37 Helpful Apps That Pay Cash If You Actually Need Money Fast

A Money Tree With Apps that pay cash
Illustration: The Money Manual.
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Updated: October 20, 2021

Increasingly people are looking for apps that pay cash, and there is good reason for this. Relying on one source of income to provide for all your needs and help you grow your wealth has never really been practical. Sure, maybe once a long time ago, before you, me or your parents were born, you could easily live off the money you got from working one job, but in today’s economy, the average nine-to-five salary can barely hold you through the year. And most people are already working two jobs to deal with this reality. So how can you bring in even more money to help you meet your financial goals? One of our top tips is to look for apps that pay cash. 

Think about it, how many hours would you say you spend on your phone every day? Two? Three? More? According to a study done by eMarketer, Americans spend nearly four hours a day on their phones. That’s almost 30 hours a week. All that time you spend texting, checking your social media, playing games, watching TV and shopping could be used to boost your income. Here is our comprehensive list of apps that pay cash so you can earn real money in your downtime, anywhere that you are.

Table Of Contents

Make Money Taking Surveys Via Apps

Make Money Playing Games On Apps

Make Money With A Side Hustle On An App

Make Money Shopping With Apps

Make Money Investing On Apps

Make Money Selling Stuff On Apps

 Cell Phone With Apps That Pay Cash

Make Money Taking Surveys Via Apps That Pay Cash

If you have time to kill, paid surveys is another option to consider if you are looking for apps that pay cash. Market research companies will pay to get your opinions on the brands you buy from and the products you use. Take advantage of that. Here are couple of our go-to paid survey apps that are among our favorite apps that pay cash.

1. InboxDollars

InboxDollars pays users to take surveys, watch videos of movie trailers and commercials, to play games, and to read emails with special offers. They also offer cash back for shopping and redeeming coupons offered through the app. Once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem your points for cash via PayPal, for Visa cash cards and gift cards to Amazon, Adidas, Macy’s, Target, Whole Foods, Nordstrom and more. Looking for apps that pay cash? This should be one of your first downloads.

2. Swagbucks

The Swagbucks app is one of our favorite options for earning free gift cards and free stuff.

Here’s how to earn with Swagbucks:
  • Shop – Get free coupons (that earn you rewards for redeeming) and online and in-store cash back deals for hundreds of retailers
  • Answer – Take surveys and polls on anything from products and brands you shop to the kind of food you like to eat to travel preferences
  • Watch – Watch videos on a variety of topics like sports, world and entertainment news and more

Doing all of these activities earns you points you can exchange for cash via PayPal and gift cards from Visa, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and more. So you’re basically earning money doing the things you do online anyway, which sounds pretty great to us!

Swagbucks gives out 7,000 gift cards every day and since 2014, has already paid out more than $430 million in cash rewards to its members (that’s huge)!

Get $10 just for singing up!

3. MyPoints

If you could imagine your dream way of making money, it might go something like this. Picture, you sitting on the couch, eating popcorn, binge-watching TV — and somehow also making money. We have found a way to make a little extra money each month by doing this and it’s called MyPoints. Big brands want consumers to watch short snippets of movie trailers or product features and give their feedback. They pay MyPoints which then recruits people like us to give their feedback for actual cash. It’s a little more entertaining than your typical cash for survey approach.

4. Springboard America

Springboard America is one of the leading online market research communities in the U.S. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in surveys and discussions which will help the brands, products and services we all use every day improve!

Springboard America partners with organizations ranging from household brands, government bodies, not-for-profit organizations, and the media who want to better understand public opinion and inform their business decisions.

The total value that Springboard awarded to their members in July 2021 was almost $32,000. Maybe next month you can snag a piece of that money pie?

5. Google Opinion Rewards

In exchange for taking surveys, giving product reviews and answering merchant satisfaction questions, Google Opinion Rewards users will get Google Play Store Credits (for Android) or cash (for iPhone) via PayPal. You’ll receive a notification every time an activity is available, with each one typically taking less than 20 seconds to complete. A lot of people report that this is one of their favorite apps that pay cash.

