Free PayPal money sounds nice, but are there actually safe and legitimate ways to get it?
Well, that depends on what your definition of “free” is.
No company will send you free money just to be nice. But many will pay you for doing things like downloading an app, taking a picture of a grocery receipt or scanning a few product barcodes. You can even get paid for signing up for websites.
And while you’ll never get rich by completing these small tasks, you can easily net $20 to $30 in PayPal cash with minimal effort.
If you’re looking for ways to generate free PayPal money, here are some of the best real options.
Swagbucks is a popular rewards and cash-back site that offers a number of ways to earn free PayPal money, such as watching short videos, shopping online, searching the web and answering surveys. In fact, there are over 20 different ways to earn points on the site. To date, the company has paid out nearly $500 million in rewards to its members.
The points you earn are redeemable for a PayPal deposit or gift cards, and you can get a $10 sign-up bonus when you join using this link.
- Swagbucks is a huge site with many different sections and types of offers, and it can be overwhelming for new users. If you’re unsure where to start or how to optimize your time on the site, refer to our in-depth Swagbucks review — it breaks everything down and shows you the best ways to make money on the platform.
- You can earn bonus SBs for hitting weekly and monthly activity goals. In the app, you’ll see a meter showing your progress towards your daily goal as well as your seven, 14, 21, and 31-day targets. You can earn hundreds of extra points per month through consistent usage.
- Once per month, you can redeem your SBs for a $25 gift card at 12% off the face value.
Payment methods: Swagbucks allows you to redeem your points in a few different ways. You can choose to receive a PayPal deposit, select an e-gift card from dozens of major retailers, or use your points to enter “Swagstakes” (which are sweepstakes for items like computers, video game consoles, and gift cards).
Minimum withdrawal amount: Swagbucks has no minimum withdrawal amount, although most gift cards start at $3 (300 points). PayPal deposits are available in the amounts of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $250.
Also, it’s important to note that Swagbucks will only deposit funds into a PayPal account with the same email address as your Swagbucks account.
Time to get paid: Whether you choose a PayPal deposit or a gift card, it can take as long as 10 days to receive your reward.
#2. Survey Junkie
If you’re looking for ways to make money in your spare time, consider taking surveys that pay cash through Survey Junkie. When we ranked the best survey websites, Survey Junkie was a clear frontrunner. And since most of the surveys on the site are quick and easy, it’s a great option for people who have a few minutes scattered here and there throughout the day.
You can learn more about how the site works in our Survey Junkie review.
Survey Junkie tips:
- When viewing the list of available surveys, you can see both the payout and the estimated time required to complete. Remember that the ones with the highest payout may not be the best options. Instead, choose surveys that pay the most amount of points for the minimum amount of time required. A survey that pays 100 points and takes five minutes is a much better deal than one that pays 500 points but takes 45 minutes.
- Check the site for new surveys on a regular basis. Survey Junkie has a ton of members, and each survey has a maximum number of participants. Acting quickly means you’re more likely to have access to better-paying surveys.
Payment methods: Survey Junkie provides payment via PayPal deposit, gift cards, or direct transfers to your bank account. To get PayPal cash from Survey Junkie, your PayPal account must be fully verified.
Minimum withdrawal amount: 1,000 points, which is roughly $10 in value.
Time to get paid: Survey Junkie is one of the few sites that offers instant point redemption, making it one of the best options when you need to make money fast. In some cases, Survey Junkie requires account verification over the phone prior to payout.
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash-back on your grocery purchases. All you have to do is browse the app before you go shopping and then click to “add” the offers you want to take advantage of.
When you get home from the store, simply upload a picture of your receipt directly through the app. The cash-back bonus will appear in your Ibotta account. You can also link certain store loyalty cards to your account and skip the receipt submission process.
Occasionally, after adding an offer, you’ll have to watch a short (15-30 second) video or advertisement.
- If you link your Facebook account to Ibotta, you can earn teamwork bonuses with your friends by redeeming a certain number (or monetary value) of offers.
- Ibotta frequently offers “any item” or “any brand” bonuses, so make sure to check the app before you shop — even if you’re just grabbing a few items. You can often get cash-back on things like bread, milk and eggs.
Payment methods: You can choose a PayPal deposit, a transfer into your Venmo account, or a gift card.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $20, although some gift card options start at $25.
Time to get paid: Most users receive their free PayPal cash within two hours, though Ibotta notes that it sometimes takes up to 24 hours.
You can learn more about how the app works in our Ibotta review.
Related reading: 20 smart ways to save money on groceries.
InboxDollars is owned and operated by the same company that runs Swagbucks, which isn’t surprising given the similarity between the two sites. Just like Swagbucks, InboxDollars give you a number of ways to earn — from taking surveys to playing web-based games and more.
The primary difference between the two sites is their ease of use. Swagbucks is a colossal site with dozens of ways to make money, different goals to hit, challenges to meet and a multitude of redemption options. InboxDollars is simpler and easier to navigate, has a more streamlined selection of offerings, and clearly shows a cash payout amount (rather than points) for every survey on the site.
Learn more in our in-depth InboxDollars review.
