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20 Highest Paying Apps 2018: Earn Free Cash From Your Smartphone

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highest paying appsMaking money from apps is one of the easiest ways to quickly earn free cash from your phone.

They good ones usually require little time and effort, and are great way to earn some extra cash in your spare time.

While they won’t replace your full-time income, they can definitely help you buy a few extra meals per month.

Keep in mind that these apps are ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Payout method
  • Hourly rate
  • Registration bonuses
  • Referral programs
  • Ease of use

With that said, let’s get started. Here’s a list of the 20 highest paying apps for your smartphone.

What Are These Highest Paying Apps?

Want to get started with a few of these apps and skip the reviews? Not a problem at all. Here’s a short list of the best highest paying apps:

I’ve found that with just the apps listed above, I’m able to earn at least a few extra hundred dollars per month. Want to find out the rest of the highest paying apps on the list? Go ahead and read below.

1. Ibotta

Ibotta is one of the most popular receipt scanning apps out there. Take a picture of your grocery receipt and earn anywhere from $.25 to $5 in cash back depending on your purchase. Combine more than one offer per receipt and you can pass this $5 threshold.

The great thing about Ibotta is that you get a $10 sign-up bonus when you sign-up using promo code qFTVA and scan your first receipt. While Ibotta was originally meant to be used for groceries, you can now earn cash back on other items such as electronics, alcohol, prescriptions, meals at restaurants and more.

Furthermore, Ibotta recently added a new feature to help you earn cash back by shopping through other apps. When you open the app, there will be a section for earning a certain percentage of cash back at certain stores.

For example, let’s say you want to shop at Hotels.com. Open the Ibotta app and scroll down. You’ll notice an offer for 10% in cash back. Click on the link to be redirected to the Hotels app on your phone (if you don’t have it you’ll be asked to download it) and make a purchase.

Within 10 days you’ll receive 6% of your total purchase price in your Ibotta account. Once your account reaches $20 in cash back, you can cash out for gift cards of your choosing or for direct deposits to PayPal.

Read our full Ibotta Review

2. Shoptracker

In terms of the total amount you can get paid, Shoptracker is on the lower side. However, the actual amount of time you put in is very minimal, and you can get up to $36/year essentially doing nothing.

Shoptracker pays you to track your Amazon purchases. Simply install the app, link your Amazon account, and answer a short 3-question multiple-choice survey about your Amazon purchase history.

Once this is done, you immediately get a $3 Visa gift card registration bonus, a process that easily takes under 5 minutes to complete.

From there, for every month that you leave the app installed on your smartphone, you get an additional $3. The only thing you have to remember to do is cash out each month for an additional $3 Visa gift card.

This is definitely one of the more passive ways to earn money from your phone.

Read our full Shoptracker Review

3. Shopkick

Shopkick is a great way to earn some extra money while shopping. Once you install the app, share your location and earn cash and gift cards for checking into stores. You also earn cash by scanning the barcodes of specific products or using one of their in-app coupons.

They’re currently partnered with a wide variety of stores such as Walmart, Macy’s and Best Buy with continual expansion. Not only that, but you can also find great deals by using their shopping system.

You won’t earn much scanning barcodes alone, which is why we mostly recommend just using their check-in service. You can easily get $.25 cents or more per check-in and it only takes a second. It wasn’t until recently that you could also receive cash from scanning receipts.

Read our full Shopkick Review

4. Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research is one of the best survey apps out there. You always know what you’re going to get paid, and you always know roughly how long each survey will take. Pinecone Research pays you a flat fee of $3 per survey, and each survey takes anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes to complete.

At this rate, you’re essentially earning at a rate of $15 per hour. The downside? There aren’t that many surveys to go around. I usually find that I can complete one or two surveys per month, and if I’m lucky three.

Sometimes Pinecone Research doesn’t accept new users, so if this is the case for you, just be sure to check back in about a month. You can cash out your earnings for gift cards of your choosing.

The great thing about Pinecone Research is that you never have to log-in to see if new surveys are available since they always send you email notifications.

Read our full Pinecone Research Review

5. YouGov

YouGov is both a survey site and a survey app that pays you for sharing your opinion.

Unlike the majority of survey apps, you get a chance to express your ideals regarding politics and current events. Not only that, but you also are able to view the opinions of others on certain topics of discussion.

The fact that you can chime in and see what other people are thinking regarding a certain topic makes this one of the more interesting survey apps out there.

You get a $2 bonus for signing-up as a new user. While there is a minimum balance of $25 needed in order to cash out, I usually don’t have any difficulty reaching this amount rather quickly.

