10 Clever Apps That Actually Pay You

There are many legitimate ways to earn quick cash online through easy-to-use apps. Here is a list of our favorites.
Last updated July 27, 2022 | By Rachel Cribby | Edited By Michele Zipp
emotional woman looking at laptop and screaming

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Finding it hard to keep up with bills lately? You’re not alone. With inflation hitting a level we haven’t seen in decades, it’s feeling harder and harder to cover everyday expenses.

That’s why millions of Americans are trying to pick up side gigs — particularly ones that can conveniently be done online. The only problem is that it can be challenging to differentiate between legitimate opportunities and scams that make grandiose promises about earning thousands of dollars per month from your cell phone.


We’re here to help point you in the direction of the side hustles that may be worth pursuing. In this article, we’ll list a number of legitimate apps that will actually pay you — not make broken promises that are never fulfilled. Most of these options only require that you have a smartphone. They don’t require training or a special skillset.

Product Report Card

fizkes/Adobe writing down information taken on internet

Product Report Card notably offers its users the option of testing free products, with an average of 32 free product tests available each month. When users sign up for their free account, they will first be asked some establishing questions and will then be given the option to take a short survey to match you with products. You get a $5 welcome reward just for completing your first survey.

This app may be a great option for anyone who gets bored of regular survey offerings and wants to have access to a variety of opportunities. There are political polls, virtual focus groups, and of course, at-home product tests. Often these tests will come with free products, which is an extra bonus on top of the payout you receive for your participation.

Drop

fizkes/Adobe overjoyed black man holding smartphone

You can earn “Drop Points” with Drop, a versatile app that works through making purchases, playing games, and linking your credit cards. There are more than five million users on Drop, and it is incredibly easy to navigate.

All you need to do is download the Drop app and sign up as a member. Then, you earn points by shopping through the app. You don’t need to change anything about your shopping habits — Drop gives you access to many of the brands that you may already love.

Once you have collected enough Drop points, you can redeem them for popular gift card options. You can also earn points by playing games or filling out surveys. It’s not a way to get extra cash in your pocket, but gift cards can definitely help you control your spending which frees up money for your other needs.

For more info, check out our Drop review.

Google Opinion Rewards

Antonioguillem/Adobe happy woman in red using mobile phone in the night

Google Opinion Rewards is considered one of the most highly-trusted ways to make money with your phone, and it’s no surprise considering that it’s attached to Google, a company that requires no introduction. Google Opinion Rewards allows you to take surveys from market researchers and receive Google Play credits in return.

Again, this app doesn’t pay you in cash, but rather in Google Play credits. Google Play credits can be redeemed for a variety of apps, subscription services, books, and even movie purchases. Google Play credits must be spent within one year of receiving them or else they’ll expire.

Field Agent

standret/Adobe brunette woman in the supermarket with shopping bags and phone in hands

For those interested in performing small jobs, Field Agent might be the app for you. Most of these jobs require you to go out in person, but the tasks can be quite fun. They include things like mystery shopping, scavenger hunts, and audits (where you’ll be asked to confirm the quantity of a certain product inside a store) — it’s all geared around shopping.

Field Agent will pay between $3 to $15 per gig, and the jobs rarely take more than thirty minutes to complete. The app will pay you through direct deposit.

Survey Junkie

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe  asian businesswoman sitting at desk and using laptop in office

Featured on the long list of apps to earn extra money with is the well-known Survey Junkie. Its premise is simple — take surveys and get paid in virtual points. The best part is that these points can be redeemed for either gift cards or PayPal credits, which means that you can use them for so many things (as long as PayPal is an accepted payment type).

You can choose to participate in digital surveys and focus groups or even share your browsing history with market researchers to earn credit.

For more details, check out our Survey Junkie review.

Swagbucks

Andrey Popov/Adobe human hand removing gift card from wallet

If watching videos, shopping online, answering surveys, and searching the internet is what you already do, maybe Swagbucks could help you earn points while you do it. You can then redeem these points for gift cards, or opt for PayPal cash. Swagbucks has an impressive 4.3 rating on Trustpilot and claims to give out around 7,000 free gift cards every day.

Getting paid for your searches is made easy through the Swagbucks Search search engine, though you can also use the search bar on the Swagbucks website.

To learn more, read our Swabgucks review.

OpinionOutpost

fizkes/Adobe Indian employee using laptop at workplace

OpinionOutpost, as its name would suggest, makes it possible to get paid for sharing your thoughts on certain subjects. To take advantage, users must first create a free account. They then have access to a variety of online surveys that they can take in return for rewards, though they can also opt to watch ads and perform product tests.

Once users have amassed enough rewards, they can choose which way to redeem their rewards, with the options between a variety of gift cards or even cash. The app has 2 million users.

Honeygain

artiemedvedev/Adobe mixed race woman in glasses working with multiple electronic internet devices

If you’re comfortable with sharing your browsing data, Honeygain might be for you. This app advertises itself as a way to earn “passive income,” and what more could you ask for from your side hustle?

What makes Honeygain “passive” is the fact that you don’t need to fill out surveys in order to get paid. All you need to do is share your internet data with them, who in turn share it with trusted partners to use the data for market research.

The amount that you’ll earn demands on the number of devices that you can connect to their app, but it’s estimated that three devices can earn you $55 in return. Those earnings could help pay for your gym membership or subscription services.

InboxDollars

Degroote Stock/Adobe adult woman holding a Paypal credit card

InboxDollars — like other options on this list — rely on brands to pay them in return for insight from customers like you. Surveys are their main activity, but they also give you other options like online shopping.

The app also allows you to play video games in return for cash reviews, and will sometimes even pay you for simply receiving emails. Reward formats include PayPal cash and gift card options including from Amazon. If you already play a lot of games on your phone, this might be an opportunity for you to make extra money.

For more info, check out our InboxDollars review.

FetchRewards

sirichai/Adobe smartphone scan barcode on bills payment

Now here’s something different — Fetch Rewards allows you to earn rewards simply for taking pictures of the receipts that you receive from your purchases. You’ll earn more points for purchasing from certain brands and stores, but you can technically earn points on every single receipt that you share. Then, you can redeem these points for gift cards to major retailers. You’ll need to make sure that your receipts are less than 14 days old in order to be eligible.

For more details, read our Fetch Rewards review.

Bottom line

Drobot Dean/Adobe beautiful smiling woman working with laptop while sitting at table

When it comes to making extra change through online apps, there is a wide selection of options, mostly thanks to the value of market research. One word of advice — just make sure that you do your research before signing up with any app to ensure its legitimacy.

Most reputable apps should have ample customer reviews online (try searching message boards or YouTube for unbiased, unpaid reviews). Happy spending (or saving)!

Get Paid To Drive Learn More
Get Paid to Make Deliveries Learn More
Get Paid To Go Shopping Learn More

Author Details

Rachel Cribby Rachel Cribby is a personal finance writer from Canada. Once a terrible math student with a fear of numbers, Rachel has embraced the world of personal finance and is passionate about empowering others to do the same. She especially loves taking topics that seem complicated and boring and making them interesting and easy to understand.