- Surveys are your best bet for making decent money on the site. For many activities, you’ll earn credit towards the site’s “Scratch & Win” game (which is a virtual scratch-off ticket) rather than a set dollar amount. As we demonstrate in our review, the Scratch & Win payouts tend to be very small and are not worth focusing on.
- If you go 10 days without logging into your account or responding to at least one paid email, InboxDollars will deactivate your account and you may lose any money you’ve accumulated up until that point.
Payment methods: You can cash out your earnings via PayPal deposit, by selecting free gift cards, or via paper check.
Minimum withdrawal amount: The minimum withdrawal amount is $30, regardless of which payout method you choose.
Time to get paid: After you request payment, it may take up to 16 days for Inbox Dollars to process your payment.
See also: Whether you have the latest Xbox or just a smartphone, there are numerous ways to get paid to play games.
With Rakuten (formally known as Ebates), you can get up to 40% cash-back at over 2,500 stores. You don’t have to worry about points or forms — just use Rakuten.com or the Rakuten mobile app for your online shopping, and you’ll earn cash-back on all of your eligible purchases.
Rakuten may have a funny name, but it’s a huge Japanese company with a great reputation. And it’s a must-use site for frequent online shoppers, as it consistently offers some of the best cash-back rates you’ll find.
- You can stack online coupons and promo codes with your Rakuten cash-back. One of the best ways is by adding Wikibuy and/or Honey, two free browser extensions that scour the internet for discount codes and automatically apply them to your cart. Another good place to find valid codes is DontPayFull, which updates its list of offers on a regular basis.
- And of course, make sure to install Rakuten’s own browser extension — it will alert you any time you visit a site with a cash-back offer.
Payment methods: PayPal payment or paper check.
Minimum withdrawal amount: You’ll need to have earned at least $5.01 in cash-back to receive your free PayPal money. Otherwise, your balance will carry over into the next period.
Time to get paid: Rakuten pays out once every three months. So while it has some of the better cash-back rates online, it’s not a way to earn quick money and will require a little bit of patience.
Learn more in our Rakuten review.
PrizeRebel is a free site that pays you to complete online surveys. You can sign up in less than 10 seconds, start completing surveys immediately, and earn points that are redeemable for PayPal cash (as well as a variety of other gift cards, including Amazon, Walmart, Apple/iTunes and Google Play).
- While almost every survey website offers a referral bonus, PrizeRebel’s is huge by comparison. You’ll get 15-30% of your referrals’ lifetime earnings, depending on your account level.
- You can earn extra points by completing daily goals.
Payment methods: You can receive your money through PayPal, via gift cards to many of your favorite stores, through a direct deposit to your bank, or as Bitcoin.
Minimum withdrawal amount: There is no minimum withdrawal amount, and some gift cards are available in increments as low as $5. You can also withdraw your earnings as Bitcoin starting at $5.
Time to get paid: Most users will receive their rewards within 24 hours of redemption. “Gold users,” who have achieved a higher status on the site through consistent activity, get their rewards within 10 minutes.
Prolific sends you surveys and studies from top companies and universities, which can be a nice change-of-pace from some of the other (more generic) survey content offered by other companies. Even better, all of Prolific’s surveys pay a minimum of $6.50 per hour. That’s not a lot, but it’s better than many survey sites.
- Refer your friends, because you’ll earn 10% of their first cash-out.
- Install the Prolific Assistant browser extension to be notified any time a new study is available.
Payment methods: You’ll earn PayPal money for every survey you take, or you can transfer funds to a Circle account (which is another peer-to-peer payment service that’s popular outside of the United States). There’s a small fee when you cash-out to PayPal, but the fee is waived if you transfer $25 or more to Circle.
Minimum withdrawal amount: Once your account reaches $6.50, you’ll be able to request payment.
Time to get paid: After you complete a survey, it’s sent back to the researcher for review. Although he or she will have up to 21 days to approve it, you’ll often get approved in one to three days. If the researcher doesn’t approve the survey within 21 days, Prolific automatically releases the funds. Those funds will be sent to your PayPal account within five business days.
Grindabuck offers 15 different ways to make extra cash from home. You can watch videos, review ads, take surveys, try new products, complete micro-tasks and more. Once you have enough points, you can convert them to PayPal cash.
- Grindabuck offers a small bonus for daily use, so you’ll want to log-in on a consistent basis. There are also a number of monthly achievement bonuses.
Payment methods: Payouts include PayPal money; Amazon, Walmart and VISA gift cards; and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and LiteCoin. Sadly, you can’t cash out for Dogecoin.
Minimum withdrawal amount: There are three “VIP levels” (bronze, silver and gold), and the minimum withdrawal amount ranges from $1 to $10 depending on your level.
Time to get paid: Once you cash out, you’ll receive your PayPal money, gift cards or cryptocurrency almost instantly.
With Dosh, all you have to do is link your debit card and/or credit card to your Dosh account, and then use your linked cards at thousands of participating stores and restaurants. Doing so will earn you up to 10% cash-back, which is automatically deposited into your Dosh Wallet.
