The best apps to make money in 2021 put money-making technology right in your pocket. There are survey sites, apps to watch videos, cashback apps, side hustle apps, investing apps, and more.
You’re not going to get rich from money-making apps alone, but these apps are easy and fast ways to start making more money.
Today, you’re going to learn about my top app picks, how they work, and anything else you need to know to start making money from your phone.
23 Best Apps to Make Money in 2021
Swagbucks is a cashback app that helps you earn money back on in-store and online purchases. That’s why it’s one of the best apps to make money – you’re already shopping, why not earn some back on your purchases?
It’s 100% free to sign up and start using Swagbucks, and there are a couple of really easy ways to use it to start making money:
- Browse through the Swagbucks app and claim cashback offers. Clicking on the offer activates it, and then Swagbucks sends you to the partner store so you can shop online and earn money back.
- Buy gift cards through Swagbucks and earn a percentage of each gift card purchase back.
- Find grocery store coupon in the Swagbucks app and use them when you shop.
Swagbucks pays you in points that convert to cash, and the conversion is 100 Swagbucks = $1. You can redeem your points for PayPal cash, Visa gift cards, or gift cards to over 140 different companies.
Ibotta is another app to make money on your purchase, and it’s already paid out over $860 million since 2012.
You can make money when you shop online or in-store. Online shopping is the easiest way to earn cashback with Ibotta – you find and claim offers in the app, and then Ibotta sends you to its partner site to shop as you normally would.
Connecting your store’s loyalty program to the Ibotta app is also a really easy way to claim offers. You can even pay with the Ibotta app when you shop in-store.
Ibotta gives you more options to make money, including bonus offers, bonus streaks (when you buy the same brand or product several times in a row), and referring friends. Ibotta gives you $5 for each friend who signs up through your link and starts redeeming offers.
It takes 2 minutes to sign up for Ibotta, and Ibotta lets you claim your cash once your account hits $20. Ibotta pays via PayPal or Venmo, or you can redeem your cash for store gift cards.
Rakuten is another one of the best apps to make money on your purchases, but you may know this app by its former name, Ebates.
Here’s exactly how Rakuten 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 3% back at BestBuy, 2% back at Macy’s, and 6% back at Ulta Beauty.
Your earnings are tracked in the app, and Rakuten sends out payments every quarter. They call it a Big Fat Check, and you can receive it in the mail or via PayPal.
4. Embee Performance Meter
The Embee Performance Meter is a super passive money making app. It’s an app Android users can download, and then let run in the background collecting data on network performance and how you use your phone.
You use your phone like you normally would – that’s the point – and Embee pays you for data it collects on your usage. You can make around $0.10-$0.40/day from Embee. That’s not a lot of money, but Embee is one of the best apps to make money because the only thing you need to do is download it.
MobileXpression is another free money app that you download and let it collect data about how you use your phone.
It’s important to know that these apps are not collecting photos, downloads, calendar entries, passwords, contacts, or any other sensitive data. They only want information about how you use your phone.
You can make around $5/month with MobileExpression. Both Android and Apple users can download MobileXpression, but it works best with Android phones.
The Honeygain app lets you make money from your unused internet data by creating a gateway that other companies can use to run search queries for their clients. These are super legit searches, like collecting data for price comparisons or search engine optimization.
You make money based on how much of your unused internet data Honeygain can use, and the current rate is 1 credit for 10 MB of traffic. 10 GB of unused data = $1.
Honeygain tracks how much you’re earning, and you can cash out once your account hits $20. The app estimates that it takes about 48 days for you to reach $20 in your account.
Slidejoy is an app that shows you new stories or promotions on your lock screen. Slidejoy rents your lock screen and pays you in points (Slidejoy calls them carats) that convert to cash. 1,000 points = $1. You need to earn 1,575 points before you can cash out.
Most users will earn around 10-20 carats per day, which means it will take you around 79-157 days for you to earn $1.57. I know that’s not a lot of money at all, but I’m including it on my list of money-making apps because it’s easy, easy money.
8. Survey Junkie
You can make money taking surveys through Survey Junkie’s free app. Survey Junkie is one of the most well-known survey companies, and it only takes about 5 minutes to sign up and start using.
Like most survey companies, Survey Junkie pays in points that convert to cash. One point = $0.01, and you need 500 points to cash out.
If you’re unfamiliar with survey companies, they’re market research companies that pay you for your opinions. The information they collect is used by brands to create better products and services.
To qualify for the most surveys, you’ll want to fill out short questionnaires called profiles. There are profiles for health, fitness, technology, and hobbies, and they help match you with surveys. Survey Junkie pays you 5-10 points for profiles, and the average survey pays 100 to 300 points.
Your Survey Junkie points can be converted to cash via PayPal. Or you can redeem points as gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and more.
You’re not going to make a ton of survey apps, but it’s mindless work. I took surveys when I was in college and paying off my student loan debt, and I did them when I was unwinding at the end of the day and watching TV. You can even use these apps to make money while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, in the carpool line, and more.
MyPoints is a survey app that’s owned by the same company that owns Swagbucks (at the top of my list of money making apps). MyPoints is also free to sign up for, and you can make money taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and shopping online.
MyPoints also pays in points, and 150 points are worth approximately $1.
Surveys on MyPoints pay an average of $1-$3/survey, and the cash out minimum depends on how you want to get paid. For example, you’ll need 250 points to redeem for a $1 Amazon gift card or 1,500 points for a $10 Visa gift card.
10. Opinion Outpost
Like the last two survey sites, Opinion Outpost is another market research company that pays for you for opinions on products and services. Opinion Outpost occasionally offers product testing opportunities as well
Surveys on Opinion Outpost take around 10-15 minutes on average and pay $0.50-$2. Longer surveys are rare, but they pay upwards of $5.
Opinion Outpost also has a referral program where you can earn $1 for every friend you refer up to $5. They have to complete at least one survey before you’re paid.
InboxDollars is another one of the top money-making apps for surveys. They are very straightforward about what you can expect to make – surveys take anywhere from 3 to 25 minutes and pay $0.50-$5 per survey.
It’s free to sign up, download, and start taking surveys with the InboxDollars app. They pay via check, PayPal, or gift cards.
TaskRabbit is an app where you create a profile and list different kinds of small jobs or tasks you’re willing to do for people. This can be things like raking leaves, assembling IKEA furniture, hanging photos, or small household repairs.
There’s a $25 registration fee to start using this money-making app, but you keep 100% of what you charge for each task.
Here’s how the TaskRabbit app works:
- You create a profile listing your services, prices, and any qualifications (when applicable)
- People who have a task that needs to be completed search the app and browse through profiles
- Potential customers contact you via the TaskRabbit app
- You’re paid within 3-5 days after you’ve completed the task
Fiverr is an app that freelancers can use to list their services and find paying clients. What’s cool about Fiverr is that you can sell pretty much any kind of freelance service you can think of.
When I searched, I found someone who creates Dungeons and Dragons fantasy maps, Chakra balancing, business branding, luxury real estate listing videos, and drafting legal documents.
If you have a marketable skill and want to make money with the Fiverr app, it’s free to sign up and create an account. You set your own prices, but Fiverr does take 20% of each transaction.
Some of the most in-demand services on Fiverr right now are logo design, creating custom WordPress sites, SEO work, voiceovers, creating whiteboard and animated explainers, social media marketing, and illustration.
Decluttr is one of the best apps to make money selling things from around your house. Decluttr is specifically for selling tech, like cell phones, tablets, video game consoles, DVDs, etc. You can also sell textbooks, children’s books, and Legos on Decluttr.
Decluttr makes it easy to make money because you simply scan the barcode on your item or search for it in the app. Decluttr tells you exactly how much they will pay for your items and will send you a paid shipping label to send it to them.
Once Decluttr receives your item, they give it a quick look over and then pay you the next day via PayPal or direct deposit.
It’s free to see how much Decluttr will pay you for your stuff, and there’s no obligation to sell to them if you don’t see a price you like.
I did a quick check to see how much Decluttr will pay me for my old iPhone 8. It took 2 minutes to get a valuation of $120 for my old phone.
Poshmark is another one of the best apps to make money selling stuff from your house, and this app specializes in women’s and men’s clothing, shoes, and accessories.
It’s free to download and start listing items for sale on Poshmark. You’ll want well-written descriptions of each item to make it easier for buyers to find them. Be honest about any flaws or issues with each item – customers want honesty. Pictures should be clear and show buyers exactly what they’re getting.
When a potential buyer is interested in your item, they contact and pay you via the app. You ship it out and get paid after the buyer receives the item.
Poshmark charges a small fee for sales. There is a flat $2.95 fee for sales under $15, and the fee is 20% of the item price for sales above $15.
OfferUp is an app for selling all kinds of items. They recently took over Letgo, another popular selling app, to become the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S.
Buyers can search their local area, or they can look nationwide. You can sell cars, clothing, furniture, appliances, books, tech, and more.
There are no fees for creating an account, listing items, and selling them on OfferUp. The only time you’ll encounter a fee if you’re shipping items out. There’s the cost of shipping plus a small service fee.
