I’ve always been interested in finding ways to generate passive income.
The harsh reality is that most money making endeavors take an immense amount of time and effort before you can reap any rewards.
From starting a money making blog to investing, wealth generation can take months or years to kick into gear.
However, there’s always some free money left on the table if you know where to look, and that’s what this post is all about.
I’m going to break down the best passive income apps you can use to easily make additional income every single month! You won’t get rich overnight by using any of these platforms, but hey, some free money never hurts!
Looking for a beginner-friendly passive income idea? Checkout:
- Fundrise – Start investing in real estate with Fundrise for only $10 and earn passive income!
The Best Passive Income Apps
I’ve been using passive income apps for years since my phone farming days in college. In fact, I’ve earned hundreds if not thousands of dollars from a variety of these apps and websites.
So, if you want to share your data with marketing companies and research panels to earn rewards, these are the apps for you!
1. Embee Meter CX (Mobile Performance Meter)
Embee Meter runs in the background of your phone and collects data on phone connectivity to wireless networks. In return, users can earn between $0.10-$0.30/day.
This Android app is more specific as to what devices are accepted into the program, although I currently have 2 Moto G phones running the application and each device earns $0.1/day.
The payout threshold begins at $5 and is exclusively done through Paypal.
I’ve been using Embee Meter on some of my phone farming devices and have cashed out with $60 to PayPal:
It isn’t a lot of money, but this is a simple passive income app that can earn $5-$10/month without any work!
2. Nielsen Mobile & Computer Panel
Nielsen is one of the most well known and reputable panels out there, and it’s another great passive income app and website for earning free rewards without having to lift a finger.
Nielsen actually has a computer and mobile panel, and you can enroll your devices in the panel to share your data with Nielsen, earning rewards in the process.
Here’s how each program works:
- Computer Panel: Register your computer in Nielsen’s panel and automatically enter into monthly sweepstakes. Nielsen gives away thousands of dollars every single month to winners.
- Mobile Panel: Earn points every month for registering your mobile device into the mobile panel. Nielsen’s app pays you $50 per year for joining the program.
The chance to win sweepstakes is nice, but the fact the mobile panel pays you $50 per year in free money is my favorite aspect of this passive income app.
You can redeem points for a variety of free gift cards and even physical merchandise, and overall, this is one of the highest paying apps and programs around.
I’ve covered MobileXpression in my phone farming guide, and it is one of my favorite passive earners. It works the same way as Embee Meter and rewards you for collecting data.
MobileXpression doesn’t accept every smartphone into the service, but if you are eligible, MobileXpression is a great way to earn another $5/month without any work.
Brand new users of MobileXpression will also receive a $5 Amazon gift card after 1 week of running the app in the background of their smartphone. Points can be redeemed for Amazon, Starbucks, or Best Buy gift cards.
I’ve been using MobileXpression to earn passive income for more than a year, and I redeem a Starbucks or Best Buy gift card every month and a half.
4. Current Music
While Current is one of the newer apps for passive income, this music-streaming platform claims you can earn $600 per year just for listening to music.
This is a massive claim. The question is, how does Current work and does it pay?
Well, here’s how Current works in a nutshell:
- Download Current for Android or IOS.
- Choose from over 100,000 radio stations to jam to.
- Earn in-app points for listening to music, playing games, and watching ads.
- Redeem points for free gift cards to companies like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Google Play credit, Starbucks, and free Steam codes.
However, I will say that Current’s claim of $600 per year is absolutely insane.
The consensus on Reddit seems like the app has slowed down lately. Realistically, you should expect around $30 to $60 per year with this app.
You can probably earn more if you grind ads and play games, but have realistic expectations for this passive income app!
If you want extra ideas for how to make money, you can also checkout this list of Android apps that pay you money!
I don’t think you can realistically spend your way into a decent stream of passive income.
However, if you’re going to make purchases anyway, you might as well recoup some of your money automatically through the best reward apps around!