6. AppTrailers

Watch videos for DIY projects, game trailers, movie and TV show previews, funny video from the internet and videos submitted by other AppTrailers members to earn “perk points” towards gift cards to stores like Amazon, Starbucks, Groupon and more or cash via PayPal or a prepaid Perk Plastic debit card. You can also earn perk points with daily trivia and quiz games.

7. Userfeel

This app is a testing tool that brands use to get feedback from consumers on the functionality of their websites and apps. Consumers, or “testers,” are given a scenario and specific tasks to do using a brand’s product. The app records the tester’s screen and voice while doing so, then uploads the recording to its website server for brands to review. Each test lasts 10 to 20 minutes and testers earn $10 per test.

Hands Holding Cash

Make Money Playing Games On Apps That Pay Cash

While some people may think playing mobile games is a waste of time (and maybe some are) there are some that pay and all the games available through the three apps below do. These apps that pay cash are all fun and easy.

8. Mistplay

This mobile game platform (for Android phones) provides users with a list of games customized to their preferences to earn money from. Just pick a game from the apps mixlist, download and play. The more games you play, the more points you earn, which you can trade in for Visa cash cards or gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes, Xbox Store, Playstation Store and more.

9. Cashyy

Are you looking to make extra money while having fun? Download Cashyy for free (no advertising, no deposit, no in-app purchases). Discover mission and play new games every day from their list ➡ spend time playing them, achieve your missions ➡ earn coins ➡ exchange your coins for gift cards such as Amazon gift cards, Google Play coupons, PlayStation cards, Zalando vouchers, or you can simply get your cash directly on your PayPal account.

10. Lucktastic

Lucktastic is a free app that offers free daily scratch card games that can score you some serious cash and the app’s tokens, which you can use to enter contests with more cash prizes. We know what you’re wondering: Is it legit? Well, 220,000 people have already scored major rewards with the app so far. The app adds new games every day so there’s always a chance to win, plus consecutive days of game play will earn you daily rewards ranging from bonus tokens to contest entries. Lucktastic’s biggest scratch card prize is $2,500. It’s also has two major contests going on: the daily $500 Amazon gift card giveaway and the $1 million Crack The Safe Contest. Whether your winnings are cash or tokens, in order to cash them in for gift cards (to places like Amazon, Walmart and JC Penny), you need to have a balance of at least $2. If you have a balance of $10 and up, you can get your money mailed via check.

11. Kashkick

Cash is the Greatest Reward! Kashkick will deposit cash into your PayPal account for all the fun things you’re already doing online. Companies are eager to get their deals in front of consumers like you, and to get your feedback. In fact, your opinions are so valuable, they’ll even pay you for them! All you need is a few minutes and an internet connection, and they’ll take care of the rest.

12. Rewarded Play

Love Solitaire, Mahjong, Wheel of Fortune, Yahtzee and other similar classic games? Play these free rewards games and earn points when you start playing, reach certain levels, see rewarded videos and make in-app purchases. Then choose from Amazon gift cards, Best Buy gift cards, Target gift cards and more! Download Rewarded Play and start earning rewards today!

13. Solitaire Cube

Similar to regular solitaire, with Solitaire Cube you are trying to make rows of ascending cards. The big difference is this is a faster-paced version because its on a 5-minute timer. The cards don’t have to be the same suit unless you’re building the Ace card foundation. In the practice league, play as many free matches as you want while you practice your solitaire skills. The prizes are Z Coins, virtual currency to play more matches, and Ticketz, which can be redeemed for actual prizes — including really big stuff like a free car. In the pro league, deposit money, and you can start playing in the cash tournaments against other players. Solitaire Cube actually paid out $380,980 to its top player so this is no joke. You can cash out anytime by simply connecting your PayPal account to the game.

14. Perk Pop Quiz

If you’re a trivia wiz, you can start earning money with those gaming skills playing trivia with Perk Pop Quiz (for Android). The app has quizzes from  more than 400 film, TV, music, math, science, spelling and vocabulary and geographical themed categories that you can choose from. Earn points with every answer you get right and trade them in for Perk Plastik Discover Cards or real gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Nike, Target,  GameStop and hundreds of other retailers. You’ll also regularly be automatically entered to win daily cash prizes of up to $50 for playing challenges and getting high scores.

