Make Money

16 Best Passive Income Apps for iPhone and Android Phones

Couple using mobile phone smiling
Some links included here are from our sponsors. Please read our affiliate disclaimer for more information. For example, Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.

The best passive income apps make you the most money in the least amount of time.

For example…

  • Earning $50 just for taking a few minutes to download an app.
  • Knocking $30 off of your cable bill.
  • Effortlessly getting money back when something you bought drops in price.

Passive income apps have allowed me to do all of these things (and more), quickly and with minimal effort.

If you’re looking to earn extra cash, check out this list of passive mobile apps available for both iOS and Android phones.

The 16 Best Passive Income Apps

Note: The ratings data below was collected on May 3, 2023. We update these numbers periodically throughout the year to keep them current.

#1. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
3.5 with ‎‎‎‎‎9,707 votes3.0 with ‎107 reviewsNCMP Review

How It Works: This is a super-simple passive income idea: just download the app and continue using your computer or phone as usual. That’s all there is to it. You can earn up to $50 a year just by doing that.

And to sweeten the pot, you’ll be entered into sweepstakes drawings if you live in the United States.

These sweepstakes are additional money if you get picked. The company gives away $10,000 a month between 400 winners.

Click here to sign up.

#2. Swagbucks

Google Play RatingiOS RatingReview
4.2 with ‎119,232 votes4.4 with ‎‎‎‎88,657 reviewsSwagbucks Review

How It WorksSwagbucks is a survey site and so much more. You can get paid to watch ads, shop online, and play games. And it has an established reputation as one of the best survey sites out there.

But when it comes to passive income, the best way to earn is through Swagbucks Local.

Swagbucks local allows you to link a card, then earn SBs (Swagbucks’ name for points) at participating local stores.

Another passive income idea you can implement through the site is Swagbucks Search. Just set Swagbucks as your default search engine (which uses Yahoo search results) on your mobile and desktop browser, and you’ll be rewarded every time you search the web.

If you find yourself with time to kill throughout the day, it’s an enjoyable way to bank more money.

New users get a $10 welcome bonus.

Swagbucks ($10 Bonus)
Put cash back in your wallet

Put cash back in your wallet

Get paid to shop online, watch videos, take surveys and play games with this all-in-one rewards site. Redeem your points for gift cards and PayPal cash starting at just $3.

#3. Capital One Shopping

Google Play RatingiOS RatingReview
4.5 with 7,847 votes4.8 with ‎‎77,024 reviewsCapital One Shopping Review

How It Works: One of Capital One Shopping’s many money-saving features is price protection. Certain retailers will give you a refund if an item you purchased drops in price; Capital One Shopping can automatically monitor for these price drops and request a refund on your behalf.

To use this feature, you have to grant the service access to your email account. When you do, it will periodically scan your inbox for online shopping receipts and shipping confirmations; any refunds the service obtains go directly back to your original payment method.

You don’t need to be a Capital One account holder to use this free service, which also offers a number of other great money-saving features (like points for shopping at select retailers).

Click here to sign up for Capital One Shopping.

#4. Trim Financial Manager

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
N/AN/ATrim Review

How It Works: Trim is a free service that can save money while you’re sleeping, working, or relaxing. It can help in a variety of ways, including canceling subscriptions, tracking how much you’re spending, and even by saving on your internet bill.

This has been a robust money-making website for me.

After a recent outage, Trim negotiated a $30 discount on my internet bill. I was notified through SMS and got the email below from Comcast.

Trim Financial Manager Comcast Savings Screenshot

To learn more about Trim and how it can help improve your cash flow, check out my full review of the app.

Click here to sign up for Trim.

#5. Acorns

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
4.6 with ‎‎264,187 votes4.7 with ‎‎858,264 reviews

How It Works: Finding money to invest can be tough — especially if you’re on a shoestring budget. The Acorns app helps you find money painlessly. It adds up quickly without you even realizing it.

You’ll link your debit and credit cards to your Acorns account. Every time you buy something, that cost is rounded up to the nearest dollar. Then, the spare change from that rounded up amount is deposited into your Acorns account.

