21 Best Money Making Apps for Quick Cash in 2021
Sometimes you need extra cash for bills. We’ve all been there, especially if you live in an expensive city. Maybe you’re trying to save up for something special, or add to your investments. If you’re wondering how to make money today or which are the best money making apps available right now, you’ve come to the right place.
The Millennial Money team conducted a detailed review of the best money making apps to earn extra cash fast in 2021.
By the end of this post, you’ll be prepared with new strategies to make extra money with only a few clicks on your smartphone!
Before we go any further, you need to know that these money making apps are not a substitute for your day job. That said, they are a great way to supplement income in the short term.
Luckily, 2021 has never been a better time to utilize apps and technology to make extra money fast. These legit apps are essential to your money-making journey.
Best Money Making Apps You Need in 2021
Here are the top 18 apps that can make you money:
- 🏆 InboxDollars
- Capital One Shopping
- M1 Finance
- Google Opinion Rewards
1. InboxDollars – $20 Signup Bonus
InboxDollars is a cash rewards app and website that pays its members in exchange for completing online tasks, playing games, filling out surveys, and more!
First-time users can earn a $20 sign-up bonus after verifying their email address. InboxDollars doesn’t use a “points”-based earning system like other money making apps. Instead, your earnings are shown in dollars, making it easy to know exactly how much real money you’re making.
The InboxDollars mobile app is also one of the easiest to use, with a very simple interface.
- Free $20 sign-up bonus with this link
- 100% free to join and make money right now
- Offers cash out via PayPal or Amazon Gift Cards
- Been in business for over 20+ years, so you know it’s legit!
- Easy to use website and mobile app
- Multiple activities available for making money (not just a survey app)
- Minimum payout threshold of $30 must be met before cashing out earned money
- Could take up to 2 weeks to claim money
- Some of the “free surveys” require you to buy something, so they aren’t actually free
- Read our full InboxDollars review.
LifePoints is one of the largest influencer communities worldwide and awarded $28 million to its members in the last year alone. The company also offers a welcome bonus of 10 LifePoints for new users.
Compared to other survey sites, qualifying for paid surveys on LifePoints is a bit easier. This is a key factor when signing up for any online survey company.
Most of their surveys can be completed in 10 minutes or less. This can lead to slightly less in your payout per survey; however, the ROI of your time is comparable and you won’t have to worry about being tied to any one survey for 30 minutes or longer.
Check out Millennial Money’s list of best survey sites.
- Lots of different survey options
- Multiple ways to redeem points through electronic gift cards, PayPal transfers, and charitable donations
- Often, these sites are only available in one or two countries, but LifePoints has no geographical limitations and can be accessed by people all over the globe with surveys in 26 languages
- If not redeemed, points last three years before expiring and can expire sooner if you’re an inactive user
- Lack of customer support beyond a knowledge center and ticket system
- Little information about earnings and rewards
- Read our full LifePoints review
Acorns helped me hide and invest my money last year. What does that even mean, you say? Well, with Acorns, you can set up a free mobile app to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar. They take this cash and invest it into ETFs. Honestly, it’s pretty sweet.
Say you bought a pint at the pub (no, I am not British) and it cost you $6.90 (more like $10.90 if you live in an expensive city). Once you download the Acorns app, it will automatically, round up to the nearest dollar and invest that 10 cents! This adds up over time.
With the Acorns app, you can build an investment portfolio one dime at a time.
This money making app is definitely a millennial investing strategy. You can set it and forget it, and build your investment portfolio without even knowing it.
You can also direct additional funds into the Acorns app for investment. Really, it’s a tool to help you invest more money as well as an investment platform.
Try it risk-free! Receive a $5 sign-up bonus by signing up below.
- $5 sign-up bonus using this link
- FREE fo college students
- Automates saving and investing
- Invests in ETFs with low expense ratios
- Flat fees are high for low balance accounts
- Requires spending money to save money
- Limited investment options
- Read our full Acorns Review.
If you purchased something online within the past year, and that item decreased in cost, the store might owe you a refund. With the money-saving Paribus App, you can take back your money and get refunded for things you’ve already bought!
