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20 Best Money Making Apps 2018: Earn Cash Directly From Your Phone

20 Best Money Making Apps 2018: Earn Cash Directly From Your Phone
Amy Baum Jan 1, 2018
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

Earning free cash and free gift cards may sound too good to be true.

Fortunately, that’s not the case thanks to money-making apps.

There are dozens of great apps that pay you to take surveys, play games, scan receipts, and more.

All you need is a smartphone and a bit of free time.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the 20 best money making apps for 2018.

With regular use, it’s possible to earn thousands of dollars per year.

Some dedicated users even earn hundreds of dollars each month.

Read about these top money making apps, and start using the ones that appeal to you.

1. Swagbucks

About: Swagbucks is one of the most well-known money-making apps and websites. You earn money by completing small and simple tasks.

Some examples include watching videos, taking surveys, and performing web searches. Tasks pay anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, and you cash out via PayPal or gift card options. Make the most of this app by checking out our Swagbucks review.

Signup Bonus: The signup bonus for Swagbucks changes a lot. Most recently, the bonus was $10 that you received once you completed certain tasks. I’ve seen users mention signup bonuses around $0.50, so your mileage may vary.

Referral Bonus: When you refer a friend to Swagbucks, you earn 10 percent of their earnings indefinitely. This is a pretty great referral bonus, so make sure to spread the word!

2. Ibotta

About: Ibotta is a receipt scanning app that gives you cash back on your purchases. They partner with dozens of major grocery stores, clothing stores, and more.

By using this app regularly, you can easily make extra cash or earn gift cards with very little effort. Our Ibotta Review helped me get started. I made about $45.00 during my first month, and I was using it infrequently.

Signup Bonus: You’ll receive a $10 signup bonus after scanning your first receipt.

Referral Bonus: When you invite friends to use Ibotta, you’ll get $5 when they use the app for the first time.

3. Drop

About: Drop is an app that rewards you for making purchases from major retailers. Some of their partners include Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, and Uber.

You link your credit and debit cards to the app, and you automatically earn points when you shop. There are many one-time offers and bonuses that earn you extra points.

You can cash out your points for gift cards. A mega list of rewards is featured in my Drop App review.

Signup Bonus: When you sign and link your credit card, you earn a $1 bonus.

Referral Bonus: You receive 1,000 points per referral once your friends begin using the app. This is equal to a $1 bonus per referral.

4. Acorns

About: Acorns is aa uniqueapp that pays you to invest your spare change. They use your change – we’re talking pennies – and invest in the stock market.

You can also link your credit card, round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, and Acorns saves your spare change for you.

It may sound a bit confusing, but our Acorns App review explains every detail. This is a great starter option if you want to make money by investing. Acorns charges $1 per month for regular users, but college students receive free access for four years.

Signup Bonus: Acorns will pay you a $5.00 bonus when you register.

Referral Bonus: Users report a wide range of referral bonuses. Some have received $5 to $10 per referral. In November 2017, users could earn a whopping $500 for referring 10 new users. For these larger bonuses, your friends have to actively use Acorns.

5. Shopkick

About: Shopkick is another receipt scanning app, but you also earn by scanning items in a store. You can earn around 10 to 50 points just by scanning items and walking into stores – no purchases necessary.

When you buy certain items online and in store, you’ll earn even more points. You can start cashing out for $2.00 gift cards for only 500 points.

I’ve cashed out about a dozen times by passively using the app. You can read my full Shopkick review for more info.

Signup Bonus: Get a bonus of 250 kicks when you sign-up as a new user.

Referral Bonus: You earn 250 points – called kicks – when you refer a friend and they use the app. This is equal to $1.00, which is 50% of what you need to cash out.

6. MyPoints

About: MyPoints is a two-in-one app that offers cash back deals and payment for completing small tasks. It’s similar to a combination of apps like Ibotta and apps like InboxDollars.

Tasks include watching videos, taking surveys, surfing the web, printing coupons, and playing games. Some users note that you can earn bonuses based on special promos, your activity level, and more.

According to their website, surveys pay up to 400 points, watching videos pays up to 500 points, and surfing the web pays up to 170 points. Payout thresholds vary depending on the type of payment you choose.

You can start getting $5 gift cards for 700 points, but a $25 PayPal payment requires about 4,000 points.

Signup Bonus: Though it’s not mentioned on their website, multiple reviews state that you earn a $10 signup bonus once you make your first qualifying purchase.

Referral Bonus: The MyPoints FAQ states that you earn points for each of your referrals that register. However, the number of points isn’t listed. They also offer a 750 point bonus when your referral makes a qualifying purchase of $20 or more.

Several users state that MyPoints awards you 10% of the points that each of your referrals earn. Many reviews also say that you earn $0.25 per referral, but others claim that you earn 25 points per referral.

