Whether it’s for an urgent bill or you forgot to get someone’s birthday present, there are plenty of ways to make $20 instantly if you need it.
To be fair, some of them will show you where you can get $20 fast, so not every option on this list will be absolutely instantaneous.
But either way, if you need to get $20 right now, you definitely have options.
Whether you’re looking to make instant money online or would rather get cash in hand, this list has something for you.
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How can I make $20 instantly?
1. Play games
There are a ton of apps out there that let you make money by playing games, with plenty of them easily letting you make $20 fast from doing this.
Our top pick for this is Swagbucks. It’s one of the highest paying money making apps out there – just look at the fact that it’s paid out over $550 million to its users.
It also has a bunch of other ways that you can make money in addition to playing games, meaning you have a variety of options if you get bored with one of them.
And as an added bonus, you’ll get a free $5 welcome bonus just for signing up!
Free sign-up bonus: $5
A great app for making extra money, including with cash back from online shopping, watching videos, playing games and more.
And given it’s paid out over $550 million through Amazon, Paypal and other gift cards, it’s 100% legit.
2. Do surveys
Doing surveys is one of the easiest ways to make money, especially if you do it during times you’d be scrolling through your phone anyway, like on the couch in front of Netflix or while commuting to work.
All you have to do is answer a few questions and you’ll get a couple of dollars for each one you do.
That said, it’s true that some survey apps pay absolute pennies, meaning you really should focus only on those survey apps that actually pay legit earnings, like those apps that let you actually get paid properly to do surveys for money by PayPal.
3. Get sign up bonuses
All of these apps that let you make money are pretty great in terms of the money making options they offer. But in addition to things like playing games, doing surveys, watching videos or getting paid based on your online shopping, they also offer some seriously generous sign up bonuses.
That is, many of them will give you money literally just for signing up for them and verifying your email address. In fact, when it comes to ways to get $20 now, this may just be the easiest.
4. Take advantage of referral bonuses
If you’re looking to get $20 via Paypal now, another option is to also take advantage of the incredible referral bonuses that some of these apps offer.
How it works is that when you sign up for these apps, your profile will have a unique link that’s personal to you. All you do is send that link to your friends and, if they sign up for the same app through your link, you’ll get a bonus for this.
In most cases, you can have as many friends sign up for this as you want. And as you’ll see below, you’ll also get to keep earning while they keep earning when it comes to certain apps.
Check out the referral bonuses offered by the following apps:
- Swagbucks: $5 welcome bonus + $3 for each referral + 10% of whatever your friend earns forever
- InboxDollars: $5 welcome bonus + $1 for each referral + 30% of whatever your friend earns
- Ibotta: $20 welcome bonus + $5 for each referral
- Rakuten: $10 welcome bonus + $25 for each referral
For example: Sign up yourself + get two friends to sign up with your link = $108
5. Get cashback on your shopping
One of the best ways to make $20 instantly is by doing something you’d be doing already. This includes making money from things you would be buying anyway, like groceries, or getting cashback at Walmart for those random things you need from time to time.
And this is why literally everyone should be using cash back apps, with our top pick for this being Ibotta.
It works by giving you money back on your purchases at any of their thousands of partner retailers, whether you choose to shop online or in store.
And not only is it free to download, but you’ll get a free $20 welcome bonus just for signing up!
See more about how Ibotta works here.
Free sign-up bonus: $20
Ibotta’s a completely free app that gives you cash back on what you’re buying already – groceries, medicine, clothes and more.
In fact, users make $150 per year on average – not including your free $20 welcome bonus – with over $682 million having been paid out, so you know Ibotta is definitely legit.
6. Give your opinion
We mentioned before how doing surveys can be a quick way to make $20 instantly, but there’s an alternative that takes a little bit longer – but pays much more.
That is, signing up to do paid focus groups involves you giving your opinion to a person rather than an app. It usually takes anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour to do, so it’s true that it’s not entirely instant to make money in this way.
But I think you’ll agree that the earnings are more than worth it. For example, Survey Junkie is a great app for making money from surveys, but it also has focus group opportunities from time to time.
And for only one hour of your time, you can earn up to $150 through Survey Junkie. Simply sign up here to see which of these are available to you right now.
QUICK TIP: Once you’ve signed up for Survey Junkie (and verified your email address!), your first step should be to go to your settings and select the option where you can be notified of new focus group opportunities as soon as they’re available.
They often fill up fast so doing this will make sure you’re able to get to the front of the line each time!