Make Money With A Side Hustle On Apps That Pay Cash

Your day job may help you cover your basic needs, but getting a side hustle can help bring in the extra money you need to achieve the financial freedom everybody hopes for. Here are a couple apps that pay cash that can provide a very real income stream.

Find Side Hustles

15. Steady

Steady is home to over 1.5 million verified job opportunities, from one-time gigs and flexible side-hustles to part-time and full-time positions. Whether you’re looking to fill in gaps in your income, just want to make enough money to achieve a specific financial goal, or are looking to have multiple income sources in your back pocket, Steady can help you find the jobs that fit your schedule and income needs. Steady is over 2.5 million members strong and says its members make an average of over $5,500 a year in extra income.

Beyond job searching, Steady also provides financial assistance by way of emergency cash grants of $100 to $1,000 through a partnership with The Workers Lab and “Income Boosters,” which are recommendations for financial products that often come with sign up bonuses. Benefits like this are pretty unheard of on a job search app and make Steady really unique.

Delivery

16. DoorDash

If you’re not a fan of having strangers in your car, but like the idea of being able to set your own hours, think about becoming a delivery driver for DoorDash. It operates a network of couriers that deliver restaurant orders placed online through their website or app. If you have a car, bike, scooter, motorcycle or just two good legs, you’re eligible to join the DoorDash fleet. Dasher’s get paid weekly via direct deposit and offer tipping.

17. Instacart

Becoming an Instacart shopper is another way to make some extra cash. Similar to the apps above, this grocery delivery and pickup service allows you to be your own boss, by letting you set your own hours. On average, Instacart shoppers make $11 an hour and get paid weekly. Work a couple of hours every week and you could be bringing in a few hundred extra dollars every month. Choose between being a full-service shopper, where you shop, bag and deliver or an in-store shopper and just shop and bag for pick-up.

Freelance Work

Freelance work has a lot of benefits. It’s a great way to boost your income, every job you complete is another experience you get to put on your resume (employers like to see someone who can hustle), you get to build professional relationships and oftentimes you can do the jobs remotely so you don’t have the added stress of figuring out travel for a short term gig. There are a handful of apps out there for both seasoned professionals and those in the early stages of their careers. Here are some really popular ones.

18. Upwork

Upwork is a popular platform that connects businesses and freelancing professionals for project collaboration in a wide selection of job categories. Find gigs for anything from engineering and analytics to language translation and law services. Freelancers are charged sliding fees per project completed. Upwork takes a 20% commission on the first $500, 10% on the remaining balance up to $10,000 and 5% on the remaining balance that is more than $10,000. So if you made $700 on a gig, Upwork would take 20% of the first $500 ($100) and 10% on the remaining $200 ($20). So your total take-home would be $580. 

19. Fiverr

Fiverr is a freelance services marketplace that’s specifically for creatives and digital work. So, if you’re a writer, filmmaker, producer, photographer, graphic designer, sound engineer or anything else in the digital realm, Fiverr might be for you. You create three bundle packages for your services detailing price, scope of work and delivery time. You can also do custom work outside of the limitations of your packages if you are responding to a job ad by a hiring business. Fiverr charges a 20% commission on your total earnings.

20. Snapwire

More than 700,000 people use Snapwire to sell their photos to brands, publishers, small businesses and creatives looking for custom photos to promote their products and services. Buyers will post creative briefs (called requests or challenges) for the kind of content they’re looking for and you can respond to their ads by submitting photos to them that match their requests. Or you can just upload a portfolio of your work and Snapwire specialists will handpick your best ones and make them searchable for buyers to purchase directly through their individual Snapwire marketplace subscriptions. Photos on Snapwire go for anywhere between $5 and $100. If you sell a picture that’s been requested by a buyer or that was selected in response to photo challenge, you get to keep 100% of the money. If your photo is purchased by a buyer through their Snapwire marketplace subscription, you split 50% of the profits with Snapwire.

21. Foap

Foap is great for amateur photographers and videographers looking to step up their game and get a taste of turning a profit on their work. Upload your work to become discoverable by brands like Heineken, Mastercard, Nivea and agencies like VaynerMedia and Droga5. You can also participate in buyer photo or video missions. Follow the mission briefs and submit your work to them. Photos typically sell for $10, but if it’s an exclusive mission, they can sell for $30. Videos start at $200. Whatever you make from your sale gets split with Foap.

