I’ve always been interested in finding ways to generate passive income.
And, I firmly believe that there’s always some free money left on the table if you know where to look.
So in this post, I’m covering some of the best passive income apps you can use to easily make additional income every single month. I’ve personally been using these apps since college to make money, so I know they’re legit and pay out.
You won’t get rich overnight by using any of these platforms, but hey, some easy passive income never hurts.
Looking for a beginner-friendly passive income idea? Checkout:
- Arrived – Start investing in income-generating real estate for passive income with only $100!
- Swagbucks – A fun way to earn gift cards and free PayPal cash in your spare time!
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. Mobile Performance Meter
I included Embee Meter CX, known as Mobile Performance Meter, in my phone farming guide, and it truly is one of the most consistent earners around.
Mobile Performance 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 Mobile Performance Meter on some of my phone farming devices and have cashed out with $60 to PayPal. The app always pays me on time, so I know it’s completely legit.
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.
Start earning rewards with the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel today!
Swagbucks is a popular beermoney app that lets you earn free PayPal money in your spare time. And it’s also a passive income app and website that I’ve used since college to earn rewards.
For starters, Swagbucks has a lot of ways you can earn including:
- Answering paid surveys
- Downloading apps
- Shopping online
- Playing games
- Referring friends
And, Swagbucks also lets you watch ads and videos to earn small amounts of points through its Swagbucks Watch feature. I’ve used this feature ever since I was phone farming in college, and it’s let me cash out plenty of gift cards over the years.
This is a nice passive way to earn with Swagbucks. And new members can also snag a $5 sign up bonus to sweeten the deal.
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.
I’ve covered MobileXpression in my phone farming guide, and it is one of my favorite passive income apps. 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.
Sign up for MobileXpression on Android or iOS!
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. And the platform often has a $10 sign up bonus for new customers as well.
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!
Disclaimer: This is an endorsement in partnership with Fundrise. We earn a commission from partner links. All opinions are my own.
6. 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.
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!
You can also read my Current app review for more info on how to get paid to listen to music.
Another leading passive income app you can use to build good habits is Acorns, a leading micro-investing app.
With Acorns, you can round-up your spare change from daily purchases and invest that money into a variety of ETFs and funds that match your investing goals and risk tolerance. This helps you grow wealth over time, and it’s a nifty way to make money by doing nothing.
I like Acorns since it has a variety of portfolios to choose from, so there’s something for everyone.
Plus, it has other passive earning methods, like a browser extension and cash-back rewards platform. And there’s often a sign up bonus for new members as well.
One newer passive income app that pays you to shop is Pogo, a free Android and iOS app that’s available in the United States.
With Pogo, you earn tiny amounts of PayPal money for sharing your purchasing data. All you do is download Pogo, securely connect your bank account to the app, and then automatically earn points for every transaction.
Typically, Pogo only pays around $0.02 to $0.05 worth of points per transaction. However, the process is completely passive, and you don’t need to manually scan receipts or enter transactions to earn.
Plus, Pogo also has occasional in-app surveys that can pay a few dollars. And you can also enable location-based rewards to potentially earn points for visiting certain stores.
And I like Pogo since you can cash out at just 3,000 points, which is worth $3. And reward options include Venmo and PayPal so you’re getting real money.
Do you have unused storage space at your house? If so, one of the highest paying passive income apps you can use is Neighbor.
Neighbor is essentially the Airbnb of storage space. It lets you rent out unused space on your property to people in your city in exchange for monthly payments.
What I like about Neighbor is that it lets you rent out a variety of spaces, including:
- Spare rooms
You get to set the monthly rental rate and rules for when renters can come by to pick up their things. And Neighbor provides comprehensive insurance to protect everyone.
Start earning with Neighbor or read my Neighbor review for more details.
If you spend time playing games on your Android phone, one fun passive income app you can try is Mistplay.
This paid gaming app pays you with gift cards and free PayPal money for downloading and playing new games. So, if you spend a few hours per week gaming on your phone, you can turn this time into a humble passive income source.
And what’s nice about Mistplay is that it has a wide variety of games. Genres include strategy, card, puzzle, action, and simulator games.
Plus, you can cash out for various gift cards at only $0.50, making it one of the most popular apps that pays you instantly.
And if you like this type of passive income app, you can try out some other apps like Mistplay, such as Rewarded Play and Money Well, to keep on earning.
Try out Mistplay or read my Mistplay app review.
Another popular passive income site you can use is Rakuten, a leading cash back extension and website.
On Rakuten, you earn cash back for shopping through its 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.
To date, I’ve earned $1,200 from using Rakuten and referring some friends:
From there, Rakuten pays you your cash back quarterly via check or PayPal. And it partners with thousands of companies, with cash back rates often ranging from 2% to 10% or even more.
And right now, new members can get a $30 sign up bonus if they sign up for Rakuten and spend at least $30 on a qualifying shopping offer.
While high-yield savings accounts might seem boring, they’re one of the most common ways to earn passive income without lifting a finger.
And, out of all the high-yield savings accounts out there, one of my favorites right now is Current, a new digital banking app.
With Current, you earn 4% APY on up to $6,000 of savings. This makes it a popular place to park an emergency fund or a bit of idle cash so it earns something.
And I like Current since right now, new members can take advantage of a $50 sign up bonus with a qualifying direct deposit. And Current itself doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements or fees.
13. Media Rewards
If you don’t mind sharing your data with a market research app, another popular passive income app you can use is Media Rewards.
With Media Rewards, you can earn PayPal cash and free gift cards for watching TV and listening to the radio.
