Passive income is the dream, right? Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep? But, not all passive income apps are created the same: some require investments while others don’t, which means there is something for everyone.
We’re diving into the best passive income apps of 2023, explaining how they work and the ratings for each. Our list breaks down everything from apps that make it easy to invest in real estate, stocks, and fine wine, but we also have apps for making passive income with your house, car, or even by watching videos.
Let’s jump in with our top recommendations!
Invest in commercial real
estate for as little as $10
Make passive income renting
out storage space in your house
Commission-free investing in
stocks and ETFs for as little as $1
Fundrise is offering new
customers a $10 bonus
New clients receive a free stock
Andrew Carnegie famously said that 90% of the world’s millionaires grew their wealth through real estate. Considering that Carnegie died in 1919, many of those millionaires he talked about would be billionaires by today’s standards.
Real estate is still considered one of the best ways to grow your wealth. There’s passive cash flow, appreciation, tax benefits, leverage, and more. The problem is that real estate feels completely inaccessible to most people. That’s where Fundrise comes in — you can start investing in commercial real estate for only $10.
Fundrise specializes in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which are modeled after mutual funds and create a large pool of individual investors to fund large scale projects — think apartment complexes, office buildings, and retail developments. Learn more in our full Fundrise review.
2. M1 Finance
One of the easiest ways to make passive income is to put your checking or savings to work in a high yield account. APYs have been low over the past couple of years, but recent Fed interest rate hikes mean savings account APYs are going back up, which is good news if you like stashing cash.
We recommend M1 Finance if you’re looking for a passive income app designed for checking and savings, and M1 Finance currently offers an APY of 1.30% — this is 43x higher than the national average.
The M1 Finance app is also built for investing, and there are commission free trades. This is ideal for customers who want to keep everything in one place.
Want to invest in stocks, ETFs, or crypto? Robinhood is an intuitive investment app with $0 commissions. This investment app actually pioneered the $0 commission model with many other passive investment apps and brokerages following suit.
If you’re concerned about the state of the stock market, remember that investing is a long-term way to build wealth. A bear market means stock prices are low, so now is the perfect time to start investing. Robinhood has a $1 minimum investment, and every new account holder receives a free stock. Read our full Robinhood review for more information.
Did you know that you can get paid to watch videos? Swagbucks is a market research company that will pay users to watch videos, search the web, take surveys, and shop online. This passive income app isn’t going to yield serious returns, but it’s easy money.
The way Swagbucks works is that you earn points for every task you complete on the app, and once you have $5 in points, you can cash out with PayPal or gift cards. It’s free to sign up, and you need to be at least 13 to use Swagbucks. Learn more in our full Swagbucks review.
- New users can earn a $10 sign-up bonus
- Get paid in points to watch movies, shop online, take surveys, and search the web
- Points convert to PayPal cash or gift cards
Neighbor is a peer-to-peer rental app where you can make money renting out unused space in your house. The idea is that people pay you to store their stuff in your house, and Neighbor protects you with a $1,000,000 Host Guarantee to cover any personal liability.
Here’s an example of how much you can make with different spaces on Neighbor:
- Bedroom $30-$140/month
- Closet $10-$150/month
- Garage $125-$340/month
- Self-storage unit $20-$80/month
- Earn passive income renting out storage space in your house
- Property owners set their own rates and can meet with renters in advance
iOS rating: 4.6
iOS rating: 4.4
The micro-investing app Acorns app makes it possible to invest your spare change with its Round-Ups feature. The way it works is that you link a debit or credit card to your Acorns account, and when you pay with that card, Acorns will automatically round up the transaction to the next dollar amount and invest the difference.
For example: if you buy an iced coffee for $3.63, Acorns will round that up to $4 and automatically invest the $0.37 difference.
Your funds are invested in one of five pre-built portfolios designed to align with your short and long-term goals. Acorns accounts start at $3/month for a personal account. Learn more in our comprehensive Acorns review.
