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Top smartphone users spend around 4 hours per day on their devices. How often do you browse on your phone and use apps?
If you’re on your phone for a few hours per day, this could be enough time to start a side hustle and earn some extra cash.
In fact, you don’t even have to put your phone down to earn money. There are plenty of apps that give you free money for completing simple tasks or playing games.
Even if you’re not spending hours per day on your phone, you can still make money with certain apps without committing a lot of time or effort.
Suddenly, your morning commute, waiting at the dentist’s office, or watching TV and playing on your phone all become great opportunities to get free money from an app.
What Does “Free Money” Really Mean?
Is there really such a thing as getting free money? What about apps that give you free money for signing up?
‘Free money’ doesn’t necessarily mean someone off the street is handing you money for no reason.
It also doesn’t mean you have to go to work and log your hours to earn an income.
With apps that give you free money, the concept is that you sign up and complete a simple task.
The tasks are quick and easy to complete so you won’t be required to spend hours glued to your phone.
After each task or experience you complete, you’ll typically earn points or a cash balance that can be redeemed either instantly or later.
There are also apps that give you free money for signing up so those will be highlighted below as well.
It’s also important to note that legitimate apps will never charge you a fee to join. So essentially, you don’t have anything to lose.
12 Free Money Apps
Earning money with free apps is one of the easiest ways to get a little more cash in your bank account.
There are so many credible options to choose from as well so there’s something for everyone. Here are 12 apps that give you free money.
#1. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
Nielsen is a research company that has been around for several decades. They have a program called Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel that pays you just to install an app and browse the internet.
Odds are you’re probably already browsing the internet on your device each day. With this program, you can get paid to do it over time.
You have to be at least 18 to join and you can register different devices in your household. It only takes a few minutes and each month you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for prizes and gift cards.
The Nielsen app gives you $50 per year if you keep the app downloaded.
You can also enter their monthly sweepstakes where $10,000 of prizes is given away in rewards each month.
- Click here to join the Nielsen Mobile app and start getting free money today!
- Australian residents can sign up here to get started, as well.
MobileXpression is another market research company that will pay you to use the internet on your phone.
They are always looking for people to join their panel to help them report on trends and behaviors of people using the mobile internet.
Think of it as a way to help companies make the online experience better for users like you.
You have to go to their website to see if you’re eligible for their panel. Select your device type, carrier, and manufacturer then agree to the terms and conditions then download MobileXpression’s research software.
MobileXpression also has one of the best apps that give you free money for signing up. You’ll earn a gift card after just one week.
Then, you’ll earn more credits each week that can be redeemed for gift cards in the future.
#3. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is one of the top survey sites that pays you for your opinion.
Create an account for free and build your profile by adding as many details as possible about your work, family, interests, and so on. This will help you get matched for more relevant survey opportunities.
Avid survey takers know that the biggest waste of time on a survey site is answering pre-qualification questions only to find out you’re not a candidate.
Survey Junkie tries to eliminate this by matching you with opportunities that match your qualifications and interests.
After each survey, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards or cash via PayPal. In addition to taking surveys on your phone, you can also opt into SJ Pulse which is a newer feature on the app.
SJ Pulse pays you rewards in exchange for tracking data like websites you visit, items you shop for, and apps you use.
This program works in the background similar to Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel so all you have to do is use your phone as you normally would.
Survey Junkie respects users’ privacy so your browsing behaviors will be anonymous and only used for market research purposes.
Secure information like your passwords or credit card details are never collected.
#4. Vindale Research
Vindale Research pays you real cash for taking surveys covering a variety of topics. They offer high-paying surveys up to $50 and you’ll earn a bonus just for signing up.
Unlike other survey sites, Vindale Research pays you with cash instead of gift cards and you can redeem your earnings with PayPal.
You’ll be able to see how much each survey pays and how long it might take you before you start.
Another way to make money from your phone with this app is by watching videos. Get paid to press ‘play’ by watching videos and giving your feedback afterward.
InboxDollars pays you to complete a variety of short tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and searching online.
You can also get rewarded for playing games, reading emails, and redeeming grocery coupons.
Inbox Dollars has been around since 2000 and they’d paid out over $59 million in cash rewards to users.
Their clients are market research firms so while these paid activities may seem simple to you, they’re helping researchers learn a ton about consumer habits and how to improve certain products or services.
You’ll get a $5 bonus just for signing up. If you can spare just a few minutes each week to complete tasks, you’ll earn some extra money.
Swagbucks is one of the best apps to get free money because there are so many options.
You can get paid to take surveys, search online, play games, watch videos, shop online, redeem offers and more.
Surveys take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to complete on average and you’ll also earn big rewards for signing up for services or to receive products you would have tried anyway.
If you like playing games, Swagbucks will reward you to hit certain levels in some of the games they promote.
When you shop online at popular retailers, Swagbucks may give you points as well. All points can be redeemed for gift cards or cash via PayPal.
One of the easiest ways to make money with Swagbucks is by using their search feature.
Instead of using Google or another search engine, set Swagbucks as the default search engine on your phone. You’ll earn points over time for simply searching online.
Everyone has to buy groceries sooner or later. Ibotta pays you cash back on groceries and other items.
Just download the app, sign up, and you’ll be able to browse offers based on stores in your area.
Once you find an offer you like, make sure you claim it then scan your receipt with your phone once you’d made the purchase to verify it.