Two Hands Full of Colorful Shopping Bags

Make Money Shopping With Apps That Pay Cash

We’re not knocking discounts, because we love them and they help you save. But when saving isn’t enough these apps can help you make money and earn gift cards to your favorite stores just for shopping at them. A lot of these apps that pay cash are easy ways to come up with extra money and are worth considering.

22. Drop

Drop earns you cash and gift cards for shopping at your favorite stores. Download the app, pick five stores from its list of partner retailers, link a card and shop. Every time you make a purchase at your chosen stores in-person or online through the app, you’ll earn Drop points that can be redeemed for gift cards to your top five and any of the other stores available through the app. You can earn gift cards to places like Starbuck Netflix, Amazon and more.

23.Shopkick.

Another app that’s great for rewards shopping is Shopkick. According to its website, most shoppers can earn enough points — the app calls them “kicks” — for a gift card in just one week. Earn points when shopping in-store by just walking in, scanning items and making purchases. Earn online for visiting stores through the app, viewing certain offers and making purchases. Trade in your points for gift cards to stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Starbucks and more. 

24. Ibotta

If you’re feeling guilty or stressed about your spending, Ibotta will make you feel a whole lot better by giving you cash back for purchases made online, in-store or directly through the app. Whichever method you choose, you need to first select the cash back offer available in the app you want to use and pay full price at checkout. When shopping online or in-store at Ibotta partner stores, upload your receipt afterward and the app will scan it and credit the cash back to your Ibotta account. If you pay for your items directly through the app using its “Pay with Ibotta” feature, you’ll get you 10% cash back on the total of your purchase. Ibotta works at 300 retail chains, restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, home improvement centers, pet stores, and pharmacies across the nation.

25. Rakuten

Similar to Ibotta, using Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) to shop, earns you cash back. This online company works with over 2,500 stores including Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and more. Navigate to the store you want to shop at through Rakuten and whatever cash back the app offers for that store will be applied to your Rakuten account after you make your purchase. You’ll get your money via PayPal or check by mail.

26. Fetch Rewards

This app helps you earn cash rewards for the shopping you do at any grocery store by turning your receipts into gift cards. Just download the app, shop and take a photo of your receipt. Fetch Rewards will scan it for any of the thousands of qualifying products that can score you points. As soon as you’ve earned 3,000 points ($3), which you can do pretty quickly, you can start redeeming them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Sephora, Best Buy and Nordstrom.

27. Earny

Earny gets you refunds for the difference in online purchase price drops by scanning your email for receipts. The app covers 20 stores including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Macy’s, and Sears. Earny also works to get you low prices for hotel bookings and offers full price protection for all purchases made with Citibank cards and four claims per year for Mastercard cardholders.

28. Seated

As fun as eating out can be, it can get really expensive, really fast. Booking reservations through Seated is a great way to make some of that money back. Every restaurant reservation you make is eligible to receive up to 30% cash back. Browse through the app’s list of restaurants near you, pick the one you want and book a reservation. Eat your meal and upload a picture of your receipt to the app afterward to confirm you showed up for your reservation. Let the app’s concierge feature help you book a reservation for a large party for you (or just yourself) and you can get even more rewards. On top of that, every meal you book through Seated also earns a meal for a child in need through ShareTheMeal, a crowdfunding app working to fight global hunger through the United Nations World Food Programme.

Graph Showing Upward Trend From 2012 to 2019 With Happy Faces

Make Money Investing On Apps That Pay Cash

Investing is a great way to grow your money and getting started is a lot cheaper than it ever has been thanks to apps like the ones listed below. Looking for apps that pay cash? These are definitely options to consider.

29. Stash

You can use this app to start investing in fractional shares of stocks and funds with as little as $5. What is a fractional share? Well, instead of buying a full share in a company, which can be expensive, you’re buying partial ones at a much lower cost. The app provides hundreds of stocks and funds to choose from to build your portfolio with and educational resources to help you learn how to manage it on your own. If you open up a checking account with Stash, you’ll also get a debit card that earns you stock-back (stocks and funds) in companies like CVS, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, Apple and more every time you use it to make a purchase at those locations. Stash has subscription plans ranging between $1 to $9 a month depending on what your financial needs are.

