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Money Matters
The 20 Best Money-Making Apps
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Lorelei Yang
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Wonky consultant with a passion for words
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Whether because your budget is a little tighter than you'd like or you want to save more money to achieve your goals, you should consider turning your phone into a money-making tool. Read on to learn about 20 money-making apps that can help you earn a few extra dollars to boost your wallet.

What are the benefits of a money-making app?

While they usually won't replace your day job, money-making apps can be a good way to save or earn a few extra dollars each week. Over time, the savings that these apps deliver can add up to help users increase their savings rates, put away money at the grocery store and create a little wiggle room in their budgets. These apps are a low-effort way to earn a few extra dollars without taking on the stress of a second job.

Top 20 money-making apps.

1. Ebates/Rakuten

The Ebates app allows users to use in-store coupons, scan items as they shop to compare prices and earn cash back on certain purchases from selected retailers. Once you download and start using the app, you earn a set percentage of cash back when shopping with Ebates' 2,500-plus retailers. It can sometimes be 10 percent or more. 

You can also use the app for in-store coupons. It even compares coupons for you to ensure that you're getting the best deal on your purchases.

Once you sign up for and start using the app, you'll get paid automatically every three months as long as you've earned at least $5.01.

2. Shopkick

If you frequently shop at stores in person, Shopkick is a great money-making tool for earning gift cards to your favorite retailers. To use this app, download it and engage in one of eight activities to earn points: 

  • Walk into the store, no purchase necessary.
  • Scan barcodes of select products.
  • Purchase items at an eligible store with your Shopkick-linked card.
  • Purchase items and submit your receipt.
  • Visit online stores.
  • View online products. 
  • Make an online purchase with a Shopkick partner.
  • Watch in-app videos.

3. ibotta

This app, which pays users for purchases made at a range of retailers including Target, Whole Foods, and Duane Reade, allows users to make money in four ways: 

  • Uploading their receipts to the app when they purchase eligible items
  • Linking a store loyalty card before shopping to access special offers
  • Making purchases at eligible stores using the app
  • Paying with the app and receiving a percentage of the purchase back

Once you've earned at least $20, you can withdraw earnings to PayPal, Venmo or a range of gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and more. Use referral code "fataq" to receive a sign-up bonus.

4. Drop

This revamped loyalty program app allows users to link their credit cards to it and earn points for purchases at partner retailers. Once you've downloaded the app, link a credit or debit card (or multiple cards, if you use them on a regular basis) so the app can detect spending at partner retailers. 

After you've connected a card, you'll be asked to choose five favorite brands to earn bonus points at. These include Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Uber and Target. At this step in the process, you'll want to choose carefully (you can't change your choices once you've made them), so you should pick your most frequently-used retailers. Next, you'll be prompted to pick a few bonus offers, such as one-time offers to earn lump sums of points by shopping with a particular merchant.

Once you earn a minimum of 2,000 points, you can start redeeming them for gift cards at a range of retailers. The exchange rate is consistent, at $1 per 1,000 points.

Use referral code "pqcag" at signup for 5,000 bonus points (worth $5).

5. Seated

This app gives users rewards for booking restaurant reservations through it. Sometimes, you can earn over 30% back on your reservations. Use the code "LORELEI15" for an extra $15 on your first booking. Once you’ve earned rewards, you can redeem them for gift cards from Uber, Amazon, Soulcycle, Madewell, Nordstrom and more.

You can use this outside New York City, too: It also has Boston, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta restaurants.

6. Bumped

This app rewards you with fractional shares of a company's stock when you spend money at them. For example, if you spend $50 at Starbucks, you'd earn 3% back ($1.50) in Starbucks stock. From there, you can either maintain a portfolio of the fractional shares you're accumulating and watch them accrue value or sell them off and transfer the earnings to a linked bank account.

To use this app, you'll need to join the waitlist (it's currently in a public beta) and wait for an invite to join the app. Once you're taken off the waitlist, you'll create an account, link a credit or debit card and apply for a brokerage account. 

You'll select one brand from each category on the app to earn stock from. While you can change brand selections, you can only change brands in each category once every 30 days, and make changes up to three times a year. 

7. Acorns

This robo-investing app rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and automatically invests the money into a portfolio of ETFs that are diversified across over 7,000 stocks and bonds. You can also sign up for recurring investments with the app. 

Through a feature called "Found Money," users can also be rewarded with cash back on purchases from partner retailers. These offers change on a regular basis, but as of late October 2019, Postmates, Dollar Shave Club and Airbnb were among the retailers offering cash back on purchases made through Acorns.

Keep in mind that this app charges a $1/month fee, so that needs to be factored into earnings.