Paribus is a free price monitoring app that scans your online purchases and helps you take advantage of price drop refunds. It’s owned by Capital One and has already found over $29 million in potential savings for customers. Here’s how that works:
- Sign up for Paribus
- Give Paribus access to scan your emails – they are only looking for the names of online merchants, sale prices, and dates, not sensitive information
- Paribus scans to see if you’ve missed a coupon or if a price has dropped
- If they find an opportunity to save you money, Paribus negotiates on your behalf for a refund
For example, if you bought a vacuum online from Walmart for $250 and then the price drops to $200 a week later, Paribus will try to get that $50 back for you.
Paribus isn’t so much of a money-making app as it is a money-saving app, but the money back in your pocket feels a lot like making money.
Trim is another app that can help put money back in your pocket, and it works by negotiating your bills and canceling subscriptions for you.
After you download Trim and sign up, you connect your bank and credit card accounts. The Trim bot looks through your transactions to find recurring subscriptions. Trim sends you a message about the transaction and asks if you want them to cancel it.
The idea is that it’s way too easy to sign up for subscription-based services and never cancel them. Trim will cancel those unused subscriptions for you for free.
Trim can also negotiate for lower rates on your cable service, internet, and cell service. They do charge for this service (33% of the total amount you’ll save annually), but Trim only charges for this service if they can save you money.
One of the barriers to investing for many people is the perceived high cost. That’s why Acorns is on my list of best apps to make money – you can literally invest your spare change.
Acorns is a micro-investing app that rounds up transactions from a linked account and invests the difference. For example, if you spend $4.37 on a latte, Acorns rounds that transaction up to $5 and invests the $0.63 difference.
Your money is invested in one of five different portfolios that you’re matched with based on your financial goals. Acorns’ portfolios are built using Modern Portfolio Theory, an investing strategy created by Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz.
Investing with spare change alone isn’t enough to fund your retirement, which is why you can also set up recurring deposits for larger amounts of money.
Acorns has three different account types starting at $1//month for a personal investment account.
Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental app where you can make passive money from your car when you’re not using it. It’s like Airbnb but for cars. It’s appealing to customers because Turo saves them around 25% of the rental costs at big rental car companies.
The idea is that instead of letting your car sit idly in the driveway or garage, you can let your car work for you. Listing your car on Turo can be a way to offset the cost of your car payments or make extra money to pay off debt, save, etc.
It’s 100% free to create an account on Turo and list your car. They help you set a good listing price, but you’re in control of how much you list your car for and when it’s available.
The Turo app notifies you when someone requests to book your vehicle. If you agree to the booking, you’ll meet the renter, do a once over of your vehicle, check the fuel level and mileage, and hand over the keys.
Turo covers you and your car with a $1 million liability policy from Liberty Mutual, and there’s also 24/7 roadside assistance for renters.
You keep 65%-90% of the daily rental price of your car. The amount varies based on what kind of extras you provide, like prepaid fuel charges or post-trip cleanings.
Rover is an app where you create a profile and list dog walking and pet sitting services. It’s possibly the best money making app for pet lovers!
It’s free to sign up and create a profile on Rover. You list what kind of services you’re willing to offer, the type of pets you’ll work with, pricing, and when you’re available. Rates vary based on the market you’re in, so dog walking in a place like San Francisco or Chicago will command higher rates than in smaller towns or suburbs.
You can earn more with Rover if you’re willing to offer additional services like bathing, grooming, boarding, pick-up and drop-off, and pet sitting over holidays.
Customers contact you and book via the Rover app. Rover handles the entire payment process too, and you can access your funds two days after you’ve completed a service. Rover charges a 30% service fee per booking.
Delivering food is a seriously flexible way to make extra money, and the overall food delivery industry has experienced extreme growth this past year.
DoorDash has become one of the most popular delivery apps, and you can make $12-$15/hour delivering food from local and chain restaurants in your area.
Dashers, which what DoorDash calls its drivers, schedule their hours in advance in the DoorDash app. When it’s time to work, you log in to the app to start accepting orders. DoorDash offers 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 pays once a week, or you can cash your earnings out early for $1.99.
Postmates is a little more flexible for drivers than Postmates because you can log into the app and start accepting orders for delivery whenever you have spare time.
Drivers earn around $10-$15 an hour, and they are lots of incentives to earn on that higher end of pay. New drivers also get a Starter Guarantee, which is how much Postmates guarantees you’ll earn in your first few weeks of driving. It varies by location, but it’s a good way to see what you realistically expect to make.
The final word on best apps to make money in 2021
Technology has made it possible to pull out your phone and start making money with apps. That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?
You’re not going to get rich from these apps alone. Some of the apps like survey sites and cashback companies help you earn small amounts of money, but they're an easy way to make a little bit of extra money.
What’s great about any of the options on this list is that you can try more than one at a time. You can start delivering food using the Postmates app, earn cashback with Ibotta, and sell your clothes on Poshmark.
Look through this list, find something that works, and get to making extra cash.