All you have to do is download the free Media Rewards app, run it on the background of your phone, and you slowly earn points as you listen to or watch media.
Points you earn enter you into Media Rewards’ sweepstake draws where the company gives upwards of $1,000 to lucky winners.
Media Rewards can also send out one-time surveys to you based on your listening and media consumption history. These surveys pay cash or gift card rewards, so they’re a more steady way to earn.
I like Media Rewards since the sweepstakes can pay out a lot, but surveys still let you earn money consistently.
Just note that Media Rewards listens to audio around you to learn more about the programs you’re watching or listening to. If this is too much of a privacy concern, this isn’t the right passive income app for you.
Start earning with Media Rewards or read my Media Rewards review for more information.
14. 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.
15. Investing Apps
While this idea is pretty straightforward, another popular category of passive income apps are investing apps.
These days, pretty much every broker has a mobile app. And there are plenty of standalone investing apps you can use to make your money work for you.
Several leading platforms you can consider include:
These apps are all commission-free ways to start investing, so you can explore a range of stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, and more.
Just make sure you speak to a financial professional if you have questions or need advice.
If you’re 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 like Grindabuck that runs passive video portals like Engageme.TV or Video Loyalty.
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 check out 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.
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.
If you want to make money selling your internet bandwidth, then Honeygain is another app worth considering.
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.
18. 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.
Dosh is another passive income app that pays you with small amounts of money for shopping at partner brands.
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!
If you regularly shop online from your phone, then Drop is one of the best passive income apps out there.
This is also a reward app that I’ve been using for years, and it’s an excellent way to earn free gift cards for shopping at your favorite brands.
When you signup with Drop (U.S. and Canada only) and connect your bank account, you can choose 5 stores to earn cash back 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.
Sign up for Drop today and earn $5!
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.
Signup for PEI today! You can also read our PEI app review to get all the details!
Bumped is another passive income app 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.
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!
25. Panel App
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.
Sign-up and earn 100 starting bonus points with Panel App!
26. S’Mores Lockscreen
I’ve mentioned S’mores in my post on lockscreen apps that pay, and it’s truly the best passive income app in that entire category.
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 – The Best Jobs You Can Do From Your Phone.
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 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 – The Highest Paying Apps.
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!
Extra Reading – How To Make Money In One Hour.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
What Are The Highest Paying Passive Income Apps?
In my experience, the highest paying passive income apps are Mobile Performance Meter and CashMagnet.
I’ve easily earned over $200 between these 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.
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.
So, in my opinion, your best apps to try are investing apps like Arrived, Fundrise, Bumped, Pei, Dosh, Acorns. 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.
I hope this list of the best passive income apps and websites helps you make quick money without having to lift a finger.
None of these apps are going to make you rich overnight. But I think they’re a fun side hustle idea you can test out without much effort.
Even if it’s earning $20 a month by watching videos with Swagbucks and Grindabuck or using a variety of data collection apps, every little bit counts!
And if these passive income apps weren’t enough to get you excited, be sure to watch my video on passive income ideas for beginners as well:
You can also subscribe to the new channel to stay in the loop and to find even more ways to make money online!
Looking for even more money-making ideas? Checkout:
- 7 Realistic Ways To Make $50 A Day – Online & Offline Ideas.
- 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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Love the information! Great source of money creating apps.
Tom Blake says
Thanks so much Devin!
Can you explain why we can’t earn $1000 a year for downloading data collection apps? I think they are legit and they do pay as long as you don’t break the device limit. Say SavvyConnects has a 3 device limit and you earn $5 per device, what about Nielsen which also have a 3 device limit and each one earns $50 per year?? Can I use them both?
Tom Blake says
You can certainly connect multiple devices to Nielsen (i.e. a phone, laptop, and tablet) to make the most out of how much you earn from them. I think $1,000 might be tough to reach since many programs also have restrictions on how many accounts you can have per household, but you can definitely earn a few hundred dollars a year if you live in North America. I have a few apps installed on several phones in my phone farm and I haven’t been banned!
Sarah Khan says
How does mobile expression even work. I downloaded the app and whenever I try to open it shows me a webpage with 0 credits and all that information. How do I know if it’s working or not?
Tom Blake says
Hi Sarah. MobileXpression is a bit finicky, but if it is enabled I would give it a week of running in the background and then check. You should get the 10 credit signup bonus after a week of run-time, and from there on out you get about 2 credits a week. Hope it sorts itself out!
Does this app work in south asian countrues as well??
Tom Blake says
Hi Shriya. Most of these apps will probably not work, but you can check the Google Play Store to see if apps will be available in your specific country! Hope this helps!
I have just over 500 sweatcoins, but I’m not sure if I can do anything with them.
I have had great success with Pei and Bumped. I’ve cashed out (in bitcoin!) Pei twice – each time just slightly above $15. My Bumped account is currently somewhere near $95.
Tom Blake says
Sweatcoins definitely seems sporadic in terms of how often you can find a use for them 😛 I’m definitely holding out for a really good signup bonus or something, although I think there might be Sweatcoin buy and sell groups out there.
That’s awesome to hear about PEI and Bumped though! I’ve heard really good things about Bumped in particular, pretty crazy how you can make a few hundred bucks a year potentially with just a couple of apps. Thanks for reading and this update on these apps 🙂
Turner Bell says
Hey Tom! I am impressed with your article, first reason is that you have mentioned about passive income apps fall into 3 categories, which makes this blog understandable. And, the Paribus app is unique because it helps in saving money instead of earning cashback. I would like to try it.
Thanks for this worth reading post.