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We all want to get paid for doing nothing, but many of us don’t even want to put in enough time and effort to do even that. What many don’t know is that it’s not hard to find a few apps that pay you to literally do nothing.
Here’s a list of 10 apps that can help you earn a passive income. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.
What is Passive Income?
Passive income is what happens when you do the initial work to “get the ball rolling” and as a result, you start earning an income with having to put in little to no extra work.
A good example of this would be if you wrote a book. You write a book, and you publish it. As long as the book is continually selling, you will get paid for that book regardless of whether or not you ever pick up a pen again.
Marketing will help your books grow and get more money, but you don’t have to do anything extra to earn that money.
Another form would be to place ads on a YouTube channel. Let’s say you are a YouTuber and you create 100 videos. You will still earn money on the ads from those videos unless people simply stop watching them.
It may not be the biggest stream of income, and it might not be enough to live on, but it is money that you no longer have to work for.
Want to skip the list and get right to the apps? Here’s a quick list of 10 apps that pay you to do nothing:
- Shoptracker ($3 sign-up bonus)
- Acorns ($5 sign-up bonus)
- Paribus (earn cash when prices drop on your purchases)
- Smart Panel ($5 sign-up bonus)
- Qmee (earn cash surfing the web)
- Honey (get paid to shop online like you normally would)
- More… (read below)
- Registration Bonus: $3
- Join Shoptracker
Shoptrcker is an app that pays you to link your Amazon account. After that, you will earn 3 dollars a month simply by signing in once a month to sync your Amazon purchase history.
Companies need this information to help to make your shopping experience a better place. They are mainly just searching for order history, as well as what you bought.
Furthermore, since this app is connected with Harris Poll Online – a respectable organization – you can rest assured that they are not going to snoop into whatever purchase you may feel uncomfortable about.
For the rest of the month, you can simply forget that it exists. When it is time for you to cash out, a notification will appear on the bottom of your screen, informing you to sync your history. After that, you get a digital 3$ visa card that you can use for online purchases.
One good part that I have noticed, is that you don’t even need to shop on Amazon often to get the 3$. I personally don’t do that much shopping on Amazon and I still get a gift card once a month.
So whether you shop on Amazon all of the time, or very infrequently, that will still help you earn a small amount each month. That extra 36$ a year can net you pretty much a free side or a drink when you are ordering from certain restaurants.
- 3$ for just installing and signing in once a month
- You don’t realize it’s even there
- The money comes in the form of a digital Visa card, and not a direct deposit.
- Potential feelings of privacy violation.
- Registration Bonus: $5
- Join Acorns
Acorns pays you to input small amounts of money or huge sums, and they will invest that money over time.
You can even change your portfolio from conservative, which plays it safe with your money over time, to aggressive, which is more of a risk but can earn you much more in the long term.
The main draw that Acorns has that Betterment does not, is a round-up program. Now while you can still do recurring or one-time payments into your Acorns account, you can also have them round up to the nearest dollar when you shop.
This means that when you go shopping and spend 2.30$ on some chips and a drink for a snack, Acorns will round up to the nearest dollar, and invest the other 70 cents into your Acorns account.
One flaw with the program is that it is made for small investments, like the spare change from a purchase. While the money taken out can grow over time, this means it is not suitable for something like a retirement fund.
Although it should be OK to use as a safety net in case anything goes wrong.
This can be a really simple way to earn money from investments and not even have to worry about it. If you do a lot of shopping, you can be investing several dollars a week, which can build up over time.
These investments are passive income, so they will earn you money even while you are sleeping.
Now this will never be enough on its own to allow you to retire, but it is good to know that the option is there to help you build a bit of a safety net, just by doing what you already do on an everyday basis: shop!
- Very easy to use
- Automatically withdraws money when you shop
- May not be best if you need every last cent to get by
- Not made for long-term investments like retirement
People spend a lot of money when they are shopping for clothes and accessories online, sometimes spending thousands of dollars monthly paying full price for their goods.
So when you go shopping, particularly at an outlet store like Walmart, Target, and Macys, saving a little extra money will help a ton. What a lot of people don’t know is that most stores allow you to get the difference back if you find the item you bought cheaper elsewhere, or if right after you buy it, it goes on sale.
