There are plenty of great ways to start earning income on the side, from becoming a delivery driver to starting a freelance business. But if you're looking for the quickest way to make some extra cash, you'll be glad to know there are apps that pay you for taking surveys, playing games and more.
To discover the best ones, we scoured the web and talked to several in-the-know experts. Ahead, you'll discover our findings — 28 apps that pay you real money. So as long as you've got a mobile device and some spare time, your next side hustle is right at your fingertips.
Have some opinions you'd like to share? On Survey Junkie, you can get paid to do so.
With over 35,000 reviews on Google Play and more than 43,000 on the App Store, Survey Junkie claims to be the most popular app used to earn cash and rewards simply for sharing your thoughts on a wide range of topics, products and services.
Christopher Morgan, credit expert at Credit Help Info, explains that users can earn money by completing relevant surveys. "To preserve your privacy," the app also "submits [results] anonymously." Then, "points are awarded for each survey and can be redeemed for cash, gift cards or a PayPal payment."
And while "you can earn $1 for every 100 points" received, "to cash out, you must have 500 points."
You may already know about Nielsen, a data and marketing measurement firm that regularly releases high-profile research. But did you know you can also earn money by giving Nielsen access to some of your mobile and desktop data?
Anna Barker, personal finance expert and founder of LogicalDollar, shares that Nielsen's analysts "also do research on how people use their devices, which offers a great way for people to make money" via Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel.
How does it work? "All you have to do is install their app and let it run in the background on your phone. It will anonymously collect data on your phone usage," and the app is "extremely small, so it won't impact your device's performance."
"And for continuing to use your phone how you normally would (meaning no extra work required!), you'll get $50 per year," as well as entries in $10,000 monthly sweepstakes.
If you like working with kids and are looking for a way to earn some extra cash, then Babysits might just be the solution you're looking for.
Daniel Lawson, marketing strategist at Babysits, says that on the app, "members can meet families, create bookings and get paid for babysitting appointments via the app. To get paid, members have to set up bookings for in-person (or virtual) babysitting appointments."
Just how much money are we talking about? Since Babysits is available in multiple countries, "vary per city, state and country," but generally fall "between $10–$25 per hour."
Many of the apps that pay you require some extra effort on your part, such as taking the time to fill out questionnaires. With Ibotta, however, you can earn cash back on the everyday purchases you would have made anyway.
Baruch Silvermann, founder and CEO of The Smart Investor, breaks down how it works: "Ibotta is partnered with over 1,500 brands and retailers, so it is no longer just limited to grocery shopping. You can use the app to earn cash back on clothing, pet supplies, entertainment and other categories. There are even product- and retailer-specific offers to earn more."
And "while you do need to accumulate $20 to $25 to redeem your cash back, you don’t need to spend hours on your phone completing tasks."
Do you like going to events, socializing with new people and earning some bonus cash in the process? Then the U.K.-based Bloc is just the app for you.
Josh Wood, Bloc's Founder and CEO, sums it up nicely: "Bloc is a social events app that pays people to attend venues. The way this works is that people can check in to venues, and if they attend the venue, they get rewarded with our in-app currency, stars. Once they collect enough stars, they can exchange them for real money."
The largest cash-out is £1000 for 1,000 stars, which Wood says takes about a month to earn.
Survey Junkie isn't the only wildly popular app that pays you to share your opinions — Swagbucks gives its users cash and/or gift cards for:
Watching video ads
Becoming a mystery shopper
Giving feedback on products and services
Shopping from certain stores
And if you're on the hunt for game apps that pay real money, you're in luck: Swagbucks also pays users to play games on their mobile devices.
Swagbucks also claims to offer the highest survey payouts, and it's not hard to believe when their members have cumulatively earned more than $6,000,000 thus far. As an added bonus, you'll automatically get $10 for signing up.
Love playing games on Android devices? Then you might just love Mistplay, too.
On this app, you simply choose which games you'd like to play and, well, play them. The more you play, the more points you earn. After accumulating a certain number of points, you can redeem them for gift cards to major retailers or cash payouts.
Users are also able to enter weekly contests, chat with friends, compete with other players for high scores and unlock achievements worth additional points.
So if you've been wondering what phone apps actually pay real money, these apps highlighted here make it clear that you have plenty of options.
Whether you feel like taking surveys, playing games or simply letting an app run in the background, you're just one app download away from earning some extra cash.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.