Some users have also mentioned that you receive a $10 bonus per referral when your referral earns $20.

7. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

About: Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel is a very passive and easy way to earn money for tasks you already do every day. They collect data from users on how they use the Internet – web browsing, reading e-mails, and more.

Once you connect your devices, you don’t have to put in any extra effort. Simply use them as you normally would. Read all about it in our Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel review. You can cash out for Amazon e-gift cards and other prizes once you receive 805 points ($5).

Signup Bonus: There is no signup bonus offered at this time.

Referral Bonus: There is no referral bonus offered at this time.

8. Pinecone Research

About: Pinecone Research is a very reputable survey company that collects data for market research. One thing I love about Pinecone Research is that you’re never screened out of surveys.

You’ll only be notified when a survey meets your demographic. They pay $3.00 per survey, and each one takes about 10 to 15 minutes. This is a great rate compared to other survey companies, as you can see in this detailed Pinecone Research review.

Signup Bonus: No signup bonus is available for Pinecone Research.

Referral Bonus: No referral bonus is available for Pinecone Research.

9. Fetch Rewards

About: Fetch Rewards is another popular receipt scanning app, but it’s a bit different from Ibotta. You don’t have to shop at specific stores in order to earn rewards. As long as you buy the items listed in the app, you’re good to go.

Payment per purchase varies between $0.25 to $2.00 on average; these amounts are rewarded in points. 1,000 points are equal to $1.00.

You can redeem your earnings for a gift card once you reach $3.00. Our Fetch Rewards review has plenty of helpful info to get started.

Signup Bonus: You earn a $1.50 signup bonus by using the code HH3MN. The bonus is credited to your account once you scan your first receipt.

Referral Bonus: Fetch Rewards will give you 1,500 points when you use promo code HH3MN and claim your first offer. This is a bonus of $1.50 per referral, so it adds up pretty quickly.

10. iPoll

About: iPoll is an app that pays you to complete small tasks, but the tasks are based on your location.

For example, you might complete surveys about visiting local shopping centers, convenience stores, and so on. You can cash out via PayPal or opt for gift cards. The payment per task isn’t disclosed on iPoll’s website.

Signup Bonus: iPoll will pay you $5.00 when you register to use the app. You only need $10 to cash out, so this is a pretty solid deal.

Referral Bonus: There is not currently a referral bonus offered by iPoll.

11. InboxDollars

About: InboxDollars is another website and app that pays you to complete lots of different tasks. Tasks include reading e-mails, taking surveys, browsing the web, watching videos, and more.

Most of the tasks don’t pay a lot, but they only take a few seconds to complete. It’s easy for me to use casually, as I mention in my InboxDollars review.

Signup Bonus: You instantly receive a $5 bonus when you sign up for InboxDollars. This is a pretty impressive amount when it comes to bonuses for money-making apps.

Referral Bonus: When you refer friends to InboxDollars, you receive 10% of their earnings for life. If you persuade multiple friends to join, this can boost your earnings a lot.

12. PointClub

About: PointClub is another survey app where you can earn cash payments and gift cards. Our PointClub review mentions that surveys typically pay between 200 to 2,000 points.

You can also receive percentage bonuses based on participation. 1,000 points convert to $1, and you need $25 to get your rewards. You can get paid via PayPal, Amazon e-gift cards, and gift cards for other major retailers.

Signup Bonus: PointClub offers a 5,000 point ($5) signup bonus when you register. You also get 500 points ($0.50) for entering your e-mail, Facebook, or Google+ info. 1,000 ($1) points for confirming your e-mail. That’s an instant $6.50 for joining the site.

Referral Bonus: PointClub does not offer a referral bonus at this time.

13. Toluna Opinions

About: Founded in 2000, Toluna is a very well-known survey site and mobile app. You get paid to take surveys, answer polls, and even by interacting with other Toluna community members.

Surveys and tasks pay anywhere from 15 to 15,000 points. You need a minimum of 30,000 points to start receiving $10 gift card payouts. For a $30 PayPal payout, you’ll need 90,000 points.

Signup Bonus: Toluna will pay you 500 points for registering online or through the app. The signup process only took me about one minute.

Referral Bonus: The Toluna FAQ sections states you’ll get 500 points per referral. You receive the points when your referrals complete the quick registration process.

14. CashCrate

About: CashCrate is a smartphone app and website that pays you to complete small tasks. Tasks include surveys, signing up for free offers, playing games, and more. Payment for tasks and surveys vary.

I’ve seen several users mention getting $1 for surveys. Offers currently listed on CashCrate pay between $0.50 and $3.50. The payout threshold for CashCrate is $20, and payments are made monthly via checks.

Signup Bonus: As of 2017, users reported a $1 signup bonus for joining CashCrate.

Referral Bonus: CashCrate uses a percentage-based referral system that has two levels. For the first level, you’ll earn 20% of what your referrals make and 10% of what their referrals make.

