Money making apps are a real mixed bag. The ones that actually provide a payday are more in the realm of gig economy apps like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart. Those looking for a free lunch (snack?) and a way to pass some time may have something else in mind.
Most of these options don’t provide much in the way of actual income, and some are outright scams. Others demand too much of a time investment before you get any return whatsoever.
Here’s a list of apps that will deliver some cash, points, or another form of payout.
First of all, we should mention, “free money” apps fall firmly within two camps. There are the games — where you win prizes by answering questions, playing the lottery, and so on. And the something-for-almost-nothing types. The latter covers things like rebate apps or those that let you earn points you can trade for prizes.
10 apps that pay real money
Ebates is a favorite among bargain hunters. The app awards you with up to 40% cash back on items you purchase. Set up the app to remind you any time there’s a new coupon available across the 2,500+ participating retailers.
What’s more, if you’re looking for a specific purchase — say a new TV or a laptop — Ebates will show you which stores have that item and how much you can expect in your rebate. Available for iOS and Android.
Slidejoy is an app that lets you make some money by checking promotions or news stories on your phone.
How it works is, you’ll register for an account. Once you’re in, you’ll receive a notification with news or an ad every time you open your phone. Slide the screen up to see news, right to access your home screen, left to see more information and down to access notifications. Available for Android.
Ibotta makes getting groceries like a game, allowing you to earn some cash back as you shop.
It’s kind of like a high-tech version of couponing, and all you need to do is select the items you purchased from a list of available rebates and scan your receipt. Ibotta deposits cash back to PayPal within 48 hours. Available for iOS and Android.
Sweatcoin is an app that turns your daily steps into new stuff. The app’s motto is, “it pays to walk.” And we suppose if you’re already walking around, might as well get something out if it, right?
Every 1,000 steps is worth 0.95 in Sweatcoin, which you can save up for fitness gear, experiences, or donate to charity. Available for iOS and Android.
5. HQ Trivia
HQ Trivia is likely the biggest game in the apps with prizes category. The live trivia game is available on Android and iOS and is a challenging series of questions that—if answered correctly, promise some big bucks.
Between the engaging multi-player approach and quizmaster personality Scott Rogowsky, the app has become a major phenomenon. While winning big is a long shot, it’s a fun time — and hey, you never know. Available for iOS and Android.
6. Grand: Save Money and Win
Grand: Save Money and Win rewards users for saving money by gamifying the experience. The app makes saving into a lottery game. How it works is, you’ll link your checking account to the app’s FDIC-insured savings account which enables you to earn one percent. Every time you add money to your account, you are entered to win a weekly drawing. Winners can receive up to $1,000, which is transferred to your account.
Banking details are encrypted with bank-level security protections. So rest assured, your data is safe. Available for iOS and Android.
SwagIQ does sound a bit like an HQ knockoff, but who cares? If you’re a trivia buff, there are two opportunities to play to win. Swag is a live trivia game show you can play on your phone to win cash prizes and gift cards. Available for iOS and Android.
8. Long Game Savings
Long Game Savings helps you achieve your financial goals through cash prizes. Like Grand, Long Game aims to make saving “fun.”
How it works is, you’ll create an account, link your bank, and deposit money into the app-provided secure bank account. The app gives you “missions” which align with long term goals, and along the way, you can play games to win coins. Games have different prizes — cryptocurrency or a $1M cash prize. Available for iOS and Android.
9. Lottery — Play the Powerball
If you’d rather play the real lottery than trick yourself into saving money through a lottery-like game, the Lottery’s mobile app allows users in select states to play the Mega Millions and Powerball. You don’t actually pay anything through the app — but you will receive alerts when the jackpot is especially high and you can track lottery tickets. Available for iOS and Android.
10. Perk Pop Quiz
Perk Pop Quiz is a trivia game built for pop culture fiends. If you’re the type of person who rattles off movie quotes and knows the ins and outs of popular shows — this game is a real treat.
The game doesn’t pay in cash. However, you can turn your in-depth “Game of Thrones” knowledge into gift cards for Amazon, Target, Starbucks, and more. Available for iOS and Android.