Ever been horrified by your weekly screen time summary? You’re on your phone anyways, so why not make some money while you’re at it.

Here’s trusty guide to turning your smartphone into a moneymaker.

You, yes you, can earn extra cash by downloading apps that reward you for giving your opinion or performing simple everyday activities such as shopping, filling up your gas tank, or playing games.

While these apps certainly will not make you a multi-millionaire or replace your day job, they will boost your savings with little time and effort.  

While many apps offer easy ways to make money, here are a few of the best options in the Apple or Google Play store (all are free to download).

1. Survey Junkie: Perfect for Opinionated People

If you love voicing your opinion, Survey Junkie is the app for you! After completing a profile, you’ll be matched to relevant surveys. After finishing the survey, you will receive points (1 point = $1 on completion). 

Each survey you qualify for pays you anywhere from a few cents to $5 (with most surveys paying around a dollar or two). Once you reach 500 points (equal to $5), you can earn cash (paid via PayPal) for e-gift cards or cash. 

You won’t qualify for every available survey — your eligibility is determined by how you answer the screening questions. Based on your response, you'll either be redirected to the survey or told you don’t qualify (you'll get a few points for your time).

You can also earn extra points for downloading the Survey Junkie Pulse browser extension, which shares your internet and shopping activity with market researchers. 


  • Flexible — take surveys on your schedule

  • Frequent opportunities to earn bonuses 

  • Get paid for referring friends and family

  • Earn a few points even if you don’t qualify for a survey


  • Not all surveys will fit your demographics or preferences

  • Rejection can get frustrating

  • Surveys may expire before you have a chance to participate


Moderate. The more surveys you do, the more money you make. The app says taking three surveys daily can earn you $40 monthly. In the year I have been using Survey Junkie, I earned over $150 in Amazon gift cards — however, my time commitment varied by month.

Fun Factor:

Who doesn’t love sharing thoughts on your favorite laundry detergent or whether you prefer beer or wine? The most fun is watching your point total grow and redeem for money.

2. Upside: Gas Up and Get Paid

Upside is a must-have app for drivers. It enables you to earn up to 25 cents a gallon at gas purchase stations nationwide. Using the app is easy. Set your location, find a participating gas station on the map, claim your offer before you pump your gas, and then use your linked credit card or take a picture of your receipt. 

Upside deposits money in your bank account via PayPal or on a gift card. Once you earn $1, you can redeem your cashback. However, the app charges a fee of less than $15 on withdrawals.

You can pay directly at the pump through the Upside app and see your cashback instantly added to your account. Upside also offers cash back at some restaurants and grocery stores.


  • Easy-to-navigate

  • The app displays the offer and cashback amount

  • Combine with rewards credit card or gas loyalty program for extra savings

  • Get rewarded for referrals

  • Cashback is added instantly to your account once the purchase is verified


  • Not available everywhere in the U.S.

  • You cannot pay cash for gas; you must use a credit or debit card

  • Claim the offer before purchase

  • Gas prices fluctuate, so your savings can vary

  • Offers expire after a specified period

  • Charges fee for withdrawals under $15


It varies depending on gas prices and promotions but can be substantial for little effort. In the six months I have been using Upside, I have earned over $40 in cash back on gas and restaurant purchases. 

Fun Factor: 

Low. It's a straightforward app with little interaction required. However, finding the best gas prices can be rewarding.

3. Shopkick: Turn Shopping into a Game

Shopkick is about making everyday shopping fun.  You earn "kicks" (250 kicks = $1) for walking into stores such as CVS, Costco, Petco and Whole Foods, scanning products, and making purchases. 

Unlike other apps, you don't have to buy anything to earn rewards. In addition to the physical stores, you can shop over 80 online stores, such as Booking.com, Chewy, and Walmart.com.

You can earn points passively while browsing in stores. Last week, I was in CVS and scanned two items, earning myself 20 kicks – 10 per item. But that’s a long way from earning $1.

Shopkick also lets you earn kicks by watching videos and browsing the Shopkick app.


  • User-friendly

  • Straightforward tasks

  • No purchase is necessary to earn

  • Can also use for online shopping

  • Multiple options to earn kicks


  • Points add up slowly, especially if you don’t purchase anything

  • You can only redeem rewards for gift cards from a select group of retailers

  • Actively scanning products takes a lot of time

Fun Factor:

Moderate. Transforms a routine shopping trip into a lucrative adventure, especially for those who enjoy browsing stores.

4. Rakuten: Earn Cash Back While You Shop Online

If you’re an online shopaholic, this app lets you earn a percentage ( (between 1 percent and 40 percent, depending on the store) of your purchases at over 3,500 online stores, including Old Navy, Nike and Target. 

Select the store through the Rakuten app or website, and the cashback will automatically be added to your account when you purchase. They even have a browser extension that makes it easy to find deals while shopping online. When I visited the TaxAct website to start my taxes, I was thrilled to learn I could earn 5 percent back on my software purchase.


  • Get paid in cash by PayPal or check

  • Great for online purchases you plan to make anyway

  • Unlimited cash back

  • $10 welcome bonus

  • Link store offers to your credit card to earn in-store cash back

  • Referral bonus

  • Automatically tracks your purchases and awards you cash back


  • Cash is awarded every three months 

  • You must spend earn $5.01 before you can cash out

  • The app collects your personal data


Low to moderate. The amount you earn depends on the percentage of cashback. It’s also important to remember you are spending money to earn cash back. Although Rakuten says its more than 20 million members in the U.S. have earned over $3.2 billion in cash back. 

Fun Factor:

Low to moderate. There's little gamification involved, but seeing the cash-back rewards accumulate can be motivating. What’s not fun about earning money by shopping at your favorite stores?

5. Swagbucks: Earn Cash On Everyday Activities

Swagbucks is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of money-making apps, offering cash back for playing games, watching videos, visiting certain websites and other online tasks. You can access games

Try out a few different activities to see which ones you like best. You can transform everyday actions into an enjoyable way to make extra money without much effort.


  • $10 signup bonus

  • User-friendly interface

  • Diverse earning options (surveys, games, videos)

  • Multiple redemption methods (gift cards, PayPal)

  • Short activities like watching videos require minimal time


  • Points accumulate slowly, and some features feel tedious

  • Earning enough points to cash out with Swagbucks can take a while 

  • Qualifying for surveys can take time and effort


Moderate to high. Requires dedicated use to see significant earnings. Swagbucks reports that its top users earn over $10,000 a year, but most others can expect to earn $25 to $100 in gift cards or PayPal cash. 

Fun Factor: 

High. It’s the antidote to boredom. The variety of tasks available lets you determine how much fun you have. Naturally, though, playing games and watching videos may be more fun than taking a survey.

Things to Remember:

Here are a few things to remember when evaluating an app to make extra money:

  • Please don’t quit your day job. Using these apps does not replace your main income — don’t expect to get rich quickly… or at all.

  • Before signing up, understand how points translate to cash and the payout limitations.

  • Be aware of the app’s data protection protocols, especially for survey sites.

  • Evaluate the app's privacy and security policies, especially if you download a browser extension.

  • If you have questions about an app’s legitimacy, read reviews on the Apple or Google App Store and sites like Trustpilot

  • With so many money-making apps available, choose the app that fits your lifestyle.

  • Most apps are free to download and use, but some require in-app purchases to unlock special features.

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