Sure, you may have used it for playing games or even developing your own games in the past – but did you know that there are actually ways that you can learn how to make money on Steam as well?
During the past few years, Steam has become crazy popular for gamers and developers alike. And if this sounds like you and you’re at the point where your budget is a bit tight, turning your use of Steam into a way to make money could be just what you need.
How to make money on Steam
1. Use free Amazon gift cards to buy Steam cash
One great way to do this is that you can actually use Amazon gift cards to purchase Steam Cash. That way, you don’t have to worry about spending actual money on Steam video games.
Instead, you can simply use your Amazon gift cards!
There are several apps you can use to earn Amazon gift cards, which you can then convert into Steam Cash. These include:
- Swagbucks ($5 free sign up bonus): Swagbucks lets you earn points in a bunch of different ways, including when you play games online for cash, locating shopping deals, watching videos, searching the internet and completing surveys. And one way you can redeem your points online is for an Amazon gift card!
- Ibotta ($20 free sign up bonus): With Ibotta, you can earn cashback on groceries and other exclusive offers on purchases you make daily. Ibotta is definitely legit, especially given that you’re basically earning money from things you’d be buying anyway!
- FYI: Just by signing up for Amazon Prime through the Ibotta app, you’ll immediately qualify for a $20 Amazon gift card – in addition to the $20 you’ll earn just for signing up with Ibotta!
- Survey Junkie (gives the chance to earn $150 in only an hour): As the name suggests, you earn rewards here for completing surveys, which can even include an Amazon gift card. What’s great about Survey Junkie though is that you occasionally have the chance to earn $150 per hour by joining paid focus groups. This means that for one hour of work, you’ll easily qualify for an Amazon gift card that you can convert to make money on Steam!
- InboxDollars ($5 free sign up bonus): This platform lets you get paid to complete easy, random online tasks, including online surveys, although it also has the chance for you to play games and win prizes. After you accumulate enough rewards, you can redeem your rewards for an Amazon gift card.
- Rakuten ($10 sign up bonus): Rakuten provides you with some seriously great cash back opportunities when you shop online. You can also redeem your cashback rewards for Amazon gift cards.
- By the way… you can maximize these rewards by inviting friends to join Rakuten through the unique link you’ll get after you sign up. And for each friend who signs up, you’ll get $25.
You can sign up for as many of these at once as you want. In fact, this can often help to give you access to as many offers as possible, given that some sites do have a limit on how many offers you can redeem per day.
Then, once you’ve exchanged your rewards for an Amazon gift card, simply redeem your gift cards on Amazon for Steam Cash.
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2. Collect items that other people want
One of the ways that we’ve had the most success in making money on Steam is to simply collect super in-demand items that we know other players would like to get.
So, how can you collect items that other people want?
The easiest way to do this is to play your favorite games. There, you will see that numerous items will drop during the course of the game.
Even though it is difficult to locate a ton of items, there are item drops that take place regularly. Eventually, you are bound to get lucky.
There are other ways you can get these sorts of cool items as well. For example, you may want to monitor the Steam Community Market. Eventually, the prices of certain in-demand items will begin to fall.
In particular, if item drops increase, rare items will be in greater supply. This will make it easier for you to purchase them.
Then, when the prices of these items begin to rise again, you can sell the ones you have for a profit.
Keep in mind that you can also earn some quick cash from trading. If you happen to have found a really expensive item in a particular game, someone may be willing to offer you a high price for it for a quick sale.
Of course, you should always double check the value of that item in the market. But if you feel like you are getting a good deal, you may want to offload that item then and there.
There are also some people who simply do not care how much they have to pay to get their hands on some items. If you’re willing to wait for that moment, you may be able to turn a significant profit on an item you have in your collection.
It can be a good idea to check your items regularly, just to take a look and see if you have anything someone might want. You can do it simply by clicking on your username, which will allow you to pull up your inventory and see if you have any good deals on hand.
3. Take advantage of your Steam trading cards
A lot of games on Steam will provide you with valuable trading cards just for playing the game. In general, these trading cards are going to be worth a few cents each, however, for every game you play, you should receive a handful of them.
