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Money making apps are a great way to earn some extra income in your spare time. They provide a quick way to get cash on the go without much extra effort. But you want to know the best way to earn money from these apps? Referring your friends.
Some apps give a specific percentage per referral, and some give a specific cash bonus – as much as $10 per friend referred.
Not only that, but once your friend signs-up using your referral link or code, all of the work is left up to them, meaning you don’t have to do a thing to earn some extra cash.
Here are our top 10 choices for money making apps with the best referral programs (and thanks for using our referral links!). See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’ve been following the FFL blog for a while now, you’ve probably heard of Ibotta. Not only is it one of the easiest ways to earn cash back on groceries, but it has one of the best referral bonuses I’ve seen.
Ibotta is available for both Android and iPhone devices and pays you to scan your grocery receipt. If you buy a specific product that matches one of the groceries that Ibotta sponsors, you can get cash back for your grocery purchase.
Earn anywhere from $.20 cents to $10 per item. On average I’d say you can get about $.50 cents per product.
New product offers are presented each week, and I make an extra $10 – $20 per month with a limited amount of effort.
The Referral Bonus
The best part about Ibotta is their referral bonus at $10 per referral – Incredible?!?! When your friend uses your referral link to sign-up and scans their first receipt, you get $10, and your friend also gets $10. It’s a win-win situation.
A great way to spread the word is on Facebook, and since the app is so great anyways it’s usually not difficult to convince them to join under me.
You won’t find an app that gives such a high referral bonus for such a simple task. It’s no wonder we feature this app in our sidebar. There’s no cap to the amount of referrals earned.
If you haven’t heard about Swagbucks from FFL, you’ve probably heard of it across a thousand other blogs on the web. This is one of the best money-making programs out there and it’s not going away any time soon.
Swagbucks makes it incredibly easy for you to earn some quick cash online. You can watch videos, take surveys, participate in daily polls, shop online and much more to earn extra cash.
Each time you complete a task, you’re given points called Swagbucks that can be exchanged for cash prizes such as gift cards or PayPal withdrawals.
Making money with Swagbucks is so easy that we even put together a passive guide to earning $70 watching Swagbucks videos from your phone.
The reason for this is because you don’t need to click anything to go to the next video since they start automatically.
The Referral Bonus
While the referral bonus for Swagbucks isn’t as high as any of the other apps we’ve previously mentioned, it’s still quite good. You earn 10% of whatever your friends earn, and it doesn’t matter how they earn their Swagbucks.
What I personally do is show my friends how easy it is to let your phone autoplay and earn points from Swagbucks videos. They earn points quickly, and I get 10% of that amount. It’s a win-win situation.
I’m not sure why, but I tend to have a tough time getting people to stay with it. It’s most likely because most people think they have to participate in surveys and other tasks to earn cash. I personally only do videos since I see every other task as time consuming.
Friends don’t need a referral code but rather use a link to sing-up under you. Usually I can at least get an extra $.50 cents per friend I refer. It’s a goldmine when they decide to stick with it.
Some people consider Ebates to be more of a website than a shopping app, but we couldn’t not put it on this list. If it were a more popular phone app we’d probably rank it at #1 due to their incredible referral program.
Ebates is an online shopping portal that gives you money for using their referral links to different retailers that they’re partnered with. For example, Ebates has a relationship with Walmart, so let’s say you want to go shopping there.
Click on the Walmart link on the Ebates page to be redirected to the Walmart website. Buy something and Ebates earns a small commission. Instead of keeping this money to themselves, they give it all back to you in the form of “cash back.” If this sounds a bit confusing (because it is), you can read our full shopping portal guide.
Ebates doesn’t have the best cash back rates around compared to other shopping portals, but depending on the retailer they can have some good rates. Furthermore, they often hold promotions in which they double cash back for certain stores. You also get a free $10 gift card just for registering as a new user.
The Referral Bonus
As mentioned above, Ebates has one of the best referral programs out there. Their program works around a tier-based system, meaning the more you refer, the more you earn. Here’s what you can earn:
- Refer 1 friend and get $10
- Refer 2 friends and get $40
Keep in mind that if you refer 1 friend, the second friend has to be referred within a 3-month period for you to bump up to a total of $50 in referral bonuses from both. If you refer a 3rd friend it goes back down to $10, the fourth to $40, etc.
Not only that, but for each friend you refer you’ll also be entered in their vacation giveaway. Right now they’re giving away an all-expense paid vacation to Disneyland for two. While it’s highly unlikely you’ll win, it’s still a nice touch.
In order to receive your referral bonus, your friend will have to receive cash back from at least one store. Ebates now has the option to earn cash back in-store as well, one of the only shopping portals that currently provides this option.
4. Checkout 51
It wasn’t until recently that Checkout 51 became a top contender for one of the best money making app referral programs. Until as of a couple of weeks ago, they didn’t even have a referral program. You could use the app all you want, but there wasn’t any incentive to really spread the word.
Like Ibotta, Checkout 51 also pays you to scan your grocery receipts to your phone. The key difference between the two is that while it matters where you shop with Ibotta, you can shop at any store and still get cash back with Checkout 51. Buying bananas at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, or a grocery store no one has ever heard of? Scan the receipt and you’ll still get an extra $.25 cents.
However, Ibotta wins in the sense that they do tend to have a lot more offers. Furthermore, it’s only a slight disadvantage that you have to shop at specific stores when using their since they’re now partnered with a wide variety of different retailers. If most people have heard of it, you should be able to scan your receipt.
The Referral Bonus
Now when a friend uses your referral link to sign-up for Checkout 51, you both earn a referral bonus of $5 after your friend gets validated for scanning their first receipt. This requires almost no effort, and again, since the app is so great it shouldn’t be a problem convincing your friend.
It usually takes 24 hours before your accounts get credited, and there’s no cap on the amount of referrals earned.
There is one minor setback, however. Since this is such a new referral program, Checkout 51 is still in the testing phase.
They had originally planned to stop the program on June 15th, but since it’s been doing so well they’ve extended it until the end of June. Be sure to check back here for updates, as we’ll definitely cover it if they decide to extend the bonus even further (let’s hope they do!).
5. Boom Gift
Not many people have heard of the Boom Gift App (code 6702298 for bonus on sign-up) which is quite unfortunate. It has a high potential for earning from your smartphone, and comes with one of the highest referral bonuses around.
Boom Gift is a mobile app available for both iOS and Android devices that pays you for download apps and trying them out. Usually the only thing that’s required is to download the app and open it.
However, we recommend opening it for a minimum of 30 seconds to ensure that your account gets credited.
Most apps pay anywhere from $.50 cents to $1 per download, and their selection is updated quite frequently. Using this app alone without any referral bonus could net you around an extra $15 – $20 per month. Not bad for simply making a few installations.
All apps can be deleted from your phone once you’ve received your cash. If you don’t receive credit, try reinstalling the app and opening it once again. There are also a few other ways to earn cash such as surveys, daily check-ins and more.
The Referral Bonus
And here comes the best part: the referral bonus. You don’t receive a one-time bonus each time you refer a friend, but rather a percentage of what they earn. You earn 30% of all of your friends earnings when they sign-up using your referral link.
We jus mentioned above that you can make around $15 – $20 a month downloading apps alone from Boom Gift. Just think if you had 10 friends – all of them together would make a minimum of $150 per month. You would get 30% of that, or $45 per month basically doing nothing. All you would have to do is cash out and rake in some easy cash.
The only tough part is convincing your friends to keep using the app. What most people don’t realize is that offers are updated quite frequently. Once they see a shortage they tend to go away and not come back for quite a long time and lose interest. Another downside is that in order to get referral credits, they can’t use a referral link. Instead, they must use a bonus code when they register. Support FFL by using the code 6702298 and also get a sign-up bonus. Thank you!
There’s probably not much explaining that I need to do for what the Amazon App does. It provides a way for you to shop for Amazon products directly from your smartphone, plain and simple. The one difference? You use an app instead of a webpage, and this is where you can rake in some extra cash.
The Referral Bonus
The reason most people don’t know about this program is that a lot of Amazon shoppers prefer to go directly to the Amazon website directly using their PC or mobile phone using a web browser. Yet if you’ve never used the Amazon App before, you get a bonus of $5 in Amazon credit just for installing it the first time.
If someone uses your referral link to install the app, they still receive their $5, but you also get a $5 referral bonus. In order to use this credit, make a purchase on Amazon and it will automatically be applied during checkout. You can use your credit on both their webpage and their mobile app.
Keep in mind that you won’t receive the referral bonus until your friend makes their first purchase using the app, which I have found quite difficult to convince them to do for one reason or another, even though they know they’re guaranteed to earn a free $5 in credit (my sales pitch must not be the best).
Almost everyone loves shopping on Amazon, so a great way to spread the word is to use Facebook or Twitter since it won’t look as much like spam. Tell your friends that they get a free $5 as a new app user.
AppMan is another app like Boom Gift. You get paid to download apps and try them out. Most of the time the only thing you have to do is install the app. However, sometimes you may have to complete certain tasks on the app, such as getting to a certain level in a game, or signing-up for their email, etc. For this reason, we suggest reading the instructions carefully. before installation.
The offers on here are quite abundant. If it’s your first time installing the app, you can easily make a quick $5. Check back every 1 – 2 weeks and earn an average of $10 per month without any referrals.
One thing we do want to take note of is that if you’re using an iOS device, you must use the Safari browser. Otherwise you won’t be able to use their app.
Another word of caution is that AppMan is very strict about using proxies or a VPN. In fact, they banned my account just for having a poor internet connection. They thought I was using a VPN, but really I was just getting weak signal from using my data. You can email them explaining the situation if this happens. Yet to be on the safe side, try to use the app only when you have a good signal or strong wi-fi.
The Referral Bonus
We love the AppMan referral bonus. They give you a bonus when your friend signs-up, plus you earn a percentage of their earnings. The reason that this app doesn’t rank higher is because it’s not as popular as the other ones, nor are their offers as abundant.
For each friend you refer, you get $5 when they install their first app. Not only that, but in addition you also get 50% of all of their earnings. This means that if your friends only use the app once, you’re still going to get some cash for your efforts.
While the 50% bonus is nice, don’t expect to earn as much from other apps that pay you to download. This is simply because their offers aren’t as frequently updated as with other apps like Boom Gift.
CashPirate (code XZQBIU for bonus) is a mobile app that unfortunately is only available for Android devices. Like Boom Gift, you also get awarded for downloading apps and trying them out. Usually this requires you to install it on your phone and leaving it open for a minimum of 30 seconds.
If you no longer wish to have the app installed, you can remove it once you receive credit. When you first install the app you should easily be able to quickly earn the minimum cash out at 2,500 coins ($2.50 USD). Keep in mind that CashPirate has no tolerance for any proxies or VPNs.
There are also other ways to earn cash such as watching videos and completing free-trail offers, but none of them pay out as much as the downloading free apps option. Expect to make anywhere from $.30 to $1 per download.
The Referral Bonus
The referral bonus isn’t as high as the other apps that pay you to download, but it’s still quite good. Offers are quite abundant as well. This means that for each friend you do refer, they should be able to stick with the app for a long time before they stop using it.
You get 10% of your friends’ earnings, and they earn a $.50 cent bonus when they use your referral code on sign-up. Expect to make around $5 – $10 a month without referrals. This means that if you convince 10 friends to sign-up and use it frequently, you could earn an extra $10/month in passive income. Just make sure they’re using an Android device first.
FreeAppsFast is yet another app that pays you to download apps to your phone. Like AppMan, you’ll be required to use the Safari browser on iOS devices. For Android devices you can use any browser.
Expect to earn anywhere from $.30 to $.60 cents per download. The payouts aren’t as high as other apps, but they’ve been around for a long time with a positive reputation.
One downside I’ve noticed is that it’s extremely difficult to cash out, whether it be at low or high values of gift cards. The reason being is for their incredibly large user base. Often times they run out of stock, and sometimes it takes a while for them to reload their inventory.
Either way, you can still earn a decent amount of cash. Since they’re one of the more popular apps, expect a decent amount of offers.
The Referral Bonus
FreeAppsFast is best known for their referral bonus of 50% of your friends’ earnings. While it may seem like a lot, it’s actually not as much you would receive with other apps.
The offers that they have are abundant, but if you break it down and look at how much you earn per app, you’re only getting around $.60 cents at a maximum. This amount isn’t bad, but it can make the 50% referral bonus a bit deceiving.
Either way, you can still make some good money, especially if you have some friends that frequently use the app.
Last but not least comes Slidejoy, an app that pays you to unlock your screen. With the app installed, each time you unlock your smartphone an ad will appear. Swipe one way to view the ad in more detail, and swipe the other way to go directly to your home screen.
The reason Slidejoy is so great is because they pay quite well compared to other apps that pay you to unlock your screen. You won’t get paid every time, but you will earn some cash eventually. Keep in mind that unlock apps can also be stacked with one another. The more you have installed, the more money you will make.
For that matter we simply suggest unlocking your phone like you normally would. Doing so constantly will only be a waste of time and you won’t get paid the majority of the time since it’s based on a difficult algorithm.
We estimate that just by using the app alone you can earn an extra $10/month, just enough to pay off a small cell phone plan. This is great because you’re essentially getting paid to do something you would do anyway: unlock your phone.
The Referral Bonus
The referral bonus with Slidejoy isn’t as high, but the retention rate with referrals is much higher. Since Slidejoy is so simple to use, your friends are more likely to stick with it.
When your friend uses your referral link to sign-up, you get 20% of all of their earnings. Keep in mind that you get paid no matter whether you view an ad or not. Just as long as the app is installed and you keep unlocking your screen, you’ll be sure to earn some extra cash.
If you use these apps without earning their respective referral bonuses, you still have a great opportunity to earn some extra cash. However, we cannot recommend this. Referral earnings are one of the easiest and most passive ways to earn income.
The more friends you invite, the more you’re going to earn. Spread the word, and if you want you can even post your referral link in the comments down below.
Do you have any experience with these apps or want to recommend one to be on this list? Let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.