Passive income is seldom 100% passive. But while you have to do something to earn cash or rewards, who said that something has to be difficult?
That’s the beauty of passive income apps. Whether you get paid to invest in portfolios or save money on groceries, it’s possible to earn money outside of your 9-to-5, and do so in a way that requires very little energy or effort.
Although you likely won’t get rich overnight, passive-income earning apps that offer cash payouts can help you build an emergency fund or save up for a financial goal. And those that offer gift card rewards give you extra virtual cash to make purchases you need or ones that don’t fit into your budget.
16 Best Passive Income App Ideas Worth Considering
There are tons of money-making apps out there you can use to generate passive income, but they’re not all worth the trouble. To help you earn extra money effortlessly, we found the best ways to make passive income from apps you should consider, and most of them can make you money while you sleep.
Some of these are side hustle apps that can lead to long-term revenue while others are apps you can download and only need to think about when you want to check your rewards balance.
1. Swagbucks: A search engine that pays you
- Surf the web for the chance to earn points, or SB, on every query.
- Earn even more SB by installing the Swagbucks Search Chrome extension to make it your default search engine.
- Redeem your SB for PayPal cash or gift cards to your favorite retailers.
When you use the Swagbucks search engine, the more you search, the more you earn. Any time you search something through Swagbucks, you stand the chance to earn SB (points), which amount to roughly $1.00 per 100 SB. Once you have at least 300 SB, you can cash out your points for PayPal cash or gift cards to stores like Target, Amazon, and Walmart.
To keep earning, don’t just stop at the search engine. Swagbucks offers other ways to make money in your spare time through surveys, games, videos, or more. Learn more about how to earn with this multifaceted app through our comprehensive Swagbucks review.
2. Wikibuy: Use this browser extension for cash back
- Once it finds a better price, Wikibuy applies promo codes at checkout on thousands of retailers.
- Redeem offers from Wikibuy and receive credits you can exchange for gift cards to popular retailers like Sephora, GameStop, and Groupon.
- Add items to your Wikibuy watchlist to let the browser extension track prices, and it’ll notify you about price drops or if it finds better deals.
Both an app and a Chrome browser extension, you can access the convenience of Wikibuy from Capital One no matter how you shop. For instance, when you shop online and reach the checkout page, Wikibuy searches thousands of merchants to look for a better deal. Then, it automatically applies any available coupons to your purchase.
To create passive income with this coupon and rewards platform, find the purchases you already planned to make through Wikibuy’s partnered offers and online stores. When you redeem an offer, you receive credits that you can exchange for gift cards to some of your favorite stores.
If you’re more of a local, in-person shopper, you can also scour Wikibuy’s Local Offers section to earn loyalty credits when you make qualifying purchases at local businesses.
Read our Wikibuy review to learn how to get all the rewards out of this browser extension.
3. Fundrise: Invest in real estate
- Invest in a low-cost, diversified portfolio of real estate.
- Takes advantage of the premium returns usually seen in private markets to offer improved investment returns for the average investor.
- Portfolios are built to withstand prolonged periods of economic distress.
Traditionally, the barriers to investing in real estate are significantly high, which is why most people believe you need to have millions in the bank to participate. With Fundrise, people of any income can purchase shares from broad portfolios of real estate assets around the country through their two main products, eREITS and eFunds. In fact, all you need to start earning passive income is $500 to invest in a starter portfolio.
In our Fundrise review, we break down the ins and outs of the website and how you earn passively with this investing platform.
4. Honeygain: Sell your unused internet data
- Free to install, then sit back and watch your balance increase.
- Earn passive income in minutes just by sharing your internet.
- Can connect up to 10 devices on one account.
Honeygain is a passive income app that monitors and collects your web usage and traffic data from your connected devices. Then, it pays you for that information to report it to e-commerce, advertising, and web intelligence companies. It’s available for Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux devices, and all you have to do to earn passively with Honeygain is run the app in the background.
Earnings vary, so the amount you earn depends on the traffic sent to your devices, which can be influenced by your location, network speed, and how many IP addresses you connect to Honeygain. With three connected devices, for instance, you can make an average of $19 per month, or $230 per year.
5. Dosh: Shop with this mobile cash-back app
- Adds $5 to your Dosh Wallet when you sign up and link your credit or debit card.
- Earn cash back for making qualifying purchases at Dosh-affiliated establishments.
- Earn more cash back when you book hotels through the app or refer friends and businesses.
If you need a hassle-free app that gives you cash back each time you make a purchase at participating outlets, download the Dosh app on your smartphone. Unlike similar apps, Dosh automatically deposits your cash back without scanning and uploading receipts or using coupons or promo codes. It makes things easy; your only job is to shop as you usually would and watch your cash back grow.
You can even let Dosh inform your spending decisions to increase your passive income yield. For instance, before you grocery shop, check out Dosh’s participating merchants to shop where you’ll get the most cash back.
Once you have at least $25 in your Dosh Wallet, you can cash out the balance through your PayPal or bank account.
Read our full Dosh review to learn more.
6. Outdoorsy: Rent out your RV
- Free 24/7 rental roadside assistance available for renters, and $1M in insurance for you and your renters.
- Outdoorsy runs DMV checks on all potential renters.
- Free to list your RV on the site, and you keep 80% of the reservation cost (depending on total).
As a peer-to-peer RV marketplace like Airbnb, Outdoorsy helps RV and camper owners list their rigs on the site so hopeful RV travelers can rent them. After you sign up, set up your Outdoorsy listing with attractive photos, a fair rate, a calendar for when your RV is and isn’t available, and wait for renters to book your RV.