However, in order to get that money back, the business expects you to put in that effort, and will not notify you of the price difference.
Paribus is here to help you get that price difference back. It does this by scanning your email address for order confirmation emails and then goes through the internet trying to see if the same product is advertised for a lower price elsewhere.
When they find this lower price, they will notify the store on your behalf, and you will get a refund back of the price difference.
This usually does not amount to huge savings, but it is extra money that you would have not otherwise gotten back, and you did not have to put forth any extra effort to do so.
While Paribus does keep 25% of refunds as a fee for helping you save the money, it is just a small price to pay for the extra free money.
There is, however, a referral program in place that will lower this percentage down to zero if you are able to get enough people to sign up for the app. The percentage drop is 5% per person you get to sign up.
Also, it is good to note that you are not guaranteed money when shopping using this app. While a good cash refund works great when shopping, it only works in the few instances when the item goes on sale soon after you bought it.
You will probably not get much money back from this app, but if you shop a lot anyway, it is a good app to have that will save you money in the long run. It can work really well in conjunction with Honey.
If you want to double this free money, you can easily add this money to your Betterment or Acorns account, and have that extra money grow over time.
- Very simple
- Does the work for you so you don’t have to
- Gets you money back on your purchases
- Doesn’t provide much cash back unless you shop at outlet stores frequently.
- No guarantee of money
4. Smart Panel
- Registration Bonus: $5
- Join Smart Panel
Although you do have to fill out a short survey in order to apply, once you get accepted, you get paid 5$. Two weeks afterwards, you get another 5$, and then for every month therein, it’s 5$.
With Smart Panel, all you have to do is download the program onto your computer or phone, and activate it. The program will then pretty much spy on your computer information, such as Twitter activity, search results, videos watched, etc, and collects that information.
This information is highly valuable to advertisers who wish to target market to you, personally.
Many might feel uncomfortable with the idea of a company snooping through their online activities, such as how often they check their emails. However, This is all run by the trusted analytic firm Verto Analytics, so all information should remain anonymous.
The best part about this app is that you get 5$ for each device that you link it to. So if you have a phone, and two computers, you can link this program to all three of them, and get 15$ a month!
That’s 180 free dollars every year, just for letting this one app run in the background of your computer.
5$ a month may not seem like much, but you don’t have to do anything for it, and 65 extra dollars every year seems like it might make a better investment in a Betterment or Acorns account. Either that or you can just spend it on a single Mocha Frappe at Starbucks, your choice.
- Just install and ignore it
- A fair amount of money for doing otherwise nothing
- Privacy invasion might make some feel uncomfortable
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Qmee
Qmee is not an extension that will get you rich by any means, but it requires very minimal effort, and the small amount of money you receive is much better than nothing.
With Qmee, you make an account and install the app onto your Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox browser. Then, every once in awhile, Qmee will show links on the side of the screen during search results for many sites that have search results, including Google.
Sometimes, you will click a link, just to find out that Qmee considers that another search, and allows you to get paid for clicking another ad. These results generally have a price next to them, ranging from 4 cents to 8 cents just for clicking the ad.
These don’t seem to come about often, but I have gotten about a dollar a month for just a few seconds of my time. One of the best things about Qmee is that you can cash out regardless of how much money you have in your account, even if it is just a few cents!
That may not seem like much, but that is a dollar that you didn’t have to do anything for.
- Very easy to use
- Barely any work to be done at all
- Can cash out even if you only have a single penny in your account
- Payout is extremely low if you don’t also do surveys
- Pay options for searching are rare
- Only good if you value a dollar
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Honey
Honey is a Google Chrome extension that will find coupons available to you when you shop, so you don’t have to.
Have you ever wondered how much money you could be saving if you just coupons and searched for discounts while you shopped, but are simply too lazy to do all the extra work, just for a Pizza?
Well, you’re not the only one! Honey makes it easier for you because they scour the site for ads and deals that you otherwise would have missed, and add it to your order before you check out.
This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars every year, depending on how much money you spend online.
Imagine that you are going to order two pizza’s online. You otherwise would have spent 35$ on two pizza’s full price, not knowing there was a buy one get one 50% off for this restaurant. With Honey, you get the biggest discount and can save tons.
However, if you are a very frugal person already, you might be able to find better deals yourself. I tried using it with Papa Johns, and they found a discount for 50% off one pizza but ignored the buy one get one Free coupon that the store offered for that select time period.
While it is not perfect, the average Joe who is otherwise too busy or too lazy to be as frugal as they’d like to be could find some great discounts using this app.
- Just install it and it does all of the work for you
- Saves you potentially large sums of money on things like food delivery.
- Helps people to be frugal, even if they are lazy.
- May not choose the best deals
- May cost you more money than usual if you often check for the best deals and coupons.
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Slidejoy
Slidejoy is a phone lock app that pays the user based on how many times they have turned on and off their phone, with most users getting between 5$ to 10$ a month.
The way you make money from this app, is you download it onto your phone, and it portrays ads as your lock screen every time you go to check your phone.
These ads are often non-invasive, and go away when you slide your hand to unlock the phone. It is important that you use your phone normally when you unlock it and don’t just try to unlock it to get “carats.”
You can even do offers in order to earn more, but that would require work, and work is not the point of this article.
One downside of this app and these apps, in general, is that it would be easier if you disabled your phone’s screen lock. You can, of course, keep it on, but it is a lot easier to deal with if you don’t have 2 consecutive screen locks in order to simply check your messages.
There are many other apps that do the same thing that Slidejoy does, even though some are geography specific. Such as Screenpay, which pays 3$ a month flat rate, but is also not available in the US.
There are also apps like Fronto, which do pretty much the same thing, with very little difference, but aren’t as recognized as Slidejoy.
- Very easy to implement
- Works well with most phones
- ads are otherwise non-intrusive.
- Payout is pretty low
- Often have to do offers and surveys as well to get the most out of it
- Can get annoying if you have a regular phone lock as well
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Betterment
This one is probably the best one on this list for a variety of different reasons. The main one is the fact that it is pretty much a bank account that earns you money over time after you input your savings.
Let’s say that you inserted 100$ into their account. Betterment will automatically put that money towards stocks and bonds and invest that money for you.
If you are concerned with the safety of adding your money to this account, worry no more. Betterment is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
This means that they can be trusted when it comes to handling your money, even if you run the short-term risk of losing some money, as we all do with any investment.
Over time, you will start getting dividends, or small payments that companies pay out to their shareholders when they turn a profit. They can in the range of a few cents, to several dollars, based on how much that you put into the account.
In my account, it is currently at 3% earnings, which is far higher than you would get if you left those same savings in a typical savings account.
Now while this is not free, the only fee would very small. Betterment only asks for 0.25%, or a quarter of a percent, of earnings. That is a small price to pay for getting up to 3% earnings or more off your money.
You can even tweak how much you can give towards stocks or bonds, which gives the potential of really increasing your revenue, however, it is best to keep stocks and bonds varied to decrease risk.
One part about this that I personally enjoyed, is that you cannot immediately withdraw this amount, as it takes up to 7 days for you to get your money back.
Certainly not good in the case of emergencies, but great when it comes to trying to dissuade you from compulsive spending. If it takes 5-7 days to get your money out, that would mean that you are less likely to buy frivolous items.
This type of account also helps as a form of safety net. If you are putting money into this account, it would be good to know that you would have this money saved up in the off chance that you lose employment, or hours, so you have something to fall back on.
For this alone, the app is highly usable and can potentially be a financial lifesaver!
- Easy to use
- Helps with a safety net
- Earns money over time
- No minimum balance
- Can make more than one account (one for safety net, one for retirement, etc)
- Takes a long time to get money out (but can be a plus)
- App has limited functionality, must to website to get certain features.
Earning a living through these apps alone is not feasible, so these should not be seen as a primary source of income, and more as a secondary source of income or savings that one can use to put a little extra food on the table, buy snacks, or just to invest in a brighter future.
Any amount of money is better than nothing when it comes to earning it for free.
All of these apps are very easy to use and don’t have too much of a downside. Some people get a little bit here, and a little bit there, but it can all add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Hundreds of dollars that you did not have to do much of anything to earn. So if you need just a little bit extra to pay towards a credit card or a small amount to add into savings, these are some pretty great options.