In this post, I’m going to show you how to get free money.
Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true — and that’s usually a bad sign.
But the fact of the matter is this: there are more than a few 100% legit ways to get free cash online.
Of course, there are also a lot of time wasters (not to mention flat-out scams).
That’s why everything on this list has been verified by our team, as well as by outside reviews (each idea below has an App Store, BBB, or TrustPilot rating included).
The list is broken down into four sections:
- The easiest ways to get free money right now.
- Our favorite passive income apps that can you earn hundreds.
- Legit get-paid-to-sign-up websites.
- How to get free money from the government.
Excited? Great. Because there’s nothing like a nice influx of cash for little to no work at all.
Easy Ways to Get Free Money (Reader Favorites)
Here are some reader favorites (aka the best ideas) for earning free money. The ideas here offer the highest potential rewards for the smallest amount of effort.
Is it legit? Webull is a registered broker-dealer and is thus regulated by FINRA (the Financial Insurance Regulatory Authority), so your investments are protected by SIPC insurance. The app has a rating of 4.7/5, with over 9,200 reviews in the App Store.
Sign-up bonus: Get a free share of stock (up to a $500 value) when you sign up and complete the process within 24 hours. Then, get another share (up to a $1,000 value) when you make a $100 deposit within the first 30 days.
Webull is an investment app and platform that offers zero-commission stock trading. When you sign up for a free account using our link, you’ll get a free share valued at up to $500 with no further commitment — you’re free to sell the share and cash out via a transfer to your bank account.
If you decide to go after the second free share, note that you’re required to make one lump-sum deposit of at least $100 — it can’t be split among multiple transfers.
Webull is more than a way to get a little bit of free money: it’s a powerful investment platform that offers great research and analytical tools. You can read more about all it has to offer in our in-depth review.
#2. Get a Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus + Maximize Cash-Back
Credit cards are my personal favorite when it comes to free money. In fact, I’ve used credit card rewards to save thousands of dollars on travel over the years.
You can earn anywhere from 1% to 5% back on your purchases. Then, there are sign-up bonuses, which can get upwards of $500 or more.
But keep this one important rule in mind: this is only a moneymaker if you pay off your credit card debt in full each month!
As a general rule, the better your credit score, the more you can earn via a sign-up bonus. If you’re not sure what your credit score is, sign up for a free service like Credit Sesame.
Once you have your score in hand, here are some cards worth looking into:
For Good Credit (700+ Credit Score)
For those with good to excellent credit history, the Chase Freedom Card has a $150 sign-up bonus and no annual fee. You’ll then get 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories.
Another option is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. It has a $150 sign-up bonus (after spending $500 in the first three months), and you get 1.5% cash-back on everything you buy.
For bigger spenders, there’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred card that offers a $600 sign-up bonus (worth $750 when used for travel) after spending $4,000 in the first three months. You’ll then earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and one point on everything else.
For Fair Credit (600 to 700 Credit Score)
For those with fair credit, check out the ABOC Platinum Rewards Credit Card.
It’s one of the few cards for those with average credit that comes with a sign-up bonus. The current offer is a $150 statement credit after spending $1,200 on the card within 90 days of account opening.
Other benefits of the card include:
- A 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers in the first 12 months.
- Rotating 5% cash-back categories on up to $1,500 in spending. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
For Bad Credit (Below 600 Credit Score)
If you have bad or poor credit, you’ll have to increase your score before qualifying for the best cards. One way to do that is with a secured card, which requires a small deposit and helps you build credit by reporting your activity to the credit bureaus.
One of my favorite secured cards is the Capital One Secured Mastercard®. Based on your credit score, you’ll make a refundable deposit of either $49, $99 or $200. The maximum credit line for the card is $1,000.
The card comes with a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. The biggest downside is that the APR runs high. So, make sure you always pay your balance in full.
The goal with a secured card is to use it to improve your credit score. Depending on where you’re at today, this may only take a few months. Once you establish a better credit history, you can then move to better cash-back cards.
#3. Get $10 by Signing up for Swagbucks
Is it legit? 4.4/5 rating with over 17,000 reviews on the App Store.
Sign-up bonus: $10
Swagbucks is one of the most popular rewards sites and cash back apps, having now paid out almost $400 million to its users.
It only takes a minute to sign up for this site, and you’ll earn an instant $10. You can shop, surf the web, fill out surveys, or even watch videos to earn additional money.
My personal favorite way to earn is via online shopping, as it takes just a few extra seconds to earn up to 20% cash back at online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and more.
#4. Trim Financial Manager
Any post on free money can’t be complete without mentioning Trim Financial Manager.
Trim is not a mobile app (and therefore has no reviews). Nor does Trim have a page on TrustPilot or the BBB.
However, it’s become one of my favorite personal finance tools.
What Trim does is identify ways for you to save money. Then, in some cases, Trim will handle the entire money saving process.
For example, say you want to save money on your cable or phone bill. Trim has a robotic assistant that negotiates with the provider on your behalf.
A few months ago, Trim negotiated a $30 discount on my internet bill for a long service delay. Ironically, I was on vacation at the time, so I didn’t even realize my internet was down.
The email below just showed up in my inbox one day:
#5. Take surveys on your phone or desktop and get paid with Survey Junkie
Is it legit? Has an “Excellent” rating on TrustPilot, and an App Store rating of 4.5 with 20,000+ reviews.
Sign-up bonus: Varies.
Survey Junkie is one of the most popular market research sites, with over 10 million members worldwide.
As for free money, Survey Junkie makes the list as it’s easy for new users to rack up points with simple tasks like confirming your email address, watching a “how it works” video, and filling out a short profile survey. Plus, the site has a minimum payout of just $10, which you can redeem for PayPal cash (other survey sites have minimums as high as $50).
When we ranked the best survey sites, Survey Junkie came in near the top of the list.
Make Passive Income by Downloading These Apps
If you have a smartphone, you’re in luck. There are a few legit mobile apps that pay you to download them.
Downloading each of these passive income apps can add up to a few hundred dollars in income each year.
Many readers of The Ways To Wealth combine the money they earn from these apps to help save money on Christmas gifts or to pay for a family trip.
#1. Get money back when prices drop with Paribus
Is it legit? Paribus is owned by Capital One, one of the largest banks in the U.S., with an A+ rating from the BBB.
Paribus is another easy win when it comes to scoring free money. With this site, you shop online just as you normally would. The site uses an algorithm to track your purchases (through emailed receipts), and then helps you get a refund if the price drops.
Paribus now supports 24 major online retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
So far, the site has saved $29 million for its members.
#2. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
Is it legit? A+ Rated on the BBB (and owned by Nielsen Holdings, the company known for publishing TV viewership ratings).
With the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel, you can earn up to $50 per year in rewards. And you’ll get that money just for downloading the app and then using your phone or computer as usual.
It will take only a few minutes to set things up (you’ll have to provide some basic information, choose a username and password, and install the app).
#3. Drop Rewards
Is it legit? 4.7/5 rating and 41,800+ reviews on the App Store.
Those who use debit or credit cards can sign up for Drop — an app that rewards you for every purchase you make.
After you link a card to your account, you’ll get points every time you buy something at participating stores.
Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can exchange them for free gift cards.
Popular offers at the time I write this include:
- 120 points per dollar spent on Uber Eats (a promotional offer for first-time Uber Eats users).
- 20 points per dollar spent at Walmart.com
- 5 points per dollar for Instacart orders.
Points are worth roughly .01 each, so it’s like picking up a few extra percent of cash-back on many of your purchases.
Is it legit? 4.7/5 rating with 102,000+ reviews on the App Store.
The Dosh smartphone app is similar to Drop in that you link your credit or debit card; when you make purchases with your linked card, you’ll get cash back.
One notable difference is that with Dosh, you can choose to send your accumulated cash to a bank or PayPal account, as opposed to redeeming points for gift cards.
Is it legit? Parent company Luth Research has an A+ rating on the BBB.
With SavvyConnect, you download an app, browse the web, and earn money. The company gets valuable market research, and your identity is protected.
SavvyConnect also directs you to paid online surveys that will reward you for your honesty. You’ll also have the chance to earn extra incentives by referring your friends and family members.
Get Paid to Sign-Up on Websites
Beyond smartphone apps, there are many more creative ways to make money online in your spare time.
One such way is through website sign-up bonuses.
As both large and small businesses need new customers, they happily give away thousands of dollars each year to new users.
Some sites on this list require the completion of a small task to earn the bonus, such as submitting a receipt. Others give you a bonus just for signing up.
Is it legit? 4.4/5 rating with 24,000+ reviews + Rakuten is one of the largest and most well known companies in Japan.
Sign-up bonus: $10 sign-up bonus for new members.
With one click, Rakuten allows you to get money back while you’re shopping on websites. (Read our Rakuten review.)
But you can also save at many of your favorite stores with the exclusive coupons and offer codes Rakuten gives its members.
They also have a generous referral program, which allows you to earn $25 for referring a friend.
Is it legit? 4.8/5 rating with 792,000+ reviews.
Sign-up bonus: Ibotta gives new members a $10 sign-up bonus.
With this app, you’ll get cash-back on everyday purchases like milk, bread and eggs.
There is a little legwork involved with this app. You need to add your offers before shopping to ensure you get the cash-back.
Then, once you get home, scan the barcodes (read our comprehensive Ibotta review to learn more about the process).
#3. Fetch Rewards
Is it legit? 4.8/5 rating with 306,000+ reviews.
Sign-up bonus: Use the code APREWARDS to get a 4,000 point sign-up bonus.
Fetch Rewards is another popular receipt scanning app. It’s similar to Ibotta, with the largest difference being that all you do is scan your receipt (from any store).
There’s no scanning barcodes or browsing for coupons beforehand. It’s as simple as taking a picture of your grocery receipts when you’re done shopping.
Is it legit? 4.4/5 rating with 109,000+ reviews.
Sign-up bonus: InboxDollars is giving out a $5 sign-up bonus for new clients.
With this website and app, you don’t earn points — you get cash instead.
If you get tired of only doing one type of activity for money, this might be a good fit. You can take surveys, play games online, browse the web, shop, read emails, and redeem coupons online for money.
Is it legit? A- rating on the BBB.
Sign-up bonus: $5 bonus for taking five surveys.
MyPoints is a rewards site that allows you to earn money by watching videos in the background. You can also earn points by doing things that will help your bottom line, like printing coupons and taking surveys.
When you have enough points saved up, you can trade them in for travel miles, gift cards, or PayPal cash.
Is it legit? A+ rating on the BBB, and a 4.6/5 rating with 2,300+ reviews on the app store.
Sign-up bonus: $10 sign-up bonus.
This site comes with a $10 sign-up bonus. After that quick process, you’ll get up to 40% cash-back at more than 5,000 stores.
BeFrugal gives you several methods for getting paid, including check, gift cards, PayPal or direct deposit.
Plus, it has special deals and coupons you can access.
Signing up for multiple cash-back sites and earning the respective bonus is easy money.
#7. Personal Capital
Is it legit? 4.7/5 rating with 21,800+ reviews.
Sign-up bonus: $20 Amazon gift card.
With Personal Capital, you’ll have all your information at your fingertips to see your complete financial picture. To qualify for the $20 gift card, you’ll need to link at least one investment account, such as a 401(k) or IRA.
That’s a good deal for a website that will also help you track and manage your finances with useful tools.
This is about as easy as it gets.
#8. Vindale Research
Is it legit? A-rated by the BBB.
Sign-up bonus: $1 sign-up bonus.
Although the $1 sign-up bonus you’ll get with this site isn’t much, it’s still better than nothing. And it takes just a minute to do. Then, you can start earning better money by taking surveys online.
Hundreds of surveys are added every day, giving you more chances to earn cash. These are great options for making a little money while on your daily commute or watching TV.
Make Free Money With Idle Assets
Think of idle assets as anything you own right now that could be making you money.
Here are six ways to earn money from what you currently own.
#1. Rent out a room on Airbnb
Airbnb can be a good money-maker. And you don’t have to live in Hawaii or some other top tourist destination to rent out a room — even things like a summer festival in a small town, or people coming back home for the holidays, can create demand for rentals.
That makes this a good option whether you live in a big city or a more rural setting.
Check out the Airbnb rental calculator to see how much you can make.
#2. Upload your stock photos
Most of us take a pretty picture and then forget about it. But if you’re smart, that pretty picture can be worth some extra money. Stock photos are big business.
One good photo on your phone or camera can earn you a decent amount of money, and an afternoon spent taking a lot of images can create a passive revenue stream for you.
#3. Sell what you own on sites like Craigslist
There’s a reason why Craigslist and similar sites have become so popular — they’re good for both sellers and buyers.
The sites can fetch you a decent price for your items, and there’s no pressure to sell until your desired price is met.
The best things to sell are cell phones, TVs, and furniture.
Get Free Money From the Government
There are millions of dollars in money waiting around to be claimed by the right person.
What’s important here is using reputable websites to do your search.
#1. File an amended tax return
Sometimes you realize that you missed some potential tax deductions after you file your tax return. If that sounds like the boat you’re in, it’s not too late to re-claim those earnings.
It can take a while for your amended return to go through, but you’ll eventually get your money. You pay enough in taxes as it is, so make sure you don’t let this slide if you’ve overpaid!
#2. Find unclaimed money
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you miss out on some money that’s owed to you. Perhaps you forgot to pick up your final paycheck at a past job, or you moved before a government refund was mailed to you.
But you don’t want to fall for any scams in your attempt to find it.
To find unclaimed money, visit MissingMoney.com.
#3. Find unclaimed pension funds
Considering how often people bounce between jobs these days, you might not always keep great track of the pension you’ve earned. You could be owed a pension and not even know it — especially if you’re bad about reading the policy handbooks at your jobs.
To see if you’re owed a pension, you can visit this Government website.
#4. Go to school with student aid
You can get a lot of free money to attend college, both full-time and part-time.
That will benefit you in the long run, since you’ll likely increase your future earnings with a degree. Not to mention, student aid can minimize your student loan debt.
To discover your free aid options and see how much money you could potentially be entitled to, you can visit Federal Student Aid.
On a related note, if you have student loans, consider refinancing them to a lower interest rate. You can free up a lot of extra cash this way.
While a legit side hustle will earn you more money in the long run, even adding a few dollars per month to your investing or savings account can make a big difference in the long run. That’s the real value of the ideas listed above — they may not generate huge sums, but they’re easy wins that can help you build financial momentum.
*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.