Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by pf team
Money-making apps are one of the fastest-growing class of phone apps these days. With the growth of the gig economy, more and more people are turning to these apps to help them earn some extra money on the side or even make a living.
Money-making apps are apps that pay you for doing different things. Some money-making apps connect you with freelance work or gig jobs while others reward you for things you already do like shopping at your favorite stores or browsing the web.
There are many different types of money-making apps. We researched dozens of options to find the best money-making apps that actually work.
The best money-making apps of 2022
- Swagbucks: Best for surveys
- Acorns: Best for investing
- Rakuten: Best for cashback
- Uber: Best for car owners
- Upwork: Best for side hustle
- Coinbase: Best for crypto investing
- Mistplay: Best for playing games
- OfferUp: Best for selling things
- HealthyWage: Best for losing weight
Overview: Top money-making apps
Swagbucks: Best for surveys
Swagbucks is a popular loyalty and consumer rewards program that gives people many ways to earn rewards, including through surveys, watching videos, and shopping online. Its ability to match you with surveys you’re eligible for based on your profile makes it a top survey money-making app.
How you earn:
- Earn cash back for shopping popular online stores like Amazon, Old Navy, and Starbucks with Swagbutton
- Earn gift cards by sharing your opinions with online surveys and polls
- Get rewarded for signing up for subscription services and free trials
- Earn cash for playing online games with Swagbucks LIVE
- Earn cash back for groceries when you take a picture of your receipt
- Get rewarded for watching online Youtube videos
- Get cash back at popular restaurants with SB Local MyGifCardsPlus
- Earn Swagbucks when you search the web
- You get 20% cash back and coupons on purchases from over 1500 retailers
- Invite your friends and get 300 Swagbucks when you refer a friend plus 10% of all the Swagbucks they earn for the life of their account
- Proven track record: Over $678 million paid to date to Swagbucks members and strong reviews
- Swagbucks tries to match you with surveys you’re eligible for to reduce wasted time
- Multiple redemption options
- $10 sign up bonus
- Earn a daily bonus if you hit your Swagbucks goal
Acorns: Best for investing
Acorns is a micro-investing app that helps people turn their spare change into shares in major companies from around the globe. This means that anyone can get started with investing and grow their nest egg over time.
How you earn:
- Make money by investing in exchange traded funds or ETFs which include more than 7000 stocks and bonds
- When you sign up for the Round-Ups feature your spare change from daily purchases are rounded up to the next dollar with the extra money going to your investment account
- Earn cash back when you shop at select retailers and websites, like Nike, Apple, Groupon, Walmart, and more
- Chrome add-on lets you earn even more when shopping from your desktop or laptop
- Find full-time, part-time, and remote work through the app
- Your investments can gain value over time and pay dividends
- Choose from multiple portfolios designed by experts to offer differing levels of risk and reward
- Automatic investment management
- Sustainable investment options available
- Tax-advantaged retirement accounts are available
- Open an investment account for your children to start saving for their future
- A large knowledge base that covers investment and financial concepts to help people learn more about managing their money
- $3 per month fee for a personal account, $5 per month for a family account
- $5 refer-a-friend bonus
- Larger referral bonuses available on occasion
Rakuten: Best for cash back
Rakuten is an online shopping portal and cash back app that rewards people when they make purchases at their favorite stores. What sets it apart from most other cash back money-making apps is that Rakuten rewards you whether you shop online, through the app, or in a store and offers the opportunity to earn huge rewards.
How you earn:
- Earn cash back at select online stores when you navigate to their site through the Rakuten shopping portal
- Link your credit or debit card and add offers to earn cash back when shopping in-store
- Rewards can be as much as 40% of your purchase
- Get a check for your earnings every quarter
- Get cash back when booking hotels, rental cars, flights, and other travel plans
- Earn even more by shopping hot deals and double cash back stores
- Use the Rakuten Visa Credit Card to earn 3% bonus cash back on purchases through Rakuten
- Long track record: More than $2 billion paid to over 15 million members since 1997
- Average member earned $63.50 in 2020
- Browser add-in makes it easy to find websites where you can earn
- No cost to sign up or maintain a membership
- More than 2,500 partner stores
- $10 welcome bonus
- $30 refer-a-friend bonus
Uber: Best for car owners
Uber is a money-making app for people who like driving and helping people get from point A to point B. You can use the app to work like a taxi, driving customers to their destinations or deliver food from people’s favorite restaurants.
Uber lets you work whenever you want, as much as you want, making it one of the best money-making apps for people looking to earn a full-time income.
How you earn:
- Sign up to be an Uber driver and carry passengers to and from different destinations
- You’ll earn a standard fare for every ride
- Earn additional money for driving during “Surge” periods of high demand and low driver supply
- Keep 100% of the tips that customers provide
- Become an “Uber Hero” and set up a team of Uber drivers. You’ll earn when they complete trips.
- Sign up to deliver food and other items
- Earn a standard rate for each delivery, plus more for delivering multiple orders and during high-demand periods
- Fast cash out to your personal debit card or the Uber debit card
- Cash out up to five times per day
- Get perks, like discounts on car maintenance and tuition when you earn Uber Pro status
- Set your own hours, you can drive as much or as little as you want when you want
- Uber drivers can expect higher insurance premiums and more wear and tear on their car
- You must report earnings on your taxes as contractor income
- New drivers earn a bonus when they complete a minimum number of trips
- Earn additional money for reaching goals, such as completing 20 trips in a week or 3 trips in a single session during high-demand periods
Upwork: Best for side hustle
Upwork is a money-making app that connects freelancers to companies looking to hire people with their skills. You can find long-term or short-term projects that let you leverage skills like writing, translating, or graphic design to earn a bit of extra income or make Upwork your primary source of cash.
How you earn:
- Sign up for an Upwork account and fill out your profile with your skills, expertise, and portfolio
- View job listings from individuals and companies looking to hire freelancers
- Pitch your skills and set a per-hour or per-project rate
- Build long-term income streams with long-term relationships or do one-off projects
- Deposit your earnings to your bank account, PayPal, or Payoneer
- Hourly job earnings are available ten days after the weekly payday
- Fixed-price earnings are available five days after the task is completed
- Rated the #1 freelance platform of 2021
- Upwork freelancers earned $2.3 billion in 2020
- 49,000+ contracts signed each week
- Upwork software tracks time spent working
- Payment is secure and guaranteed when using Upwork time-tracking software and the client uses escrow
- Freelancers pay fees of 20% of the first $500 earned per client, 10% of the next $9,500 earned, and 5% for amounts over $10,000. For example, you’d receive $625 if you complete a $750 task for a new client
- Freelancer Plus subscription for $14.99 per month gives freelancers more opportunities to connect each month, the option to view competitor bids, and other perks
- Freelancers have to report income on their taxes as contractor income
- Clients can offer a bonus payment to freelancers working on an hourly or per-project basis
Coinbase: Best for crypto investing
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency platform that makes it easy for people to buy and sell more than 100 different cryptos. On top of being a trading platform, Coinbase offers other ways to earn crypto, such as through staking or learning about new coins.
How you earn:
- Earn crypto when learning about different cryptocurrencies and answering simple questions to test your knowledge
- Regular sweepstakes offer millions in prizes
- Earn up to 5% APR by staking your eligible cryptos, such as Ethereum 2.0, Tezos, and Cosmos
- Lend the coins in your Coinbase Wallet using DeFi apps to earn interest
- Your cryptocurrencies can gain value over time
- The Coinbase card lets you spend your crypto easily and earn up to 4% in crypto as rewards when you make a purchase
- Links with your bank account to easily buy and sell crypto
- Pay a fee of 0.5% to 4.5% depending on the transaction
- Your crypto balance is insured against some hacking Coinbase’s website
- Use your crypto as collateral for personal loans
- Trade more than 100 cryptocurrencies
- Purchase and trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
- Highly rated and easy-to-use mobile app lets you buy, sell, and trade from anywhere
- Advanced trading platform offers more information and tools for active investors
- Earn $10 when you buy $100 worth of crypto for the first time
- Earn $10 when you invite a friend
Mistplay: Best for playing games
Mistplay is a loyalty app for mobile gamers, offering rewards when you play games on your phone. The more time you spend playing your favorite games, the more rewards that you can earn using the app.
How you earn:
- Sign up for an account and discover new games through your mixlist
- Earn Units while you play your favorite games
- Unlock achievements to earn even more Units while you play
- Earn more Units the more time you spend playing the same games
- Earn Loyalty Gems when you spend money on in-app purchases
- Earning Loyalty Gems gives you Mistplay Status, which increases Unit earnings
- Exchange Loyalty Gems for rewards like Units and other perks
- Mistplay holds weekly and monthly giveaways where you can win big prizes
- Redeem Units for gift cards for different stores, including Google Play, Gamestop, PlayStation, and Xbox
- Earnings are relatively low
- You can only earn Units from playing games that partner with Mistplay
- Only available on Android
- Earnings slow down the longer you use Mistplay
- Units have different values depending on the redemption you choose
- Mistplay gave out more than $11.5 million in gift cards in 2020 alone
- Refer a friend to earn a bonus
- Earn bonuses for daily play streaks
- Earn more Units when playing boosted games
OfferUp: Best for selling things
OfferUp is a marketplace app where you can list items for sale or buy things from other people in your area. It’s one of the best money-making apps for selling old stuff because it’s free to use for local sales. You only pay a fee if you use the app to find a buyer you have to ship to.
