Earning income passively is pretty much the dream for all of us. So finding the best passive income apps that actually pay money can be a great way to boost your income.
It’s important to remember that you probably won’t become a millionaire from any of these. But in terms of being able to make money on your phone or computer, you can definitely earn some extra cash from these.
What’s the best passive income app to get free money?
What counts as the best money making apps for you will depend on how you’re looking to earn passive income online.
But, in most cases, the best way to earn income from apps is by doing things you’d be doing anyway. After all, this basically means that no extra work is required from you – just install the app and you’re good to go.
Based on this, we’ve narrowed down the list of the best passive income apps to the following:
Best for earning passive income from what you’re already doing: Swagbucks
Sign-up bonus: $5
Swagbucks is easily one of the best passive income apps out there, purely based on how many ways there are to earn money through it.
Our favorite way is definitely through getting cash back from online shopping on sites such as Amazon, but a close second is the fact you can make money with Swagbucks just from searching the internet.
To find out more, check out our Swagbucks review.
Free sign-up bonus: $10
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.
Best for earning money from things you’re buying anyway: Ibotta
Sign-up bonus: $20
Ibotta has one of the best sign up bonuses in the business, but what makes this one of the best passive income apps is the fact that you can earn so much cash back from your shopping.
Whether you’re buying groceries, medicine, clothing or more, there are literally thousands of offers for getting money back from things you’d be buying already.
If you’d like to know more, our Ibotta review will show you all the ways you can make income from this app.
Free sign-up bonus: $20
Ibotta is 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.
Best for making money from automatic money management: Trim
Average annual savings from this app: $276
Reducing your recurring expenses is one of the best ways to make money over time, especially as your savings start to add up.
And this is why I always recommend Trim for anyone looking to cut their spending.
It’s a free app that works to automatically cut your unused subscriptions. It can also even negotiate reductions to your other bills on your behalf.
Best passive investing app: Acorns
Sign-up bonus: $5
Investing your money is imperative for anyone looking to build wealth. So any app that helps you do this is going to be high on our list.
And Acorns is one of the best passive income apps for this purpose. By linking it to your debit card, it will “round up” your purchases and invest the spare change.
You can choose how you then invest this money but it’s a nifty app for working to achieve your financial goals using money you probably won’t even notice anyway.
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!
Best of the background apps that pay: Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
Earnings: $50 (!!) per year
For anyone wondering how to make money off your data, Nielsen’s app is definitely one to consider.
Basically, it anonymously tracks your computer or phone usage, with this data then being used to help other companies improve their user experience based on how people actually visit their sites.
The app is small, so you won’t affect performance, making the payout really good for something you won’t even notice.
Best for making money from exercising: Sweatcoin
Sign-up bonus: $5
For anyone who likes to run or even if you find yourself with a fairly solid step count throughout your day, Sweatcoin can be a great way to make money passively.
It tracks your steps and then rewards you based on how much you move. This means it’s also a good option for anyone looking for some added motivation to get moving!
Background apps that pay
There are a ton of legit passive income apps out there that let you make money off your data. They work by running in the background on your phone or computer and anonymously collecting information on how you’re using each device.
In most cases, you won’t even know the app is there and can simply continue doing whatever it is you prefer to do online.
Which means that, given you’ll be earning money from what you’re doing anyway, these are ideal examples of passive income apps. This includes that it is perfect to make extra money in the military.
1. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
We mentioned this one earlier, but in case you missed it, this is one of the most well known apps for making money off your data.
It collects anonymous data on how you’re using your device, including information such as the browser you’re using and, in the case of your phone, how many messages you send.
You can install it on your phone or computer, with the app being very small with no effect on performance.
And the best part is, they’ll pay you $50 per year just for you to run the app!
2. Honeygain App
Honeygain is definitely one of the more interesting passive income apps out there.
What is Honeygain?
Honeygain lets others use your phone data to access the internet – but don’t worry, the connection is strictly protected, meaning that your device only acts as a gateway.
Simply by installing the Honeygain app, you’ll earn $1 for every 10GB of data they use, meaning that the amount you earn will fluctuate depending on how much they need to use your data.