8. Achievement

This fitness accountability app rewards users with points for exercising, including walking and even posting about health topics on social media. The app connects with a range of fitness apps, including Apple Health, Expresso, Fitbit and Strava to track your activity levels. You can also respond to surveys, which also carry points rewards, and read articles in the app for points.

Once you accrue 10,000 points, you can cash them out for a $10 cash reward via PayPal, direct deposit and gift cards. You can also use your points to donate to charities. 

On occasion, you may also receive invitations for exclusive health studies run on the app, which can pay up to $200.

8. Money App

This market-research app rewards users for completing tasks, such as offering opinions, playing games, checking store displays, mystery shopping, testing services and participating in free trials, that help companies research the potential market for their products. 

After opening an account in the app, you can start complete tasks to redeem rewards for cashouts to PayPal. This app allows users to get paid within two to three days of redeeming rewards.

9. iPoll

This customized market research app allows users to earn money by taking market surveys, writing down diaries (such as tracking food consumption over a set period of time) and completing missions (such as going to a specific store). When you register for the app, you'll be asked some basic information, such as your preferences and consumer habits, to determine your fit for missions. Then, you'll receive alerts when new missions are available based on your preferences and location.

10. Foap

If you have an eye for photography, you should consider selling your photos on this crowdsourcing platform that helps brands and advertising agencies find and purchase images from the app's registry. To get started, register for an account and upload your high-quality photos with clear tags. The community will then rate the photos — the higher the rating, the higher the photo's visibility. Foap takes a 50% cut of anything you earn.

11. Fluid Market

Most people don't use their vehicles every day. If you're one of those people, you can use this app to rent your car, cargo van, box truck, pickup truck or SUV out by the hour, day or week. Fluid Market's website claims that users can make up to $24,000 a year by renting their trucks out. The vehicle-rental system is set up for convenience for both parties. The rentee can set up a lockbox on their vehicle to rent it out without having to be present to hand over the keys. 

You can also rent out tools (such as drills and saw) and items in the "Other" category (which might include sports equipment) on the app as well.

12. Slidejoy

This app makes use of the time that you're not actively using your phone to display various ads featuring news or advertisers on the lock screen. Users can swipe left to learn more, swipe up for additional ads or swipe right for the home screen. Even if they don't engage with the ads, they'll still earn passive income. To earn more money, users can engage with the ads or do other things in the app, such as take surveys. 

Users are paid via Square Cash or PayPal (select “normal” mode). They can also donate their earnings to charity. 

13. Userfeel

This app allows users to participate in usability tests. This entails visiting and exploring new websites, performing simple tasks on the sites and giving recorded feedback and critiques. 

Each test takes 10-20 minutes, and users are paid $10 in cash via PayPal or Payoneer. 

14. Toluna

This market research app pays users in cash (using PayPal) both for participating in research and for creating their own surveys. 

15. Poshmark

Sell your clothes and shoes on this app. You set your prices, and users can bid or buy now; like with eBay, you're responsible to ship the items yourself, but you stand to earn much more by using this selling platform over traditional, in-person clothing consignment (where your audience is often limited to the surrounding area). 

16. 5miles

This marketplace app allows users to buy and sell anything on it. You can decide what you want to sell, to whom you want to sell it, what price you want to set, how far you're willing to travel for the sale and whether you want payment through the app or in person. The app also helps users find a safe location to meet each other in person to complete the transaction.

17. Google Opinion Rewards

This Google-run opinion panel pays users up to $1 for each survey they take. Most surveys take only 20 seconds to complete. Users are surveyed for their opinions on anything from hotels to specific products. On iOS, users are paid through PayPal; on Android, users earn Google Play credits that can be redeemed in the Google Play store.

18. Swoup

This app refers to itself as a "round down" tool because it's actually adding money to users' wallets. Users link their bank accounts and loyalty cards to the app, swipe through suggested coupons and keep the ones they want in their Swoup Wallet. Discounts are automatically applied after they use their loyalty card or phone number, and whatever money is saved is given back to the user.

19. DV Closet

Stylists, fashion bloggers and other fashion pros can use this app to make extra money by helping users put outfits together and make purchasing decisions. Users can make $22 for a 10-15 minute virtual styling session and more for personal shopping trips. Their earning potential from the app increases as their profiles grow on it.

20. Kango

This app, which is described as "Uber for kids," allows users to earn money by providing transportation to preschool through high school-aged children and providing childcare as needed. Parents receive real-time data on users' and children's location and can interact directly with users via the app.

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Lorelei Yang is a New York-based consultant and freelance writer/researcher. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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