30. Acorns

Acorns also lets you invest in fractional shares and you can do it by putting as little or as much money down as you like, the app doesn’t have an investment account balance minimum. If you’re a college student, Acorns will help you manage your investment portfolio for free. For all other users, the app charges $1 to $3 a month depending on the plan you select.

31. Robinhood

Robinhood’s goal is to make investing in financial markets more affordable, more intuitive, and more fun, no matter how much experience you have (or don’t have). Commission-free investing, plus the tools you need to put your money in motion. Robinhood lets you buy fractional shares of stocks. Here’s how it works: One share of Amazon currently costs $3,320.68, which is unaffordable for most people. But apps like Robinhood let you purchase $50 of Amazon stock. Pretty neat, right?

32.Public

Public is a great app for anyone who wants a more social experience with their investing. This app makes the stock market social, so you can tap into the collective wisdom of a community of investors.

While you get to start investing in stocks and ETFs starting with as little as $5 with fractional shares, you can also follow the profiles of other investors on the platform and chat with them, too. Ask questions, learn from others’ experiences or share your own and discuss investments.

Do all of this and also enjoy fee-free investing, no account minimums and free stock via family and friend referrals. Open a free Public account so you can start investing with just $5 and enjoy the company of your peers as you do.

Make Money Being Healthy Via Apps

Eating healthy and exercising may come easy to some people, but for others, it’s really hard. Sometimes all you need is the right motivation and these apps offer some pretty amazing cash incentives. Most people don’t realize that among the apps that pay cash there are ones that are actually encouraging people to get healthy. 

33. Sweatcoin

In order to help you be a healthier you, Sweatcoin pays you to do the simplest physical activity you can do — walking. Sweatcoin converts every step you take into the app’s currency by the same name, which you can spend on goods, services and experiences offered by Sweatcoins partners in the app’s marketplace. Buy things ranging from clothes and electronic devices to workout classes and audiobooks. 

34. StepBet

StepBet, similar to HealthyWage, makes you put money down on your step goals. Use Apple Health, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Garmin to get your personal fitness goal. Pick a challenge game you want to participate in, bet money into the game’s pot and walk and exercise to meet your goals every week for as long as the challenge lasts. In the end, the pot money will be split between you and the other game participants and you’ll get back the money you put down and win even more. 

Woman Surrounded By Cash

Make Money Selling Your Old Stuff Via Apps That Pay Cash

If you have things you don’t use or need anymore that are just taking up space in your home, selling them is a really easy and convenient way to make money fast. 

35. Letgo

Letgo lets people sell and buy virtually anything that can be sold or bought, including clothes, cars, tech, furniture, real estate, baby supplies and so much more. The app works like a mobile classified. To post an item for sale just take a couple of photos of it, select the product category it belongs in and upload the photos with a price and product description. Chat with potential buyers instantly directly through the app.

36. Bookscouter

If you want a place that specializes in selling books, Bookscouter can help take all those textbooks from college and novels from your childhood that have been collecting dust on your shelves off your hands. The app helps you compare buyback offers from more than 30 vendors and let’s you see vendor ratings and reviews from other sellers. Type your book’s ISBN into the app’s search bar and if there are companies looking to buy it, you’ll get a list of all of them. Pick the deal you like best and ship your book for free. You could get paid the same day the vendor receives it. 

37. Raise

Have you ever been given gift cards lying around to stores you don’t shop at? Instead of letting them waste away, make money from home by selling them on Raise. Use the app’s search bar to look up the store your gift card belongs to, then select it and enter the card details — it’s serial number, pin number, balance amount and your selling price (it should be less than the gift card balance). Raise will take a 15% commission on the sale. If you’re selling a physical gift card instead of a digital one, Raise will charge an additional fee of $1 or 1% of the value of the card (whichever is greater) for shipping. You’ll get your share of the money by direct deposit, PayPal or check.

Bottom Line

There are more and more apps that pay cash out there. Whether you are looking for a quick way to make a few extra bucks on the side or a bona fide side hustle to supplement your income or become your entire income stream, there are loads of apps that pay cash to consider. And, considering all of the apps that pay cash that debuted in 2019, we can’t wait to see what is in store in 2020.

All Illustrations: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual