Free PayPal money sounds nice, but are there actually safe and legitimate ways to get it?
It depends on your definition of “free.”
No company will send you free PayPal money instantly just to be nice. But many (including PayPal itself) will pay you for doing things like downloading an app, testing a service, referring a friend, taking a picture of a grocery receipt or scanning product barcodes.
And while you’ll never get rich completing these small tasks, you can earn a surprising amount of money with little effort.
In fact, when testing our top strategy from the list below, we earned $240 in less than an hour.
Scan the list or click the button below to open the table of contents and jump directly to the options you’re most interested in.
PayPal cash is just one of the many free money opportunities. You can now get free stocks, gift cards, crypto and cash. See the complete list of strategies in: How to Get Free Money.
#1. Complete Money-Making Offers With Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a popular rewards and cash-back site that offers a number of ways to earn free PayPal money, including watching short videos, searching the web, answering surveys and getting rebates through its cash-back shopping portal.
In fact, there are over 20 different ways to earn points on the site. And to date, the company has paid out over $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.
Out of all the earning methods, our favorite (and the best use of your time) is the site’s “Money Makers,” which are offers where you spend a little bit of money up-front but get paid more in rewards than you spent. You can earn big with these offers, but there’s often a 30 to 60 day waiting period for points to hit your account.
- Check out our list of the best Swagbucks hacks to learn what’s worth your time on the platform.
- For a deep dive into how the site works, check out our Swagbucks review.
- Earn bonus points 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.
Payment methods: Swagbucks allows you to redeem your points in a few different ways. You can choose to receive a PayPal deposit, select a 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 usually 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: You’ll have to verify your account, which can take anywhere from one to 10 days. Once you’re verified, it usually takes about two days to receive your rewards.
#2. Take Online Surveys With Survey Junkie
If you’re looking for ways to get free PayPal cash fast, taking paid surveys through Survey Junkie is one of our top choices.
When we ranked the best survey websites, Survey Junkie was one of the best options by far. It’s a trusted survey site that allows you to exchange points for PayPal cash starting at just $5, making it possible to sign up and cash out today.
And since most of the surveys on the site are quick and easy, it’s a great option for people who only have a few minutes 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 the survey. The ones with the highest payouts may not be the best options. A survey that pays 100 points and takes five minutes is a 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 the highest-paying surveys.
Payment methods: Survey Junkie pays via PayPal deposit, gift cards or direct transfer to your bank account. Your PayPal account must be fully verified to cash out from Survey Junkie to your PayPal balance.
Minimum withdrawal amount: 500 points, which is roughly $5 in value.
Time to get paid: Survey Junkie is one of the few sites that offers instant points redemption, making it one of the best options when you need to make money quickly.
#3. Take Online Surveys With PrizeRebel
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.
- While almost every survey website offers a referral bonus, PrizeRebel’s is huge by comparison. You’ll get 15% to 30% of your referrals’ lifetime earnings, depending on your account level.
- You can earn extra points by completing daily goals.
Payment methods: Get paid via PayPal, via gift cards to many of your favorite stores, through a direct deposit to your bank, or in 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 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.
#4. Refer Friends to PayPal Crypto
Over the last few years, PayPal itself has offered numerous ways to earn free money. These offers come and go quickly, so you want to jump on them while you can.
One of the company’s long-running promotions is a general referral bonus, where you can earn $10 per new PayPal user you send to the platform. You can read more about that offer in the next section.
The latest offer from the company is a promotion for its new cryptocurrency portal, where you can buy and sell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin — all from within your current PayPal account.
You can earn up to $50 relatively easily: just refer a friend, who must then buy $5 worth of crypto. When they do, you’ll both earn $10.
We ranked this method ahead of the general referral bonus because we think it’s easier to refer friends who are already on the platform. All they have to do is buy $5 worth of crypto, which takes about 30 seconds. They get a $10 bonus, and they can turn around and sell their crypto whenever they want.
That’s a pretty easy sell!
Note: PayPal is also offering a $25 bonus to select customers when they buy $25 worth of crypto. It’s not available to everyone, but you can check your eligibility by clicking “Save Offer” here.
Payment methods: Your referral bonus is paid in PayPal cash (not crypto), so it gets added to your general PayPal account balance.
Time to get paid: Two weeks after your referral makes a qualifying purchase.
#5. Refer Friends to PayPal
You can earn $10 directly from PayPal by sending just 1 cent to a friend that doesn’t have an account. In total, you can refer up to five friends, earning a maximum of $50 in free PayPal money.
In order to receive the referral bonus, your friend will have to link a bank account or a debit/credit card to their newly-created free PayPal account.
In addition, they’ll need to spend at least $5 via the account.
Payment methods: The money is added to your PayPal balance.
Minimum withdrawal amount: No minimum.
Time to get paid: Usually within 24 hours, but sometimes as long as two weeks.
#6. Earn Ibotta’s New User Welcome Bonus
One of the largest digital coupon and cash-back apps, Ibotta rewards you for your grocery store 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.