Yes, you read that correctly. It is possible that stores owe you money! Paribus just secured 2 free months of Amazon Prime for my mom (compensation methods for late deliveries can vary).
Online shopping continues to increase, especially if you live in an expansive city. If you are someone who shops online frequently (I certainly am), then you might be looking at a quick refund!
Refunds are typically processed very quickly, usually within 3-7 business days. Retailers will issue the credit back to your original method of payment, like the credit card or debit card that you paid with.
You gotta check out Paribus. Paribus is 100% free to use and does the heavy lifting for you!
- 100% free to sign up and claim refunds.
- Safe, secure, and legit! (Paribus is owned by Capital One)
- Refunds happen quickly, typically within 3-7 business days
- Not every retailer participates
- Must allow access to your email inbox
- Read our full Paribus review.
Best Side Hustles for 2021
If you’re looking for how to get started earning cash on top your 9-5, you’re in luck! We just published our completed guide “The Best Side Hustles for 2021.” It features our top 23 side hustles that can earn anything from a little extra spending money to thousands of dollars per month! Just enter your e-mail below and we’ll send you the full guide!
Thank you! Please check your e-mail inbox now to receive the The Best Side Hustles for 2021 guide!
Robinhood is an investment app that actually makes investing fun, which can be good or bad depending on how disciplined you are as an investor.
Robinhood’s app is impeccably designed—smooth, sleek, intuitive, and easy to use. I find myself checking it at least 20 times a day, sometimes more. It’s addictive, which makes it super easy to day-trade, an investing strategy I don’t recommend.
My personal investment strategy is largely based on investing in low-cost diversified index funds, which you don’t need Robinhood to do. But I also enjoy investing in individual stocks and Robinhood is the best investing app out there.
Robinhood’s claim to fame is that they allow customers to make an unlimited number of commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options in a brokerage account.
- Commission-free trades on stocks, funds, and options
- Deep dive company reports and analysis with Robinhood Gold
- Next-level cryptocurrency platform (also commission-free)
- Intuitive, easy-to-use website and apps
- Enjoyable user experience
- Robinhood gives you a free stock when you open an account
- Customer support only via email and chat
- No checking or savings accounts
- Can’t invest in tax-advantaged retirement accounts like IRAs
- Read our full Robinhood review
Swagbucks is known as a legit money app to take surveys for money and for giving your opinion online. They give access to tens of thousands of paid survey opportunities each day. They even offer plenty of ways to earn money while shopping online.
It’s really simple. Just press a few buttons in your free time and BOOM! Free money!
The Swagbucks app is one of the best-paying survey sites that will earn you money from your phone and pay via PayPal or gift cards.
With every online survey, you are influencing decision-makers from premier companies and organizations.
- Receive a $5 sign up bonus.
- Free mobile app, available on Android device or iPhone
- In addition to surveys, you can participate in simple tasks such as watching videos
- Earn points that can be paid out in cash via PayPal account
- A legit money making app that will pay you to be an influencer and share your opinion to help brands deliver better products
- Some surveys will pay up to $35 per survey
- All answers are completely anonymous
- Referral program allows for potential passive income
- Sometimes your cash out can take a few days.
- Low return on time investment
- Read our full Swagbucks review.
7. Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) is a savings/coupon shopping app and browser extension that lets you compare prices among various online retailers, find better coupon codes and even find better deals among the multiple sellers within Amazon.
If you shop online through Capital One Shopping you can earn credits on your purchases that can be redeemed for gift cards. For example, you can get 1% back on purchases made at Dell.com, 2% from Walmart.com, 9% on purchases at JCPenney, or 4% from Groupon.
And friends? Saving money is making money.
Just start your purchase journey through the Capital One Shopping app and earn rewards. Average credits at many stores are 2.0% to 10%, with some stores offering limited-time double rewards!
- 100% free to sign up and use
- Easy to add (or remove) browser extensions
- Does in-store comparisons with free mobile app
- Automatically adds promo codes at checkout
- Price drop alerts on wishlist items
- Tracks your online activity (although very secure)
- Read our full Capital One Shopping review.