If you use the Walmart Grocery Pickup service, you can link your account and earn rebates on items you buy that have valid offers on the Ibotta app.
Outside of grocery rebates, Ibotta offers cash back on items from a variety of retailers including Amazon, CVS, Walgreens, eBay, Home Depot, Best Buy, and more.
Another feature you may not know about is that Ibotta can link to your store loyalty account so you can earn cash back by shopping at your favorite stores.
To optimize your earnings with this app, be sure to link your loyalty rewards account(s) and get into the habit of checking the app before you shop online or in stores.
It only takes a few minutes to browse valid offers and your rebate earnings will add up over time.
Related: Ibotta Review: Is It Legitimate?
Rakuten is one of the top apps that give you free money for simply shopping online. Rakuten partners with hundreds of retailers to offer cash back deals on everything from
- Clothing and accessories
- Travel and vacations
- Health and beauty
- Shoes and handbags
- And more!
You can typically find cash back offers ranging from 1% to 10%. However, Rakuten often has double cashback promos so you can earn even more.
Make sure you download the app and activate cash back whenever you’re shopping online. Sometimes, you’ll even be notified of active coupon codes to use so you can save money on your purchase.
When you activate Rakuten and place an online order, the cash back rewards may be pending for a few days until it can be verified.
As long as you have a cash back balance of $5.01 or more Rakuten will send you a ‘Big Fat Check’ every quarter. If you don’t want to receive a paper check, you can connect your PayPal account so your rewards bonus will be sent there each quarter.
Further reading: Is Rakuten legit?
iRazoo pays you free gift cards and cash to complete tasks like watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, and downloading apps. Earning opportunities are updated daily so you’ll never get bored with the activities.
You’ll earn points when you complete each task and those points can be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite retailers. Another way to redeem your points is with a PayPal gift card so you can turn it into cash.
Once your iRazoo balance reaches 3,000 points, you’ll be able to redeem your rewards.
There are so many easy ways to earn whether it’s using iRazoo search, playing games, or reading emails so aim to use the app consistently to earn enough points for a gift card or cash reward.
If you enjoy playing games on your phone, Lucktastic is an app you should download. If you’re looking for apps to get free money, Lucktastic offers up to $1 million in prizes and rewards.
At least 3 lucky finalists are chosen for the top prize. You can also enter to win their $25,000 cash giveaway and their MacBook pro giveaway contest.
Play trivia and other games on your phone for a chance to win additional prizes. Their Win Across American game night scratch card guarantees at least one winner of $100 cash in each state.
Continue to play games on the app and you’ll earn tokens that can be redeemed for gift cards at over 30 major retailers.
Of course with apps like Lucktastic, your odds are winning prizes for the giveaways based solely on chance.
However, if you’re playing games on your phone anyway, you might as well enter to win or even play games for tokens so you can earn gift cards. You don’t have to take any surveys or do any other tasks so there’s not much to lose.
Related: 12 Apps for Odd Jobs
Billshark is an app that gives you free money by negotiating your bills. Most people don’t realize that they could be overpaying for their cable bill, phone bill or other utilities around the house.
Billshark will negotiate lower rates on your bills so you can save the difference. It’s essentially the same thing as getting money back in the form of a rebate – only you don’t have to spend the money in the first place.
Billshark can also help cancel unwanted subscriptions you might have been paying for.
People tend to save an average of 25% on their bills and there’s a 90% chance your bills can successfully be lowered.
Billshark charges $9 to cancel each subscription but their bill negotiation service is free.
So how do they get paid? They share the money they help you save by taking 40%.
For example, if Billshark helps you save $500 per year, they would get $200 and you’d keep $300. While their commission fee is a little high, you’ll still get more money back without doing any of the negotiation work.
Have you ever shopped online for an item then realized the price went down just a few days later? This happens often and Paribus is an app that can help you get partial refunds for price drops.
Most of us don’t have time to research price changes especially after we’ve purchased an item.
Paribus takes over this task for you and examines your online purchases to see if stores owe you any refunds.
Paribus has found over $29 million in potential savings and rebates for users to date.
They also work with over 25 major retailers including Amazon, Target, Home Depot, Gap, Best Buy and more. Paribus is also free for users and there are no hidden fees.
You can learn more about Paribus from this Paribus review.
How Much Free Money Are You Leaving On The Table?
The opportunity to get free money is closer than you think. Most people carry their cell phones around all day. If you fall in this camp as well, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table
by not checking out these apps that give you free money.
Download a few different apps from this list to try in order to maximize your earnings. Mix more of the passive income apps with the ones that may require a little more effort.
Then, you can set a time each day when you can check apps like Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars for earning opportunities.
That would be a total of 5 easy money-making apps but you won’t be putting forth much effort or work at all to make money. The key is to take advantage of these easy ways to get rewards and find what works best for you.
Virginia Nakitari is a full-time blogger and a work from home expert. Join Virginia and 200,000 monthly readers on EarnSmartOnlineClass to learn how to make money online, even as a beginner. Before starting this blog, Virginia worked as a freelancer, specializing in general transcription and virtual assistance. Her wide clientele comprised of business coaches, podcasters, bloggers, and other online entrepreneurs. It’s through these interactions that Virginia developed a knack for writing and showing people how to work from home, make money online and attain financial freedom.