Best of all, Ibotta has an easy-to-earn $20 welcome bonus for new members. Active users can then earn an additional $10 to $20 more per month with about 30 minutes of total usage.
You can think of it like clipping digital coupons, with the savings sent to your PayPal balance. When you get home from the store, simply upload a picture of your receipt and scan the product barcodes 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.
New users get a $20 welcome bonus for completing the following three activities:
- Step #1: Get a $10 welcome bonus for redeeming an in-store offer.
- Step #2: Get a $5 welcome bonus for redeeming a mobile shopping offer.
- Step #3: Get another $5 welcome bonus for redeeming either an in-store or mobile shopping offer.
- If you link your Facebook account to Ibotta, you can earn teamwork bonuses with your friends by redeeming a certain number of offers.
- Ibotta frequently offers “any item” and “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 free 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. The challenge then becomes how quickly you can earn the welcome bonus in order to hit the relatively high minimum payout.
You can learn more about how the app works in our Ibotta review.
#7. Complete Small Online Tasks With InboxDollars
InboxDollars is another popular general rewards site with a number of ways to earn. Our favorites are third-party offers, cash-back shopping and surveys. It offers a $5 welcome bonus but has a minimum $30 cash-out requirement.
The site is owned and operated by the same company that runs Swagbucks. 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.
Similar to Swagbucks, the fastest way to earn is through offers. Often these require just a few minutes of your time and pay well. As an example, Stash (a popular investment app) pays out $30 after you’ve made a $5 deposit (as shown in the screenshot below).
Learn more in our in-depth InboxDollars review.
- Surveys are another good bet for making real 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 may deactivate your account and you may lose any money you’ve accumulated up until that point.
Payment methods: You can request a PayPal payment, choose from their selection of free gift cards, or opt for payment via paper check.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $30, regardless of which payout method you choose.
Time to get paid: After you request your cash, it may take up to 16 days for InboxDollars to process your payment.
#8. Complete Online Tasks With Grindabuck
Grindabuck is a general rewards site in the same category as Swagbucks and InboxDollars. It offers 15 different ways to make extra cash from home, including by watching videos, reviewing ads, completing surveys, trying new products, completing micro-tasks and more.
The offers tend to be not as great as the above-mentioned sites, but it has friendly cash-out terms (starting at just $10 for first withdrawal).
Once you have enough points, you can convert them into PayPal cash.
- Grindabuck offers a small bonus for daily use, so you’ll want to log in consistently. 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.
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. The first time you withdraw, you’ll need to hit a minimum of $10.
Time to get paid: Once you cash out, you’ll receive your free PayPal money, gift cards or cryptocurrency almost instantly.
#9. Earn Cash-Back on Everyday Purchases with Dosh
With Dosh, you 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.
Dosh tip: Because they use different payment networks, you can stack Dosh with other cash-back apps, like Pei (which pays rewards in Bitcoin).
Payment method: Rewards can be transferred to your PayPal account, a bank, or donated.
Minimum withdrawal amount: Dosh’s minimum payout threshold 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, once rewards are in your account, transferring them to PayPal only takes 24 hours.
#10. Earn Cash-Back From Online Shopping With Rakuten
With Rakuten, you can get up to 40% cash-back at over 2,500 stores. The site is known for having some of the highest cash-back online shopping rates, but note that it only pays out four times a year.
You don’t have to worry about points or forms — just use Rakuten.com or the Rakuten cash-back app for your online shopping, and you’ll earn rebates on all of your eligible purchases.
Sounds great, but is it legit?
Rakuten may have a funny name, but it’s a huge Japanese company with a long-standing reputation. It’s a must-use service for frequent online shoppers, as it consistently offers some of the best cash-back rates you’ll find and has a hassle-free cash-back tracking and payout system.
- You can stack Rakuten with online discount codes, like the ones found at DontPayFull (which updates its list of offers on a regular basis).
- Make sure to install Rakuten’s browser extension: it will alert you any time you visit a site with a cash-back offer, and it will show you whether that offer has been activated.
Payment methods: PayPal deposit or paper check.
Minimum withdrawal amount: You’ll need to have earned at least $5 in cash-back to receive your free PayPal money from Rakuten. Otherwise, your balance will carry over into the next period.
Time to get paid: Rakuten pays 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.
#11. Earn Cash-Back From Online Shopping With Honey
Honey is a free browser extension that works similarly to Rakuten. It gives you cash-back (called “Honey Gold”) when you shop at participating retailers. It’s owned by PayPal, and you can redeem your Honey Gold for a PayPal cash deposit.
Honey also has a well-regarded automated coupon code search function. When you reach the checkout page of eligible merchants, the extension will check its database to see if there’s a promo code you can use to save money on your purchase.
The one drawback to Honey is that unlike Rakuten, using the browser extension is not optional; there’s no way to earn cash-back without installing it.
Payment methods: PayPal deposit or gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $10.
Time to get paid: Instantly.
#12. Get Cash-Back on Gas
GetUpside is a free cash-back app that offers a unique feature: in addition to getting cash-back at restaurants, grocery stores and online merchants, you can also earn as much as 25 cents per gallon when you fill up your tank.