Read our full YouGov Review

6. Toluna Opinions

The great thing about Toluna Opinions is that you’re guaranteed to earn anywhere between $1 – $5 per survey. This is particularly great for those who are tired of always getting low-paying surveys and not earning much.

Toluna is definitely one of the better survey apps out there. Most of the survey sites are quite short, and I find that I can usually make at least around $10 per hour.

While there isn’t a registration bonus, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll have plenty of surveys to choose from. Be sure to check back every couple of days for new offers.

7. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

If you want to get paid for doing nothing, the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel pays you for simply leaving their app installed on your phone. Simply use your phone like you normally do and earn free cash.

The reason the Nielsen app is able to pay you is because they collect data about how you use your phone. This includes what apps you have installed, your internet speed, the type of device you own, etc.

By leaving the app installed on your iOS or Android device for an entire year, you can earn enough points that will earn you $50 per year. These points can be exchanged for prizes such as gift cards to popular retailers. You’re essentially earning a passive income since you don’t have to do anything.

The best part? You can install this app on unlimited devices, thus doubling, tripling or even quadrupling your earnings. Nielsen only limits the amount of devices per region, not household.

You can also install this app on your desktop computer, but the earnings work a little bit differently. For desktop users, every month you’re automatically entered in a free sweepstakes drawing to earn up to $10,000.

Read our full Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel Review

8. MyPoints

  • Registration Bonus: $10 when you make your first $20
  • Join MyPoints

The thing I love about MyPoints right off the bat is their high registration bonus. After you earn your first $10, you get a bonus of $20.

MyPoints pays you to complete tasks that you most likely already do daily: complete surveys, shop online, watch videos, take polls and more.

Assuming you stay with the higher-paying surveys, we estimate that you can earn at a rate of around $8 – $10 per hour. However, take the lower-paying surveys and this amount will be much lower.

MyPoints also has an excellent referral program. Earn extra cash when your friend signs-up and earns their first $20.

Read our full MyPoints Review

9. Swagbucks

You can earn cash using the Swagbucks app by watching videos directly from your phone. Since the videos play automatically, you don’t have to do any work. The only downside is that there’s a limit to the amount you can earn from this task per day.

However, there are still other tasks that you can complete with the Swagbucks app, such as taking daily polls, online shopping, filling out surveys, playing games and much more.

If you do decide to only watch videos, keep in mind that there’s a total of 5 Swagbucks Apps you will need to use in order to maximize your earnings.

This alone will get you about $30 per month – if you want to increase this amount, you’ll have to complete other tasks as well. Refer a friend and get 10% of their earnings.

We can’t tell you exactly how much of a registration bonus they give since it varies. We’ve seen it as little as $0 and as high as $10.

Read our full Swagbucks Review

10. TopCashBack

If you do a lot of online shopping, this is the app for you. TopCashBack has partnered with thousands of retailers across the web and placed their affiliate links onto one site.

Each time you click on one of these links, TopCashBack earns a small commission and then gives it back to you in the form of cash back.

Expect to earn about 7% in cash back for all of your online purchases. TopCashBack is mostly known as a website, but you can also earn cash by using their mobile app as well. There’s absolutely no cost to register, and you even get a $10 bonus just for signing-up as a new member.

Once you reach a minimum of $10 in earned cash back, you can withdraw to PayPal or for Amazon or Amex gift cards for a 3% withdrawal bonus.

Read our full Topcashback Review

11. Ebates

Ebates is another shopping portal that works exactly like TopCashBack. They partner with thousands of retailers across the web and aggregate all of their affiliate links onto one page.

Each time you buy something using one of these links, Ebates earns a commission and gives it back to you in the form of cash back.

The rates are nowhere near as high as TopCashBack, but sometimes you’ll find stores that give a bit more. The one difference about this app is that it can be used in-store, one of the only shopping portals that allows you to do that.

While the rate isn’t very high at 1% – 2% when shopping in-store, it’s still better than nothing, and can add a lot to your savings when purchasing really expensive items.

You get a $10 gift card for registering as a new member.

Read our full Ebates Review

12. InboxDollars

InboxDollars is a small task site that’s similar to Swagbucks. Earn cash completing small tasks online such as playing games, watching videos, shopping online, referring friends or more.

You start off with a great $5 registration bonus and you need a minimum of $25 to cash out. While this amount may seem a bit high, I usually find that you can reach it pretty quickly.

The two activities that we recommend participating in with InboxDollars are taking surveys and watching videos. This way you can earn the most amount of cash with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately, you need to manually click to play the next video, so you can’t earn passively.

Expect to earn at a rate of around $10 per hour when taking surveys.