How you earn:
- List items that you want to sell on the OfferUp app
- OfferUp lets you sell things like electronics, media, clothing, toys, sporting goods, pet supplies, and even cars
- You can list items for local sales and pickup or offer to ship your goods to buyers elsewhere in the United States
- Earn extra money by buying items from other people, fixing them up, and selling at a higher price
- If you have a side hustle or business that makes items, like candles or clothing, you can use OfferUp to find buyers
- Quickly and easily communicate with buyers and sellers through the app
- List items in seconds, all you need is a photo and a short description
- Listing, buying, and selling items on OfferUp is free for most transactions
- Shipped items incur a service fee
- Sellers can promote their listings for a fee
HealthyWage: Best for losing weight
HealthyWage is a money-making app that lets people bet on their ability to get healthier and lose weight. This combination fitness and money-making app can encourage you to get healthier and earn you some extra cash at the same time.
How you earn:
- When you create an account, you’ll enter your personal stats, such as height and weight
- Verify your weight in 30 seconds by stepping on a scale and taking a photo with the app
- Select a weight loss challenge to lose a set number of pounds over the course of the challenge period
- Make a monthly bet that you’ll meet your weight loss goal
- You’ll win cash if your weight is at or below your goal weight when your challenge period ends
- Payment is made through PayPal or check
- Team and workplace challenges let you lose weight and win money with friends
- Step challenges reward you for reaching a certain number of daily steps
- Prizes can be as large as $10,000
- With HealthyWage, you bet on your success at losing weight, if you lose the bet, you could lose money
- You can calculate your potential weight loss challenge prizes with no commitment
- HealthyWage has paid out nearly $10 million in the past year
- Winnings from HealthyWage are considered income and you’ll have to pay taxes to the IRS
- Earn $40 in bonus prizes for each friend you refer
- Your friends also earn $40 extra when they use your link and win a prize
Other money-making apps to consider
The list above represents the top money-making apps (in our opinion), but if you can't find one that fits your criteria, we listed more contenders that are a solid pick in the world of money-making apps.
Gig apps: Rover, TaskRabbit
Gig apps like Rover and TaskRabbit help you make some extra cash by completing simple tasks in your spare time. Rover lets you make money by walking dogs while TaskRabbit lets you offer delivery or handyman services.
Money-saving apps: Mint, Truebill
These apps aren’t traditional money-making apps, but as the saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Apps like Mint help you track your spending so you avoid overspending and debt while Truebill will help you find and cancel unwanted subscriptions.
Survey apps: Survey Junkie, InboxDollars
Survey apps like Survey Junkie and InboxDollars reward you when you respond to their surveys. You could be asked about topics like your favorite brands to what you ate for dinner tonight. Usually, you can cash out rewards for gift cards.
Investing apps: Betterment, M1
Investing apps like Betterment and M1 Finance will help you invest by automatically building and managing your portfolio. All you have to do is deposit money when you have some extra cash and it’ll get invested in stocks and bonds. Over time, these investments can gain value.
Cash back apps: Ibotta, GetUpside, Fetch Rewards
Cash back apps reward you when you make purchases at their partner stores. Usually, you have to link a card or scan receipts after you make purchases to earn these rewards. Often, you can get bonuses if you purchase specific products.
Game apps: Blackout Bingo, Solitare Cube
Games like Blackout Bingo and Solitare Cube let you pay real money to play games with real cash prizes. If you’re lucky or skilled, you can win more than you put in, turning these apps into a fun way to make extra money.
Crypto apps: Kraken, Gemini
Crypto apps like Kraken and Gemini make it easy to buy and sell crypto from your phone. You can invest in different coins and hold them for the long term or make frequent trades to try to earn a profit.
Car rental apps: Turo, Getaround
If you own a car, you can offer it out for short-term rentals using apps like Turo and Getaround. If someone chooses to rent your car, you’ll earn money for each day it’s rented.
Delivery apps: Postmates, Instacart
Postmates and Instacart pay people who make deliveries to customers using the app. You’ll be helping people buy groceries or delivering food orders from people’s favorite restaurants to their homes or offices.
Selling apps: Decluttr
There are plenty of selling apps like Decluttr that will buy your old stuff or let you list items for sale to other people. Different people use different apps, so it’s not a bad idea to try more than one to see if you can get faster sales.
The bottom line on money-making apps
Money-making apps range from apps that can be a fun way to earn a few dollars here or there, like Survey Junkie to real money-making apps that can be a full-time gig like Uber or Upwork. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a money-making app out there for you.
Don’t discount the apps that make money in other ways. Investing and crypto apps can help you grow your saving over the long term. Imagine if you’d bought shares in Apple or Microsoft back when computers were new or purchased Bitcoin in 2009 when you could buy hundreds of coins for $1. Investing is one of the best ways to make money over the long term.
How we choose the best money making apps
To choose the best money-making apps, we looked at more than forty different apps to find the ones that offered the best return. That means the apps that give the highest payouts for the time invested and the ones that offer the best opportunity to keep paying you for the long-term.
We also researched the apps to make sure they can be trusted. Many money-making apps draw you in with promises of big rewards only to pay a pittance or nothing at all. We made sure that all of the apps on our list are legit money-making apps that pay their users.