12 Free Mobile Apps That Help You Earn Money for Doing Almost Nothing

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12 Free Mobile Apps That Help You Earn Money for Doing Almost Nothing
andresr

We’ve all got smartphones these days, and almost everything we do on them requires using an app.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make extra money just for using them? Well, you can.

You're not going to get rich by downloading mobile apps, but you can use these to earn a little extra money every month.

Considering some of them require you to do nothing, or just watch videos or take some surveys, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal to make a few extra bucks.

To get you started, we put together a list of our favorite apps that pay you just for using them...

1. This App Pays You to Search the Web

Senior woman using mobile apps that pay her for various activities
freemixer/Getty Images

The folks over at InboxDollars will actually pay you to search the web!

InboxDollars offers cash rewards for a variety of tasks, including online searches through their proprietary search engine.

Earn one cent for each of your first five qualified searches and another cent for every two after that. You can earn up to 15 cents per day through the InboxDollars search engine.

You’ll get a free $5 just for signing up.

2. This App Pays You for Sharing (Anonymous) User Data

This app pays you for sharing data
snagajob/Facebook

There's a new company called "Smart Panel" that will literally pay you to download its free app.

The app's purpose is to collect anonymous statistics from your phone to help your favorite web sites, apps, tech companies and mobile carriers give you better services and more features.

The company wants to know how long you're spending on Facebook each week, what YouTube videos you like, and how often you check your email.

It's run by Verto Analytics, a trusted analytics firm.

Here's how it works...

  1. You can't download this from the app store. Here's the promo link. It's free to download.
  2. Once you've qualified and downloaded the app, you’ll earn $5. If you keep it installed for at least two weeks, you'll earn another $10. And then for every month you keep the Smart App installed, you'll get another $5. In total, you can earn up to $75 for the first year!

You can redeem your rewards via Paypal or an Amazon gift card.

3. This App Pays You for Sharing Your Amazon Purchases

Young man making money with an app by by sharing Amazon purchases
peopleimages.com/Getty Images

If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to research to help companies understand what people are buying online.

Companies use this information to improve the online shopping experience.

Before you start the simple download process, let me give you the basic requirements:

  • This will be a waste of time if you don’t shop on Amazon.
  • You must be 18 and live in the U.S.
  • You’ll need at least a Windows 7-compatible PC. If you have Windows XP or a Mac, it won’t work.

All good? Time to download.

To earn your first gift card today:

  1. Sign up and download the ShopTracker app on your Windows computer and Apple or Android phone. It takes about two minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your Amazon use to qualify.
  2. Open the app and log in to your Amazon account to automatically share your purchase history.
  3. You’ll receive your Visa e-gift card code for $3 via email within 48 hours.
  4. Take a couple of minutes to share your purchase history to earn another $3 each month.

Your information is collected securely by The Harris Poll, a trusted market research company for more than 20 years.

ShopTracker removes your name, shipping address and any personal payment information before reporting your purchase history.

4. This App Pays You to Take Simple Surveys

Swagbucks app shows earnings for taking surveys

The Swagbucks mobile app is one of the best, legitimate paid survey apps out there. They're currently rated an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.

The questions are pretty simple. What do you like more -- Coke or Cherry Coke? How many times have you been to the movies in the past 12 months?

You get the idea.

The average payout for answering a series of questions is 75 SBs, which is equivalent to 75 cents. You won’t qualify for every panel, but you can usually earn about $5 for 30 minutes of work.

5. This App Pays You for Walking Into (and Shopping at) Stores

This app pays you to walk into stores and make purchases
Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images

Sick of shopping online and headed to a real, live store? Download the Shopkick app first.

Once you sign up, the app pays you “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Target, Walmart, Macy’s and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and more.

It pays you even more “kicks” for scanning items in stores and purchasing them with a connected credit or debit card.

Here's the link for Android and iPhone users.

6. This App Helps You Start Investing -- And Pays You $5

Five dollar bill representing a special Stash app promotion
Macro of Five American Dollar Bill

We’re kind of obsessed with Stash around here (and not just because it gives you $5).

We love that anyone can use Stash to start investing. You don’t have to have an MBA or even make it all the way through “The Big Short” to understand how to invest with this app.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and it does the rest.

To get the $5 bonus:

  1. Click this link and enter your email here.
  2. Download the Stash app on your smartphone, and set up your account with the same email address. Within two business days, you’ll see the bonus added to your account.

7. This App Helps Sell Your Old Electronics

The decluttr app helps you make money from selling electronics
sestovic/Getty Images

Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them!

Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods. Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!

You scan each product’s barcode with your phone, and Decluttr makes an offer.

Prices vary — usually about 50 cents to $3 per item — but you can unload your media in bulk to make an extra $50 to $100 this week. And never have to look at them again.

With Decluttr, you can sell stuff online without having to deal with individual listings and buyers.

And shipping is free. The company emails you shipping labels to cover the cost. Just print the label, pack your items in any box and ship it.

8. This App Helps You Sell Your Old Textbooks

Bookshelp showing old textbooks you can sell with the Bookscouter app

Have any old college textbooks?  You could have a garage sale or sell them on Craigslist, but one of our favorite ways to get rid of them is using the Bookscouter app.

You just type your book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number -- it's near the book's barcode and copyright info) into the search bar and let Bookscouter connect you with over 25 of the best-paying and most reputable buyback companies online.

Cool, right?

Once you’ve found the buyback company offering the most cash, you just fill out a little information about where you want your payment sent (usually PayPal) and prepare the books to be shipped.

Most of the buyback companies offer prepaid shipping labels too, so there aren’t any costs associated with this.

9. This App Rewards You for All the Useless Trivia You’ve Learned

Woman researching to build trivia knowledge for this app

Have you added a ton of random knowledge to your repertoire over the years? Use it to earn some cash.

With the QuizXT app, you can test your smarts on topics like sports, history, music and more. You’ll earn rewards points for every answer you get right — so study up, Poindexter!

The app also pays you for taking surveys and playing other games. We know you’re hanging out on your phone, anyway — why not get paid to do it?

You can cash out via PayPal.

Itching to show off the history lessons you’ve learned watching “The Crown”? We thought so. Download the QuizXT app here to get rewarded for it.

10. This App Pays You to Go On Secret Missions

Woman earning money from the QuickThoughts app by giving businesses feedback

Remember scavenger hunts when you were a kid? Ever pretend you were a private investigator on an important mission?

Don’t let a few years get in the way of your fun.

QuickThoughts turns your cell phone into private-eye technology, taking you on top-secret missions in your area.

Was that CVS you visited last month clean? How do the lines look at that McDonald’s you’ve stopped by for lunch?

QuickThoughts Missions relies on your input -- and sneakily-taken cellphone photography -- to give businesses important feedback.

And like any respectable PI, you get paid for your investigative footwork. Pretending as an adult is looking better and better!

Using your phone’s GPS technology, the app will prompt you for information from places you’ve visited in the past few weeks, as well as places it detects you’re visiting right now.

It even has missions you can accept and complete in the future.

For instance, it might prompt you to go to your local Walgreens and snap a photo of the seasonal display.

And you’ll earn valuable gift cards for Amazon and iTunes while you’re at it.

11.  This App Pays You for Your Opinions

Baby looks on while mother uses the Ipsos Panel app

You might recognize the Ipsos Panel name because it’s the same company that does most of the political polling during elections.

Well, it has a survey app called i-Say that pays you for your opinions.

Some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10-15 minutes.

Also, i-Say rewards you with points which can then be redeemed for Paypal or gift cards to Amazon, iTunes and others. (example: 1,000 points can be redeemed for a $10 Paypal deposit).

12. This App Pays You to Deliver Food

Man delivering food through the UberEats app

This app lets you earn money while you’re running errands by getting food to hungry people.

To deliver food through UberEATS, you just have to meet these requirements:

  • Be at least 19 years old and have at least one year of driving experience.
  • Have a driver's license, insurance and vehicle registration.
  • Be able to lift 30 pounds.

Just like the rideshare option, you’ll set your own hours and only work when and how often you want to.

That means how much you earn is largely up to you.

If your car decides not to start one morning, no worries. You can also deliver food on your bicycle!

Your Turn: Do you use any of these money-making apps?

Disclosure: We don’t hesitate to pick pennies off the sidewalk when we spot them. But the affiliate links in this post help our earnings grow even quicker. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner than sidewalk money.