The Stash passive income app says it can “help anyone improve their financial life,” and they do that with features for budgeting, saving, and investing. Stash offers DIY or pre-built investment portfolios and access to more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs.
What we like about Stash is the way they’ve organized their offerings into different categories. For example, if you’re interested in socially responsible ETFs, you can easily browse that category and make one-time or recurring investments in an ETF of your choosing.
Stash accounts begin at $3/month, and you can learn more in our Stash Invest review.
- There is a minimum investment of $5
- Stash features include individual, retirement, and custodial investment accounts; banking access with a Stock Back card; life insurance policies; and investment advice
iOS rating: 4.7
Android rating: 4.0
The Upside app (formerly known as GetUpside) is a cash back rewards app that pays you up to $0.25 back per gallon of gas. It’s 100% free to sign up for Upside, and you're paid in cash — not points that convert to cash.
The way Upside works is that it offers a map showing which gas stations and groceries stores in your area are offering the most cash back. You select the offer, and then go get gas like you normally would. Then you check in with Upside after you’ve made your purchase to claim your cash back. For more details, check out our Upside review.
Since you’re already grocery shopping, then you might as well earn cash back on your purchases with Ibotta. This passive income app will give you up to 30% cash back at thousands of top retailers, like Walmart, H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Meijer, Kroger, and more.
HyreCar says the average car owner earns $720/month! HyreCar takes a 15% to 25% commission on every rental, and this helps them offer up to $1,000,000 liability coverage in the event of physical damage or theft. You can find more information in our HyreCar review.
The HappyNest app combines the benefits of commercial real estate investing with the spare change investment model. You’re investing in REITs (real estate investment trusts), which are shares of investment holdings, not the property itself, and HappyNest holdings collect rents from major tenants like CVS and FedEx.
You can start with just $10 a month, and HappyNest is giving new investors an additional $10 to get started.
The way this passive income app works is that you create your account (there is no fee to get started) and connect a bank account. You can set up recurring or one-time deposits, and you can also let the app round up transactions from a link card and invest the difference.
Passively saving money is almost as good as passively making money, and that’s why we recommend Truebill. The Truebill app cancels unused subscriptions and negotiates for lower rates on your cable, internet, phone, and medical bills. Think of it as a personal assistant for your finances.
Most of Truebill services are free, including goal-based savings account, bank fee negotiation, medical bill negotiation, plus finding and canceling unwanted subscriptions. However, Truebill charges 15% of your savings when it negotiates for lower rates on your cable, internet, and phone bills.
The Public app is designed as the first-ever free trading app to include a social feed showing what industry leaders and other Public investors are doing with their money. The Public app offers commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, and crypto, and they are about to launch an alternative investments program with NFTs, art, and collectibles.
What we really like about this passive income app is that it’s committed to no payment for order flow (PFOF), which is a form of compensation that a brokerage receives for directing trade execution to a larger exchange or market maker. Learn more in our Public app review.
Have you heard of bank churning before? The premise is that you move your checking or savings accounts around to different banks every few months to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. This is a unique source of passive income that puts your cash to work for you.
Whether you’re interested in churning accounts or simply a better bank account, SoFi is currently offering up to a $300 cash bonus for new customers. You must set up direct deposit and your bonus is tied to how much is deposited into your SoFi account via direct deposit over the course of 30 days. The minimum bonus is $50.
- This passive income app also offers investment accounts, personal loans, student loan refinancing, insurance quotes, and much more
- Terms and conditions apply to SoFi’s cash bonus offer
TaDa is a passive income app and browser extension that pays cash back on groceries. You can earn up to 20% back on purchases at nationwide retailers like Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and more. Plus, new users can claim a $10 sign-up bonus on their first order!
It’s 100% free to sign up and use TaDa, and you’re paid via PayPal or with over 80 different gift card options.