When it comes to watching videos, the amount is going to be much lower, but we recommend the task since it’s so simple to complete. Refer your friends and get 10% of their earnings for life.

Read our full InboxDollars Review

13. Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards is a receipt scanning app that works just like Ibotta. Match a product on your receipt with that on the app and earn cash back. The one big difference between Ibotta and Fetch Rewards is that this app only pays you for taking pictures of grocery receipts.

However, they do allow you to buy a product and earn cashback at any location, instead of having to buy a specific product at a specific store.

The reason why this app makes the list is due to their high payouts. Expect to earn anywhere between $1 and $4 per offer. Increase this amount by having more than one offer per receipt.

You need a minimum of $3 in earned cash back to cash out for a gift card of your choosing. When you register as a new user, you get a $1.50 bonus when you use the promo code HH3MN.

Read our full Fetch Rewards Review

14. VIPKID

VIPKID is the highest-paying app on this list when it comes to earnings potential, but it definitely takes the most amount of effort. Get paid to teach children English across the world and earn anywhere between $14 – $22 per hour.

Here are the following requirements for potential teachers:

  • Eligibility to work in the US or Canada
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • 1 school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education

The best part is that you get to choose your own hours. Keep in mind that the majority of these children are going to be located in China, meaning you may have to change your schedule a bit in order to accommodate them.

There are plenty of people who are making a full-time living from VIPKID and can work anywhere in the world because of its high payout.

Read our full VIPKID review

15. Acorns

Acorns is one of the many-popular robo-investing apps out there. Start off with a $5 registration bonus, and start investing with $5 at a time in your stock portfolio.

Not an expert in investing? Not a problem. Acorns understand that having sufficient knowledge takes time, and that’s why they do all of the work for you.

Simply register for the app, fill out your financial profile, and Acorns will suggest which type of investment is right for you. If you’re young and have a lot of money saved, you’ll most likely be put in the aggressive portfolio option.

For those who are a bit older, Acorns will suggest a more conservative approach. The best part? You only need to invest $5 at a time, and unlike most brokerage firm there’s zero commission fee. This is a great way for those to start investing in their future.

They even have a spare change feature that allows you to invest slowly. Link your credit card and your purchase will be rounded-up to the nearest dollar.

The difference between your purchase price and the rounded-up part will automatically be invested in your Acorns account – no extra work done on your part.

Read our full Acorns Review

16. Paribus

It’s terrible when you buy something at a store only to find out a few days later that it can be found at a lower price. What’s even worse is when you don’t find out soon enough so you don’t even have time to return the item to buy the cheaper version.

Instead of taking the time to search around for a cheaper price, have Paribus do it for you. Link your online shopping accounts to Paribus and it will track the internet for cheaper prices.

Even if you’ve already made the purchase, Paribus will track down the original retailer and ask for the retailer to refund the difference.

For example, I linked my Amazon account and bought a book for around $12. Paribus found the book cheaper at another retailer and contacted Amazon on my behalf. Within a week of purchase I noticed a random email stating that a few dollars had been refunded to my account.

The catch? Paribus gets a small percentage of your refunded amount. However, refer enough friends and you can get this amount down to nothing so you get 100% of the difference.

Read our full Paribus Review

17. BeFrugal

BeFrugal and TopCashBack are so alike that it’s almost impossible to rank one ahead of the other. BeFrugal is also a shopping portal  that pays you for clicking affiliate links on their site and shopping through them. The more you shop online, the more you earn.

On average you can get about 7% in cash back across all purchases. I personally find TopCashBack a bit easier to use, but most of the time the rates are identical that it’s best to check between the two of them before each purchase.

BeFrugal also gives a $10 sign-up bonus to new members.

The one big difference that may turn people away is that you do need a minimum of $25 to withdraw your cash back. However, BeFrugal promises to award cash back bonuses within 10 days of your purchase, whereas TopCashBack can sometimes take a bit longer.

Read our full BeFrugal Review

18. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 works in a very similar way to Ibotta. They pay you for taking a picture of your receipt and submitting it to the app. However, unlike Ibotta, it doesn’t matter where you purchase the item as long as it shows up on your receipt.

This means that you can make a purchase at a grocery store, retail store or whatever. Most of the items you find on the app are food items, but once in a while there are a few exceptions. The payout isn’t that great, usually only yielding $.25 – $1 per item, but the amount of work required is quite minimal.

Keep in mind that you can stack this app with other receipt scanning apps, meaning you can use multiple apps with the same receipt. Unfortunately, they currently don’t have a referral program.

