Everyone needs quick cash once in a while. Thankfully, all businesses want more customers and they’re often willing to pay to acquire them. That’s why many apps and services offer cash bonuses for signing up, even if signing up is free; companies hope you’ll find their service valuable and stick around. Most of the time, however, you’re under no obligation to do so — your bonus is yours to keep regardless of whether you become a regular user.
I’ve put together a list of the top bonuses business are offering right now. Everything on this list is free to sign up for.
Bank and Credit Card Bonuses
Banks are known for offering some of the most generous sign-up bonuses around. Right now, there are multiple credit card offers worth over $500. There are also a number of banks that offer both a new account sign-up bonus and the potential to earn far more in interest than your current rate.
#1 — Find a Better Bank (or Stop Paying Fees)
The nice thing about bank bonuses is that you not only earn money upfront, but can also make and save money by finding a bank that pays higher interest rates and doesn’t nickel and dime you with fees.
To help you find the bank that’s right for you, check out Fiona.
Fiona is a free search engine that helps you find the bank that pays the highest interest rate in your area. No personal information is required — just enter your zip code to get the results.
When I did this, I found a bank that paid 22X the national average on their savings accounts!
Check out Fiona today to see what banks are paying around your area.
Sign-up bonus: Varies depending on the bank.
Requirements: May require a minimum deposit, or signing up for direct deposit.
Payment method: Typically, the bonus is paid as a cash deposit into your account after a predefined period of time.
- High potential for earnings both in the short and long-term
- Can save money on banking fees
- Typical requirements include signing up for direct deposit or making a minimum deposit. Additionally, you may have to make a recurring minimum deposit over a set period to earn the bonus. For example, you may be required to make $500 in qualifying deposits for three consecutive months after opening your account.
- Use the free search engine Fiona to find a bank in your area
- Read the fine print to make sure you meet the minimum requirements for earning a bonus (or a higher interest rate)
#2 — Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
Just like with banks, there is an opportunity to make money through credit card sign-up bonuses. I personally earned $1,000 from just one credit card sign-up bonus. (It was the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and unfortunately that particular offer is no longer available.)
Of course, you need to apply caution and restraint when using this approach to make extra money. That’s because in order to actually make money over the long-term, you’ll need to pay off your credit card balance in full every month. Carrying a high-interest balance will almost immediately wipe out whatever bonus you received. Additionally, you have to resist the urge to make impulsive purchases on your new card. It can be very tempting to use a new line of credit to purchase things you’ve been putting off, but doing so can cause serious financial problems down the road as those high interest rates dramatically impact your ability to save and invest for the future.
A good card for beginners that offers a nice sign-up bonus is the Chase Freedom card. You get a $150 sign-up bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months. You’ll then earn 5% cash back in rotating categories.
A good strategy with a card like this is to use it for category spending instead of your debit card. Then, at the end of the month, just transfer money from your bank account to pay off the credit card before any interest is applied. That way, you’ll meet the requirements for the sign-up bonus and earn cash back without having to pay a penny more than you would have otherwise paid.
If you’re looking for a bigger bonus, go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card comes with a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth $600 in cash or $750 when exchanged for travel through Chase.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card then allows you to transfer points to a number of airlines. In some cases, the rewards are even more valuable when doing son.
For example, a flight I take regularly to visit family is Chicago to Fort Myers, Florida. A one-way ticket can be booked for just 7,500 points through British Airways, which is a partner of American Airlines. So, the bonus alone on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth (for me) four round-trip tickets; that saves me a ton of money over the course of the year.
Sign-up bonus: High
Requirements: Must meet minimum spending threshold
Payment method: Can request a check or statement credit on your credit card bill
- High potential for earnings
- Can be exchanged for travel to make your points even more valuable
- Minimum spending requirements may take months to reach
- Must pay your balance in full every month to avoid high interest rates that would negate your bonus
- For a good no-annual-fee card with a decent sign-up bonus, check out the Chase Freedom Unlimited card
- For a higher sign-up bonus, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred card — but note that it does come with a $95 annual fee
- Check out our up-to-date review of the top credit cards for travel to see what the best sign-up bonuses are for this month
If you’re interested in using your points for travel, sign up for the free course The Beginner’s Guide to Free Travel Through Credit Card Rewards below:
#3 — Personal Capital ($20 Amazon Gift Card)
The popular budgeting and money management app Personal Capital is offering a $20 Amazon gift card for anyone who signs up and links one investment account (which can be a 401k, IRA, or taxable account).
This is one of the easiest bonuses to earn, as it truly is a pure sign-up bonus. No other actions are required, and you get the $20 gift card immediately. If you need cash instead, you can purchase a $20 Visa gift card on Amazon. Or, use Raise to sell your gift card for cash — you’ll get around 95% of the face value deposited into your PayPal account.
Sign-up bonus: $20 Amazon gift card
Requirements: Must link one investment account
Payment method: Amazon gift card
- Takes just minutes to sign up and link one account
- Must have at least one investment account
- Can’t redeem for cash at 100% of the face value. The only options are to buy a Visa gift card or sell on Raise at a slight discount.
- Check out our post on more ways to earn Amazon gift cards
- If you need cash, sell your Amazon gift card through Raise
Survey Sites That Offer Bonuses
Survey sites are a popular way to earn extra income from home. Most sites offer a small sign-up bonus. However, one downside is that many sites have a minimum withdrawal amount. That means you might not actually have access to your bonus unless you continue using the service.
That’s why the best sites are the ones that give you the ability to earn money in a variety of different ways. This allows you to hit the minimum cashout threshold much more quickly than by only completing surveys.
Here are the top sites to consider:
#1 — Swagbucks
Promo bonus: $10
Swagbucks is one of the most respected players in the online survey industry, with over $300 million paid out in rewards. In addition to surveys, you can also earn money by playing games, watching videos, shopping (both online and in-store) and completing an array of other tasks.
Cash-back shopping is typically the best way to make money with Swagbucks, which offers both online and in-store cash back deals. Just remember to only spend money on what you were going to buy anyway.
They also have a large inventory of surveys to complete, which are updated daily.
- To qualify for the $10 bonus, you have to earn 2,500 points (which are called “SBs”) within the first 60 days of membership
- The minimum payout is $25
Payment method: Earn cash through PayPal or exchange your points for gift cards
- A solid $10 sign-up bonus, which is high among survey sites
- Multiple ways to earn
- Must reach a minimum of $25 to cash out
- Check out our in-depth review of Swagbucks
#2 — MyPoints
Promo bonus: $5
MyPoints is another top money making app. Interestingly, it’s owned by Swagbucks.
You can make money on MyPoints by completing surveys, watching ads and even printing coupons (you’re paid 10 cents for printing the coupon, and then once again for using it). So, you can save money on your grocery bill plus earn a few bucks for using the coupons.
Requirements: Must earn $10 worth of points
Payment method: Earn cash through PayPal, or exchange your points for gift cards and/or travel miles
- Only have to take five surveys to get the $5 bonus
- A low minimum payout at $10
- Variety of ways to earn, including surveys, videos, reading emails and printing coupons
- It can take time to earn enough to meet the minimum withdrawal amount through surveys and videos
- It’s worth checking for high-paying surveys, but your focus should be on using the paid coupons (which you can stack with other apps, like Ibotta)
#3 — InboxDollars
InboxDollars is one of the few survey sites with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Having paid out over $57 million and earning a 4.4/5 rating from 80,000+ reviews on the App Store, it’s also one of the biggest.
For new users, InboxDollars offers a $5 welcome bonus.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for InboxDollars
- Click the activation link in your email
- $5 will be deposited into your InboxDollars account
You need to accumulate a minimum of $30 in your account before you can request payment.
Another unique feature of InboxDollars is “Search and Earn,” which allows you to earn money from doing an internet search. How it works is you use make InboxDollars your default search engine. Then, just search the web as you normally would.
It’s admittedly a small source of funds (the amount you can earn each day is limited), but it’s still a legit way to generate passive income with your smartphone.
Requirements: Must earn $30 before being paid
Payment method: Gift cards (including Visa), or a paper check
- Sign-up bonus is earned after clicking the activation link in your email
- Variety of ways to earn, including surveys, sweepstakes, reading emails and more
- Doesn’t pay through PayPal (but you do have the option to choose a Visa gift card)
- Payments take 10 to 16 days to process
- See our complete review of InboxDollars to learn how to best use the site
Cash-Back Sites and Apps with a Bonus
Cash-back sites and coupon apps are two fast-growing markets, and companies in these spaces are competing aggressively for new customers. As a result, many offer lucrative sign-up and referral bonuses.
Here are the top three sites to get started on:
#1 — Rakuten
Rakuten is one of the top cash-back sites and a reader favorite.
To get the $10 bonus, sign up through this link with your email address. Then, make a $25 online purchase (which can be from any of their hundreds of stores, including Amazon) within 90 days.
Rakuten also has one of the most generous referral programs around. You’ll earn a $25 bonus for referring just one friend (this could be your spouse, sibling or parent). Since you’ll both save, it’s an easy win-win for each of you.
Requirements: Make a $25 purchase through Rakuten within 90 days
Payment method: A paper check, mailed on a quarterly basis
- Rakuten is known for consistently offering some of the highest cash-back rates for online shopping
- A very generous referral program that pays $25 per person
- If you’re not referring friends, you’ll have to spend money to make money
- Rakuten pays quarterly by check, so you’ll have to wait to get your earnings
#2 — iBotta
Ibotta is one of the top coupon apps for both iPhone and Android. It started as a grocery coupon app. You’d take a picture of your receipt and scan the barcode to earn money. However, the service is quickly expanding beyond grocery stores, and now offers both retail and online cash back.
To get the $10 bonus, sign up through this link. Then, redeem your first rebate within seven days of registration.
Since you’re likely buying groceries anyway, this is a great app to get started with.
Requirements: Accumulate $20 in your account
Payment method: PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards
- Paid instantly through PayPal or Venmo as soon as your balance hits $20
- The window for earning the bonus is just seven days
- For more tips, check out our review of Ibotta
#3 — BeFrugal
BeFrugal is very similar to Rakuten. Using the service, you can earn up to 30% cash back from 4,000+ stores. Along with offering a $10 signup bonus, there’s a generous $15 referral bonus.
Requirements: Minimum cashout amount varies depending on payment method
Payment method: PayPal, gift cards and direct deposit
- Quicker and more frequent payouts than Rakuten
- May offer high cash-back rates in some categories
- Generous referral program
- Have to spend money to make money (when not referring friends)
- Check out our BeFrugal review for more tips on earning
- Other cash-back sites with a decent bonus include Mr. Rebates, Shopkick, and Drop.