You can then transfer those funds to your PayPal account, to your bank, or make a donation to charity. That’s the entire process — there are no receipts to upload and no rewards to unlock. It’s literally free cash just for using your card as you normally would.
- Link a credit or debit card that already gives you cash-back rewards (like the Chase Freedom Unlimited) so you can double-dip and get twice the cash-back.
Payment methods: You can transfer funds from your Dosh Wallet to your PayPal account, or set up direct deposit to your bank.
Minimum withdrawal amount: Dosh’s minimum payout is $25.
Time to get paid: It may take up to 10 days after in-store transactions, and up to 30 days after online purchases, for your cash-back to be credited to your Dosh account. However, many users have noted that transactions typically appear within 24 to 72 hours.
Other Ways To Earn PayPal Money
If taking online surveys and cash-back shopping aren’t up your alley, here are a couple of other ways to get money into your PayPal account.
These options tend to be a little bit slower, but they offer bigger payouts.
Fiverr is a freelance marketplace where people will hire you for almost anything you can imagine. Some of the most popular “gigs” on the site are typical freelance jobs like copywriting, proofreading and graphic design. But there are dozens of other categories and an almost infinite number of ways to monetize your talent — no matter how obscure that talent might be.
For example, I’ve seen freelancers who offer to write custom poetry, who offer to paint your business logo on their body and take pictures (?), and even one guy who will impersonate ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith. So, like I said, there are a lot of different ways to make money online with Fiverr.
When the site first launched, the cost of everything was $5 — hence the name. Today, you can set your prices as you wish (in increments of five). While most freelancers on the site still offer a basic/minimal service for $5, rates for things like illustration, animation, SEO writing and so on are competitive with other freelancing sites. You can earn real money here — $40+ per hour in those particular fields.
Fiverr offers a few different payout options, but the cheapest and most convenient is PayPal. Payments are in “pending” status for 14 days after the completion of a project. Once that period is over, you can transfer them to your PayPal account and use the funds within seconds.
Upwork is another popular freelancing site — in fact, it’s the bigger of the two. You can earn a solid, full-time income on Upwork, but the jobs tend to be more skills-based (e.g., less random) than those you’ll find on Fiverr. If you’re interested in learning about the site, we wrote a complete guide to getting your first Upwrok job that goes over everything you need to know.
eBay can be a great way to get cash into your PayPal account quickly by selling almost anything you have around the house. From used clothes to knickknacks to collectibles, you’ll be shocked at what people will pay for on the site. And while you may be giving up an “asset,” it can sure feel like free money when you unload something you’re not using.
Almost 100% of eBay customers use PayPal. When your auction ends or a customer purchases your “Buy it Now” (fixed-price) item, payment is sent directly to your PayPal account.
For established eBay sellers, those funds are available instantly. However, for new sellers, PayPal puts a hold on those funds for either 21 days, until the buyer leaves positive feedback, or until tracking shows that the item was delivered. This can be a drawback if you need money fast.
Additionally, PayPal will place a hold on those funds if the customer opens a dispute — which happens surprisingly frequently. I’ve had disputes opened because the item was damaged during transit, delivered to the wrong address, or just because the customer changed his or her mind about the purchase. In these cases, you’ll have to work to resolve the issue before PayPal will release the funds.
Still, this is one of the better ways to get PayPal money just based on the wide range of items that you transform into cash.
Test Websites And Apps
With UserTesting.com, you’ll provide feedback to developers about new websites and applications. The company is 100% legit, with well-known clients like Walmart and Adobe. In fact, a recent case example highlighted on the company’s website shows how users helped Adobe fine-tune its latest Creative Cloud tutorials.
The pay is $10 per 20-minutes of testing, and the work is fairly straightforward — you’ll typically watch a short video, visit a website or app, complete a set of simple tasks, and record your feedback via video or audio.
PayPal payments are sent one week after project completion.
Common Questions About Free PayPal Money
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get free money sent to your PayPal account instantly. The methods we list in this article are relatively fast and easy, but they’ll still take a little bit of effort and time. However, there are a few options that allow you to cash-out your rewards or survey earnings instantly. These include Survey Junkie and Grindabuck.
For most people in most situations, the fastest way is through cashback rewards on online shopping. Sites like Swagbucks and Rakuten pay between 2-40% for purchases at hundreds of major retailers, and most of the time all you have to do is click a link and then shop as you normally would. If you’re a frequent online shopper, or if you have an expensive purchase on the horizon, this method can produce big results with minimal time investment.
There are too many to list, but avoiding them only takes a little bit of common sense. If a website is asking you to pay a fee to join, it’s a scam. And while all survey sites will ask you for personal demographic details, they should never ask you for specific, sensitive information like your Social Security number.
All of the options we covered in this article are well-known, fully-vetted companies that have a good reputation of paying their members as promised.
Short-term, these ideas are fun and a great way to start seeing some extra money in your PayPal balance each month.
After all, what’s better than free money?
But long-term, there are better strategies for earning money than by completing offers and doing paid surveys.
If you’re interested, check out our list of the best side hustle ideas and learn about legit online jobs that can earn you $50,000 or more per year.
*Wikibuy compensates us when you sign up for Wikibuy using the links provided.