Read our full Checkout 51 Review

19. CashPirate

  • Estimate Earnings: $5 – $20 per month
  • Join CashPirate (bonus code XZQBIU)

CashPirate is a rewards app that pays you to complete certain tasks on your phone. This includes watching videos and completing surveys, but the majority of the time you’re going to be earning the most just by downloading and trying out new apps.

Each time you install an app, all you have to do is open it once to get your account credited. The payout is fairly high and offers are quite abundant. You can easily make an extra $5 per month without much extra effort.

Refer your friends and get 10% of all of their earnings for life. You can cash out directly to PayPal once you reach a minimum of $2.50.

Read our full CashPirate Review

20. Screen Stash

While Screen Stash isn’t the highest-paying app out there, it’s one of the best paying in terms of how much you get paid per hour. Screen Stash is a free mobile app that pays you by placing an ad on your screen each time you unlock your phone.

No matter how you normally unlock your phone, there’s literally no extra work that goes involved in order for you to get paid since the ad is unobtrusive. In short, you just get paid for leaving the app installed on your phone.

Whether you engage in the ad or not you still get paid, essentially making this a passive income app. While you can’t expect to earn much, it’s not bad for doing nothing. We estimate that you can earn an extra $5/month or $60 per year unlocking your phone like you normally do.

21. SavvyConnect

SavvyConnect works in a similar manner to the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel app. Leave an app installed on your mobile device and get paid to use it like you normally would. Absolutely no work is required on your part.

Each month that you leave the SavvyConnect app on your phone, you earn $5. Calculate this out and you get a total of $60/year.

Increase your earnings by installing the SavvyConnect app on a maximum of 3 devices for a total of $15/month or $180/year. The best part is that all of this is essentially passive income since the only thing you have to do is leave the app installed and cash out.

They also give you a chance to increase your earnings by referring your friends. When your friend signs-up using your link and completes their first “project,” you earn anywhere between $5 – $15. You can also earn cash from your friends’ referrals as well.

22. LifePoints

LifePoints is one of the newer money making apps out there, but don’t let that deceive you. They’re already proving to be one of the higher-paying ones out there.

While the primary way of making money with this app is through surveys, you can also get paid for completing small tasks.

The best part? Almost all of their surveys take under 10 minutes to complete. This means that if you have only a short amount of time to spare (while waiting in line or in the waiting room), you can quickly pull out your phone and complete a task.

You get a 5 point bonus and a 15% bonus when you register as a new user. You need a minimum of 1,080 points to cash out for a gift card of your choice from a wide selection of retailers.

Read our full LifePoints Review

What Should I Look For In Highest Paying Apps?

There are certain criteria you should look for when it comes to looking for the highest paying apps for your smartphone. Keep in mind that each app may meet the needs of each person differently.

  • Payout method. Usually apps have at least a few payout methods. It’s typically for an app to pay you via PayPal or through at least a few gift cards of your choosing. However, sometimes there’s only one method. If they only pay you gift cards to Fred Meyer and you never shop there, it might not be worth your time.
  • Hourly rate. The hourly rate is calculated by counting how much you earn within an hour’s worth of time. It’s important to keep track of this information because sometimes it may seem like you’re earning a lot less than you really are and visa versa. You should try to prioritize the the apps with the highest hourly rates.
  • Registration bonuses. Registration bonuses are a great incentive to start with an app. Even if you end up not liking the app, at least you’ve earned a few dollars for free without having to do any work.
  • Referral programsReferral programs are one of the easiest ways to make money with apps. A quick post to Facebook or Twitter usually only takes a few seconds. If you have a few hundred friends, it’s possible you can get a few sign-ups, netting you an extra few dollars here and there. Sometimes there’s percentage bonuses. For example, some apps give you 10% of your friends’ earnings for life.
  • Ease of useWhile the apps on this list are great, sometimes they can be a bit tedious. This is especially the case after using them for long periods of time. Keep in mind how frustrating it might be to use the app. If it’s easy and you can earn well, it might be worth keeping.

Final Thoughts

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be earning some extra cash from your phone. The main reason I love using apps is because they’re such an easy way to increase your income on the go.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy the following:

We hope you enjoyed this review of the highest paying apps. If you see any other high-paying apps that should be on the list but aren’t, please let us know down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

Get Paid To Shop: The Shopkick app is a free mobile app that pays you walk into stores, link your credit card, scan barcodes in stores, shop online, refer friends and more. Convert points into gift cards and other cash prizes. This app makes shopping fun, and you even get a 250-point bonus when you sign-up as a new member. The best part? It's 100% FREE to join.

3 Comments

  1. Emma Mar 6, 2018
    • Jason Wuerch Mar 13, 2018
  2. Bonnie Lou Jul 5, 2018

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