Reports are that you can earn around $40 to $50 per month and you’re paid in cash through PayPal, making it one of the more lucrative passive PayPal income sources on this list.
You may also be interested in: 25 Websites Where You Can Get Paid to Type
MobileXpression is one of the mobile income apps that works by anonymously tracking how you browse the internet on your phone.
This means that by letting it collect information about your internet usage, you can basically earn money from doing whatever you’d be doing online anyway.
Points can be redeemed for gift cards from stores such as Amazon, Target and even Starbucks, with new users receiving a $5 Amazon gift card as a welcome bonus after one week of running the app on your phone.
Savvyconnect is similar to the other background apps that pay by collecting information on things like what you buy online, the apps that you use and what entertainment options you use on your devices.
You can install the app on up to three devices and for each one, you will earn $5 per month, totalling up to a maximum of $180 per year.
5. Mobile Performance Meter
Mobile Performance Meter is another way to make money on your phone. It collects information on your internet speed, the number of messages you send and the different apps you use throughout the day.
You’ll earn around $6 per month, which equates to $72 annually. And while you can only have one phone for each account, there’s nothing stopping you from having multiple accounts for different phones!
CashMagnet is a bit different from the other money making apps in that the app takes control of your phone. It then basically browses the internet automatically on your device.
This means that you may not want to install it on your main phone as it can affect performance somewhat.
Unfortunately, there’s no CashMagnet iOS app. But by simply leaving your Android phone running, you can earn around $20 per month.
Passive income apps for shopping
Using apps that give you money for buying things you were going to buy anyway is pretty much the dream way to make money.
And there are several apps out there that can help you earn literally hundreds of dollars using this strategy.
Related: 37 of the Highest Paying Online Jobs
We already mentioned Swagbucks as one of the best passive income apps out there, but it’s worth bringing it up again, especially for those wondering what is the best app to get free money.
After all, we think that this is a real contender for that title. It’s legit, having paid out over $300 million to its users, with a ton of ways to earn money.
This includes giving you cash back for shopping online, including at major online retailers like Amazon.
Click here to sign up with Swagbucks (including to get that sweet $5 welcome bonus for verifying your email address).
Ibotta is one of the more valuable passive income websites out there, letting you earn money from your online shopping.
It pays cash back on almost anything you buy (both online and in-person!), including medicine, clothes and even alcohol. But its real value is in its cash back offerings on groceries.
With deals on thousands of groceries at more than 500,000 retailers, you can essentially earn money just from making your normal supermarket trip each week.
InboxDollars is another one of the best passive income apps for giving you money for doing your shopping.
But it also offers you extra cash opportunities for things like watching videos, completing surveys and even just searching the web.
It’s one of the more impressive mobile income apps, with a really slick interface, and is definitely legit, having paid out over $59 million since it was created.
And you can get started with a $5 bonus just for signing up with InboxDollars and verifying your email address!
The Drop app is similar to many of the other apps that let you earn passive income from shopping. That said, it stands above the rest in terms of the offers it has for letting you make money from purchases such as buying food or even grabbing a coffee.
But the best part is the range of places you can redeem your rewards. You can spend your Drop points with companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Netflix and Uber – starting with the $5 bonus you’ll get just for signing up.
Pei is one of the more automated passive income apps. All you do is connect your credit or debit card to the app and then you’ll automatically start earning money back when you shop at any of their partner stores.
And there are literally hundreds of these, including merchants such as Starbucks, CVS, Target, 7-11 and Walgreens.
Plus, they’re one of the passive income apps that Reddit rates highly. That post also has the added bonus of showing how you could take advantage of referral bonuses.
Sign-up here to grab your $5 welcome bonus.
Rakuten has been on the scene for a while, although you may know it under its old name: Ebates.
It works the same way as its previous version though – by shopping at any of its over 2,500 stores online (that you’re probably shopping at already anyway), you’ll earn money back.
And you can get started by taking advantage of the $10 welcome bonus just for signing up with Rakuten here.
