Did you know that you can earn extra money directly from your smartphone?
Whether it’s a side hustle, a part-time job, or just something to do in your spare time, there's a ton of money-making apps out there that can be used to earn supplemental income.
Now, it's worth noting that these apps won't make you rich on their own, but using these apps is a great way to get some money on the side by completing simple tasks.
In this post, we'll be mentioning our top 10 money-making apps of 2021, but before we do that, here's a bit of important preliminary info on money-making apps in general.
How to Make Money With Apps
Making money with apps is very straightforward.
In most cases, it’s as simple as downloading the app and creating a profile in it. Depending on the app, though, you might be required to provide more information compared to others.
For example, if you’re using an app like Uber to make money, you’ll need to go through an approval process that can take 5-7 days. On the other hand, there are apps that allow you to make money immediately once you've signed up to them.
You should also make sure you have an active PayPal account, considering that most money-making apps issue payments via PayPal.
What Money-Making App Will Be The Best For You?
As you can expect, not every app you will see on the list below will be ideal for everyone. Because of this, there are a few things you'll need to consider when choosing apps to make money with.
#1 Pay Amount
Like I've said before, most apps won’t get you rich on their own. In fact, plenty of them won’t even qualify as a part-time job or as a side hustle. Therefore, one thing you'll need to consider when choosing an app is how much you want to get paid.
For example, if you want to earn hundreds or thousands of dollars per month, you likely can’t do that by filling out surveys. Instead, you might want to use apps like Uber, Lyft, and OfferUp, which have payment amounts that are way higher.
The next thing you’ll have to consider is how much effort you want to commit.
Do you want to complete small tasks from your smartphone while you’re watching T.V. or waiting for a doctor's appointment? Or do you want to visit retail stores, drive around, meet up with buyers in person, and do some manual labour?
The amount of effort it takes to do a certain task will directly influence the payment amount, and this is something that an app like TaskRabbit illustrates perfectly — after all, moving furniture pays higher than completing a two-minute survey.
#3 Payment Method and Frequency
In most cases, cashouts are facilitated via PayPal. But there are a few apps that let you get paid with cash and will mail you a check.
It's also worth considering that some apps don’t offer cash but reward you with gift cards instead.
You can’t really make a living with Starbucks or Target gift cards alone, but it could still be worth your time if you’re just doing a few small tasks on the side.
Certain money-making apps have redemption restrictions, too — you might not be able to cash out whenever you want. Therefore, make sure you review the payment frequency and full terms before you get started.
#4 Fees and Initial Investment
Most of the apps on the list below are free, but some do require you to pay a fee and/or initial investment.
Taking everything into consideration, the amount you'll have to pay is very low. But if you don’t want to spend any money whatsoever, then only use free apps.
#5 App Reputation
Before you download any money-making apps, you also need to make sure the app has lots of positive reviews. Read the negative reviews too, just to see what unhappy users are saying about the app.
When signing up for these apps, you usually only need an email address to create an account — if any money-making app starts asking for sensitive information, it could be a potential scam.
Top 10 Money-Making Apps of 2021
Here are our top 10 money-making apps of 2021:
Previously known as Ebates, Rakuten is one of the top money-making apps for cash back, offering deals across numerous retailers along with inviting sign-up and referral incentives. Although you have to spend money to make money, the app lets you get a little cash back for purchases you'd be making either way.
After registering, users can browse cashback offers at thousands of retailers, including Amazon, Target, eBay, Best Buy, and Kohl's. To receive cashback, all you need to do is click a retailer in the app (or website) and place an order. You can also select offers in the app and link your card prior to purchasing to receive cashback that way.
Cashback rates vary by retailer, ranging from 1% to 40%. To find any eligible cashback deals, use the app to browse stores, brands, and other categories.
New Rakuten users can get get a $10 bonus after spending $25, and users can also receive a $20 referral bonus for introducing new users who spend $20. When using Rakuten, you'll receive payments through PayPal or check every three months. To qualify for payouts, you must give at least $5 in cashback.
- Up to 40% cashback on purchases from thousands of qualifying retailers
- $10 welcome bonus for spending $25
- $20 bonus for referring new users who spend at least $20
- Browser extension offers additional perks and features
- Payouts occur every three months
- Cashback rates as low as 1%
- Users have reported app freezing issues
- Must accrue $5 in cashback to redeem
Swagbucks is another great option that makes it easy for anyone with a smartphone to make extra money, either by completing a wide variety of tasks or by earning cashback.
The app partners with various marketing companies in order to pay users, and the main compensation method the app uses is awarding Swagbucks (SB), which can be earned by buying products, watching videos, taking surveys, using search engines, and many more activities.
Most tasks are simple to do, but it's worth considering that the amount of SBs you can earn varies widely from task to task. For example, some surveys can take 5 minutes to complete, while others can take about an hour. These surveys give users between 40 to 200 SB upon completion, and considering 100 SB are equal to $1, earning enough points to cash out can take time.
Swagbucks’ survey options are chosen based on demographics. What this means is that in order to be able to access higher-paying surveys, you'll need to meet very specific criteria (like owning a pet boa constrictor or having twins).
As for cashback, you can earn it through in-store purchases if you link a credit card to the app — there's also a $10 joining bonus for new Swagbuck members once they spend $25 in purchases.
Swagbucks can be redeemed immediately upon completion of tasks, but receiving cash via PayPal or gift card codes after converting those Swagbucks could take up to 10 business days.
- You can earn points easily
- You receive a $10 joining bonus if you spend $25
- You can earn 10% more Swagbucks if refer users
- You can convert points into gift cards or cash via PayPal
- Making money with the app takes a while (100 SB = $1)
- Most tasks on the app don't award a lot of points
- Surveys may disqualify you as you're completing them
- Rewards can take up to 10 business days to be redeemed
OfferUp is an online sales app that lets users buy and sell items through its simple and easy-to-use marketplace. You can use the app to sell your items either locally or nationwide.
Users can list products by uploading pictures, entering a description, and setting a price for said product. The neat thing about it, though, is that you can choose to set a firm price where negotiation is out of the question or an asking price that is open to negotiation. Other OfferUp users can communicate with the seller directly through the app to ask questions regarding the product itself or to tell the seller that they're interested in what they're offering.
It's also worth mentioning that users have the option of shipping products, and another interesting feature is that you don't need to monitor offers and messages either — you can set an item to “buy now” mode, attach a set price for shipping, and receive notifications only when the item has been bought.
Once the item reaches its destination, buyers have two days to evaluate it before the sale is deemed finalized. After that happens, the seller will receive their payment within five business days.
OfferUp also offers two main ways for you to promote your items: you can pay the platform to advertise your product or purchase an OfferUp membership, which has two tiers: one that allows you to promote one item at a time, and another that allows you to promote five items at a time.
OfferUp also protects users by recommending safe public meet-up locations when products are shipped locally. These meet-up locations are recommended based on data like lighting, surveillance, and other factors.
- You can message buyers directly through the app
- You only need to upload an image and add a description to start selling
- You can choose between setting a firm price or an asking price
- You'll receive cash for local transactions
- You can ship products nationwide
- You’re responsible for the delivery of the item unless you choose the shipping option
- Shipping an item costs 12,9% of what you earn with it
Uber is a ridesharing and food delivery app that makes it easy for anyone with a car to earn at their convenience, provided they qualify as an Uber driver.
To become an Uber driver, you'll need to meet a few minimum qualifications. These are as follows:
- Meet local driving requirements
- Drive for at least 1 year in the U.S. (or 3 years for drivers under the age of 23)
- Have a vehicle that meets Uber’s local requirements
- Provide vital documents, such as proof of residency, insurance, registration, and more
- Go through the driver screening process
As an Uber driver, you can either accept passenger ride requests or deliver food through Uber Eats, a variant of the same app.
Your earnings for each trip will depend on a few different factors, such as:
- Standard trip fare: A base rate calculated based on the length and distance, which varies by city.
- Surge pricing: Earn more during peak periods with high demand.
- Tips: Keep 100% of tips from passengers.
One of the downsides of using Uber is that you’ll need to cover car maintenance costs. Another thing to keep in mind is that Uber charges drivers a service fee that is deducted before any payment, and you’ll have to pay taxes on earnings because Uber drivers can be considered independent contractors.
- Flexible schedule
- Allows you to deliver food or drive passengers through the same app
- You can cash out up to five times per day
- Allows you to make $10 to $20 per hour
- The model of your car can prevent participation
- Drivers must pay a service fee
- Earning potential greatly depends on location and demand
- The driver app can be unreliable
Ibotta is a cashback app that has over 1,500 brands and retail chains registered on its database. In the past, it was an app that only gave you cashback for grocery shopping, but it currently allows you to earn money in categories such as clothing, entertainment, pet supplies, and many more.
Offers can be product or retailer-specific, and you might have to complete additional tasks such as watching a video or taking a poll before you can earn cashback.
There are three main ways you can earn cashback in stores: you can either submit your receipt in the app after you've gone shopping, link your retailer accounts or purchase a retailer gift card through the app itself. Online purchases, on the other hand, tend to be much simpler — all you have to do is shop through the app or through their website.
Payments are usually done through PayPal, but you can also receive payments through a direct deposit to your bank account or through gift cards.
- You receive cashback for in-store purchases quickly
- Payment methods are varied
- The app offers a $20 welcome bonus for new users
- Offers referral bonuses
- Making money with the app can take a while
- You must accumulate a minimum $20 in cashback to redeem your earnings
- The pending period for earning cashback can vary in online purchases
#5 Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is an app that partners with brands and market research companies to give their users the opportunity of earning points (which can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal cash) in exchange for completing surveys.
The sign-up process is simple — you create a profile by answering questions, and your answers will be used by Survey Junkie to give you relevant surveys to fill out.
Each survey will give you points upon completion, and these points can be exchanged for cash. (Similar to Swagbucks, 100 points will earn you $1, regardless of the payment method you choose). The catch is, you need a minimum of 500 points to cash out.
