18 Free Apps That Help You Make Money With Your Phone

A man plays on his phone while sipping an iced coffee outside of a coffeeshop.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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Chances are you probably have a smartphone. And those don’t come cheap.

So why not put a dent in your phone bill and use the thing to earn some money?

We put together this list of free apps that will help you make money on your phone. You can earn rewards that are 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 some extra cash for big purchases or holiday shopping.

Get Paid to Kill 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. Lucktastic

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

2. InboxDollars

Surveys aren’t the quickest way to make money, but they’re a great way to cash in on your down time. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Save and Make Money on 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 towards buying groceries. Take advantage of these apps, many of which can help you get money back on groceries you already buy.

7. Ibotta

Ibotta is a simple cash-back app that works at tons of retailers, including grocery stores, liquor stores, even restaurants. Just download the app, choose your store, select your rebates and go shopping. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt through the app and the money will appear in your account in 48 hours.

You can cash out for gift card or a PayPal deposit. Plus if you sign up through this link, you can collect a $10 welcome bonus.

8. 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.)

Sell Photos, Books and Clothes

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

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

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.

14. 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.

15. 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. 

16. 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. 

Get Paid to Shop

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

17. 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!

18. 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.