Mobile lock screen income apps
If you’re looking for other ways to make money on your phone, taking advantage of one of the passive income apps for your lock screen is definitely one way to do so.
They basically involve you getting paid for having advertising on your phone. You don’t need to click on the ad though – simply let the app display something on your lock screen and when you swipe to open your phone, you can use the device as normal.
13. ScreenLift app
The ScreenLift app will pay you simply for placing an ad on your lock screen. You don’t need to interact with it at all to get paid though.
All you have to do is swipe and unlock your phone and it will operate as normal – with the added bonus of you having some extra cash.
You’ll apparently make around $5 per month with the ScreenLift app, which isn’t much, but having $60 per year for using your phone completely normally isn’t terrible.
BillsBoard is another passive income app using your lock screen. There’s no need to for you to click on the ad to be paid – simply unlock your phone’s screen and carry on using your device as normal.
It’s fairly new but Reddit users report being paid out with Amazon gift cards within two days of requesting it, which is amazingly fast for an app like this.
S’Mores is one of the few lock screen apps that require you to interact with the lock screen to get paid, but it’s the smallest amount of effort ever.
That is, you simply have to click on an ad once per day and you’ll be paid $0.10. This means you can get just over $36 a year for having to touch your screen, which really isn’t bad at all.
Slidejoy doesn’t require you to click on the ad on your lock screen, but is a bit more obvious about encouraging you to do so.
That is, when your phone is locked with this app installed, you either swipe left to see what the ad is about or swipe right to go to your home screen.
You’ll get a bonus $0.20 for joining and can make around $10 a month or $120 per year just for keeping it installed.
And the best part is that if you get your friends to sign up with your referral code, you’ll earn 20% of their earnings forever!
Earn passive income from apps offering better financial management
Taking advantage of money making apps isn’t only about using apps that generate passive income themselves.
It also refers to apps that help you manage the money you already have more effectively – but still passively.
And here are some of the best passive income apps for doing this.
Trim is like your very own free personal finance assistant.
We already mentioned it above as our pick for the best app to help you with better money management and this is largely because of the long term savings it offers.
It will scan your expenses to automatically cancel any subscriptions you’re no longer using and can also automatically negotiate bills such as your cable and internet to get reductions on your behalf.
While it’s free to download, it will take a percentage of any savings it secures for you. But that may be more than worth it when you consider that it saves its users an average of $276 a year.
We’ve covered the best passive income apps for getting cash back on shopping above. So Paribus is like the next step after that.
That is, it monitors the costs of items you’ve recently bought. Then, if the price goes down, it works to get you a refund for the difference in cost.
It also keeps an eye on your purchases to see if you may be entitled to other bonuses. For example, if an item was delivered late, Paribus will let you know if you’re able to ask for compensation, like some money back or, in the case of Amazon, a free month of Amazon Prime.
The amount you’ll earn from this will depend on what you’re buying. But, for example, it’s claimed that Paribus users save an average of $53 on TV purchases.
19. Birch Finance
Birch Finance is a great option for people who are good at managing their credit cards and want to take advantage of this.
That is, if you tend to pay off your balance in full each month, this one may be for you. Otherwise, the amount of interest you’ll be charged doesn’t make the rewards worthwhile.
It works to analyze your spending and make recommendations on how you can maximize your credit card rewards, along with recommendations on credit cards that may be better for you based on your spending habits.
Digit is a bit like Acorns in that it helps you use small chunks of change to contribute towards your financial goals.
By evaluating your spending patterns, it transfers tiny amounts of money from your account into a linked Digit account.
While it helps to build your savings, its main benefit is arguably in the fact that it’s great for showing you how possible it is to contribute to your savings. And by showing you this, hopefully it will encourage you to work on your own savings habits to save even more than the app does.
Best passive income apps for watching videos and playing games
The question of how you can make passive income online and also have fun is probably best answered by: by doing those things you like to do when you’re bored.
We’ve all got our favorite ways to kill time on the internet, whether it’s going down a YouTube black hole or finding games that would probably have been in an arcade 20+ years ago.