Unfortunately, this is not a passive earning option. You have to open GetUpside and activate each offer to earn rewards, and you have to repeat that step for every purchase.
But it may be worth the effort, depending on how much you drive, as earning $2.50 to $5 per fill-up is not out of the question.
Payment methods: PayPal cash deposit, e-check or gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: None, but there’s a $1 fee for small cash-outs.
Time to get paid: Within 48 hours.
#13. Complete Long-Form Market Research Studies With Prolific
Prolific sends you in-depth 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 market research firms.
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 a 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: $6.50.
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.
#14. Complete Super-Short Market Research Studies With the 1Q App
1Q is a simple app with a simple premise: instead of taking full-length market research surveys, get paid 25 cents to answer a single multiple-choice question, which usually takes just seconds to complete.
The app has good reviews from users, but there are a few things you need to know going in:
- The availability of questions is limited.
- To get the most questions possible, you need to allow push notifications and location tracking.
- Questions expire after a certain period of time or when the response limit is reached, so you have to act quickly.
The good news is there’s no minimum payout threshold, so the limited number of questions doesn’t prevent you from cashing out.
In fact, there’s no cashing out at all: you get paid instantly via PayPal deposit as soon as you complete a question.
Payment methods: PayPal cash deposit.
Minimum withdrawal amount: None.
Time to get paid: Instantly.
#15. Get Paid to Play Games with Mistplay
Mistplay is a free mobile gaming platform for Android smartphones (no iOS version is available) with a built-in rewards system: you’ll earn points for playing games and reaching in-game milestones, and you can redeem those points for gift cards (including PayPal cash gift cards).
The platform has dozens of games in all genres from many different publishers, ranging from indie developers to big-name studios. You’ll find some familiar names, but the majority of the games offered are new.
That’s because the main point of the app is to serve as a game recommendation engine that helps people discover games they might like, based on their demographic profile and the games they’ve previously played.
Mistplay claims to have paid out over $16 million in rewards so far.
Payment methods: Digital gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $5.
Time to get paid: Within 48 hours.
#16. Complete Small Research Tasks in Supermarkets With Shopkick
Shopkick is a free app that combines rewards, market research and mystery shopping. The primary way to earn points (which can be redeemed for PayPal cash) is by visiting select retail stores (like supermarkets) and completing various tasks, such as taking photos of product displays, scanning barcodes and verifying pricing information.
You can also earn points by purchasing designated items, scanning receipts, watching video ads and more.
Payment methods: PayPal cash deposit or gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $2.
Time to get paid: Instantly.
#17. Test Websites and Apps on UserTesting.com
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.
#18. Perform Odd Online Jobs on Fiverr
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 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.
Learn more in our guide: How to Make Money on Fiverr.
Free PayPal Money FAQ
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get free PayPal money 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, Survey Junkie and Grindabuck do allow you to cash-out your rewards or online survey earnings instantly, once you’ve accumulated them in your account.
For most people in most situations, the fastest way is through cashback rewards for online shopping. Sites like Swagbucks and Rakuten pay between 2% and 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.
Not directly from PayPal (unless you’re referred by a friend), but there are a number of other sites that pay you for signing up. Often, you can cash out those sign-up bonuses to your PayPal balance. In other cases, you may be able to opt for a free PayPal gift card, even if a direct transfer option isn’t available.
While Sweatcoin does offer PayPal gift cards, you can only qualify for them through referrals — not by actually using the app yourself. You can learn more about Sweatcoin and similar apps in our roundup of apps that pay you to walk.
In 2021, eBay switched to a managed payments system and stopped allowing sellers to receive payments via PayPal. Sellers are now required to link a checking account. And while PayPal accounts do have a routing and checking number, they are not compatible with the new system. So while eBay is still a great way to generate some extra money quickly, it’s not a good option if you need to replenish your PayPal balance in a flash.
There are too many to list, but avoiding them only takes a little bit of common sense.
In a nutshell, if a website asks you to pay a fee to join, it’s a scam. If the reward seems too good for the time or effort involved, it’s a scam.
And while all online survey sites 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.
There’s no such thing as free PayPal cash codes. You can get PayPal gift cards, which add money to your PayPal balance, by leveraging the options on this list. But any site that advertises “free PayPal cash codes” should be avoided.
There is no such thing as a “PayPal money generator” or a “PayPal money adder.” These are scams designed to fleece you out of your money — including whatever funds you have in your PayPal account balance.
Never pay for something that promises to grow your PayPal balance. In addition to losing your money, there’s a high probability you’ll be suspended for invalid PayPal activity. And once you’re suspended, you’ll never be able to use the platform again.
Yes, there are a number. Check out our article on money making apps to learn more.
Free PayPal Money: It’s Real, But It Won’t Make You Rich
Short-term, these ideas are fun and a great way to start seeing some extra money in your PayPal account each month.
And what’s better than free money?
But long-term, there are better strategies for ramping up your income than completing offers and doing paid surveys.
If you’re interested, check out our list of the best side hustle ideas.