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10 Best Passive Income Apps | Make Money Doing Nothing

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Passive income apps are an excellent way to make money online for doing absolutely nothing.

And the great thing is that the only time you have to spend on them is for the initial setup process.

Once that’s complete, all you have to do is leave the app installed, kick back and earn extra money without having to lift a figure.

The best part? They’re all 100% free to join.

However, it can be difficult to find the best apps that are actually legit and not a scam, and that’s why we’ve put together this article.

Table of Contents

10 Best Passive Income Apps

Down below you’ll find a list of the 10 best passive income apps that help you earn money by doing nothing.

I’ve personally tested each of these apps so we know that they actually work.

For each of the items on this list, you’ll find out how it works, why it’s worth your time and an estimate of how much you can expect to make.

Let’s get started.

1. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

nielsen computer mobile app

The Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel makes number one on our list for a reason.

It’s a great way to earn money by just creating an account and leaving an app installed on your phone.

Although it’s not the highest-paying, they allow you to install the app on multiple devices per household.

With this in mind, you can easily double, triple or even quadruple your income.

The Nielsen Consumer Panel pays you to collect data about your phone.

This typically includes information such as what browser you use and many messages you send on a daily basis.

Nielsen Consumer Panel is available for desktoptablet, and mobile devices.

However, what you earn depends on the type of device.

For those who download the Nielsen software on their desktop, you only earn free entries into monthly sweepstakes in which you can earn up to $1,000.

For this reason, we suggest first installing the app on either a tablet or mobile device since they actually pay you a certain amount of money per month.

It’s difficult to determine exactly when you earn with Nielsen Consumer Panel, but expect to earn cash once or twice a month.

The longer you leave the mobile app installed, the more bonuses you receive.

Still want more information? Check out our full review here.

2. MobileXpression

join mobilexpression

In order to sign-up for MobileXpression you must do so from your mobile device.

After signing-up they give you a $5 Amazon gift card for free within just weeks for becoming a new member.

However, expect to only earn an extra $15 per year on top of that running this app.

While the amount isn’t much, we’ve still found it worth it to run the app since it’s such an easy app to install.

Aside from earning cash passively, you’ll also be given tokens that can be used to participate in their sweepstakes drawings.

Although they’re difficult to win, you might as well try since it’s free.

Keep in mind that MobileXpression requires you install a VPN on your device.

If you’re running a rewards program that doesn’t permit the use of VPNs, just be aware that you may possibly have some conflict.

I’ve personally left my MobileXpression app left running on my phone for years. I check back every few months and cash out for free money – easy money.

If you’re looking for more detailed information, be sure to read our MobileXpression review.

3. Smart App

smart app landing page

The Smart App (previously known as Smart Panel) starts off great by giving you a $5 bonus when you register as a new user.

Available for iOS, Android and Windows devices, Smart Panel collects data regarding how long you use your phone and what apps you have installed.

They use this information to then help improve the internet.

In order to determine your eligibility with the Smart Panel platform, you must first take a short survey. As long as you answer that you have some sort of smart device, you shouldn’t have any problems qualifying.

The longer you leave the mobile app on your phone, the higher your bonuses you’ll earn. If you leave the app installed for one year you will earn $110 in passive income.

For two years you’ll earn $230, or a bonus of $10 for leaving the app on your phone for an extra per year.

On average, users of the app report a 1% – 5% deduction in battery life with negligible impact on performance. Expect the app to use about 2 MB – 5 MB per month in data, a very small amount.

You need to wait a minimum of 30 days to cash out for free gift cards.

Read our full Smart Panel Review

4. Fundrise

how fundrise works

Looking for a way to make money from real estate and earn passive income from it? Fundrise is the investment app to meet your needs.

This real estate crowdfunding platform allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio in private properties.

Fundrise strictly follows what is called a “value investing” model in which they attain assets for much less than what their actual value is.

Not only that, but their portfolio is specifically built to withstand times of economic distress (which is great for those who are worried about the markets during COVID-19).

From 2014 to 2019, they’ve had an annualized return of anywhere between 9% and 12% – it’s difficult to find these returns anywhere.

Their studies also show that they outperform more common investments such as public real estate or public bonds.

The best part?