MyPoints is a platform that allows you to earn gift cards for answering surveys, playing games, watching videos, and many other online activities!
MyPoints will also pay you to shop online! Earn free gift cards when you shop online at over 2,000 top retailers like Walmart, eBay, and Amazon.
You’re going to buy things anyway, so you may as well buy it through MyPoints to save money and earn that free gift card!
$5 Sign-up Bonus: Complete five surveys.
$10 Task Bonus: Make your first purchase of $20 or more and receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
- Legit and trustworthy company
- 100% Free to sign up and use
- Multiple redemption options like real money or gift cards
- Large network of participating partners and retailers
- Surveys and video options (like with most survey sites) are probably not the best use of your time
- Requires purchases to get cash back
- Limited customer support options
- Read our full MyPoints review.
If you’re an accredited investor and would like some skin in the commercial real estate game, CrowdStreet is worth checking out. The company offers an intuitive way to invest in commercial real estate in a way that hasn’t always been accessible to individual investors.
It’s free to sign up for CrowdStreet, and there are no fees for having an account or browsing the company’s investment opportunities. The company does, however, earn commissions on the individual investment options, blended portfolios, and funds that it offers.
- Innovative way for accredited investors to diversify their investments
- Tech-savvy company with an easy-to-use online platform
- Solid customer support
- You might see significantly better returns than you would in the stock market (of course, you might also lose money)
- Low liquidity; your money will be tied up for several years
- Real estate might be risky compared to traditional ETFs
- Only available to accredited investors that earn over $200,000/year
- High minimum buy-ins (e.g., $10,000 to $25,000 for funds/portfolios, $250,000 for privately managed accounts)
- Read our full CrowdStreet review
If you live in a city, you will agree that people are spending less time in stores. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated this. The delivery industry is on the rise, so take advantage and get paid!
Use your spare time (or even your lunch break) to side hustle for extra cash.
If you’re wondering if you can really earn $18 to $25 an hour with delivery app jobs, the answer is yes! By delivering for Postmates, I saved up enough money to buy an engagement ring! Seriously: you can easily make $500 this week by completing 50 deliveries.
Another service similar to Postmates, but centered around food delivery, is DoorDash. This service is really starting to take off, so there are lots of earning opportunities depending on where you live.
Check out our full list of delivery app jobs here.
- Available in most cities and states in the United States
- Extremely popular and fast-growing industry
- Car not needed—you can complete jobs on foot or by bicycle
- Get paid weekly through direct deposit to your bank account
- Earning potential is up to $50k per year (if done full-time)
- Background a screening check required
- Tipping culture is not great in some cities
- Read our comparison of Postmates vs Doordash
Have you ever signed up for a service—an online magazine or an obscure video streaming service, maybe—and then forgot you subscribed?
Well, that service’s billing department won’t be so forgetful. It’ll keep charging you, month after month. If it’s a small enough fee, you may not notice it for a few months.
Truebill would like to notice for you. Download the free Truebill app, connect your main checking account or any bank account, and let the app get to work.
The app will analyze your spending habits and identify recurring charges, which you may want to eliminate. If you want to keep paying a bill, that’s fine. If you don’t, Truebill can cancel the subscription for you.
And there’s more to this app. Truebill can negotiate with service providers on your behalf to lower your monthly fees. The service can also monitor your utilities such as cable to report outages and seek refunds.
Truebill has a free version, but here’s the catch: Truebill will keep 40% of what it saves you. If the service saves you $500 a year, it’ll claim $200 of those savings.
Still, in this scenario, you’d be saving $300 a year without doing the work.
To get the most out of Truebill you’d have to subscribe (ironic, I know). It’s about $5 a month (or $36 paid upfront for a year).
- Free version available
- Will catch old subscriptions and forgotten service charges
- Offers trends, insights, and price reductions
- Keeps a large percentage of your savings (free version)
- Must allow access to bank account and transaction history (although very secure)
- Read our full Truebill review.
Wherever I travel, I check the Airbnb app for the best places to stay.
I also use the Airbnb app to make money. When I was living and working abroad, I rented out my house using Airbnb. It’s crazy to think that your house can be earning money while you travel!
I was able to cover my mortgage payments very easily. Furthermore, when I was living in the house, I would rent out rooms during peak college football season at a mighty premium.
You can make so much money by renting out rooms with Airbnb. Earning money will be pretty easy if you live in a desirable travel city, or near a popular vacation destination.
- Make money renting unused space, rooms, or while traveling
- Set your own rates, manage your own schedule
- Quick to set up, easy to manage via the free mobile app
- Trustworthy company with rating systems, well-vetted applicants, and security deposits.
- Heavily regulated in some locations
- Highly competitive industry in some locations
- Risks involved with theft, damage, and ware to your home
- Read our full post about making money on Airbnb
Neighbor is like the Airbnb of storage. Instead of renting your home or room out to strangers, you can convert unused space into storage income.
It’s easy to turn your basement, garage, spare office room, even closet, into passive income or a great side hustle earning up to several hundred dollars a month. In New York City, they estimate a spare basement rental to generate almost $10,000 per year!
What’s even better is both the renter and host are protected from mishaps. Neighbor’s Host Guarantee protects you up to $1,000,000 for personal liability and renters are eligible for up to $25,000 in case items are damaged during storage.
List your space on Neighbor today!
- Make money from your unused space
- Free to list your storage space
- You set the rates, access times, and availability schedule
- Insurance options provided by Neighbor
- Demand varies greatly by location
- Storage can be inconvenient, or an eyesore in your neighborhood for large items
Ibotta is a shopping app you can use to earn cash back on your everyday purchases at over 300 in-store and online retailers. The Ibotta app is 100% free to use.
After a large grocery shopping trip, boom! Instant cash back. After a trip to the mall… cash back! Even after shopping for some items on Amazon, BOOM: CASH BACK! Cash back for every type of shopper, including online and in-store retailers.
Seriously, this Ibotta app is legit. I continuously accumulate cash back on everyday purchases through the Ibotta app. There is really no downside.
Receive a FREE $20 bonus when you redeem 10 offers in the first 2 weeks!
- 100% free to sign up and use
- HUGE network of participating retailers
- Easy way of earning money while making everyday purchases
- Available in Google Play Store for an Android Phone, or App Store for iPhone
- App tracks your location while inside stores
- Limited customer support for disputes or issues
- Read our full Ibotta review
DiversyFund is another crowdsourcing real estate investment platform that allows you to invest in real estate for only $500.
They expect an 11-18% annual return. This can be a solid return on investment and a great way to diversify your traditional stock and bond investment allocation.
Additionally, DiversyFund is a great way to invest in the real estate market while you’re saving up for a down payment on your future home! They have a free mobile app, but it’s newly released and still has features being made by the app developer. Sign up now to begin using the online platform.
- Read our full DiversyFund review.
Stash makes investing simple. Similar to Acorns, Stash is a money saving and making app that will round up your purchases and invest.
Stash allows you to invest your money where it matters to you. Invest in innovation, the environment, or anything else you choose. Investing, simplified!
With Stash, you can invest automatically in stocks and ETFs that are carefully selected to reduce the expense ratio.
- Exceptional mobile app and experience
- Very competitive fees
- Excellent security
- A ton of education services available
- Fractional shares and low cost to start
- No free version available
- Regular bank account interest is low for uninvested funds
- Read our full Stash review.
I started using Blooom to manage my 401(k) investments in early 2018. In less than a few minutes, Blooom analyzed my current 401(k) and identified fees, risks, and diversification issues in my portfolio.
For less than $10 per month (if you purchase a year subscription) Blooom can manage your 401(k) investments. I’ve tested a few 401(k) analyzer products and Blooom is by far the best if you’re looking for inefficiencies in your 401(k).
- Automated account management
- Advanced security (with text alerts for fraudulent or suspicious activity)
- Referral program available for earning additional money
- Transparent ad flat fee structure
- Limited account support (no phone—mostly chat and email support)
- Minimum effort investing could potentially yield minimal results; if you have the time, I encourage you to take responsibility for retirement investing and manage it yourself
- Read our full Blooom review.
18. M1 Finance
M1 Finance is a robo-advisor that uses an algorithm to manage and re-balance an investor’s portfolio.
While I am not currently a M1 Finance user, I do recommend the platform for both people who are learning how to start investing and more experienced investors looking for an easy-to-use, hands-off investing platform with exceptional user experience.
As more Millennial investors are starting to look for where to start investing, the team at M1 Finance has done an exceptional job marketing their service Millennials. Any time I’m searching online about personal finance and investing, it’s hard not to see M1 Finance ads across most websites.
M1 Finance is a solid choice for new investors looking for an easy-to-use platform and a simple way to start investing.
- Free trades and no Assets Under Management fees
- Invest, borrow, or trade money all in one place
- Very intuitive mobile app, and web platform suited for savvy investors
- Limited customer support
- No human advisory services—robo only
- Limited trade windows
- Read our full M1 Finance review.
Rakuten is an affiliate marketing company that allows you to make money by shopping through their app or site. It’s completely free to use. Rakuten makes money by earning a cut from purchases made through their software, and has decided to split that cut with you.
You can earn anywhere from 1% to 40% on purchases made through Rakuten from more than 2,500 retailers, including popular ones such as Amazon, Target, Sephora, and Nordstrom. You can search for your favorite stores or go through Rakuten’s helpful categories like toys and beauty products or special deals such as with double cash back stores.
Rakuten is totally legit, but be prepared to wait for your rewards. Rakuten only pays out once a quarter and does so via a direct deposit into your PayPal account or via a physical check.
- Read our full Rakuten review
20. Google Opinion Rewards
Through the Google Opinion Rewards app, you can complete short surveys for rewards in the Google Play Store or receive payment via PayPal. Survey topics include everything from opinion polls, to hotel reviews, to merchant satisfaction surveys.
Note that you will have to allow the Opinion Rewards app to have access to your location. This is because some of the surveys you will receive will be about a local store you recently visited.
There are also a couple great features that this app offers that makes it easy for you.
- They will notify you when a survey is waiting. So you don’t have to bother to check in from time to time. They will alert you.
- You don’t have to request payments from the rewards you’ve earned. Once your balance tops $2, it will automatically be transferred to your PayPal account.
The Sweatcoin app tracks how active you are. In addition to keeping track of your activity and encouraging you to hit your physical goals, it also rewards you for it!
How can Sweatcoin afford to pay you to walk? Easy: they make money from advertising on the marketplace section of its app.
Approximately 1,000 steps will get you 0.95 Sweatcoins, which is worth roughly $.05. This won’t make you a substantial amount of money unless you’re a marathon runner, but why not make a little extra cash by being healthy?
You have the option to cash out early, but be patient with it, as there are higher payouts if you reach certain milestones. You can either cash out $100 for a little over 7,000 Sweatcoins, or cash out $1,000 for 20,000 Sweatcoins. That’s a much better return for your efforts!
What apps pay you instantly?
The apps that pay you instantly are InboxDollars, Swagbucks, MyPoints, and Ibotta. These apps offer sign-up bonuses that you can quickly redeem.
Many of the other apps I list above are either geared more towards saving money, investing money, or require a bit of time to build up your account or property such as Airbnb, Neighbor, or by putting in hours for a job like Postmates.
Is Everyone Searching for the Best Apps to Make Money?
Yes. In the age of online side hustling, everyone and their mother are trying to take advantage of the smartphone to make extra money online.
I know this because I am a nerd and spend a lot of time analyzing Google searches to help identify user needs.
The goal of this quantitative endeavor is to answer questions and come up with the best solutions for Millennial Money readers.
Check out the most-searched phrases on Google related to “Best Money Making Apps”:
- What are some money making apps?
- What were the best money making apps for 2021?
- Best money making apps 2021?
- Best money making apps for Android?
- List of apps to make money?
- Best apps to make money.
- Apps to earn money.
- Make money with apps.
- Apps that make YOU money.
- I want to make money on my smartphone.
Over 200,000 people search these terms each month. Clearly, there is a need to learn how to make money using an app on your iPhone or Android smartphone! While there are many pages online that try to answer this question, this post lists out the 21 top ways to make money with apps on your phone.