Last Updated on March 5, 2023

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Have you ever tried a product or service you loved so much that you started referring it to friends? Word-of-mouth recommendations are still just as popular as they’ve always been.

Plus, you can also get paid to refer other people to use products and services that you love. Some of the best referral programs to make money are likely for things you already use and love.

Referrals programs can provide an easy way for you to earn some extra money. Or, if you have a blog or social presence, you may even be able to earn money regularly from referral programs that pay cash. 

How Do Refer-a-Friend Programs Work?

How Do Refer-a-Friend Programs Work

Before you start using referral programs to make money, it’s important to understand how these programs really work.

Referral programs generally require that you have an account which means you’ll need to use the product or service yourself.

You can typically log into your account and either opt into the referral program (if you agree to the terms) or simply retrieve your unique referral link.

From there, you can post your referral link online or send it to friends. If someone clicks on your link and signs up, you will earn a referral.

Depending on the program, you can receive money per each referral, a free item or discount, or both.

Some referral programs have limits on how much you can earn while others don’t. Let’s check out some of the best referral programs to make money.

12 Best Referral Programs to Make Money

Best Referral Programs to Make Money

If you’re looking to earn some extra money by referring other people but don’t know where to start, that’s fine. Below are some of the best referral programs that pay cash and help you get started quickly. 

1. Rakuten ($30 Per Referral)

Rakuten referral program

Rakuten is a popular cash back site that is free to use, which can earn you $30 in referral bonus.

Users simply sign up and can download the Rakuten Chrome extension so you can earn cash back for shopping online at your favorite websites.

Rakuten partners with tons of popular retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, Best Buy and more. 

You can earn anywhere from 1% to 10% cash back on average so you’ll make money whenever you spend money online.

Your cash back earnings are paid out to you each quarter via PayPal, a paper check, or by receiving American Express rewards points.

Once you sign up for Rakuten, you can earn $30 for each person you refer that signs up and makes a purchase through Rakuten.

Rakuten referral bonus

Remember, it’s completely free to use and most people shop online each week so this is a pretty easy site to refer.

When you refer a friend and they make an online purchase, they’ll also get a $10 reward from Rakuten as well. Sometimes there are referral bonuses offered if you refer a certain number of people within a month.

You can track all your referrals right on the website and see who signed up through your link.

Just remember, in order to earn your $30 bonus, someone must sign up and make an online purchase through one of Rakuten’s partner retailers. 

Try Rakuten Today!

2. Ibotta ($10 Per Referral)

get cashback from ibotta

Ibotta helps you earn cash back on groceries and much more. This app is free to download and helps you earn rebates for buying items you’d regularly get like groceries, household supplies, and more.

How it works is you can choose which store you want to shop at through the app then browse through different offers. Once you find a cashback offer for an item you need to buy, select it then go to the store and do your shopping as you normally would. 

Then, just scan in your receipt to your Ibotta app and you’ll earn cash back. Ibotta also offers cash back rebates for online shopping too now.

Ibotta’s refer-a-friend program gives you $10 for each person you refer to use the app. You have the option of getting a referral code that people can enter when they sign up, or you can share your unique link. 

Try Ibotta Today!


3. MyPoints 

MyPoints referral program

MyPoints is a cashback site that’s been around for over 2 decades now, and also has a refer-a-friend program.

They usually encourage members to invite their friends and family then reward them handsomely using their points system. 

As a member, you earn 25 points for every person who joins the site using your referral link, and an additional 750 points when that referral buys something worth $20 or more. And, you will also earn 10% of all the points your referral accumulates.

How cool! Right?

Not to mention a $10 welcome bonus that every member gets once you sign up.

Try MyPoints Today!

4. Swagbucks (Earn 10% of What Your Referral Gets)


Swagbucks is a loyalty rewards program that has been around for many years. It’s free to use and provides so many different ways to earn rewards.

You can earn points for short tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, trying out new offers, playing games, and shopping online.

The points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards or cash via PayPal once you reach a certain threshold. About 2,500 Swagbucks points will earn you a $25.00 gift card.

Invite people to join Swagbucks with your referral link and you’ll earn 300 points along with 10% of whatever that user earns on Swagbucks for life.

Once you log in, just to the ‘referrals’ tab under your account details. You can copy your link and start sharing it with others to earn more Swagbucks points that can be turned into cash. 


5. InboxDollars (Earn $1 Per Referral)

make extra money on Inboxdollars

Inbox Dollars is very similar to Swagbucks because you can earn rewards by taking surveys online, watching videos, and completing small offers.

Most online surveys through Inbox Dollars will pay between $0.50 to $5.00 and take anywhere from 3 minutes to 25 minutes to complete.

You can also make money on this site by reading emails and playing games online. 

Since the site launched, InboxDollars has paid out $80 million in rewards to users. You can redeem your earnings through gift cards for popular retailers, a paper check, or cash via PayPal.

Currently, their referral program pays you $1 per referral (for up to 5 different people) plus 30% of their earnings on Inbox Dollars.

If you refer more than 5 people you may not get the $1 bonus, but you will still receive 30% of each referral’s earnings.  

Try InboxDollars Today!

6. Airbnb

become an airbnb associate

Another way to earn money by referring friends is through Airbnb’s referral program. If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, you could definitely use this site if you are looking to rent out a spare room in your home or book a stay in a property when traveling.

Airbnb’s referral program allows you to earn $20 for referring a friend once they book a stay. You can also refer hosts too and earn even more money.

In order to receive credit, the person you refer needs to sign up and actually book a stay somewhere, or complete all the necessary steps to list their property as a new host. 

Keep in mind that if someone uses your link to sign up and book a stay, you won’t earn cash but a $20 credit that you can use toward a future Airbnb stay. This will still allow you to save some money when traveling. 


7. Robinhood

Robinhood refer-a-friend program

Do you know anyone who wants to start investing in stocks? Robinhood is the first platform to offer commission-free stocks, ETFs, and options trading.

There is a lot of information and tutorials on the website for anyone who’s new to investing or wants to slowly get into monitoring and trading stocks. 

When you refer a friend to sign up, you’ll receive a reward of free stocks to invest on the platform. Robinhood actually allows users to earn up to $500 in free stock rewards per year.

Robinhood also has an affiliate program which is a great option if you have a blog, website, or social media presence and are looking to earn cash for your referrals. 

There is no limit to how much you can earn with Robinhood’s affiliate program and as soon as you earn $50, you can withdraw the funds. 

Related: Top Affiliate Programs For Bloggers and Content Creators

8. Tesla

Teslas are all the craze right now. If you own a Tesla, be sure to join the referral program so you can receive cash or free charging miles for your vehicle.

Here’s how it works. Tesla is dedicated to providing the best clean energy products and sharing that experience with others around the world.

If you refer someone to purchase a Tesla car, you and that person will both receive 1,000 miles of free supercharging.

If you refer someone who buys their solar panels, you’ll earn a $100 award after system activation for solar panels or solar roof to reduce reliance on the grid and produce clean solar energy. You can earn a $400 away for each solar referral.

9. Groupon

You might have heard of Groupon before. It’s one of the top sites to find local coupons and discounts on activities and restaurants.

Buying Groupons can save you and your family money whether you’re looking to dine out or try a fun new experience.

What you may not know is that Groupon helps you earn money by referring friends to use the site as well. 

When you refer a friend to sign up for Groupon and they make a purchase of $10 or more within 72 hours, you’ll earn $10 in Groupon bucks. This reward will be added to your account within 7 days of earning it.

You can use your Groupon bucks to save money on future Groupon purchases. Share your referral link on Facebook and Twitter or send emails to friends.

10. Acorns (Get $5 Per Referral)

Acorns is an app that helps you invest your spare change. How it works is you can connect your bank account and Acorns will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the difference.

In addition to investing your spare change, you can also set up regular weekly transfers to contribute more money to your online brokerage account. 

If you know anyone who wants to start investing with a small amount of money, Acorns is the perfect platform to recommend. A basic account is just $1 and you can withdraw the money you invest at any time.

Once you open an Acorns account, you can earn money by referring friends. Acorns will give your friends $5 when they sign up and you will earn cash as well.

There is a tiered referral program so you can earn more money by referring more people each month. 

11. Xfinity (Get $175 or More Per Referral)

Do you have Xfinity internet, cable TV, or phone service? Xfinity’s service is available in most areas of the U.S. So if you have it, you can refer others to sign up and earn up to $175 per person. Here’s how it works:

  • Earn $50 when you refer someone to sign up for one Xfinity service
  • Earn $150 when you refer someone to sign up for two or more Xfinity services
  • Earn $25 when you refer new and existing customers to switch to Xfinity mobile

When you successfully refer a new customer, Xfinity will send you a Visa prepaid card. You can earn up to $500 in referral bonuses each year.

12. ShopKick (250 Kicks as Referral Bonus)

shopkick cash back app

ShopKick is a site that helps you earn free gift cards for in-store and online shopping. Just download the free app then earn ‘kicks’ for your shopping that can be used to redeem gift cards from multiple retailers.

ShopKick has refer a friend programs where you’ll get a unique code and link to share with friends. If your friend uses your link to sign up, you’ll get 250 kicks added to your account. 

13. Cash App ($5 Per Referral)

A lot of people use Cash App these days to send and collect payment instantly. The great thing about Cash App is that your bank information is protected and you don’t have to have the same bank account as the person you’re sending money to or receiving money from. 

Cash app will pay you $5 when you refer a friend who signs up and sends a payment of $5 or more within 14 days. 

It’s Fun and Easy to Earn Money by Referring Friends

It’s Fun and Easy to Earn Money by Referring Friends

This list of the best referral programs to make money just scratches the surface. There are tons of great referral programs out there that will pay you to share your link or code with others.

Referring friends can be fun because you get to share products and services that you truly love. Also getting the opportunity to earn extra money with very little effort is a bonus. 

What are your favorite referral programs and why?

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About the Author

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.

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