13 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Smartphone
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had just a little more money in your pocket? Even if you have a nice-paying job, an extra few hundred dollars per month is nothing to scoff at — especially if you don’t even have to do much for it.
That’s where money-making apps come into play. A lot of them aren’t worth it, but some of them are, and we’re here to help you find the best of the best currently available. Keep reading to learn more.
Note: This article is geared towards residents in the United States. Some of these apps may work in other countries, but if you are in another country, we can’t guarantee regional availability for you.
Are Money-Making Apps Worth It?
The definition of “worth it” depends on what you’re expecting. For a college student or a stay-at-home parent, these apps may be the difference between living like a pauper or a king . For a small business owner, maybe not.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
- It’s pocket change at best. Even if you sink in full-time hours, you won’t be earning a full-time income. These apps can be used to fund hobbies or help you get out of debt , but that’s about it.
- Time-value is low. Are you willing to spend 10 hours on your phone to earn $50? For some people, an hour of leisure is worth more than that, even if the cash is low-effort. Figure out how much one hour is worth to you before diving in.
- Payout thresholds. Most apps require you to earn a certain amount of dollars before you can request a payout — and these thresholds can be as high as $50 or $100 sometimes. That’s a big commitment, and many don’t make it that far.
If you’re still interested, great! Here are some of the better ones we’ve found. Even if you don’t like all of them, we’re sure you’ll find at least one or two that intrigue you.
Apps With Gift Card Payouts
1. Viggle [Broken URL Removed] (Android, iOS)
How cool would it be if you could get paid to watch TV or listen to music? I know that sounds like a distant dream, but with Viggle, that can actually be reality for you.
With the app, all you have to do is “check in” whenever you start watching a TV show or whenever you hear a song being played. Once checked in, you start earning Perk Points, which can be redeemed for gift cards and prizes.
Gift cards are available for hundreds of stores, including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
2. Shopkick (Android, iOS)
Shopkick is the perfect money-making app for frequent shoppers. It may not pay as much as being a mystery shopper, but it’s way easier and more convenient. In short, you get points for walking into stores and/or scanning items.
It’s really as simple as that. If you link your Shopkick with a credit card and use that card to make purchases, you can get even more points. This works no matter where you are: the mall, the supermarket, or a local mom-and-pop shop.
Points can be redeemed for gift cards at Starbucks, Target, Sephora, Best Buy, and more.
3. GrabPoints (Android, iOS)
If you want an all-in-one sort of app for making money on your phone, GrabPoints might be the one for you. It has all kinds of activities: watch videos, fill out surveys, download apps, try out certain products and services, etc.
I’m personally not a fan of these all-in-one deals because I’d rather use an app that’s optimized for one particular activity, as those tend to be more rewarding, but that doesn’t mean GrabPoints is bad. A lot of folks say good things about it.
Gift cards are available for Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Google Play Store, iTunes, Steam, and more.
4. CheckPoints (Android, iOS)
CheckPoints is another all-in-one kind of app, except this one prioritizes item scanning. The other activities — watching videos, downloading apps, playing games — are there for times when you can’t scan items.
The app shows you a bunch of products and you get to pick which one you want to scan. When you’re out shopping, check CheckPoints to see if there are any you can scan nearby. Every time you do, you get points.
Points can be redeemed for gift cards (Amazon, Walmart, etc.) as well as miles for American Airlines and even physical prizes like gaming consoles and tablets.
5. Swagbucks (Android, iOS)
Swagbucks is one of the most insanely useful websites you don’t know about . In short, it’s yet another “earn money by doing all kinds of activities” app, but this one has one of the best reputations around. A lot of people love it.
Activities that earn you points include shopping online, shopping locally, exploring the offerings presented by the app itself, watching videos, searching the web, and answering polls. It’s really easy and highly recommended.
Points can be redeemed for gift cards at Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, and more.
6. AppTrailers [Broken URL Removed] (Android, iOS)
AppTrailers may put a bad taste in your mouth if you’re staunchly anti-advertisements, but it’s awesome for everyone else. The concept is simple: watch video trailers for upcoming apps and earn points by doing so. That’s it.
What’s cool is that you may even end up finding a bunch of useful apps that you may not have found otherwise. Not only do you get paid, but you get to augment your smartphone with new tools and games.