7. Automatically cut your bills
If you’re looking to make $20 instantly to cover some bills, a good alternative may be to look into how you can cut those bills rather than potentially paying too much.
It’s always a good idea to review your ongoing subscriptions from time to time to make sure you’re still using the services. After all, these recurring expenses can really add up over time.
However, it’s true that this can take some time and most of us don’t have the patience to sit on hold with customer service for hours.
This is why you should consider using Trim.
It’s an app that automatically looks at your bills and other subscriptions and, if you want, it can cancel these for you. It will also review this to see if there are any better deals out there and, if so, will even renegotiate your subscriptions for you.
Grab a free 14-day trial of Trim to see how much it can save you.
8. Watch videos
We’ve mentioned a few apps now where you can make money from doing various tasks. So if you’re the kind of person who’s found yourself down a YouTube rabbit hole, you may be interested to hear that you can also make money through these apps by watching videos.
It’s true that you won’t earn a fortune for doing this, but it can be a good way to take advantage of your free time to make a few extra dollars. And this is especially the case if you can find it with some of the other money making opportunities these apps offer.
A few of the best apps for making money from watching videos include:
9. Round up your change
Depending on why you need to make $20 instantly, and as we mentioned a bit earlier, it may be a good idea to look into saving this money rather than earning it.
And one very simple way to do this is through an app like Acorns.
It’s one of the best passive income apps out there. How it works is that when you buy something, it rounds the amount to the nearest dollar and saves the difference for you. For example, if you buy a sandwich for $4.35, the extra $0.65 will be added to your savings account.
And once that savings account hits $5, that money will be invested for you.
Acorns is great if you’ve wanted to start investing but keep thinking that you don’t have any extra money to do so. After all, you’ll basically be saving and investing without even realizing it.
Ideal for beginner investors
Want to start investing but always think that you don’t have enough money left over each month? Then Acorns is for you.
It automatically rounds up and invests your spare change, making it a great choice for starting to save and build wealth – without even noticing!
10. Do a quick gig
When you’re looking for how to make $20 a day, finding some sort of gig to do for some easy cash can be the answer.
Fiverr is great for this. Originally started as a way for people to do quick jobs for just $5, it’s now exploded to become a way for anyone to offer almost any kind of online service at any price.
All you have to do is take a look through the site to see the sheer range of things you can do on there, many of which will easily let you make $20 quick – if not much more.
Whether it’s graphic design in making a logo for someone, voiceovers, social media post design, writing or editing text or anything else you think you can sell to someone, check out Fiverr as a way to do it. You’ll find it beyond easy to make $10 an hour online doing this…and that’s just as a starting amount. The more your portfolio on there grows, the more clients will be willing to pay for your experience.
Alternatively, SolidGigs could be a good option too. Take a look at our SolidGigs review to find out more.
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11. Deliver with DoorDash
It’s very straightforward to make $20 instantly with DoorDash. That is, by signing up to be a Door Dasher, you can make quick cash by working to pick up and drop off deliveries.
This is very easy money and you can work as much or as little as you want, making it perfect if you need to get $20 quickly. It can also be a bit more flexible than, say, driving for Uber as they’re not as strict when it comes to which vehicle you can use.
12. Automate your savings
We’ve said it a few times now but it’s worth repeating: sometimes the better way to make $20 instantly is by cutting back your existing spending rather than earning more.
And one very simple, free way to do this is to automate your savings. That is, every time you’re paid, set up an automatic transfer with your bank so that a certain portion of this is immediately transferred from your paycheck and allocated towards your financial goals.
That way, there’s no risk that you’ll forget to do this or get to the end of your pay cycle and realize you don’t have enough money left to, say, pay off your debt or add to your emergency fund.
13. Get a free Amazon gift card
If you’re looking to make instant money online absolutely free, there are some great Amazon gift card deals out there to get some free credit to spend on Amazon.
That is, if you’re planning to use that $20 to buy something on Amazon, then doing it this way has exactly the same outcome.
It’s worth noting that Amazon doesn’t allow you to exchange their gift cards for cash. This means that you’ll have to use the card to purchase something from their site. Whether or not that’s an issue for you will depend on how you need to use this money, clearly.
14. Become an online friend
Sometimes it can be worth considering some of the less common ways to make money and getting paid to be an online friend is definitely one of those.
If you haven’t heard of this, it literally just involves talking to someone online who’s looking for a bit of social interaction.
Don’t worry, it’s completely platonic, with users often including people who move somewhere new and may not know anyone to talk with or other people who may not have the ability to leave the house too frequently for in-person chats.
And given you can earn more than $50 per hour doing this, it’s a great way to make $20 quick.
(Alternatively, as something similar, why not look into how you can get paid to chat?)
15. Teach English online
When looking into how to make $20 online, online tutoring jobs are one of the more common options you see.
But that’s because it works. In particular, it’s worth taking a look at some of the sites that let you make money by teaching English online, with this being one of the most popular stay at home jobs out there.
One of the best sites for this is Magic Ears. You can earn up to $26 per hour, with all of the teaching materials prepared by Magic Ears itself. That is, as long as you meet the various requirements, you simply have to show up and teach.
Similarly, VIPKid is hugely popular in this space – to the point that they’ve consistently been ranked in the top five of Forbes’ list of the top 100 work from home companies. They pay slightly less (up to $22 per hour) but have more students on their books, so you may end up actually earning more here.
So why not apply to both and see which one works out better for you?
16. Rent out your space
If you have any spare space and need to make $20 today, why not try renting it out for some quick money?
The most well-known option is obviously Airbnb, which can be great if you do have a spare room or even a pull out couch for someone to sleep on.
But if you have any spare parking space, you can also consider renting that out. People pay a premium for these, especially in major cities. This means that being able to rent out a dedicated parking space to someone if you have an available one can be seriously lucrative.
Check out JustPark to get started with this.
17. Refinance your debt
Another way to cut your expenses to get $20 instantly is to reduce any debt repayments by this amount.
And one easy way to do this is to refinance and consolidate your debt. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of interest you’re currently paying on your debt, meaning you could end up paying literally thousands of dollars less than you do now.
A great site for seeing what options are available to you on this point is Credible. In just a few minutes, they can let you know what debt consolidation offers you can have based on your personal circumstances.
18. Become an online proofreader
As another way to make $20 daily, you may want to consider becoming a proofreader.
In this part time online job, you’ll be responsible for reviewing documents to find errors. The types of documents can vary, including anything from journal articles, to blog posts, CVs and chapters from books.
(And if this sounds like too much reading for you, how about something simpler like getting paid to read emails?)
This kind of work is really flexible, given that you don’t have to work set hours. Instead, you’ll simply have to meet certain deadlines, meaning that you can work any hours you want as long as you finish each task in time.
Click here to check out some of the best proofreading jobs out there – or take a look at this completely FREE workshop on how to make money proofreading, from someone who makes more than $70,000 per year doing just that!
19. Sign up for transcription jobs
You don’t need any training to work as a transcriptionist, as being a quick typist and having attention to detail is much more important.
After all, it involves creating transcripts based on audio or video recordings. Given that you’re paid per audio minute so you’re essentially getting paid to type, the faster you type, the more you’ll earn.
Click here to check out the best transcription jobs for you.
20. Exchange unused gift cards for cash
One simple way for how to get $20 dollars in 5 minutes is to check around your house for any unused gift cards.
If you won’t be using them for whatever reason, take a look at our article on how to convert gift cards into cash. While you likely won’t get the full value of the gift card when doing an exchange, you can at least sell these for a portion of their balance.
And depending on why you need to get $20 instantly, especially if you need straight up cash, this could actually end up having much more value for you.
21. Drive for Uber
While it may not involve getting $20 instantly, driving for a car share service like Uber is a good way to get some quick cash.
Like other gig-based apps, you can drive as much or as little as you want, making it a super flexible way to earn some money as an extra income stream.
As a quick tip, look into driving at times when people really need these kinds of services, like Friday and Saturday night. You’ll never have a shortage of customers and you’ll earn much more per mile, making it a far more efficient use of your time.
22. Rent out your stuff
Much like your unused parking space, it can also be worthwhile to consider renting out anything else you’re not using at the moment.
For example, if your car sits unused most of the week, why not rent it out on Turo to people who need it?
Similarly, you can rent out other things you’re not using on Fat Llama. Things like sporting equipment or stuff used for other hobbies, like camera equipment, are very popular there. This means that if you have anything gathering dust at the moment that someone else may be able to have fun with, this could be a good way to make some money from it.
23. Sell clothes
Many of us have more clothes than we need, so doing a closet clean out and selling some of those unused pieces can be a good way for how to make $20 fast.
The type of clothes you have are going to be a big factor in deciding which site to use to sell these. You can check out our comparison of Poshmark vs Mercari vs eBay to see which one may be right for you. Our ThredUP review can also help here.