For the second level, this raises to 30% and 20%. Their FAQ page also mentions cash bonuses for referrals. This is a pretty impressive system and a great way to encourage your friends to join.

15. SavvyConnect

About: SavvyConnect is a passive income opportunity offered by SurveySavvy. You install the SavvyConnect app on your computers and mobile devices.

The app collects usage statistics based on your Internet usage. You don’t have to do anything; your daily online activity is what earns you money.

You earn $5 per month per device you use, and you can register up to three devices for a total of $15 per month. The payout threshold is only $1, and you’re paid via a check in the mail.

Signup Bonus: SavvyConnect does not offer a signup bonus at this time.

Referral Bonus: Multiple sources report that you earn $5 to $10 per referral. Additionally, you earn $2 to $6 when your referrals get users to join the site.

This is an impressive bonus system, and it’s a great way to encourage your friends to use SavvyConnect

16. YouGov

About: YouGov is a very unique survey app because it’s centered around news, politics, and other current affairs. The statistics gathered are featured in various popular media outlets, though your information is totally anonymous.

YouGov uses a points-to-cash conversion system. Recent sources report that you need 25,000 points to cash out, but other sources state you need 5,000 points. Their payout options include Amazon e-gift cards, VISA gift cards, and gift cards for other major retailers.  

Signup Bonus: According to the YouGov website, they’re currently offering 2,000 points as a signup bonus. Some users report an additional bonus for filling out your profile.

Referral Bonus: When you refer a friend and they complete three surveys, YouGov will award you 4,000 bonus points. The person you referred will earn 2,000 points, so this is a great incentive for getting people to join.

17. FreeMyApps

About: FreeMyApps is a fun way to earn money by installing and testing out apps. You can delete the apps once you’re finished trying them out. The points you earn per app will vary. Some pay 100 to 150 points, and others pay only 35 points.

The minimum payout amount is merely 300 points, which will net you a $1 Amazon gift card. Payout is $5 to $10 for gift cards to major retailers including Starbucks, Fandango, Redbox, and Best Buy.

Signup Bonus: FreeMyApps doesn’t offer a signup bonus at this time.

Referral Bonus: FreeMyApps will reward you 200 points per person that you refer. You receive the points once your referral tests out their first app.

18. MySurvey

About: MySurvey is a survey app and website that’s paid out over $32 million in rewards since 2014. Users report that the surveys are typically pretty short, and they offer average to above-average pay. You can read our feedback in this MySurvey review.

The cashout amount is only $10 (1,000 points), and users have noted that surveys pay an average of $0.50 to $1.25. You can receive payment via PayPal, Amazon e-gift cards, and a number of other gift card options.

Signup Bonus: MySurvey does not offer a signup bonus at this time.

Referral Bonus: MySurvey does not offer a referral bonus at this time.

19. EarningStation

About: EarningStation is another app that pays you to complete a large variety of small and simple tasks. You can earn cash by shopping, completing e-mail signup offers, watching videos, completing surveys, playing games, and more.

Payment for tasks varies a lot. One review states that surveys pay anywhere from under $1 up to $12. Another user says you get paid $2 for watching 10 videos.

The payout threshold is $10 for some gift cards and $25 for other gift cards. You can receive PayPal payments in increments of $25 and $50. A full list of current reward options and payout thresholds is provided in their FAQ.

Signup Bonus: Users report that you earn a $10 signup bonus once you complete five e-mail signup offers.

Referral Bonus: For each person you refer, you’ll get 10% of their earnings for life. EarningStation offers additional referral bonuses that periodically change. In December 2017, you earned $3 when your referral earned their first $1. A previous bonus offer paid you $5 when your referrals earned their first $5.

20. Shoptracker

About: Shoptracker stands out from other apps that pay you to shop. This app is designed for Amazon users, and it tracks your Amazon purchase activity.

At the end of each month, you’ll take a survey of your Amazon shopping. Each survey pays $3, and you’re paid with Visa Gift cards. Read the Shoptracker FAQ and our Shoptracker review for more information.

Signup Bonus: You get a $3 signup bonus once you join, link your Amazon account, and take a very quick survey.

Referral Bonus: As of now Shoptracker doesn’t offer any referral bonuses.

Final Thoughts On Best Money Making Apps 2018

It’s very clear that you have several legit and unique money making apps to choose from. From PayPal payments to gift cards, there is great earning potential here. You can spend a few minutes or hours per day on these apps, and you’ll be cashing out before you know it.

If you want to boost your earnings even more, try out some money making websites.

I recommend reading 34 Companies That Allow You To Make Money Online Part-Time and 10 Top Survey Sites That Will Make You $300/Month Or More. You’ll quickly find many opportunities that suit your wants and needs.

Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

Amy Baum


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