So why not use those exact time-killing strategies to make some money!
You may also be interested in: 13 Sites Where You Can Test Websites for Money
The amount of money you can earn will obviously depend on how often you play, but you’ll get about $5 for every 1,500 points you gain, which can include 50 points per referral for each of your friends who join.
And while it may seem strange to have an app entirely devoted to letting people make money, Mistplay is legit. In fact, you can find out basically everything you need to know about it at the review at that link.
How do I join Mistplay?
You can join Mistplay by downloading the app for free and making a few changes in your phone’s settings so that it works properly. These include:
- Disable power-saving mode
- Provide permission for the Mistplay app to display above all other currently running apps.
Lucktastic doesn’t have the same types of games that many of these other apps do. Instead, it lets you earn points by, among other things, playing scratch card games.
And while you generally won’t earn much, there are times when this isn’t true – like the man who won $1 million from using this app.
It’s completely free to use, meaning that it’s basically gambling without putting in any of your own money. Find out more from our review of whether Lucktastic is legit.
Moocash is another app that lets you earn money for playing games or watching videos.
Once you download the app and register through Facebook, you’ll be able to earn coins from completing tasks. These can then be redeemed for all sorts of things, including cash through PayPal, Bitcoins, Amazon gift cards and more.
Viggle is a great option for those looking for the best passive income apps for watching TV shows.
A lot of the other apps let you earn money from watching random videos, kind of like wandering around YouTube.
But Viggo has you watch actual shows then answer questions about what you saw to get paid. This includes shows being streamed on Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu – which you’d probably be watching anyway!
25. App Trailer
App Trailer lets you make money and give your opinion at the same time.
That is, you can provide reviews of things like movies and games. By doing this, you’ll be paid either through gift cards or by receiving cash as passive Paypal income, with the gift cards being for all sorts of retailers like Sephora, Amazon, Target and more.
Money making apps that invest your spare change automatically
There are some passive income apps out there that are particularly good for people who struggle to save money themselves.
What they do is automatically take small amounts of money from your account and then either put it into an account or invest it. This makes them a great way to show people how they can easily put money aside for their financial goals while barely noticing the money’s missing.
Not to mention that the investments generate passive income themselves!
And, ideally, you’d then work at increasing the amounts transferred by each of these apps by saving or investing larger chunks of your money yourself.
Acorns is one of the best passive income apps for micro-saving and micro-investing. It’s also one of the most well known, with over $1 billion in assets under management.
How does Acorns work?
How it works is like this: Say you spend $7.18 at the supermarket. The app will then round this up to $8 and transfer the extra $0.82 into your account.
Once this reaches $5, your money is then transferred into an investment account, which consists of a variety of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs.
(If you’re not sure what that is, they’re basically highly diversified, low-cost baskets of stocks which are a good choice for almost any investor.)
Are there any fees?
The fees start at $1 per month if you have less than $1 million invested, which is a bit steep if you only have $5 with them but quickly becomes worthwhile as your account grows.
You do, however, get a free $5 sign-up bonus.
And if you’re not already investing or think that you’ll never have money left over at the end of the month to start doing so, you should seriously consider signing up for Acorns to help you kickstart your new saving and investing habit.
27. Stash Invest
Stash Invest is another app that helps you make small transfers over time that you theoretically won’t notice. The money is then transferred into an investment account once it reaches $5.
This app also has another really interesting feature though. With its “Smart Stash” tool, it will look at how much you’ve been spending and calculate how much it thinks you have left to save.
You’re able to set the maximum amount, so you won’t wake up one day and find no money in your account. But as a way to help you save money, this is a really unique feature.
Fees are set at $1 per month but you get a massive $20 as a welcome bonus just for signing up.
Clink isn’t quite the same as the other micro-saving passive income apps. Instead, you can tell it to withdraw a certain amount each day, as low as $1, for it to be invested.
You also have the option of choosing to invest a certain amount of what you spend. Say, for example, you tell the app to invest 10% of each of your purchases.
This means that if you buy a new shirt for $30, the app will withdraw $3. This can be a great tool for both helping you to manage your spending and, like the others, also showing you how easy it is for you to save more.
