Are you looking for ways to increase your cash flow? How about making money while doing the things you love on your terms? Enter, dozens upon dozens of legit smartphone apps that pay real cash.
Whether you rock the corporate world, work from home, are a stay-at-home mama, or any combination of the three, you’re probably keeping a keen eye out for simple ways to increase those sources of income. I mean, who wouldn’t like an extra $30, $40, or $100 bucks every week (or more!) in their wallets?
When looking for money-making apps, I know I want something simple, quick, and fun (if possible). After researching, we’ve found those apps that will put money directly into your pocket for just about everything.
Shopping for clothes: I’m getting paid.
Buying groceries: I’m getting paid.
Sitting at the airport waiting for my flight: I’m getting paid.
Watching a movie: (yep) I’m getting paid!
Sound amazing? It is! Too good to be true—guess again!
Check out this list of legitimate mobile apps that pay real cash!
Survey Apps That Pay Real Cash
If you enjoy watching videos, surfing the web, reading emails, playing games, and taking surveys online, these companies will pay you real cash for using their apps.
With InboxDollars, United States residents can make real money by taking surveys, playing games, reading emails, and shopping online. Each task you perform has a designated cashback amount, and once your account reaches $15, you can request your earnings via PayPal, Amazon gift card, or you can choose gift cards from other popular retailers. And if you’re new to InboxDollars, you can get a $5 bonus for signing up and confirming your email account.
InboxDollars gets a 4.2-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Another smartphone app that pays real cash is Swagbucks! With Swagbucks, you can make money by taking surveys, playing games, exploring coupons and cashback offers, and more. With Swagbucks, you earn points in the form of SB (Swagbucks) that you easily redeem for cash rewards via PayPal or free gift cards if you prefer. The great thing about Swagbucks is you can cash out 100 SB for a $1 gift card! Another Swagbucks perk: Get a $10 bonus as a new user!
Swagbucks gets a 4.2-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
3. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie recruits individuals for attitudinal research studies such as paid surveys, product testing, and focus groups, as well as behavioral research studies which include opting into sharing your online browsing activity. Points that you earn can be redeemed for gift cards from major retailers and cash via PayPal. Survey Junkie accepts users from the US, Canada, and Australia, and their app is available in the Apple app store and the Google Play store.
Survey Junkie gets a 4.2-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
This is one of the best money-making apps! The Gauge smartphone app and the desktop platform allow you to take surveys for cash via PayPal. On Gauge, you can write out your answers, you can record an audio clip, or film a video response. Audio and video answers pay more, in fact, you can earn up to $500 per survey! I’ve only done text responses, and each one has paid $10 via PayPal. Gauge is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Gauge gets a 3.7-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
5. National Consumer Panel (NCPMobile)
With the National Consumer Panel mobile app, you can earn money by sharing your internet browsing history with them. When you download their software to your computer, you’ll be entered into a monthly sweepstake for $10,000! If you choose to download the software to your smartphone, you’ll be eligible to earn up to $50 in rewards either via gift card or cash via PayPal annually. The data that they collect from your devices is used for market research.
National Consumer Panel (NCPMobile) gets a 4.3-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
6. Slice the Pie
If you love music, fashion, accessories, and commercials, Slice the Pie is your app! You’ll get paid for writing your review on these items before they’re released to the general public.
Reviews are directed to unsigned artists, fashion designers, musicians, etc. to provide feedback. You’ll need to register and decide what category you would like to review before getting started.
App users have complained that you need to make sure you have your “location section” turned on for the app to work correctly.
Slice the Pie gets a 3.6-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
7. Branded Surveys
With Branded Surveys, users from the US, Canada, and the UK can take online surveys in their free time to earn real cash and rewards. New users will earn 100 points for signing up and points for each survey they take. Each point equals $0.01, and you must reach 500 points ($5) in your account dashboard before you can cash out. US residents can withdraw earnings via direct deposit, PayPal, Visa gift card, or exchange earnings for gift cards from major retailers. Learn more about Branded Surveys in this full review.
Branded Surveys gets a 4.5-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
The Qmee app allows users to earn money by taking surveys, daily polls, and quizzes, playing games, and shopping online. For each task you complete, you’ll earn real cash that you can redeem anytime via PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards. Once you’ve completed a few surveys, you’ll be able to refer friends and family to the platform and earn $1 for qualified referrals.
Qmee gets a 4.2-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Rakuten has quickly become a favorite in the cashback app world. It’s one that I love for sure! To date, I’ve earned almost $300 cashback just from shopping at the stores where I normally would anyway.
I love this app in particular because of its browser extension for my laptop as well. I never miss coupons or cashback opportunities anymore.
They not only give you cashback for shopping, but they have specific store coupons and a referral program. Refer a friend, and get $25 extra in the bank; that’s what I call amazing!
Here’s a brief overview of how it works:
Download the app onto your phone and pop it on your desktop. This makes it easier to remember when you’re shopping!
Select one of the stores where you shop. Rakuten is partnered with pretty much EVERYONE—I hardly run into a store that’s not on there.
Shop like you normally would place your order, and Rakuten automatically sends cashback to your account.
Choose how you want your money: PayPal or via check.
Simple and effective: the cashback adds up fast! It really is that streamlined and is one of my personal favorites.
Rakuten gets a 4.5-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Dosh is a passive income app where you can earn extra cash by connecting your credit card to the application. When you make a purchase at a qualifying store, Dosh will automatically deposit a cashback amount into your Dosh account. You can also earn money by referring others to the platform. Your account must reach a $25 balance before you can request payment via PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit. This app is available for iOS and Android devices!
Dosh gets a 4.7-star rating (out of 5 stars) on the Apple app store.
Shopkick is another excellent app where you get paid to shop. When you use the Shopkick app, you earn kicks (points), which can be traded in for gift cards to popular stores or cash via PayPal (2,550 kicks = $10)! The jobs are super simple; some don’t require that you go to a store at all.
There are seven different ways you can earn points (kicks) with Shopkick!
Earn points by merely walking into participating stores.
Scan barcodes of select products.
Purchase and submit a receipt.
Purchase with a linked card.
Make online purchases.
Refer your friends
Shopkick gets a 4.6-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
When you buy online from a specific retailer featured in TopCashback, the retailer passes on a commission that you’ll cash in on!
Membership is free, and you will usually get cashback in about seven days at which point you can withdraw and put directly into your PayPal account.
TopCashback gets a 4.5-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Get Paid to Sell Your Stuff Online
Do you need to clean the clutter in your home? Here are some smartphone apps where you can sell your used items for PayPal cash!
Post your authentic, designer clothing to sell right from your closet using the Poshmark app. This selling app not only makes the selling process easier (right from your phone) but after you make a sale, Poshmark emails you a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label. You can sell shoes, clothing, bags, accessories, and home decor from brand names you like and know for women and men. The Poshmark app is available for Android and Apple mobile devices and tablets.
Poshmark gets a 4.8-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
If you want a fast way to sell your CDs, DVDs, books, and electronics and earn cash, then Decluttr is for you.
Decluttr doesn’t require that you take pictures or include descriptions to sell your items. Instead, they ask their sellers to key in item barcodes, and the rest is up to Decluttr! They’ll send you a price quote for your items, and after you agree, you ship it to them for FREE. You’ll get your cash in your PayPal account the next day.
Decluttr gets a 4.3-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Do you have old books you want to get rid of? When I graduated from college, I held on to those pricey books for as long as I thought I should. Seasons later, when the books were taking up more space than we had, I knew I needed to do something with them.
BookScouter has the solution! This awesome app searches a variety of vendors to determine the best price for your used books. Here’s a little summary of how this app works:
Submit the ISBN of the book on the BookScouter app.
BookScouter quickly searches numerous sites for you.
It then displays the price results from those sites so you can see a range of offers and determine which one is best for you.
BookScouter gets a 4.3-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
Fetch is a smartphone app where you can earn points for scanning your receipts and referring friends to the application. For each receipt you upload, you’ll earn a certain number of points. The points that you earn can be traded in for gift cards or cash via Visa. It takes 3,500 to get a $3.00 Amazon gift card; however, for most other brands, it takes an average of 5,000 points to earn a $5.00 gift card.
Fetch gets a 4.7-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Are you ready to earn cashback on everyday purchases? Ibotta is a widely popular app that pays cash for scanning your receipts and more. Here’s how to earn money using the Ibotta app:
Download the app.
Add in the offers.
Shop at your favorite stores.
Upload a photo of your receipt.
Get cash within 24 hours of your purchase!
Other ways to earn with the Ibotta app:
Link a loyalty account—save on groceries automatically by connecting your loyalty card.
Shop online at retailer websites and earn cashback.
Ibotta gets a 3.3-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
18. Receipt Hog
Another app that pays real cash is Receipt Hog. With this app, you can shop anywhere and snap pictures of your receipts to earn some money via PayPal or a Visa gift card. Each receipt is worth a varying number of coins, and it takes 1,000 coins to reach $5. You won’t make a lot with this app, but it’s an easy way to add a little extra cash to your pocket for a few seconds of your time.