You can even personally look at that properties they’re investing in and judge for yourself whether they’re making a good decision or not.

Fundrise can be a great choice for those looking to diversify their ways to earn passive income and want to get into real estate without spending lots of money to do so.

Join with our referral link and you get 3 months of advisory for $0. It’s definitely one of the best passive income apps on this list.

If you want to invest money with Fundrise, connect your bank account deposit the amount that you want to invest.

5. Acorns App

how acorns works

Want to start investing but not sure how?

Acorns is a passive income investment app that helps you earn money by deciding where to invest your money for you based on professional financial experts.

Instead, you’re given 5 different risk levels that range from conservative to aggressive.

Typically young investors – provided that they aren’t in any substantial debt – will be suggested to take part in an aggressive investing style.

For those looking to have the mobile app do almost 100% of the investing for you, this is a great place to look since all of the investing is done automatically.

What I love about this app is the spare change option.

If you link your credit card to your Acorns account, each time you spend money the card will automatically round your purchase up to the nearest dollar.

The difference between your actual purchase price and the the amount spent on your card will be deposited into your account.

This app also requires that you pay $1 per month or .025% of your total investment amount over $5,000, exactly like the Stash app.

However, college students don’t have to pay anything for up to 4 years.

A valid edu email address in order to determine if you’re a college student.

When a friend signs-up using your referral link you get a $5 bonus and so does your friend.

If you want more information, read our Acorns review.

6. HoneyGain

how honeygain works

Another app that pays you just for leaving it installed on your phone.

This app works very similarly to the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel. Simply leave it on in the background and earn cash.

HoneyGain pays you on the amount of internet bandwidth you use. This means that the more you use, the more you earn.

One way to earn a lot through HoneyGain is to try watching videos through the Swagbucks app. Swagbucks pays you to watch videos, and since they take up a lot of bandwidth thus increasing your income with HoneyGain.

The great thing about this app is their referral structure.

For every friend you refer, they get a $5 bonus and in exchange you earn 10% of whatever they earn for life.

This app doesn’t take up a lot of memory or processing power on your phone, so you won’t even notice it.

Not including referral income, you can expect to earn around $30 per month if you use up to 10 GB per day.

In order to start earning a passive income with HoneyGain, install the app to your phone, create an account using your name, email and a password that you create. From there, let it sit in the background on your smartphone.

Check back every few months and cash out your points.

To find out exactly how it works, read our HoneyGain review.

7. Rakuten

join rakuten

Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is one of many cashback portals that pays you to shop online (and sometimes in-store) and is an easy way to save money fast.

Instead of going directly to the retailer’s webpage, go to Rakuten instead.

This company has partnered with over thousands of retailers across the web such as Walmart, Nordstroms and more.

On their app, you’ll find affiliate links to these retailers. When you click on one of these links and make a purchase, they earn a commission.

Instead of keeping all of this commission for themselves, they give it back to you in the form of cashback.

It’s a win-win situation.

The best part about Rakuten is that they give you a $10 welcome bonus in the form of a free gift card to Walmart and other retailers.

The other great thing about Rakuten is that they often have promo codes and discount codes that can be stacked with your cashback discount.

Rakuten is just one of many apps that pays you to shop. Since you’re already shopping online, you might as well make money for it.

Feeling lazy? You can also install their browser extension to help you out.

This is one of the better best passive income apps mentioned here, earning you extra money on shopping without the extra time.

The best way to earn with this cashback app is to only shop at stores you would normally. Some people find that the incentive for earning cashback influences them to purchase things they wouldn’t normally buy.

8. ScreenLift

how screenlift works

If you’re looking for an app to make money from your phone with very little effort involved, ScreenLift is a great option.

It’s one of the most passive income apps out there.

ScreenLift is an app that pays you by placing an ad on your screen each time your phone is unlocked.

The only difference is the ad – no extra button clicking and no extra swiping.

You earn money whether you engage with the ad or not.

This means that if you keep swiping and unlocking your phone like you do now, you’ll still get paid.

The payout isn’t much, but it’s pretty good for essentially doing nothing.

Expect to earn about $5 per month in passive income.

We recommend saving up points for higher payouts since their value increases greatly this way.

Screenlift is just one of many lock screen apps that pays you to unlock your phone.

All you have to do is create an account and leave it on your phone to get started.

9. Sweatcoin

how it works sweatcoin

If you really enjoy walking, Sweatcoin is the app for you.

This app literally pays you to walk.

Sweatcoins has consistently been rated number one on the app store in the US as one of the most popular money making apps.

Furthermore, people find that it convinces them to walk more and get more exercise in exchange for a little bit of extra cash.

So why isn’t this item #1 on our list?

Unfortunately, you won’t be earning very much.

Don’t expect to make a fortune, but you should be able to pay off for a couple of meals per month with it.

Not only that, but it’s free to join and you get paid for something you already do in your spare time.

You earn points in the form of Sweatcoins (SWC). You can use these points to redeem prizes such as sunglasses and iPhone charger adapters.

Each time you refer a friend you get an additional bonus of 5 SWC. An easy way to spread the word quickly is through Facebook or Twitter.

To start, create an account and leave it on your phone to make money passively.

10. Permission Research (Also Known As Opinion Square)

how permission research works

Permission Research (also the Opinion Square Company) is another app like MobileXpression that pays you for absolutely doing nothing.

Leave the app installed on the background on your phone. They collect information such as how many texts you send per day, what pages you browse, etc.

From there, collect an easy passive income.

And you don’t have to worry about your data. All of this information is kept completely anonymous so there’s no way anyone can link it back to you.

You won’t earn much from this app, but it is free money.

Like the other apps on this list, it doesn’t use up a lot of processing power or memory so you don’t have to worry about it dragging down your phone.

The great thing about these apps is that they can be stacked, therefore doubling or tripling your passive income.

Earn points for leaving the app installed and then exchange them for free gift cards.

11. Drop

  • Registration Bonus: $1 when you link your first card
  • Join Drop

drop review

Drop is another app that pays you to shop, but it works in a slightly different way.

When you first install the app, you’ll be asked to select up to 5 of your favorite retailers. This includes McDonalds, Starbucks, Nike and many more.

From there, you’ll need to link your credit card or debit card to your account.

Each time you make a purchase at one of your selected retailers using that credit card or debit card, you earn cash back.

Cash back is earned in the form of points that can be exchanged for free gift cards and other cash prizes.

There’s really no easier way to earn a passive income.

The great thing about the Drop app is that it works for both online and in-store purchases.

You can even stack Drop with Rakuten above and your credit card cash back bonus if you have one.

You get a $1 bonus when you sign-up as a new user and link your first debit or credit card.

There’s no need to worry about the safety of your credit cards. The Drop app uses advanced encryption technology to make sure your credit card information is 100% safe.

Expect to earn roughly 1% cash back on your favorite retailers.

This has to be one of the best cashback apps to make money online since it’s just so easy to bring in some extra income with it.

Still confused? Read our full Drop review for more information.

12. Dosh

dosh automatic cash back

The Dosh app works in a very similar way to Drop.

When you open the Drop app, you’ll be asked to link your credit or debit card. From there, you can choose one of the retailers that they’ve partnered with.

Click on the link within their app to open up the retailer’s page. Make your purchase like you normally would with your linked card, and receive cash back directly to your Dosh account.

When you reach a minimum of $25 earned, you can cash out for free PayPal cash.

The cool thing about the Dosh app is that it can be deal stacked with the above app, Drop.

You can expect to earn anywhere between 1% – 5% in cash back depending on the retailer that you shop at.

While you won’t be earning a ton of money, it’s still a free way to create some extra income.

Like Drop, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your credit cards due to their encryption technology.

Read our Dosh review if you still have questions.

13. SavvyConnect

how savvy connect works

SavvyConnect is a passive income program that’s a branch off of the site SurveySavvy (get paid for taking online surveys).

They collect information such as what you shop for online, what apps you use and what you use for entertainment.

For every month that you have the app installed you earn $5 or $60 per year.

However, you can install the app on a maximum of 3 devices (desktop, tablet, and mobile), earning you a total of $180 per year in passive income.

As a member of SavvyConnect, you’ll also be invited to exclusive, high-paying surveys from SurveySavvy.

Once your profile is complete, these surveys will be sent to your inbox.

A great way to make money online with SavvyConnect is to refer your friends.

Each time your referral completes a project, you earn a bonus of anywhere from $5 – $15.

For each friend that they refer, you can earn a bonus of $2 – $6.

The downside? They only pay by check.

Not only that, but at the time of writing this article you can’t install the software on a Macbook.

This app also comes with a browser extension to help you start earning even more.

14. Seated

seated app review

If you really want to earn money for something you already do in your spare time, Seated will pay you to eat out.

In fact, you can earn up to 30% by eating at one of their partner restaurants.

The reason Seated is able to pay you money is because they earn cash through promoting restaurants through their app.

When you check-in with Seated and go to one of their partners, they earn a commission and give a portion of this back to you.

Your rewards can be exchanged for free cash prizes such as gift cards to Uber, Amazon, Nike and more.

I recently took a look at their page and found that in New York City, they’ve partnered with about 50 restaurants in which you can get paid to eat.

You can sort by price, location and other features.

This is excellent for those who to start earning some passive income, enjoy eating out and want to save money.

What Should I Look For In Passive Income Apps?

Before delving into the world of the best passive income apps, there are a few important things you need to be aware of.

  • Never pay. If you ever run across an app that promotes free cash and requires payment information, it’s most likely a scam. All of the apps on this list are 100% free.
  • Easy setupPassive income apps are meant to be easy to install. If it looks like a lot of work to get going, it probably is. I personally love to make money on apps since it’s incredibly simple.
  • Low maintenance. Aside from the initial setup, there should be very little to work needed to maintain the app. Most of these on the list sit in the background while you earn cash. The only real work that you’ll be doing is cashing out for gift cards, PayPal deposits or to your bank account.
  • Drag on performance. Just because an app promotes a passive income doesn’t mean you should use it. If you ever find that it’s slowing down your phone dramatically and not worth the tiny bit of cash, uninstall it.
  • Sign-up bonuses. We highly suggest that you use as many passive income apps that you can. The more you have the more you earn. Yet it’s usually better to install the ones with registration bonuses first since you tend to get paid a bit extra.
  • Make sure it’s activeUsually there will be some indication that your passive income is currently active. If not, check back during the payout period and see if you’ve earned some cash.
  • Can you use multiple devices? Instead of using one phone to earn a passive income, why not use 2 or more? While it does sound logical, we have to be careful. Some programs do not permit the use of multiple accounts under one household. If they catch you, they have the potential to suspend your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve received numerous questions about these apps via email about these passive income apps.

I’ve decided to put them in a list of frequently asked questions in order to make things easier for the readers.

Is my privacy protected?


All of the apps on this list submit your data in an encrypted form and anonymously. In other words, there’s no way to chase any of the information that you submit back to you.

How is it that these companies are able to pay?

By giving them access to collect data on your phone, these companies are able to collect information and sell it as market research.

Companies then use this information to help improve their products and services for consumers like you and I.

Why isn’t this passive app working on my smartphone?

You may run across the issue in which a particular app won’t work on your smartphone.

If this is the case, it could be because the OS on your phone is too out-of-date or your phone is lacking in performance.

We suggest buying a used phone or refurbished phone on Amazon Warehouse that’s of decent quality to support all of these apps.

Are These Apps Really Passive?


Keep in mind that in order to create passive income with these apps, you typically need to set up a free account and change some settings before you start earning.

However, once you get everything setup, it’s all passive income from there.

These apps are great! Do you have any others that you recommend?

We hope you enjoy this list, as we try to only list the apps that actually work. If you enjoyed this article, we also think that you’ll enjoy the following:

Which Apps Pay You?

The best passive income apps are by far ones like Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel and the Smart App. That’s because you literally don’t have to do anything except for installation.

If you’re looking to earn a passive income, these apps have really helped me increase my side hustle money.

I’ve found that these apps can earn you $1,500/year in passive income if you install enough of them. That’s essentially a part-time job!

The best part is that most of the work just comes from the initial setup process. After that, just relax and watch the money roll in… passively.

Essentially you can turn your phone into a money making machine.

I also find that these apps are great for those who are unemployed and need to start making money fast or for those who just want find apps to make money online.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the 10 best passive income apps. If you know of any other money making apps that aren’t on this list and should be, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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