You can also make deposits into your Acorns account whenever you want. And when you need money ASAP, it’s there in your account — there are no withdrawal fees or penalties.

Your account balance is put into an investment portfolio that includes a variety of Vanguard exchange-traded funds (i.e., it’s invested in the stock market).

Acorns isn’t free – it costs $3 per month for personal accounts and $5 per month for family accounts. But if it helps you save money and invest for your future, it may still be a good deal. There’s also an Acorns referral bonus available for new members.

It’s a cool service, but you might be wondering where the passive income opportunities come in.

Acorns has a feature called Acorns Earn, which is essentially a cashback site that turns it into one of the great money-making apps. If you shop through Acorns, part of the money you’ve spent will get funneled back into your Acorns account.

That’s extra money you don’t have to work for.

Acorns has excellent ratings from both iPhone and Android users.

Click here to sign up for Acorns.

#6. MobileXpression

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
3.8 with 53,454 votesN/A

How It Works: MobileXpression is an app that tracks your mobile data usage with the intent of uncovering patterns about online behavior.

This app won’t slow down the performance of your device.

You’ll be rewarded with a $5 Amazon gift card after just one week. Plus, you’ll get a chance to win up to $100,000 in the sweepstakes MobileXpression runs.

It’s not the best passive money-making app, but every little bit helps.

If you sign up for several, they can pay off.

MobileXpression does limit the number of users they take in every month, and it’s not available in the App Store (i.e., it’s only for Android devices).

Click below to check this month’s eligibility.

Click here to get the Android app.

#7. SavvyConnect

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
3.6 with ‎1,034 votesN/A

How It Works: SavvyConnect is a free app that looks for trends in online searches, entertainment, shopping, and other applications as you surf the web.

It collects that data and rewards you for it.

You can get $5 per month for every device you add.

You can request payment after you’ve reached more than $1 with SavvyConnect.

The only option for payment is receiving a check in the mail.

Click here to sign up.

#8. Venmo

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
4.2 with ‎‎684,217 votes4.9 with 15,343,878 reviews

How It Works: Get a free debit card to use with your Venmo account, then use that card to pay for purchases at participating retailers.

Rates average around 5% at participating merchants.

The amount you earn is credited to your Venmo balance once each transaction fully processes, which usually takes about one week.

Sign up for Venmo.

#9. Drop Rewards

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
4.1 with 11,403 votes4.6 with ‎‎‎51,138 reviewsDrop App Review

How It Works: The Drop app allows you to link your credit and/or debit cards and then earn cash-back (in the form of points), which can be redeemed for gift cards.

In the past, the Drop app was one of our highest-rated passive income options because of its “Power Offers” — bonus cash-back deals at up to five retailers that each user selected from the list of available options. After picking your Power Offers, you could keep earning at those stores without taking any other steps.

Unfortunately, Power Offers were discontinued and the app now offers fewer linked card opportunities (and you have to remember to “add” the offers in order to earn your points).

Download the Drop Rewards app.

Semi-Passive Income Apps

If you’re looking to take your app side hustle to the next level, here are some additional highly-rated apps that will help you earn extra money. They aren’t set-it-and-forget-it types that you’ll have with passive income apps, but they don’t take much work.

If you use the commute to work or time spent waiting in doctor’s offices, you can create extra income for yourself with just a little effort.

#10. Fetch Rewards

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
4.7 with ‎812,346 votes4.8 with ‎4,120,308 reviewsFetch Rewards Review

How It Works: Fetch saves you money on your groceries. You don’t have to cut out special offers. This rewards program gives you points just for taking a picture of your receipt. If you have an old phone, you have to make sure you can take a picture of the receipt without blurriness.

You’ll get points for your purchases. When you’re ready, you can cash them in for Visa gift cards, gift cards to your favorite online stores, or sweepstakes entries for cash prizes.

New users get a 2,000 point sign up bonus (valued at $2) when joining via our link (below). 

Click here to sign up.

#11. Ibotta

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
4.5 with 635,841 votes4.8 with 1,626,732 reviewsIbotta Review

How It Works: The Ibotta app doesn’t generate a passive income stream, but you won’t have to work hard at it either.

You’ll create your account, watch a few ads to add offers, and then go shopping. After you get home, you’ll redeem your purchases.

With Ibotta, you get paid to buy groceries!

Click here to sign up and get the Ibotta app.

#12. InboxDollars

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
4.1 with 126,136 votes4.5 with 171,914 reviewsInboxDollars Review

How It Works: InboxDollars is a free cashback app that works similarly to Swagbucks.

You can earn by shopping online, changing your search engine, taking advantage of special offers and much more.

The mobile phone app has been downloaded by millions of people for a reason.

Sign up for InboxDollars here.

#13. Sweatcoin

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
4.3 with 1,879,385 votes4.6 with ‎327,680 reviews

How It Works: Sweatcoin is an app that pays you for walking. You’ll get points for every step you take, and you can redeem those points for everything from product discounts to vacations.

It’s the perfect app for those who need some extra motivation to get out and move.

The best part is that it’s 100% free.

While you’re not going to get rich, it nice to get paid for something you enjoy doing.

Sign up for a free account now.

#14. S’more

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
4.1 with ‎‎68,437 votes N/A

The average American unlocks his or her phone over 100 times every day. Why not get paid for it? 

Available as an Android app only, S’more rewards you for allowing ads to display on your lock screen. If you’re interested in what you see, you have the option to click and learn more.

But you’ll earn points even if you never pay attention to the ads — just unlock your phone as always and then reap the benefits. 

You can cash out via a gift card to Amazon, AMC Theaters, Applebee’s, Best Buy, CVS, Domino’s Pizza, GameStop, Starbucks or Target.

S’more is highly-reated by users, coming in at #2 on our list of the best lockscreen apps for making money.

Sign up for S’more.

#15. Airbnb

Google Play RatingiOS Rating
4.5 with 1,439,810 votes4.8 with ‎596,153 reviews

How It Works: While you’re going to invest time listing and hosting guests with Airbnb, you’re using an asset you already own. And once you get your system and processes down, the time required to manage a listing and earn money decreases.

Airbnb has the potential to make you the most money out of any app on the list.

Whether you live in a rural area or big city, use the Airbnb rental calculator to see how much you can get for a spare room or renting out your entire home/apartment, and then sign up to be a host.

You can learn more in our article about how to start an Airbnb business, which goes over the key questions to ask yourself, pro tips and mistakes to avoid.

#16. Rakuten

Google Play RatingiOS RatingOur Review
3.9 with ‎‎‎72,593 votes4.8 with 358,285 reviewsRakuten Review

How It Works: Rakuten is one of the most popular cash-back apps available in both the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

When you’re ready to buy something on your phone or desktop browser, you earn money by clicking through from Rakuten.

What Rakuten does is share the referral fee they receive from the thousands of retailers on the app (including Amazon) with you.

They also offer a powerful, feature-rich browser extension.

Sign up for Rakuten to start earning.

Summary of the Best Passive Income Apps

My favorite type of passive income app is one that:

  • Offers a variety of ways to earn extra income. This significantly increases the chance I can reach the minimum payout threshold of the app.
  • Provides cash-back and rewards for shopping. This is often the fastest way to earn and bolster your cash flow.

That’s why I prefer a passive income app like Swagbucks, Ibotta or Fetch over data collection apps like Nielsen. 

While the data collection apps are legit, they tend to take longer to get to a point where you can withdraw your funds. If you have the patience to wait, give them a try. 

But for the quickest returns, check out:

  • Ibotta – the most popular receipt-scanning app.
  • Fetch – a receipt-scanning app that allows you to reuse any receipt.
  • Swagbucks – use for cash-back shopping online, as well as linking a card.

Looking for a way to earn more than these apps can provide? Check out our post about the best passive income business ideas.

*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for the service using the links we provided.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.