Surveys tend to take 15 minutes on average to complete. Relevant surveys that are available for completion can be found in the dashboard, although some may no longer be active by the time you select them.
As for the cons, some surveys will include repetitive questions in order to validate your answers, and the platform reserves the right to award partial points or even disqualify users who don’t meet certain criteria as they complete the survey.
One neat feature is that Survey Junkie gives you the option of qualifying for additional surveys based on your browsing data. To do this, you need to download the Survey Junkie Pulse extension (which is available on both the mobile app and browser extension). This extension will track your digital activity in order to find new surveys for you to complete.
- You can make money by completing relevant surveys
- You can make even more money if you choose to share your browsing data
- Submits data anonymously
- You can convert points into PayPal money or online gift cards
- Pre-survey identity confirmation is extremely insistent
- Surveys that are shown as active can actually be expired
- Some surveys include repetitive questions to confirm the validity of your answers
- Surveys may be terminated as you complete them if you don’t meet the desired criteria
Upwork is a freelance marketplace and one of the best money-making apps for skilled workers to connect with clients while managing projects at the same time.
Regardless of your previous experience, Upwork makes it simple to create a profile and apply for new projects. You can find job opportunities across hundreds of skill categories, which include digital marketing, programming, proofreading, admin work, and more.
Through Upwork, you can apply for one-time opportunities or find ongoing work with clients. Qualified freelancers may receive invitations for exclusive opportunities, and a good Job Success Score will lead to finding more job opportunities in the future.
Another great feature is Upwork’s Payment Protection program, which ensures safe and timely payment for freelancers using the platform. There's also plenty of ways you can receive your compensation, such as:
- Direct deposit
- Wire transfer
Unfortunately, freelancer fees range from 10% to 20%, and funds aren’t credited to your account until 10 days after the weekly billing cycle ends.
- Simple profile set-up
- Allows you to attract new clients based on reviews and score
- Payment protection ensures payment for successful work
- Service fees can range between 10% and 20%, depending on total earnings
- Payment is delivered 10 days after the billing period ends
- Clients can select freelancers with lower rates easily
Similar to Upwork, Fiverr is a freelancing marketplace that features projects in over 200 categories, such as programming, video, and animation.
Using Fiverr is also pretty simple — you start by creating a profile highlighting your expertise. Then, post the service you’re offering, which will include pricing and a description of your services. Once this is up, clients will be able to see and click your post to place orders, and once you've completed the job, you'll get paid.
Fiverr assigns seller levels based on performance, and as you move up each tier, you’ll be able to sell extras such as a faster delivery time.
Payments are offered via PayPal, directly to a bank account or through credit to a Fiverr Revenue Card. Minimum withdrawal amounts vary, and there's a chance that Fiverr will charge you a withdrawal fee depending on the payment method you choose.
- Buyers come to you
- You can earn tips
- Easy profile creation
- Hundreds of skill categories to find work in
- Fiverr takes 20% of your earnings for every project (including tips)
- There’s a 14-day waiting period to withdraw money whenever you complete an order
TaskRabbit is an app that pays you to do odd jobs. These tasks are usually harder and require more work than other apps featured on this list, but the extra effort means that you can also expect to make a lot more money using it.
By odd jobs, I mean a wide range of services that you can do for people in your area. These services include moving furniture, mounting a TV, house cleaning, and assembling IKEA products.
To use TaskRabbit, all you need to do is create a profile on the app to highlight your featured skills. You can also set your own rates for particular jobs.
The more tasks you complete, the better chance you have of getting selected for a task in the future — after all, anyone looking to have a job done can review your profile before accepting you to do a job.
- Flexible schedule
- You can choose rates that work for you
- Earning potential directly correlates to performance and skill
- You must be in the same city that the task request highlights
- The company’s customer service has received plenty of complaints before
Poshmark is an app that allows you to sell clothing items and accessories. Similar to OfferUp, you upload photos of the items you want to sell, fill out a description, give the items a price, and share the post through the app. Poshmark then emails you a prepaid shipping label once someone buys your items, and after that, all that's left to do is send the package.
The app also has a neat feature known as Posh Parties. These are virtual shopping events within the app that can be centred around particular brands, categories, and themes, and you can feature your items on these events as well.
Payments are through checks or through direct deposits to a bank account.
- The company takes care of the entire process
- There's no need to meet strangers in order to make a sale
- Poshmark covers lost packages and handles issues between you and the buyer
- Gives you money for purchases within three days of the buyer receiving the order
- You have to pay a fee for every item that you sell
- The company takes a $2.95 commission for sales under $15 (or a 20% commission for sales above $15)
There are plenty of apps today that can help you earn some extra money or even serve as part-time job opportunities.
For example, if you have a particular set of skills like graphic designing and software development, you could use apps like Fiverr and Upwork to find job opportunities related to those skills.
On the other hand, if you'd like to earn money with simpler tasks, you could use apps like Survey Junkie or Swagbucks — you just need to be aware that these apps will pay you less money because of the simplicity of their tasks.
Not all apps available today will fit your exact needs as far as pay and availability go, so it's important that you carefully the pros and cons of every app you're interested in before you actually commit to it.