Drop is hands down my favorite passive income app, and it is very simple to understand.
When you signup with Drop (U.S. and Canada only) and connect your bank account, you can choose 5 stores to earn cashback at automatically.
Some popular stores that partner with Drop include:
There are plenty of other stores, and you can usually earn 0.5-1.5% cashback in the form of Drop Points for your purchases. These points can then be redeemed for gift cards to stores like Starbucks, Amazon, and more.
You can also make money with Drop by playing mobile mini-games or completing sponsored offers!
Additionally, Drop can stack with other cashback rewards (like from your credit card, or even some other apps), so double-dipping can greatly increase how much you earn.
Update: Drop is slightly less passive now, so I recommend checking out our official Drop app review to learn about the changes!
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is one of the leading cash back platforms around.
On Rakuten, users earn cash back for shopping through the Rakuten platform at partnered merchants. Rakuten partners with some of the largest retailers and ecommerce platforms, including Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, and thousands of other stores.
Now, Rakuten isn’t 100% passive since you have to be redirected from their website to a partnered merchant to earn cash back.
However, with the Rakuten browser extension, you will be reminded of earning opportunities as you shop, and can earn rewards with just the click of a button. Ultimately, this is an excellent semi-passive way to save on shopping.
To date, I’ve earned more than $500 from using Rakuten and referring some friends (as well as some This Online World readers):
Sign up for Rakuten and start earning cash back!
7. Capital One Shopping
Like Rakukten, Capital One Shopping is a nifty way to save money when you’re shopping online.
For starters, Capital One Shopping automatically applies coupon codes at checkout to help you save money at thousands of different U.S. retailers.
Plus, you can earn Capital One Shopping credits for shopping at hundreds of partners. These credits are redeemable for a range of free gift cards to companies like:
You can shop through your computer or Capital One Shopping’s mobile app as well to leverage coupons and to earn your free gift cards.
Overall, if you’re a frequent online shopper, this is definitely one of the best passive income apps out there.
8. Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is a leading receipt-scanning rewards app that pays you for shopping at hundreds of different partners.
Using Fetch Rewards is also pretty simple:
- Download the Fetch Rewards app
- Shop for groceries and everyday essentials from Fetch Rewards’ partners
- Upload photos of your shopping receipts to the Fetch Rewards app
- Earn points which are redeemable for dozens of free gift cards
This system is the same as other popular receipt-scanning apps like Receipt Hog.
And, what’s nice is that many Fetch Reward gift cards only require 3,000 points ($3) to redeem, so you earn rewards very quickly.
Apps like Fetch Rewards won’t make you rich, but it’s another way to earn free rewards without much effort.
If you want to invest in real estate, Fundrise is definitely one passive income app you should try.
This real estate investing platform lets you invest in income-generating real estate with only $10.
Fundrise basically pools money together from numerous investors to purchase real estate properties.
Usually, these properties are multi-family homes or commercial real estate that lets Fundrise generate income from rental payments.
With a $10 minimum, Fundrise makes it very easy to diversify your portfolio with real estate.
Plus, Fundrise has historically returned around 8% annually. You pay 1% annually in management fees which is pretty standard for the world of real estate.
This isn’t the most traditional passive income app out there, but if you’re curious about real estate investing, definitely Check out Fundrise!
- Answering paid surveys
- Shopping online
- playing games
- Referring friends
None of these ideas are very passive unless you’re shopping online or already playing video games anyway.
However, Swagbucks also lets you watch ads and videos to earn small amounts of points through its Swagbucks Watch feature.
This is one passive way to earn with Swagbucks. Plus, it also has a receipts reward feature that’s similar to Fetch Rewards.
And, one advantage of Swagbucks is that dozens of free gift card rewards only require $1 to cash out, so this is another fast passive income app that pays.
Dosh is another passive income app that works the same as Drop but is only available in the United States.
Currently, some of the top stores partnering with Dosh include:
However, there are plenty of other stores available on the platform, and you aren’t limited to picking just 5.