- Download the TaDa app or browser extension to earn cash back when you shop
- TaDa is partnered with Prodege, a market research company that also owns Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and MyPoints
iOS rating: 4.7
Android rating: 3.2
Uphold is a one-stop-shop passive income app for buying, selling, and trading multiple assets. Not only can you buy crypto, Uphold offers precious metal investing and fractional shares of U.S. equities (stocks).
Here are the types of metals currently traded on Uphold:
Uphold also offers a debit card that can be used to pay with crypto, metals, currencies, or whatever other assets are held with Uphold.
The Fetch Rewards app pays you points on any receipt from any store. Then you redeem those points for gift cards and other rewards. You can earn extra points for joining clubs for popular brands like Pepsi or Huggies.
While Fetch isn’t a cash back app, it’s really similar in that you earn passively while you’re shopping. It also has a referral program that pays you for inviting your friends and family to sign up and use Fetch.
Want to combine your love for wine and passive income? I mean, who doesn’t? That’s where VinoVest comes in — it’s one of a couple of newer passive income apps designed for investing in fine wine, which yielded a 13.6% annual returns over the past 15 years.
Here’s how VinoVest works:
- Create an account and fill out a short questionnaire about your goals
- There are four investment tiers, starting at $1,000
- VinoVest uses master sommeliers and quantitative investment models to build your portfolio
- Earn returns as your portfolio of wines has matured enough to sell for a higher price (typically 10-15 years)
VinoVest will also ship you wines from your portfolio, and they currently have a trading platform in beta mode.
Have you dreamed of investing in gold bricks or coins? Now you can do that with Vaulted!
Vaulted is another one of the best passive income apps for alternative investments, and you can start investing for as little as $10. Your investment is stored by the Royal Canadian Mint, or you can have it shipped to you once you’ve purchased a kilo bar worth of gold. Vaulted says kilo bars are the most efficient way to own gold, which is why they choose to allocate assets this way. You can track the value of your gold investment through the Vaulted app.
- Start investing in gold for as little as $10
- Fees: One-time 1.8% fee in all buy and sell transactions, and an annual maintenance fee of 0.40% or 40 points
iOS rating: 4.8
Android rating: 4.4
20. Embee Performance Meter
The Embee Mobile Performance Meter is a truly passive income app that you download and let run in the background collecting data on network performance and how you use your phone. You use your phone like you normally would, and Embee sees what you’re doing and sends you small payments.
You can expect to make around $0.10-$0.40/day, and Embee Meter pays out once you’ve earned $5. This app pays via PayPal or gift cards.
Embee Performance Meter Overview
- Shares collected data with Neilsen, a well-known market research firm
- Only available for Android devices
Android rating: 4.1
MobileXpression is a passive income app that runs in the background and collects data about how you use your phone. You’re paid in points each week that you can redeem for gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Best Buy, and more. You can expect to earn around $5/month in passive income.
As far as data concerns, MobileXpression is not collecting texts, photos, downloads, calendar entries, contacts from your address book, passwords, or other sensitive and personal data.
- Earn around $5/month
- Some users report that it drains your phone’s battery
- Android app only
Android rating: 4.0
This Android-only passive income app is several things rolled in one — you can take surveys for money and get paid when you refer friends. But the really passive part is the browser extension you install and let run in the background.
You can make around $5/month with SavvyConnect, and it pays in cash via check. Taking surveys on the site can bring in an extra $1-$3/month. That’s not passive, but it’s a little extra cash in your pocket and super easy.
Savvy Connect Overview
- Make money as the app collects data or by taking surveys
- Pays approximately $1-$3/month
Android rating: 3.4
How can I earn passive income? The final word
Passive income will always take some kind of investment, whether it’s money, time, effort, and so on.
Investing in the stock market with Robinhood or starting to invest in commercial real estate with Fundrise are more common passive income ideas. However, if you don’t have the funds at the moment, you can always start with a cash back app like Ibotta or renting out your space on Neighbor.
No matter what you choose, these passive income apps prove that anyone can start generating passive income.