Receipt Hog gets a 3.4-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
Make Money Taking Pictures
Do you love to take photos with your smartphone? Why not earn cash instantly while doing what you love? Here are two amazing apps that allow you to do just that!
19. Shutterstock Contributor
If you have high-quality photos on your phone, then Shutterstock is for you. Start selling and earning on one of the most popular stock photo sites out there. Payouts to PayPal occur about twice a month which is fantastic considering you’re getting paid for taking pictures of things you love. The Shutterstock mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Shutterstock Contributor gets a 4.4-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
Foap is another app that pays for your pictures or videos. Upload your best pics into your Foap photo collection and sell them to buyers all over the world. Here’s a snippet of how it works:
Foap sells your videos and pictures online to brands, agencies, and individuals.
When your work is purchased, Foap shares the profit with you 50/50.
Foap gets a 4.4-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
Big Money, Small Tasks with These Apps
Would you like to make some extra cash from an easy side hustle? These short-task apps make it simple to score cash during your spare time.
Clickworker is another small task app that allows you to work independently, accepting tasks either offline or online. There are a variety of jobs you can choose from on the Clickworker marketplace, which makes this small task app appealing.
Some job categories you can select as a Clickworker are:
Audio and video jobs
Creation of texts
Clickworker gets a 4.4-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Trustpilot.
22. Field Agent
If you love to shop in stores, this app is for you. Field Agent is an awesome app where you can use your smartphone to collect photos, videos, and information from stores.
Stores will then use the information you provide to serve their customers better and enhance their overall experience. Become an “undercover” store reviewer and help stores and their customers – all while making money! Use your iPhone or Android device to become a field agent and earn cash with this app.
Field Agent gets a 4.5-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple store.
Gigwalk allows you to complete “gigs” (short tasks) in and around your neighborhood by choosing the gigs you want to do.
The other day, I installed this app on my phone and made money that same day. I was out shopping at a popular store when I decided to check the app. I accepted the job, took a few pics of a pressure cooker, and scored an easy $6. Not bad for five minutes of my time!
One thing to note about Gigwalk: Payment to PayPal can take over a week or more after your job is approved. On the upside, Gigwalk makes it easy to earn money on your terms which is a huge draw for many people.
Gigwalk gets a 4-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
Mobee is a mystery shopping app where you earn points for completing simple mystery shopping missions. When you download the app, it will pull a map of missions in your area. When you locate one that’s near you, read the details, complete the tasks (usually taking photos of store displays and answering questions), and you’ll earn points.
For most missions, you’ll earn around 500-600 points which is equivalent to $5-$6. The points that you earn can be traded in for gift cards from Starbucks, Amazon, Old Navy, or cash via Visa. With Mobee, you can cash out as little as 500 points, which makes this a quick way to earn money! You can also earn 300 points by referring friends to the app. I have not completed a mission yet, but with Holly’s referral code J2KN, you’ll get an extra 300 points when you complete your first mission.
Mobee gets a 4.2-star rating (out of 5 stars) in the Apple app store.
More Apps That Pay Real Cash
If you have a car and don’t mind interacting with people, you can make money with the gig economy. With on-demand smartphone apps like DoorDash, Steady, HopSkipDrive, Uber Eats, and Instacart, you can make money grocery shopping, being a rideshare driver, or delivering restaurant food.
These apps will require you to fill out an application and pass a criminal background check, but once you complete those, you’re good to go! According to Zety, the majority of gig workers make between $9.99-$14.99 per hour.
There are also many apps where you can take surveys and earn gift cards from retailers like Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, and Target. While this isn’t direct cash, if you’re already making purchases at these places, why not earn free gift cards during your spare time?
Check out this list of apps for more ways to make money and earn freebies and gift cards with your smartphone.
Quick Tip When It Comes to Money-Making Apps
Many of the apps out there are fabulous for making extra money. The ability to monetize your day-to-day life is becoming second nature for many of us, and it’s phenomenal.
However, as great as it is, you must remember to always do your due diligence!
Final Thoughts on Money-Making Apps
There are lots of apps out there claiming you can make real cash online, but not all are legit. Check out reviews on Trustpilot, the Apple and Android app stores, and the Better Business Bureau websites.
All in all, these money-making apps are a fun and simple way to earn money by completing short tasks while you’re out and about or by clicking your phone while couch-bound. Check out a few of these ways (or all of them) to earn money with your smartphone, and let us know when you do.
Do you have a favorite rewards app? Have a question about the money-making apps listed above? Drop us a note; we’d love to know which apps you use to make real cash.
Originally published October 15, 2019. Content updated October 2023.