Dosh has a $25 cashout threshold which is worse than Drop, which has $5-$10 rewards, but you can earn rewards with Dosh at a faster rate.
Plus, you can also book travel arrangements or complete other Dosh offers to gain more lucrative bonuses!
You can also check out our post on the best apps like Dosh for more ideas!
PEI is a newer cashback app on the scene, and with an extensive list of merchants and the ability to cashout with Bitcoin or cash, it’s also quite robust.
Once you connect a credit or debit card to PEI, you start earning cashback for shopping at their partners (they have hundreds).
Some of the most popular PEI merchants are:
- Burger King
- Dunkin Donuts
Chances are, you’ll find yourself earning passive income with PEI without even realizing at the time of purchase just because of how many merchants they partner with.
PEI also has a loyalty bonus that rewards users with $0.50 if they shop at the same store 5 times. Some merchants also grant a $2 bonus if you spend $20 or more.
Bumped is another passive income earner except users are rewarded with stock of the companies they shop at instead of cash.
Bumped recently ended their waitlist, so if you live in the U.S., you can use the Bumped app to passively earn rewards just for shopping like normal!
Users must provide their SSN since you will have to have an investment account, so keep this in mind before signing up.
Bumped organizes their partnered brands into 13 categories, and you can select one partner from each category to earn rewards from. These selections can be changed once every 30 days if you wish (up to 3 times per year).
Some stores currently partnered with Bumped include:
- Kroger family of stores.
There are plenty more, and you can expect to earn 1-5% in the form of stock. However, rewards are limited to $50 per purchase and capped at $250 per brand/year.
I’ve covered Sweatcoin before in my list of fitness apps that pay, and while I didn’t like it at first, the app has made some strides since I first reviewed it.
Sweatcoin runs in the background of your phone and collects data on users as they walk around outside. In return, users earn Sweatcoins, which can be redeemed for prizes, discounts, or cash.
Most of the lucrative Sweatcoin rewards require 1-2 years of work to reach (for example, $1,000 is equivalent to 20,000 Sweatcoins, which would definitely take more than a year of work and some referrals), but there are some fun bonuses.
For example, one I saw recently was a free pack of razors for a relatively modest amount of Sweatcoins.
Users had to pay $2 for shipping for this offer, but that still saves money on buying a pack of razors so I’m alright with it.
Sweatcoin certainly won’t make you rich, but this is a simple and fun way to start earning some passive income! Walking around for just a short amount will earn you a few Sweatcoins, so you can unlock some preliminary offers quite easily.
Extra Reading – The Best Apps Like Sweatcoin.
Out of all the apps that pay you for data collection, UpVoice is one of the reltively newer ones around.
UpVoice is a market research panel that pays you for installing their browser extension (for Edge or Chrome) and browsing the web.
Currently, you can earn around $75 per year just for actively browsing the following websites:
UpVoice is interested in collecting data on the ads you’re shown, so you can’t have an active ad blocker to make money.
Each week, users can earn up to 70 UpVoice tokens, which is equivalent to $1.12 per week, or $58.24 per year.
Once you factor in some milestone bonuses, you’ll reach approximately $75 per year. You can exchange tokens for free gift cards to a variety of popular stores like Amazon, Sephora, Target, and Starbucks.
If you frequently visit any of the sites UpVoice is interested in on your computer (not mobile phone), this extension is an easy way to score some simple passive income.
SavvyConnect is a straightforward data collection application from SurveySavvy. Once installed, SavvyConnect runs in the background of your phone, tablet, or computer and collects user data on how you browse the web.
You won’t earn much for browsing the web with SavvyConnect but from my experience, a given month can range between $1-$5.
Currently, U.S. residents are being offered a sign-up incentive that states new U.S. users earn $5/month for each active device they install SavvyConnect on.
You can only have a single SavvyConnect account per device type, but that leaves $15/month to be made if you have active accounts on a computer, tablet, or phone.