Sometimes, you get really lucky and end up with a card that is exceedingly rare. If that’s the case, you may be able to sell that card for a significant amount of money.
There isn’t really a pattern to getting rare, valuable game cards. On the other hand, you should get a few cards for every game you play.
For example, after playing a game for 15 minutes, your first trading card may drop. Then, after a few hours, you may see another trading card drop. This means that it can be a good idea to keep your eyes open as your cards begin to fall.
So, how can you get the best trading cards possible? The best way to approach this process is to not think about it. All you have to do is enjoy playing your favorite games!
After all, the more you play, the more trading cards you will collect. Then, you can check the market and see which of your trading cards is valuable.
Even though I haven’t made a ton of money on Steam selling my trading cards, I have made several dollars here and there. It adds up quickly.
For instance, it could be a great way for teens to make money!
4. Get pre-release items
Is there a game coming out soon that’s generating a lot of buzz? If so, you may want to sign up for a pre-order.
In some situations, developers will drop early access crates or pre-order items that are exceedingly rare. These items are sure to be valuable.
Your aim here should be to try to collect as many of these as you can. Hold on to them, as they can be sold on the Steam Market later.
Depending on the game, the item, and the current state of the market, you may even be able to sell these items for serious cash at a major profit.
For example, all players who pre-ordered the game PUBG were given a Playunknown cosmetic set. Even though this game only cost a few dollars (and the set was free after you purchased the game), this cosmetic set ended up selling for almost $500 each on the Steam Market. Definitely not a bad way to make an extra $500…
This means that you should take a look at any games that are being released soon. If it seems like people are excited to play it, you should sign up for the pre-order. You may be given a free item that you can sell for a lot of money on the market.
(Just don’t pay money for this pre-ordered game unless you actually intended to buy it already. After all, it’s all well and good to figure out how to make money on Steam, but you shouldn’t be spending more than you would otherwise if your goal is to get some extra cash.)
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5. Make a game and sell it on Steam Direct
If you would like to make some serious cash on Steam, one way to do so is to distribute an original game that you’ve made on Steam Direct.
If you have experience developing games, and you’d like to see what other people think about them, this is one of the best ways to do so. If you have an idea for a game, you may even be able to outsource this to a developer. Then, you can sell that game on Steam Direct as well.
There are two separate ways you can make money on Steam by selling a game on the platform:
- You can sell the title itself. This is the upfront cost users incur when they pay to play the game on Steam.
- You can also make more money through purchases that players can make in the game. For example, there may be certain items, skins, or levels that players may have to pay extra money to access.
Just keep in mind that if you’re new to the world of video game design, you may have trouble getting people to purchase your game in the beginning. If that’s the case, you may want to make the game free to play. Then, if players would like to access more content, you may want to charge them money for that instead.
It’s also worth noting that you won’t be able to keep all the money you make selling your game. In exchange for using the platform, Steam will take a commission on the purchases people make. This includes your initial sale and sales that are conducted in the game as well.
There are also rules that you have to follow if you would like to distribute a game on Steam. Not all games are accepted for sale on the platform. You should take a look at the rules, as they can change regularly.
All that said, if your game is interesting and fun to play, you can definitely earn a lot of money making and selling your game on Steam.
6. Find work as a graphic designer, coder, or developer
If you feel like you can’t make an entire game from scratch yourself, you may be able to find work helping out with another game. For example, you may want to offer your services as a graphic designer, coder, or developer.
You may be able to find independent game developers as you play games on Steam. Then, you can join their team, charging a commission in order to help them develop certain aspects of the game. They might even let you play the game for free when it’s finished!
I know that I’ve run into some talented coders, developers, and graphic designers browsing some message boards. In particular, if I’m looking for help completing a level, learning about a new game, or locating a certain item, I often take a look at message boards.
People regularly discuss work they have done on other games. If you join these message boards, you may be able to share information about projects you’ve worked on in the past. Someone may then be willing to recruit you to help them with a game they’re developing.
7. Help other players through certain levels
Everyone needs help with their gaming from time to time. I know that I’ve definitely had issues completing certain levels in certain games as well.
And sometimes, it’s simply easier to work in a group. In certain situations, it might even be better to work with someone who’s been there before.
This is why another way to make money on Steam is by leading a group of people through certain levels in certain games.
There are several ways you can make money doing this:
- Charge by the hour
- Charge a flat fee for a certain quest.
You may even be able to charge more money if the team is bigger. And if you are exceptionally skilled at a certain game, you could even make money helping other people play it. Essentially, you would act as an online tutor for that game.
Meaning if you’re looking for how to make money from playing games on Steam, this is going to be one of your best options.
How to cash out your Steam Wallet
While there’s no direct way to transfer money from Steam to PayPal or any other wallet, there are ways to do this indirectly. For example:
1. Use your Steam cash to make purchases from the Community Market.
For example, you may want to purchase CS:GO skins, as they’re in high demand. Therefore, you will have an easy time offloading them onto somebody else.
Keep in mind that you will have to wait for approximately seven days to start trading after you purchase an item. This waiting period has been put in place to prevent scams.
2. Find a third-party site to sell the items
Selling the items you buy on a third-party site isn’t that hard to do as, fortunately, there are plenty of options from which to choose.
Some of the most popular sites we have had success on include Dmarket (where you can sell your CS:GO skins quickly), skins.cash (which is a global market for all skins that have been purchased in games), and bitskins (which is designed for CS:GO skins as well).
That said, while we’ve had success on all of these, supply and demand can wax and wane from site to site. Also keep in mind that you may have to pay a commission in order to sell on these sites.
3. Transfer the money to your PayPal account
Once your items have sold, you can then direct the money to your Paypal account.
Most sites where you can sell these items do offer the option to send cash directly to your PayPal account, although you may be able to deposit money directly into your bank account, depending on the site you’re using.
How does Steam make money?
Steam makes money through being paid commissions. All sales that take place on the platform send a portion of that transaction to Steam directly. For example, if you make a purchase from a game developer on Steam, Steam may take a 10% commission from that sale.
With the thousands of transactions that take place on a daily basis, Steam is able to make a lot of money. In fact, they last reported game sales of $4.3 billion from their millions of users.
In addition, this platform was one of the first to enter the “freemium” area. This means that many of the games are free to play, although there are additional features that you need to pay for to access.
Even though it may only cost a few cents for a few dollars in order to access these premium services, the number of transactions can pile up quickly, allowing Steam to make a lot of money.
How to put money on Steam
Even though it can be confusing to put money on Steam at first, the process is relatively straightforward once you get used to it. The steps you have to follow include:
- Log into your Steam account using your username and password. If you haven’t yet created a Steam account, you will have to do that before you can add money to your account.
- Click your profile name – you’ll see it in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
- Select the option “Account Details” which will appear after you click your profile name.
- Click the button to “Add funds to your Steam wallet”.
- You’ll then be sent to the checkout area. Once there, you will see a variety of payment methods you can use to complete the transaction.
In addition, you may be able to add money to your wallet using something called Steam Wallet cards. These contain a wide variety of codes that can be redeemed directly in your Steam account.
You may be able to locate these codes at game stores, convenience stores, electronic retailers, and more. You can also purchase these wallet codes directly through SMS messages, email messages, and even on PayPal.
If you ever have questions about how much money you have in your wallet, you should be able to see this directly beneath your profile name, which is usually located in the top right corner of the screen. Keep a close eye on your funds!
Final thoughts on how to make money on Steam
If you’re looking to combine your gaming with making some extra cash, you’ve definitely got more options than simply looking to earn money by playing games on Facebook or spending hours trying to win cash for free online in apps where no one ever seems to actually win.
(Although one of these apps with games that can pay instantly to your PayPal account – isn’t a bad option either, especially if you like to play games to win prizes on your phone.)
But this is why learning how to make money on Steam can be so good, especially given the range of options you have.
After all, you could simply work at getting some free Amazon cards that you then convert to Steam Cash. Alternatively, you could go all the way to developing your own game, opening you up to a whole new career – and one that can definitely pay well.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on 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 six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.