money-making apps work the same way. MyPoint also pays you to take surveys, watch videos, play games, and shop online.
You’re paid in points that convert to cash, and 150 points equals about $1 depending on how you redeem them. For example, if you redeem your points via PayPal, each point is worth a little over half a cent. But points redeemed via Amazon gift card are worth less than one cent.
M$M tip: Sign up for multiple survey sites to have the most money-making opportunities. That’s because these are market research companies and they all partner with different brands and companies. You can find a comprehensive list of survey apps to make money at: 11 Best Survey Sites to Make Money in 2021.
Mistplay is an Android-only app that pays you for playing games on your phone. You can earn points while you play and extra points for finishing competitions. It’s a social app, so you can play with friends and even chat in the app.
Mistplay pays in units that you can convert to a Visa gift card or gift cards to Amazon, GameStop, PlayStation, Google Play, and more.
This money-making app is actually a game-testing site for game developers, which is why they’re willing to pay you to play games. You’ll be asked to give feedback while you play and help identify glitches.
Because you earn points based on different factors — the region you're in, the amount of time you spend playing, and the level you’re at — it’s hard to estimate how much this app pays.
However, I read through Reddit reviews for Mistplay and found someone who has earned $95 in 7 months. Another user averaged $10 a month, and someone else earned $210 in a little over 13 months.
6. Long Game
Long Game is part game and part saving account app. You use this free money app to set savings goals, and as you meet saving goals and use your Long Game debit card, you earn coins to play games. You can earn actual cash playing games, and you will never lose money playing games on Long Game.
It’s free to create an account on Long Game, but you’ll need to bank with one of their partner banks to use the app. They currently partner with Varo Bank, NBKC, and Aspiration.
7. Wealth Words
Wealth Words is an app that pays you to play crossword puzzles. Yes, you can make real money playing games, but there is a catch…
You have to link a credit or debit card number when you sign up for the app and purchase tokens to play. You make money if you complete the puzzle correctly.
I’ve read several reviews, and they’re mixed. Some people think the app is an easy way to make extra money and others call it a scam. I say proceed with caution.
The Slidejoy app pays to rent your lock screen, and instead of choosing your lock screen image, SlideJoy shows you news stories and promotions.
Slidejoy pays in points that they call carats, which convert to cash. The rate is 1,000 points = $1, and you need to earn 1,575 points before you can cash out.
Most users will earn around 10-20 carats per day, which isn’t a lot but it’s super passive because all you have to do is let Slidejoy use your lock screen.
You can cash out your earnings to a gift card for several major online retailers, or get paid in cash via Paypal.
MobileXpression is one of a couple of the best money-making apps that pays you to see how you use data on your phone. You simply download MobileXpression and it runs in the background while you use your phone like you normally do.
I know data collection might raise some red flags for some people, but remember that there are so many apps that are already collecting your data. MobileXpression isn’t collecting any sensitive or personal information. They only want info on how you use your phone.
MobileXpression doesn’t pay much – $5/month is the average. Both Android and Apple users can download MobileXpression, but it works best with Android phones.
The Honeygain app pays you for unused internet data. You download the app and it creates a gateway for other companies to use for search queries. Don’t worry, these are nefarious searches. It’s stuff like keyword analysis and online research.
Honeygain pays in credits that you redeem for cash, and the rate is 1 credit for 10 MB of traffic. To give you an idea of how much that’s with, 10GB = $1. You can cash out when your account hits $20, and it takes around 48 days on average to earn that much.
The Honeygain app pays via PayPal or in Bitcoin.
If you use the referral link below, you are eligible to claim $5.
11. Embee Performance Meter
The Embee Performance Meter is a money-making app for Android users that runs in the background and collects data on network performance and how you use your phone.
Like MobileXpression, Embee Performance Meter is not collecting any sensitive data, like passwords or account numbers. This app only wants to know how you use your phone.This app will pay you around $0.10-$0.40/day on average. That’s not a lot of money, but you can earn passive money from the app because it doesn’t require any extra work from you besides downloading it.
Ibotta pays you cashback for in-store and online shopping, and it’s one of the best money-making apps for cashback because it’s so easy to use. Ibotta currently partners with over 1,500 different brands and retailers.
The easiest way to make money with Ibotta is to link your store loyalty accounts to the app, and they will automatically link your purchases to qualifying offers. There are a couple of other ways to claim offers: watching short videos or taking a picture of your receipt and uploading it in the app.
The Ibotta app pays you for referring friends – it’s $5 for each friend who signs up through your link. The app tracks your earnings, and you can cash out when you reach $20.
Ibotta pays cash via PayPal or Venmo, and you can also have your cash transferred to a store gift card.
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is an app that pays you cashback for shopping online through their app. This is a straightforward money-making app, and here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a free Rakuten account
- Browse offers in the app
- Click on the offer you want to claim
- Rakuten sends you to the partner site
- Shop how you normally would
Rakuten pays you a percentage back of your total purchase price. Some of their current offers are 4% cashback at Old Navy, 2% cashback at Sephora, and 6% cashback at Walmart.
Rakuten tracks your earnings in the app and sends out a check or pays real money via PayPal every quarter.
Paribus is a free money app that monitors your online purchases and helps you take advantage of price drop refunds. Paribus is owned by Capital One and has already found over $29 million in potential savings for customers.
The way Paribus works is that you sign up for the app and give it access to your email. I know that sounds sketchy, but they’re not scanning for personal information, just the names of online merchants, sale prices, and dates.
Paribus scans through all of that information and compares it with current prices, coupons, and the retailer’s policy on price drop refunds. If they find an opportunity to get you cash back, the app negotiates on your behalf for a refund.
Here’s an example of how you can make money back with Paribus: say you just bought a blender at Target and the price drops the next week by $10, Paribus will contact Target and process a $10 cashback refund.
Seated is an app where you can earn rewards for restaurant takeout, delivery, and reservations — up to 30% back each time. There are over 1,500 restaurant and bars that have partnered with Seated.
The way this money-making app works is that you find a restaurant or bar in the app, and then you either book a reservation or place an order. Once you’ve paid for your meal, you upload a photo of your receipt and earn the reward. Rewards vary by restaurant, but they average $10-$20 according to Seated.
The Seated app keeps track of your rewards, and you can redeem them for gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Nordstrom, and more. Gift cards are almost as good as cash if these are places you’re already shopping.
Seated is currently available in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. And it has plans to expand to more cities across the U.S.
Earn rewards with Seated
16. Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) is a comparison shopping app that helps you save money on things you’re buying with features like:
- Automatically finding applying coupon codes
- Comparing prices online
- Price drop notifications that tell you when things you’ve been looking at go on sale
Linking your credit or debit card lets you unlock local offer that help you earn reward points that can be redeemed for gift cards or or Capital One Shopping credits.
This free money app is available even if you don’t have a Capital One credit card.
DoorDash is one of the most popular food delivery services in the U.S., and it’s a great app to make money if you’re up for starting a side hustle. DoorDash drivers make around $12 to $15/hour on average, and you can start making money about 1 week after signing up.
The DoorDash app is your hub for scheduling hours, accepting orders, getting delivery instructions, and getting paid. You’ll be able to look at the app and see driver incentives to help you make more money, like Peak Pay when delivering during super busy times and Challenge pay for completing a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
Postmates is super flexible for drivers because you don’t have to schedule hours in advance. You can open the app and log in whenever you have some extra time and want to make money.
Drivers earn around $10-$15 an hour and keep all of their tips. Postmates has incentives, like Crushers when you complete a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
If you’re interested in driving for Postmates, here are the requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old (21 in some markets)
- Have access to a reliable vehicle, scooter, or bike
- Car insurance if you’re delivering by car
- Valid driver’s license
- Clean driving record
- Pass a criminal background check
The driver requirements for Postmate are almost identical for these other apps that pay, like DoorDash, Instacart, and Shipt.
Instacart is an app that pays you to deliver groceries, and it’s become one of the most well-known food delivery services since it was launched in 2012.
Customers open the app and place orders, giving Instacart shoppers exact directions for what to buy, how much, and what kind of substitutions they’ll accept. Shoppers accept orders in the app, get directions to the store, use an Instacart debit card to pay for the order, and the app gives you delivery directions.
Instacart shoppers average $12/hour.
Shipt is another on-demand grocery delivery service. It started as a membership-only delivery service in 2014, but they ditched that model and opened it up to anyone. Since then, it’s expanded to nationwide delivery.
The requirements to drive for Shipt are the same as the rest of these apps that pay you to drive, but Shipt drivers are required to wear a Shipt shirt when shopping.
Shipt says drivers can earn up to $22/hour, but the pay is closer to $15/hour in most markets.
The Decluttr app pays you for your used tech, like cell phones, gaming consoles, video games, tablets, DVDs, and laptops. You can see how much Decluttr will pay you for your stuff in the app, and you aren’t committed to selling to Decluttr if you don’t like the offer.
Decluttr saves the offer for 28 days so you can keep the valuation while you decide if it’s worth it or not. When you decide to sell, Decluttr gives you a paid shipping label so you can ship it to them, and they pay the day after they receive the item.
Poshmark is an online marketplace where you can sell gently used clothes, shoes, accessories, and more. Poshmark facilitates the entire process — making it easy to list your clothes, process payments, and they send you a prepaid shipping label once you’ve made a sale. They also cover lost packages and handle issues between buyer and seller.
Poshmark does charge a selling fee. It’s $2.95 for sales under $15 and a 20% commission for sales of $15 or more.
Fiverr is a freelancing marketplace where you can create a profile and list services for writing, proofreading, graphic design, web development, and much more. To give you an idea of the kinds of services you can list to make money on Fiverr, here are some other listings I found:
- Drafting legal documents
- Chakra balancing
- Creating Dungeons and Dragons fantasy maps
- Luxury real estate listing videos
If you have a marketable skill, Fiverr is one of the best money-making apps to list your service on. You start by creating a profile and outlining what services you offer. You set your prices — I recommend browsing listings in your niche to get an idea of what other freelancers are charging. You can raise your rates and offer extra services once you’ve completed a few gigs.
Fiverr takes 20% of each transaction, and you’re paid via PayPal, direct deposit, or a Fiverr revenue card (a prepaid debit card).
Investing is a long game, but it’s one of the best ways to grow long-term wealth. The problem is that many people feel that investing is completely unattainable because of a lack of knowledge and perceived high cost.
Stash is a micro-investing app that you can use to start investing for as little as $5. Stash sells micro, or fractional shares, of stocks and ETFs, so you can buy $5 of Apple stock instead of having to pay the full $134 a share (price at time of publication).
You still earn dividends and see your shares grow (and decline), but Stash and other popular micro-investment apps break down some of the barriers to traditional investing.
Stash costs $1 per month for an individual brokerage account, and you can learn more about how Stash works at Stash Invest Review | Start Investing For $5.
For first time investors who don’t feel comfortable picking their own investments, Betterment is a solid choice to start with. Betterment is a robo-advisor, which is a type of investment app that automates the entire investing process for you, from picking your investments to automatically purchasing shares.
Betterment starts by asking you questions about your long and short-term goals and your current finance. It then selects one of five different portfolios that have the asset allocation you need to meet your goals.
You set up automatic withdrawals and Betterment takes care of the rest. It deposits money into your investment account each month and rebalances your portfolio if it drifts too much as stock prices change.
Betterment charges 0.25% annual fee, which works out to $2.50 for every $1,000 you have invested. It’s a hands-off investment experience if you want to start investing, but feel like you don’t have the knowledge or energy to keep up with it.
The final word on apps that pay you
There’s a big difference in apps to make money. The ones that sound super easy – playing games or taking surveys on Survey Junkie – are legit, but you’re not going to quit your day job playing games online.
Apps that pay more, like Postmates or Instacart, require more work. That should make sense. There’s no magic app that’s going to pay you hundreds of dollars a day for playing solitaire or Googling things.
Bottom line, there is something out there for everyone, whether you’re looking for a side hustle or fast, easy cash.
You can make the most money with side hustle apps like DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates. It’s not mindless work like taking online surveys, but you can make $500 to $1,000/month in your spare time.
If you need $50 fast, start selling your stuff online. You can unload old tech to make quick cash on Decluttr, list items for sale in online selling groups, or sell on Facebook Marketplace.
Yes! This article lists +20 different apps that pay you. Some of these apps pay minimally, like survey sites and passive apps. The ones that pay the most, delivery apps, require more work from you.
All of the apps in this article are legit and known for being some of the best money-making apps. You can spot ones that aren’t legit by paying attention to anything that seems too good to be true. For example, if an app says it will pay you $100 to take one survey, it’s probably not legit. Or it requires way more work than surveys normally require.