Sign up for SavvyConnect here!
17. Panel App
Ah, another phone farming favorite! Panel App is another great passive income app for smartphones, and is both Android and IOS friendly.
Panel App won’t earn you more than $1/month, but considering all you need to do is download the app, sign up, and quickly answer a few demographic based questions, it isn’t the worst.
Also, the more phones you have, the merrier! All you have to do is ensure Panel App remains active in the background of your phone, and you will be credited with points each day. Minimum cashout is $1, and you can purchase Amazon or Walmart gift cards.
Payout times can take between 1-2 weeks but Panel App has always been reliable for me and functions without issue.
Extra Reading – Checkout our Panel app review for all the details!
18. S’Mores Lockscreen
I’ve mentioned S’mores in my post on lockscreen apps that pay, and it’s truly the front-runner in that category of apps for stability and performance.
S’mores is an Android-based app that changes the lockscreen of your smartphone to display an ad in the background. You can completely ignore the ad and unlock your phone as your normally would, so users aren’t forced to click anything.
S’mores pays U.S. users $0.10/day for unlocking their phone, and points can be cashed out for Amazon gift cards once you reach $1.
If you want a free $36.50 of passive income a year, download S’mores today!
Extra Reading – S’more App Review – How To Earn Passive Income With Your Phone.
19. Pinecone Research
Now I know what you’re thinking: survey sites aren’t passive, and that’s correct.
However, with Pinecone Research, you only answer surveys when you get an email invitation to do so, and surveys are fairly short.
Plus, surveys pay $3 per completion, making Pinecone Research one of the highest-paying survey sites there is.
So, if you want to earn $3 in your spare time when you qualify for a survey, Pinecone Research is for you.
You have to apply to the program and you might end up on a waitlist, but if you want some easy, semi-passive income, this is the right platform to use.
Plus, you can cash out instantly for free Amazon gift cards or PayPal money once you complete your first survey, so you don’t have to wait for months to actually earn rewards.
If you are looking to make some extra money with a laptop or tablet, I’d say your best bet is to find a GPT (get-paid-to) website that runs passive video portals like Engageme.TV or Video Loyalty.
You can read more about the GPT websites in my post on the best micro task websites, or you can always consult the Reddit beermoney community for the latest information on the top money making apps and websites.
To date, I’ve earned more than $120 by running Grindabuck, and this is hands down my favorite passive income website.
The process is fairly simple. Just use a laptop or tablet to watch videos in the passive earnings section of the website and reap the rewards!
You can checkout my full Grindabuck review to learn more about the process as well.
Just note that Grindabuck only accepts users from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the U.K.
Most apps that pay you for data collection are interested in testing mobile network performance or your internet usage habits.
In contrast, Honeygain turns your phone into a node in a VPN network, letting Honeygain’s clients use your IP address from wherever they are in the world.
People use services like Honeygain all the time to bypass geo-restricted content and use the internet from another point in the world, so there’s nothing new here.
In exchange for selling your bandwidth, Honeygain pays you bits of honey.
Once you sell 200GB of bandwidth, you can cash out with $20 of PayPal cash.
This passive income app for Android is a bit different than most of the ones in this list, and you have to be comfortable selling your internet.
However, if you’re interested, there’s no harm in running an old phone on Honeygain to see how much money you can make each day.
Extra Reading – The Best Apps Like Honeygain To Earn Passive Income.
CashMagnet is an app that takes control of your phone and acts as an auto-surfing device that browses articles on the internet.
CashMagnet has a 4 phone device limit, so if you have some old phones laying around you can start up a modest operation in very little time.
I’ve run CashMagnet on and off over the past year whenever I have time/am in the mood on 4 different phones and have earned $45:
If you optimize CashMagnet fully, you can probably earn $20 per month by taking advantage of the almost 24 hours of passive run-time the app allows for.
Overall, it’s an excellent, easy way to make money on autopilot.
