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, one strategy from the list below earned us $240 for less than an hour of total time spent:
Ready to get started?
Scan the table below to jump directly to the options you’re most interested in. Note that we prioritized offers that credit to your account instantly, as well as those that offer the most earning potential.
|Swagbucks||Complete surveys, sign up for offers and shop through their cash-back portal. Cash-out to your PayPal account once you hit $5 in rewards.|
|PayPal Crypto||Earn $10 by referring someone to PayPal Crypto (your referral must purchase $5 of crypto).|
|SurveyJunkie||Complete surveys and cash out to PayPal after you accumulate $5 in rewards.|
|Upside||Get cash back on gas purchases (up to 25 cents per gallon).|
|Rakuten||Cash-back site known for high rates. Pays via PayPal once per quarter.|
|Rakuten Insight||One of the highest-paying online survey sites we’ve tested.|
|PrizeRebel||Survey site with no minimum withdrawal amount and a PayPal cash-out option.|
|InboxDollars||Earn by taking surveys, playing games and shopping through their cash-back portal. Has a $30 minimum to cash-out via PayPal.|
|Dosh||A cash-back app where rewards can be earned passively through card-linked offers. Cash-out to PayPal once your balance hits $25.|
|Honey||A browser extension that pays cash-back at select merchants (and automatically applies promo codes to your online purchases). $10 minimum to cash-out via PayPal.|
|1Q App||Take short surveys. Earnings can be cashed out instantly to PayPal with no minimum withdrawal.|
|Shopkick||Complete tasks in-store, like scanning barcodes. Earnings credit instantly and the minimum to cash-out to PayPal is just $2.|
|UserTesting||Rate and review websites to earn up to $15 per hour, which can be withdrawn to PayPal.|
|Fiverr||Complete odd jobs online. Earnings take 14 days to withdraw to PayPal.|
PayPal cash is just one of the many free money opportunities. You can now get free stocks, gift cards, crypto and cash as well. 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 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 $740 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 available on Swagbucks, our favorite (and the best use of your time) is the site’s so-called “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.
How long it takes 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. 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 cryptocurrency portal, where you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin — all from within your PayPal account.
You can earn $10 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.
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. If you’re interested in earning crypto, check out our articles on ways to get free crypto and the best crypto sign-up bonus offers and promotions.
How long it takes to get paid: Two weeks after your referral makes a qualifying purchase.
#3. 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 paid 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, start earning and cash-out on the same day.
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 at a time.
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.
How long it takes 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 fast.
One of the most well-known and highest-rated online survey sites, Survey Junkie lets you redeem your points for gift cards or PayPal cash starting at just $5.
#4. Get Cash-Back on Gas With Upside
Upside 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 Upside 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, bank deposit or gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: None, but there’s a $1 fee for small cash-outs.
How long it takes to get paid: About 48 hours.
Learn more in our Upside app review.
#5. 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 per year.
You don’t have to worry about points with Rakuten. Just use the company’s website, browser extension or mobile app when shopping online.
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.
In fact, one of The Ways To Wealth’s editors is a loyal Rakuten user and has racked up more than $700 in cash back in a little over three years:
- 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.
- You can stack Rakuten with online discount codes.
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.
How long it takes 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.
#6. Take Online Surveys With Rakuten Insight
In fact, when we tested Rakuten Insight, we made $9.62 per hour taking surveys.
The downside is that there are very few surveys available. Sites like Survey Junkie don’t have as high an hourly rate, but they do have a much larger inventory of surveys.
Overall, it’s best to view Rakuten Insight as a way to complement some of the other activities you’re doing to earn PayPal money (not as a way to make a lot of money in general).
Rakuten Insight tip:
- Survey availability notifications are sent via email, so you’ll want to make sure these messages are not getting filtered into your spam folder or hidden under the “Promotions” tab in your inbox.
Payment methods: PayPal transfers and Amazon gift cards.
Minimum withdrawal amount: $5.
How long it takes to get paid: Payments are issued on a weekly basis.
#7. 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. It doesn’t pay as much as some other survey sites (see the Rakuten Insights section above), but it does have a large inventory of available surveys.
- 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: 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 $2. You can also withdraw your earnings as Bitcoin starting at $5.
How long it takes 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.
#8. 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 money-making 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).
- 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.
How long it takes to get paid: After you request your cash, it may take up to 16 days for InboxDollars to process your payment.
Learn more in our in-depth InboxDollars review.
#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 some other cash-back apps.
Payment method: Rewards can be transferred to your PayPal account, a bank, or donated.
Minimum withdrawal amount: Dosh’s minimum payout threshold is $25.
How long it takes 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 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.
How long it takes to get paid: Instantly.
#11. 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.
How long it takes to get paid: Instantly.
#12. 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.
How long it takes to get paid: Instantly.
#13. 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.
#14. 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 $5 increments). 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
The fastest way to earn free PayPal money is through PayPay’s crypto and general referral programs. These bonuses are the offers that credit to your PayPal account instantly. Ideally, you can share referral codes with friends and family, each getting $10 in free PayPal money by the end of the day.
Yes, you can get free PayPal money for signing up through a friend’s referral link. Also, there are many other websites 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 for 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.
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.
For more free money opportunities, check out our posts on: