Apps offer a lot of ways to make money quickly and easily for people who want to try them out. You can use your phone to take surveys, get a side job, sell your old stuff, and do other things.
Here’s the scoop on seven free apps that can help you make money. NerdWallet looked at apps on both Google Play and the iOS App Store that had at least four stars and 21,000 reviews.
The best apps for making money
What happens: Ibotta lets you get cash back on purchases made in stores or online at more than 2,000 stores. It used to only sell groceries, but now it also sells clothes, things to do and eat out, pet supplies, and other things. Offers can be specific to a product or a store, and some will be applied automatically. For others, you’ll need to do something extra, like watch a video or fill out a poll.
There are three ways to get cash back in stores: add offers and submit your receipt in the app after shopping, link your loyalty accounts with retailers, or buy a gift card from a retailer through the Ibotta app. You can use the app or the Ibotta browser extension on your computer to shop online.
You can pay using PayPal, a digital gift card, or straight from your bank account.
Pros: You get cash back quickly on purchases made in stores, usually within 24 hours. Ibotta also has a variety of payment options and a bonus for new users when they sign up.
Cons: It can take a long time to make money. To cash out, you must have at least $20 in cash back. Some gift cards require at least $25 in cash back. When you shop online, different stores have different waiting periods before you can get cash back.
Rakuten, which used to be called Ebates, gives shoppers up to 40% cash back when they buy from well-known stores, restaurants, and food delivery services. Users can also get cash back on gift cards, travel, and other things. It’s easy to understand: Create an account, tap on the store you want to shop at in the app, and then complete the transaction through the portal. You can also link a credit or debit card to your Rakuten account to get cash back in stores, as long as you activate the deal through the app first. After Rakuten confirms the purchase with the store, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, the cash back is added to your account.
You can pay by PayPal or check.
Pros: You can get cash back from thousands of stores and purchases, so you’ll probably find deals where you already shop. After making their first purchase, new users can get a $10 welcome bonus. You can also get bonuses for signing up and referring others.
Cons: You have to spend money to make money with most cash-back services. You won’t see your earnings right away either. Rakuten sends out payments every three months, and you need at least $5 in cash-back to get paid.
Swagbucks is an app that lets you earn cash back and points. Through Swagbucks, you can shop, take polls, watch videos, play games, and do other things to earn points called “SB.” You can use those points to buy gift cards or get cash back into your PayPal account. The number of points given depends on the task. For instance, most surveys are worth between 40 and 200 SB points each. Depending on which payout option you choose, you need at least a certain amount of SB to redeem, but some gift cards can be bought for as little as 110 SB.
Use a gift card or PayPal to pay.
Pros: There are many easy ways to earn rewards on Swagbucks, and you don’t have to wait to cash out. Most payments arrive within 10 business days after they have been redeemed. When you sign up, you can also get a $10 bonus if you spend $25.
Cons: It doesn’t pay much; one SB is worth about a penny. Since many jobs only pay a few cents, it can take a lot of time and work to make a lot of money. You also won’t be able to do every survey or task. Users say that they are often cut off in the middle of surveys. Swagbucks says this could be because of who is answering or because they are not being honest or consistent.
Fiverr is a freelancing marketplace with gigs in more than 200 categories, like programming, video, and animation. First, make an account. Then, set your profile as a “seller” to show off your skills. Post your gig, which will include the price and a description of what you can do. Buyers, who are clients, can click on the link and place orders. You’ll get paid once you complete the job. Fiverr gives sellers different levels based on how well they do. As you move up each tier, you’ll be able to sell more “extras,” like a faster delivery time.
Payments can be made through PayPal, straight to a bank account, or a Fiverr Revenue Card (a prepaid card). Depending on which option you choose, there are different minimum withdrawal amounts and you may have to pay a withdrawal fee.
Buyers come to you, so you don’t have to worry about finding them. Also, you can get tips.
Cons: Fiverr takes 20% of your earnings, including tips, for every gig you do, and you have to wait 14 days to get your money after completing an order (top-tier sellers wait seven days for funds to clear).
How it works: Upwork connects freelancers to jobs on the marketplace in writing, design, marketing, and other fields. You’ll start by making a profile. It should have information like the field you want to work in, your qualifications, your availability, and the rate you want to be paid. Then you can make suggestions. Clients will look at them and give you work if they like what they see.
Every month, you start with a certain number of “Connects,” which are like credits that let you get in touch with potential clients. You can earn or pay a small amount for more Connects, but clients who contact you won’t cost you anything. You can be paid by the hour or by the project.
Payment can be made directly to U.S. Bank, directly to your bank account, through a wire transfer, Instant Pay, PayPal, or Payoneer. Some ways to pay have fees, so be sure to check Upwork for more information.
Pros: Upwork makes it easier to find clients, start working with them, and get paid. The service also lets you choose your own rate and schedule.
Cons: The app is free to download, but it costs money to get in touch with a lot of clients. A service fee is also charged to users. Upwork keeps between 5% and 20% of your earnings, depending on how much you charged a client. More of what you earn is yours to keep. You won’t get paid, though, until 10 days after the end of the billing period. Also, keep in mind that you are competing with other freelancers on the platform. That means that customers may choose those with lower prices.