However, I wouldn’t recommend using your primary phone with this app since it can strain the device and it’s a tad sketchy to turn your phone into an auto-surfer.
But, the bottom line is that I think this is one of the best passive income Android apps around, especially if you have some old phones laying around!
Signup for CashMagnet today to start earning some passive income with smartphones!
Extra Reading – Check out our CashMagnet App Review.
How Do Passive Income Apps Work?
There are a few different categories of money making apps that I’m going to include in this post, and you should be aware of how they function to earn you money.
The categories are:
- Data collection apps: get paid for sharing your data with marketing companies.
- Cashback apps: earn cashback automatically when you shop at various stores.
- Video reward & lockscreen apps: get paid for watching videos and ads.
Time to find the best of the best for each of these categories!
Tips For Using Passive Income Apps
I wanted to end this post with a final few pieces of advice you should keep in mind.
This is especially true when using apps that pay you for data collection since you need to know what you’re giving up in exchange for rewards.
Anyway, here are some of the tips I’ve learned from this space over the last few years:
- Don’t Use A VPN: These companies detect VPN usage and will ban you quickly!
- Use A Burner Phone: I rarely use data collection apps or other apps on my main phone since they can drain the battery overtime and I don’t want my phone running 24/7.
- Have Realistic Expectations: None of these apps or websites will ever let you pay your rent or quit your day job, but they are a fun source of extra cash and gift cards.
- Test & Keep Testing: New apps spring up all the time, and different companies work better in certain countries than others, so keep on trying new ideas!
Hopefully, these tips and my list of data collection apps and other passive earning apps helps you make some easy money on the side!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s The Best Passive Income Android App?
In my opinion, Mobile Performance Meter and the Nielsen Mobile Panel are the two best Android passive income apps.
Mobile Performance Meter pays around $0.10 per day, which is $36.50 in free money every year.
And, with Nielsen’s panel, you can earn another $50 per year for sharing your data; not bad for some free rewards!
2. What Are The Highest Paying Passive Income Apps?
In my experience, the highest paying passive income apps are Mobile Performance Meter, UpVoice, and CashMagnet.
I’ve easily earned over $200 between these three apps, and if you’re just starting out, I think they are your best option.
Apps like CashMagnet are useful if you have some old Androids laying around, whereas the other two programs are fine to run on your main phone and laptop.
Extra Reading – How To Make $60 A Day.
3. What Are The Best IOS Passive Income Apps?
There are fewer passive income apps for iOS devices because Apple has stricter policies for the types of apps it allows on its app store.
All of these apps work for iPhones and let you automatically invest or earn free stock for your everyday spending.
Extra Reading – 10+ Best Side Hustles For Passive Income.
At the end of the day, none of these money making apps are going to break the bank.
A lot of bloggers/publishers promise that these apps can earn you upwards of $1,000/year, but chances are, you will only be able to generate a few hundred dollars at best.
However, these apps are all effortless, and if you combine these apps with various ways to save money like cashback credit cards or other automatic ways to save money when shopping, it can add up.
I probably make around $300-$500 a year between a bunch of the apps listed here and a cashback credit card. Considering this takes no time at all, I figure everyone might as well implement some of these systems into their daily life.
After all, the point isn’t to get rich with your phone. Rather, the point is to make some easy passive income with apps and to take advantage of low hanging fruit whenever you can.
If these passive income apps weren’t enough to get you excited, be sure to checkout my recent video on passive income ideas for beginners as well:
If you want to look into additional passive income ideas for 2021 that require a lot of startup work initially but can lead to a steady source of income down the line, I suggest checking out these 3 posts as well:
- 7 Realistic Ways To Make $50 A Day – Online & Offline Ideas.
- How To Create A $100/Month Profitable Blog.
- The Best Gig Economy Apps To Start A Side Hustle.
You can also checkout this list of other passive income options!
Note: Capital One Shopping Compensates Us When You Sign Up With The Provided Links.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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