- Poshmark Review: Is it Worth it for Making and Saving Money?
- What Sells Best on Poshmark to Make the Most Money?
24. Clean your house
Want to make $20 instantly free? Doing a massive clean out can often involve some surprise cash being discovered.
For example, have you checked all of your coat pockets lately? What about behind the couch cushions?
It may sound silly, but if you’ve ever been in the (great!) position of putting your hand in a coat pocket when the weather gets colder and finding a $20 bill, you know how lucrative a quick check of these hidden spots can be.
25. Do odd jobs
If you’re looking to make $20 a day, doing various odd jobs can often be the quickest way to make this money.
While you can find this kind of work around your neighborhood in more “traditional” ways, like checking notice boards or just asking around, an easier way can be by relying on an odd jobs app. These work to connect freelancers like you with potential clients in all sorts of areas of work.
As you’ll see in that article, some apps are better suited to certain types of odd jobs, so It’s worth taking a look to find an app that fits the kind of services you’re looking to offer. Whichever one you choose to use, relying on an app for this can make the whole process much easier and ensure you’re paid even quicker.
26. Test websites
Did you know that even if you don’t have any sort of tech experience at all, you can test websites for money?
That is, a lot of major companies use “normal people“ to test their sites before they are launched to the public. The reasoning here is that they want to see how someone from the general public will navigate around this site, including to find any bugs as well as if there are any other sort of usability issues.
And with companies like Twitter, Microsoft and Airbnb doing this, you could really influence the development of a major site – and get paid for it.
27. Pet sit
Pet sitting is an easy way to make some money, especially if you already have a pet of your own that you think will like having a new friend for a short period.
This is because it means there will be very little extra work for you. At the same time, pet owners will be super grateful to find someone who actually cares about their pet – and will pay for it accordingly.
You can choose to do pet sitting during the day when owners are at work or for longer periods, like if they go on holiday or at the end of the work week as a weekend job. And, obviously, the more time you’re able to take their pet, the more you’ll learn.
A good place to start is Rover.com, where you can create a profile so that local pet owners can find you.
28. Become a dog walker
Similar to pet sitting, becoming a dog walker can be a good way to make an extra $20 a day if you’re an animal lover, especially as you’re basically getting paid to walk.
You could even combine multiple clients by taking a few dogs for a walk at once, to ensure your money making is as efficient as possible.
You can also use Rover.com to create a profile for this and be connected with local dog owners. Alternatively, you could go more old-school and create some flyers or business cards to hand out at a local dog park.
The benefit of doing it the old-school way is that it opens this up as a great money making opportunity to anyone who may be too young to sign up for Rover but for whom dog walking can be a great job.
- 41 Legit Ways to Make Money as a 13 Year Old
- 32 Places That Hire at 15 Years Old (to Score Your Very First Job)
Babysitting is a great under the table job if you need to earn some cash on the spot.
Ideally, you’ll be able to spread the word that you’re available through family friends or other people who know you, so that potential clients know they can trust you. You could also post your availability on Facebook groups that are local to your area, so parents are made aware.
Clearly, your working hours will often be after school or during the evening, so you’ll have to make sure you’re free then. But this means that this can also be a good way for teens to make money as when they’re out of school, so are the kids they’re looking after!
30. Sell your plasma
This isn’t one of those joke suggestions as a way to make $20 instantly for beginners. Instead, you can genuinely sell your plasma for money.
It’s certainly not something you can do every day but if you meet the various requirements (which include having a medical check and being between the ages of 18 and 65), why not consider it?
After all, you can earn up to $400 per month doing this, with one session taking around 60 to 90 minutes.
Take a look at some of the highest paying plasma donation centers near you to get started.
31. Sell feet pics
We know, we know. The idea of making money by selling feet pics does have certain connotations.
But as you can see from that article, this isn’t necessarily what it’s like in real life. Sure, there’s an element of that with some options, but not all of them.
And when you’re looking for how you can make $20 fast online, this definitely fits the bill. In particular, with certain sites paying good money for your feet pics, you should be able to turn that phone snap into cash in no time at all.
32. Check for unclaimed money
One way to make $20 instantly fast is to do a free check of unclaimed.org for any money that may be owed to you.
The money available through there is found in all sorts of places that people may have forgotten about, like old bank accounts, stocks or insurance payments and gift certificates you didn’t realize were waiting for you.
