17 Ways to Make Money From Your Phone (for Free)

A man plays on his phone while sipping an iced coffee outside of a coffeeshop.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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About 300 million Americans (92% of us) own a smartphone — and use it for an average of more than three hours daily.

Some of you are probably saying: Only three hours?

So why not use this constant companion to make a little money? At the very least, you’ll defray the phone’s price and your monthly bill.

We put together this list of free apps to help you make money from your phone. You can earn rewards redeemable for cash and gift cards by doing some pretty simple, mindless tasks on your phone, such as playing games, browsing the web, taking surveys, watching videos and taking photos.

While these apps will definitely make you a buck or two, don’t expect to make enough to quit your job.

Still, those pennies and dollars definitely add up. Using these apps could be a great way to sock away extra cash or help with your monthly budget.

Make Money From My Phone, Part 1: Killing Time

Got a few minutes while you’re standing in line or waiting at the doctor’s office? Instead of spending your downtime on Facebook or scrolling through Instagram, why not download one of these apps that pay you to take surveys, play games or test out new tools.

1. InboxDollars

Surveys aren’t the quickest way to make money, but they’re a great way to cash in on your downtime. Fill them out while you’re watching TV, riding the bus or waiting in line.

One survey site we love is called InboxDollars. It offers several short, daily surveys you can take. If you take all of them each day, you could earn an extra $730 a year — not too bad.

Here’s our ultimate guide to InboxDollars.

2. ESPN Streak for the Cash

Sports-obsessed? This one’s for you. With the ESPN Streak for the Cash app, you make predictions for upcoming games in different sports.

If you keep a long streak of correct predictions going, you get cash rewards.

3. Google Opinion Rewards

Google Opinion Rewards lets Android users earn free apps, music, movies, games and books through the Google Play store.

Get credits in exchange for taking short, anonymous surveys on your phone. Credits vary depending on the length of the survey.

4. GrabPoints

With the GrabPoints app, all you have to do is watch videos or GrabPoints TV on your phone to accumulate points. Other ways to accumulate points: Take surveys, download and test apps, play games and refer your friends to join.

Redeem your points for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Gap and more. GrabPoints is only available for Android.

5. User Testing

Before new apps launch, companies pay users to test them out. Sign up at usertesting.com to apply to become one of their testers and take a sample test. Once approved, test apps on your phone and get paid for what you think.

For every 20-minute session you complete, you get $10 via PayPal within seven days. For this one, you’ll need to try the apps, and then submit a voice recording with your feedback.

Make Money From My Phone, Part 2: Getting Gas and Groceries

If you’re a true Penny Hoarder, you likely cook at home more than you eat out, which means a big part of your budget goes toward buying groceries. Take advantage of these apps, many of which can help you save money on groceries you already buy.

6. Get Paid Every Time You Fill Up Your Tank 

Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the Fetch Rewards app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased gas from one of the stations listed in Fetch. You’ll earn 25 points for each purchase, which can be redeemed for a Visa gift card and can help you pay for your next tank.

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over 13 million people already have, so they must be onto something…

7. Nielsen Homescan

Sign up to become a Nielsen Consumer Panelist, then use your phone to scan what you buy at the grocery store. You’ll accumulate points with each scan. The longer you stick with it, the more points-earning potential you have. You can cash in those points for gift cards or items from the NCP catalog (items include electronics, jewelry, household items and toys.)

Make Money From My Phone, Part 3: Sell Photos, Books, Clothes

Instead of physically taking your items somewhere to sell them, stay at home and sell from the comfort of your couch.

8. Decluttr

Decluttr is a simple mobile app lets you sell your old CDs, DVDs, Blurays, video games, game consoles, phones and other media for cash. You’ll get a quote as soon as you scan an item’s barcode.

The best part? Decluttr sends you a free shipping label. Just put your stuff in a box and ship it — your money will appear in your account within 24 hours of Decluttr receiving it.

9. Letgo

You can sell just about anything on this intuitive app.

Just take a picture, type up a short description and Letgo puts it’s on the market in a matter of seconds.

10. eBay

You already know you can make money by selling everything from coupons to used books on eBay. But did you know the site has an app you can use to snap a photo, write a description and upload a listing?

It’s an easy way to become an eBay seller in just a few minutes. Just keep in mind that the site keeps a percentage of your sales.

11. Foap

Turn your smartphone photos into cash with Foap. It’s a stock photography website, so you need to have an eye for taking quality photos.

Once you download the app and sign up for an account, you can add your photos to the marketplace. When someone buys your photo, you make $5. So if 20 people buy the same photo, you make $100.

12. Popular Pays

If you’re Instagram “famous,” meaning you have thousands of followers, get the Popular Pays app. Brands will pay you to take photos of their products and broadcast them to your followers through your Instagram feed.

Make Money on My Phone, Part 4: Do Odd Jobs

You can make a bit more cash with apps that require you to do a little work. These apps are middlemen between you and big consumer brands that want to check in on their products in various stores to ensure consistency. It’s kind of like doing market research — and you’re the collector of the data.

Keep in mind that these apps need to track your location to find jobs, which can drain your battery.

13. Field Agent

Becoming a Field Agent is kind of like mystery shopping — except you don’t have to buy anything. Download the Field Agent app and look for assignments in your area. You may be asked to take photos of displays in stores, scan barcodes and record prices. You’ll be paid $1-12 for these short jobs.

14. Gigwalk

Similar to Field Agent, use Gigwalk to find small, paying gigs in your area. Large companies want to keep tabs on in-store displays, see if products are available and check to see if prices are correctly displayed, and Gigwalk helps connect them with locals. So you’ll visit stores, snap photos and respond to questions.

Gigs can take anywhere from five minutes to a few hours to complete, and pay anywhere from $3 to $100.

15. Rewardable

Download the Rewardable app and look for tasks nearby. You might be asked to watch videos or complete surveys at home, or you could leave the house and visit retail stores or give product feedback.

Make Money on My Phone, Part 5: Get Paid to Shop

While you’re already out shopping, keep these apps handy to make a few extra bucks.

16. Mobee

Mobee is a mystery shopping app that asks you to rate the customer service, cleanliness and other criteria at stores in your area. Once you complete a “mission” by answering questions, you get points you can redeem for gift cards or prizes.

We tried a Mobee mission at Subway that paid $8. Though the payouts aren’t as high as other mystery shopping companies, we can’t complain about a free sandwich!

17. Shopkick

Shopkick pays you simply to enter certain stores such as Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and JCPenney. You get “kicks” to walk in the store, scan barcodes and make purchases. You can redeem your kicks for gift cards to Target, Starbucks, Sephora and other stores.

Betsy Mikel is a Chicago-based freelance copywriter.