Like the others, the fees are $1 each month but you can also get a $5 sign-up bonus.
Plus, you’ll be given a link when you sign-up that you can share with your friends. If they sign up with your link, you’ll get an extra $5 for each of them up to $100 in rewards!
29. Your bank’s app
It’s worth mentioning that you may not need to download one of these passive income apps to achieve the same outcome as what these aim to do.
Some banks offer this feature for free with your existing account. For example, Bank of America’s Keep the Change program rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the change from your checking account to your savings account.
This means that it can be good to check first with your bank if this feature is available for free, mainly to avoid the $1 monthly fee that each of these apps charge.
Apps that invest passively
If you’re wondering what apps make the most money on this list, this is the section you’re looking for.
That is, these are the best passive income apps for helping you to invest your money. And over time, these are the ones that are likely to make you the most money by far.
After all, one of the key parts of growing your wealth is to get your money working for you. So by getting an app to make sure you’re actually doing this, you’ll be setting yourself up for future financial success.
And the fact they do it for you passively, meaning you don’t have to manage your money yourself, is even better!
If you ask most people what investments generate passive income, many are going to say real estate. However, when you have to deal with actually managing the property yourself, it can really stretch the definition of just what is “passive”.
Fortunately, Fundrise takes all the difficulty out to truly make this as passive as possible.
It lets you invest in real estate without having to buy or manage any property yourself. Basically, your money is pooled with that of other investors.
And not only do you make money when the property goes up in value, but you’ll also be paid dividends. You can then choose for these to be reinvested – always a good idea for those looking to really maximize the benefits of their investment.
Bumped provides a really interesting model for passively investing and also has similarities to some of the cash back apps we mentioned above.
How it works is that if you make purchases from its partners, you’ll be given stock in that company. Its partner stores currently include Target, Netflix, CVS, Walmart, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Uber and more.
You’ll earn between 1% and 5% of your purchase in stock, with rewards limited to $50 per purchase and $250 per partner per year.
There’s currently a waitlist, but it’s worth putting yourself on the list to check it out when it goes live.
Earn passive income by moving
It’s great if you can earn passive income from something you’re already doing. But it can also be an even better idea if it helps to motivate you to improve other areas of your life too.
We’ve already covered how these passive income apps can help you work on your saving habits, but did you know they can also help your fitness?
These apps will pay you based on how much you move. This means that they could already be a solid source of extra cash if you already find yourself moving around a lot throughout the day.
At the same time, they can be amazing for making you move more, helping your physical health in addition to your financial health!
Related: 17 Legit Ways to Get Paid to Walk
Sweatcoin is our pick of the bunch given how it works.
That is, for every 1,000 steps you take, you’ll earn 0.95 sweatcoins, the app’s own currency. You can also earn five sweatcoins for each friend you refer using your personal link.
Once you’ve earned enough, you can then redeem your sweatcoins for various officers. This passive income app Reddit discussion lists some of the things other people have gotten and include getting fitness gear like leggings, investing through Stash (one of the apps we mentioned earlier!) and PayPal gift cards.
HealthyWage exists to encourage you to get healthier with the potential to earn money being your motivation for doing this.
You set your own weight loss goal based on your current weight (which you have to verify by sending a video) and the app will tell you the potential prize you can get for doing it.
To get an idea of what this could be for you, check out Healthywage’s calculator.
Then, you place a bet with your own money on whether you can lose that much.
And with people winning literally thousands of dollars through this app, as seen below, it’s definitely worth giving it a try.
Pact involves rewarding you for hitting your living goals – or making a pact with yourself, in case you were wondering where the name comes from.
For example, if you make a pact to go to the gym three times a week, the app will tell you what reward you can get for doing this, which will probably be a couple of dollars.
You’ll then be given some options on how much of your own money you want to bet on you achieving this.
(You can also try the app out first without putting any money in, although you also won’t get any financial reward if you do that.)
And no cheating allowed, as the app uses a combination of GPS and your phone’s motion tracker to confirm you’re actually doing the workout you claim to be doing.
This makes it a great motivator – with the added bonus of some cash on the side!
Make passive income using what you already own
Some forms of earning income require you to buy things first. After all, you’ve probably heard the saying “you’ve got to spend money to make money”.
But this doesn’t always have to be true, as this list will show you.
It includes some of the best passive income apps for making money from what you already have (and, in most cases, combined with what you’re already doing.
Rover is an app that lets you register to be a dog walker or dog sitter. In fact, it’s one of the biggest websites in the world for helping you to earn money in this way.
Now, dog walking isn’t passive – but it’s a great way to play with a pup if you can’t have your own!
Dog sitting, however, is a really good way to earn passive income. Some people, for example, want someone to look after their dog while they’re at work during the day.
So if you work from home or are otherwise in your house during standard working hours, looking after a dog during that time is a great way to get paid when you’d be home anyway.
You can also register for longer term dog sitting, like when people go on vacation.
We’ve all heard of Uber and you probably know you can make money as an Uber driver – but did you know how to make this into a source of passive income?
Some people do this by only making themselves available as a driver when driving routes they’d be traveling on anyway, like going to work. That way, they’re essentially paid to carpool, helping them earn money while commuting or doing other things they need to do.
And if you’ve been reading this list about making money but wondering what apps pay you instantly, especially if you need money desperately, Uber’s what you’re looking for – you can cash out up to five times per day.
Turo lets you rent your car out to others when you’re not using it, making this basically the Airbnb of cars.
There’s no question that cars can be pretty costly to operate and maintain. So by registering with this app, you’ll be helping to offset a lot of these costs.
You’re also covered by insurance, including $1 million in liability insurance, although make sure you read the fine print to ensure you’re 100% fine with the level of other coverage provided.
Buro is perfect for helping you to make money from literally anything you own. By allowing you to rent out anything you have to anyone who wants it, you can generate passive income from all that stuff you have lying around.
The app is free and you’re paid directly into your PayPal account
39. Fat Llama
Fat Llama is similar to Buro in that you can rent out your things to people who’ll pay you for them.
They’re based in the UK but also allow rentals in the US, so may provide a better geographic option for you. Or you could advertise your stuff on both platforms and see what happens!
You may not consider Airbnb as a passive income app, but hear me out.
The fact that it involves you renting out space in your home that you own but aren’t using makes it fit nicely into the passive income category. Sure, you have to do some preparations and clean up afterwards, but you can always pay someone to do this if you want to make it 100% passive.
Otherwise, with living costs being such a huge portion of most people’s budgets, Airbnb is a great way to offset these expenses using the living space you already have.
Other ways to make money from passive income apps
If still you’re looking for other money making apps or ideas, there are a few more than could work for you.
41. Creating apps for passive income
Creating apps for passive income can be expensive and time consuming, but if it works out, you can make some serious cash.
For example, did you ever play Flappy Bird, one of the simplest mobile games of all time? At its peak, the developer said that he was earning $50,000 per day.
Of course, we don’t all have the knowledge or money to develop our own apps – although there are options if you have an invention idea but no money to develop it). And one of these alternatives can be approaching a company that buys ideas for apps.
If they develop it themselves and your idea is popular, you can potentially be paid thousands of dollars in royalties.
To find out more, check out this list of the best companies that pay for ideas.
42. Buying apps for passive income
You can also consider buying apps for passive income if you have the money. This is almost like the opposite of the previous idea, in that you’re the one buying someone else’s idea to develop it and hopefully have it take off.
If you don’t have the money on hand to do that yourself, look into crowdfunding the development of apps that you like the sound of. If you can buy a partial stake in an app and it becomes popular, you can certainly reap the rewards.
There are plenty of passive income apps out there for anyone looking to make some extra cash from what they’re already doing.
Whether you’re looking to make money off your data, your shopping, your spare change or literally everything you own, at least one of the money making apps on this list will help you to earn passive income online.
And as we mentioned earlier: anything that lets you earn extra cash from what you’re already doing is definitely something to aim for.