And with the site reporting that over $3 billion is returned to its rightful owners every year, there’s a definite chance that some of it could be for you. In fact, if you need money today for free, this site should be the first one you visit.
33. Sell things you’re not using
Remember that search you did earlier for spare change or a forgotten bill?
Well, you may also find some things you forgot you had that may be worth selling. After all, if you’ve forgotten about them, then you probably don’t really need them anymore!
And finding things to sell can also be a really easy way to make a quick $20. The easiest option is simply to list your items on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, although you could always do a major clean out and have a yard sale.
If you have a bunch of things to sell, this may end up being easier as you often hear of cases where someone comes and buys the lot.
34. Get paid to advertise
You won’t get $20 in five minutes by doing this, but you can at least immediately qualify to get this money.
What we mean is that you can get paid to advertise by agreeing to drive around with stickers on your car that promote a certain company. Wrapify, for instance, offers this and they say that you can make around $450 per month for having one of their ads on your car.
(And don’t worry, they’re adamant that the stickers definitely won’t damage your car’s paint job.)
So while this won’t mean you’ll make $20 right now when you agree to do this, you will at least make yourself immediately eligible to earn much more than that when your advertising period is up.
35. Run your computer
Similar to the last one, this won’t let you get $20 instantly, but as soon as you do it, you’ll start to “do your time” towards earning that cash.
That is, Nielsen will pay you $50 a year just to install their app on your computer or phone.
You may have heard of Nielsen from the information they often release about things like TV viewing numbers. Well, they have to get this information from somewhere – and that’s where you come in.
And given that it means you’ll get $50 for doing absolutely nothing extra, it’s really not a bad deal.
What they’re doing here is tracking how you use your device as part of their consumer research. But don’t worry: the information is completely anonymous and can’t be traced back to you. They also say that the app is tiny and won’t affect your device’s performance.
36. Join a medical study
Joining a medical study can be a very easy way to make $20 fast – if not much more.
It’s normal to feel a bit hesitant at this idea. No one wants to be a guinea pig, after all.
But by the time these processes reach the human study stage, they have been through dozens of review steps and the chance of something going seriously wrong is usually very unlikely.
I speak from personal experience here, having participated in one of these studies during college. All I had to do was get the previous year’s flu vaccine and then be contacted every two weeks by the study to see if I had any flu symptoms or not.
And just for that, I was paid literally hundreds of dollars. For a college student, it was the best thing ever.
This is why I can definitely recommend this for anyone who needs money. And this is especially the case if you want to make $20 right now as, at least in our case, we got some of the cash upfront.
37. Cancel your gym membership
As another idea to the add to the pile of options where you save money, rather than make money, canceling your gym membership will likely easily save you $20 immediately.
It’s true that (as long as you go…) having a gym membership can have clear health benefits. And these, in turn, can save you more money down the line in healthcare costs.
But these days, there are plenty of free exercise options. With YouTube having workouts of anything from cardio to yoga, plus plenty of things online like running training plans, it’s no longer strictly necessary to actually pay in order to get the best workout.
And if you really need some money, cutting out this recurring expense could be your answer. You could always restart your membership in future once you’re in a better place financially – but you may just find that you don’t need it.
38. Ask someone
We put this later on the list because we know it’s not always ideal, but if you really do need to make $20 instantly it may be worth just asking someone to borrow it.
Make sure you’re clear that you’ll pay it back (and actually do) and if they say no, don’t push it. You never know what someone is going through behind the scenes.
(Edit: And for everyone who asked how to get $20 fast on the Cash App or how to make $20 instantly on the Cash App…this is the only way i.e. if someone sends it to you. No scammy, potentially illegal side hustles around here, thank you!)
39. Sign up for a credit card
Taking on more debt shouldn’t ever be your first option if you need money, but when you’re looking to get $20 now, this could be your answer.
That is, many credit card providers offer sign up bonuses. These are often linked to you having to spend a certain amount, such as $1,000 in your first three months of owning the card. But that’s not always the case, so you may want to shop around for a provider that gives you the cash upfront.
Just make sure that you don’t start wildly using your credit card unless you’re sure you can pay off the balance at the end of the month. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself needing much more than $20 in a little while.
Final thoughts on where to get $20 fast
As should be pretty clear by now, there are dozens of options available to you if you need to get $20 right now.
Whether you are looking for how to make $20 fast online or prefer some of the more in-person ways to get cash in hand, there are a bunch of ideas that will work for you.
And who knows – you could even turn some of these into more steady gigs so you can start making $20 a day, if not more!
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.