You’ve probably heard of apps that pay you to play games, take surveys, and earn real cash. And 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 way to make extra money in 2021.
I’ve put together a list of completely legit money making apps. These are researched options, and you’ll learn what you can expect to make and how they all work.
20 Apps That Pay You Real Money (Get Paid Cash, PayPal, and Gift Cards)
Apps that pay you to take surveys
1. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie pays you for taking online surveys. It’s similar to most survey sites because it pays you in points first, which converts to real money when you want to cash out.
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.
Survey companies like this use surveys to collect market research to help companies create better products and services. That’s why they’re paying you for your opinion. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s a mindless way to make money while you watch TV, sit in the carpool line, etc.
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.
InboxDollars is another really popular app that pays you for taking online surveys. This app is known for being very 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.
MyPoints is owned by the same company that owns Swagbucks (I’ll tell you more about them in a second). The MyPoints app pays you to take surveys, watch videos, play games, and shop online.
This is another one of the survey apps that pay you 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.
Swagbucks is a well-known app that pays you cashback on in-store and online purchases. But, there are other ways to earn money, from playing games in the app and watching videos.
You’re not going to make a ton of money with Swagbucks, but they say it’s typical to earn a couple of dollars a day by spending 15-30 minutes using the app.
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 app can pay you for playing games because it’s actually a game-testing site for game developers. 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 really 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 one of the more unique apps that pays you to play games because Long Game it’s actually a savings account app. Sounds weird, right? Let me explain.
It’s free to create an account on Long Game, and you’re actually creating an FDIC-insured Savings and Spending Account. It’s held by NBKC Bank of Kansas City, and you even earn interest on your account of 0.1% APY.
As you meet savings goals and use your Long Game debit card, you earn coins to play games, and you earn cash when you win a game. You never lose money playing games on Long Game.
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.
Apps that pay you for using your phone
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 legit apps that pay you real money for data about how you use your phone. You simply download MobileXpression and it runs in the background while you use your phone like you normally do.
This app 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.
11. Embee Performance Meter
The Embee Performance Meter is an Android app that you download and let run in the background collecting data on network performance and how you use your phone.
I know that might sound a little sketchy, but 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 very passive money from the app because it doesn’t require any extra work from you besides downloading it.
Apps that pay cashback
The Ibotta app pays you cashback for shopping in-store and online. It’s really similar to Swagbucks in that you find offers in the app and claim them. Sometimes you have to watch a short video or answer a quick poll to earn the offer.
You can also link your store loyalty accounts to Ibotta, and the app will automatically link your purchases to qualifying offers. You can take pictures of your receipt and upload them in the app to claim offers on in-store purchases.
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. 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% back at Petsmart, 8% back at The Gap, and $12.50 back on a subscription to FabFitFun.
Rakuten tracks your earnings in the app and sends out a check or pays real money via PayPal every quarter.
Paribus is a free price monitoring app that scans 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. 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.
Apps that pay you to drive
You can make money driving and delivering food with the DoorDash app. DoorDash and these next few apps that pay you to drive are where you can earn the most money.
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.
DoorDash drivers make around $12-$15/hour, and you keep 100% of your tips.
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.
Apps that pay you for your stuff
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 does save the offer – it’s called a valuation – for 28 days in case you change your mind. 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.
ThredUp is an online consignment store, and this app will pay you for your gently used, on-trend clothing. ThredUp’s buying process uses what they call a Clean Out Kit. Here’s how it works:
- Request a free Clean Out Kit from ThredUp
- Fill it with clothes – ThredUp is notoriously picky, so only send things that are still in good condition
- Send the kit back to ThredUp with a prepaid shipping label
- ThredUp goes through your stuff and keeps what will sell
- You get paid once your items sell
ThredUp pays real money via PayPal, with Visa gift cards, or ThredUp credits.
The final word on apps that pay you
There’s a big difference in the kinds of apps that pay you. 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 a little extra easy cash.
The fastest way to make $50 is to sign up and start delivering food through an app like Postmates, DoorDash, Instacart, or Shipt. You can realistically expect to make $50-$100/day.
Next to that, I recommend selling your stuff online, and besides Decluttr and ThredUp, there are a lot more great apps for selling stuff.
All of the apps on this list are 100% legit. That being said, there are scam apps out there. Even some of the legit apps have caveats, like Wealth Words being an app that you have to spend some money on to possibly make money.
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 app, require more work from you.