Points can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, iTunes, and more.
Apps With Cash Payouts
7. Slidejoy (Android)
Slidejoy may or may not make your skin crawl. Here’s how it works: after installing, Slidejoy replaces your lock screen with a news story or product promotion. With one swipe, you can skip it, learn more about it, or move onto another item.
The thing about Slidejoy is that you don’t actually have to tap on anything, fill out anything, or otherwise do anything in order to earn money. Your payment isn’t based on your engagement with said ads. That’s nice, at least.
You can expect to earn about $5 per month, depending on how often you use your phone. Not much, I know, but it requires zero effort! Unfortunately, it’s only available for Android users.
8. Receipt Hog (Android, iOS)
Shopping usually ends when you receive your receipt, but with Receipt Hog, you can do a bit more: take a snapshot of said receipt and upload it to the app and get paid for it — all in the name of market research.
Not all receipts are accepted, but many are: Walmart, Costco, CVS, Petco, Sephora, and even some local businesses. Membership goes through periods of open and closed enrollment, so if you’re interested then try to join as soon as you can.
Expect to earn about $5 per month. Again, it’s not much, but there’s very little effort involved.
9. Rewardable (Android, iOS)
Rewardable is another market research type app, except this one compensates you for giving feedback on a certain store or service. The app provides a list of nearby tasks that you can pick and complete.
Tasks are completed using your phone. Example tasks include recording wait times in a restaurant, photographing an in-store promotion, or counting the number of items on a shelf. As you rack up points, you’ll gain access to more lucrative tasks.
Expect to earn anywhere from $1 to $20 per task, each of which can take about 10 to 30 minutes.
10. Surveys on the Go (Android, iOS)
Surveys on the Go is exactly what it sounds like: every so often, you’ll be notified that you’re eligible to take a survey, and if you fill it out to satisfaction, you’ll get paid for it. Surveys only take a few minutes each.
You’ll earn a few dollars per survey, but don’t expect to get rich because users only get a handful of surveys per month on average.
Still, it’s a painless way to make a few extra bucks, and fits in nicely when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or commuting on the train.
11. iPoll (Android, iOS)
iPoll is another survey-type app, except this one wants you to give your opinions and feedback on products and services you already use. Your thoughts are unique, and that’s what you get paid for.
iPoll also consists of so-called missions. A mission can be visiting a store, taking a photo, or even testing a product. Completing these will net you credits, just like when you fill out surveys.
Expect to earn about $5 to $10 per month. Cashing out can take a while — some have reported up to six weeks — but if you can endure it, then this is a great app to use.
12. Foap (Android, iOS)
Foap is one of many ways in which you can earn money with smartphone photography . Photos are uploaded and sold on the Foap Market, where businesses and individuals may choose to buy your photos if they’re good enough.
Photos are sold for $10 each and you get half of the price. The other half goes to Foap for facilitating the sale. The good news is that each photo can sell an unlimited amount of times and there’s no limit to how many photos you can upload.
But you’ll have to stand out to do well here. Want to maximize your chances of making sales? Check out these simple tips for improving your smartphone photography .
13. Field Agent (Android, iOS)
The last app on this list, Field Agent, actually turns you into a field agent. It provides you with a map along with nearby “jobs” that you can do, mostly involving the taking of photos and the collecting of product information.
It’s similar to some of the other task-based apps mentioned above, but we ranked it down here because the opportunities tend to be sporadic. Plus, they’re first-come-first-serve, so if you aren’t fast then you’ll miss out.
Fortunately, each job usually pays between $2 and $12, and they don’t take long to do, so when you do get an opportunity, it’s usually worth it.
Which Apps Will You Use?
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to earn an extra buck or two. These apps may not offer too much individually, but there’s no reason why you can’t combine several of them together. The monthly earnings could add up if you do.
For example, Slidejoy and Receipt Hog don’t require much effort and can net a cool $10 per month. A few Surveys on the Go could double that, and Viggle can let you earn a few gift cards just by watching TV.
Do any of these apps sound appealing to you? Or do you think they’re all a waste of time? Know of any other good money-making apps I missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Money falling by peiyang via Shutterstock
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