You’ll have to maintain consistent communication with possible renters and manage the upkeep of your RV, but otherwise, this platform is almost completely passive.
Within 24 hours of a completed reservation, you’ll receive 80% of the total booking cost. Once your listing is active, maintenance and repair costs might cut into your profits, but Outdoorsy says you can earn up to $30,000 a year.
7. Worthy Bonds: Invest in local businesses
- Can receive 5% annual returns.
- Bond sale proceeds are invested into small business loans and public and private investments, including real estate.
- You control how much and when you invest, and you can redeem bonds and their interest whenever you want.
If you want to make passive income while supporting small businesses, consider investing with Worthy Bonds. It says you can earn a 5% annual return just by “investing bond sale proceeds into a combination of asset-backed small business loans and other investments.”
When you buy bonds from Worthy, it loans money from those bond sales to businesses that want to buy inventory and generate accounts receivables. Once that investment grows, you receive your initial investment back plus an extra 5% interest. Plus, you can invest as low as $10 and still earn a 5% return without having to pay any fees.
Related: How to Start Investing with $100
8. Sweatcoin: Take one step at a time to earn passive income
- Earn Sweatcoins (SWC) by letting the app run in the background and track your steps.
- Use accumulated coins to donate to a cause or purchase goods, services, and experiences.
- Get paid to be healthy.
Available for Android and Apple smartphones, the Sweatcoin mobile app pays you to walk by rewarding you with coins, known as SWC, for the steps you take.
With the SWC you earn from your everyday steps, you can exchange them to purchase goods, services, and experiences ranging from high-tech shoes to anti-gravity yoga classes, from iPhones to Apple Watches and much more. Sometimes, the reward can even be cash deposited to your PayPal account.
To passively earn more SWCs from your steps, check out our Sweatcoin review and learn how to maximize your rewards.
9. Turo: List your car and let it do the earning
- Sign up and list your car for free, and use the app with no monthly fees.
- Get paid via direct deposit within three days after each trip.
- Receive up to $750,000 in liability insurance coverage with each protection plan.
Let your car pay for its expenses and download the Turo car-sharing app to earn passive income. Considered the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace, Turo lets you list any car that’s no more than 12 years old and doesn’t exceed $150,000 in value. And depending on the vehicle protection plan you choose, you get to pocket 65% to 85% of the total trip price.
To get started, ensure your vehicle fits the requirements. Next, add the necessary information needed to list your car, like make, model, and special features. Once you’ve set a daily rate and are ready for renters, making passive income with your car from there is simple. All you have to do is manage your reservations and wait for Turo to direct deposit your money.
10. OnMyWay: Get paid to not text and drive
- Earn cash for every mile you drive and don’t text.
- Exchange your OnMyWay Cash to buy deals at any participating retailers.
- Uses your phone’s built-in functionality so it won’t drain your battery.
- Immediately receive $10 cash when you sign up and use the app.
With OnMyWay, you can make passive income from being a safe driver by not texting and driving. The app pays users to stay off their phones when they drive.
As you drive, you’ll earn $0.05 for every mile you don’t text and drive. And when you refer a friend who signs up to use the app, you’ll score $2 plus $0.02 for every mile they drive without texting. With the OnMyWay Cash you earn passively, you can redeem store cards, cash cards, travel deals, and access free deals and discounted offers every day.
To sign up, go to the website and enter your phone number, then download the data collection app through the link you receive. Once you’re all signed up, OnMyWay will automatically activate every time you drive over 10 MPH as well as disable text and app alerts.
11. MobileXpression: Let this company access your data
- Guaranteed rewards for participating.
- Members are eligible for weekly credits they can redeem for gift cards to popular retailers like Dunkin’ Donuts, Cold Stone Creamery, and Amazon.
- It’s free to use and available for both Android and Apple devices.
MobileXpression is an app you download on your smartphone that helps companies understand the trends and behaviors of people that use the internet. After you download and sign up, the app collects data to help companies better understand users’ web and mobile usage, like what kinds of sites and apps are most popular, the times of day people browse the web, and how long they stay on websites and use apps.
Because you let it slowly collect usage data as you go about your day, you earn credits that you can exchange for $10 gift cards or higher to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and more. It’s unclear how many credits you earn to keep the app installed or how much you’ll earn from surveys, but the app offers plenty of rewards.
For instance, after your first week, you automatically receive a $5 Amazon gift card and new members are entered into the $100,000 sweepstakes. Additionally, every month one participant receives $100 as well as the chance to win $2,500 or $5,000.
Related: How to Get Free Amazon Gift Cards
12. National Consumer Panel: Get paid to share your opinions
- Earn points and great rewards when you share your shopping data and opinions.
- Each week you participate, earn reward points that you can redeem for gift cards and a wide variety of merchandise.
- Get even more rewards and incentives when you participate in surveys and special programs.
With the National Consumer Panel (NCP), your opinions matter and are worth points and rewards. A joint venture between Nielsen and IRi, two leading consumer insight providers, NCP members answer surveys and scan barcodes of the items they buy every week to earn reward points, sweepstakes entries, and other prizes.
As a new member, you’ll earn reward points for registering and reporting your first shopping trip. You score 150 points each week NCP receives your shopping data, but that amount increases the longer you’re on the panel. While points are largely earned by scanning your weekly purchases, you can look forward to 250 reward points on your birthday, 1,000 bonus points on your six-month and one-year anniversaries, plus each anniversary after.
Once you have at least 9,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards and a wide variety of merchandise, like electronics, home appliances, sporting goods, toys, and more.
13. UpVoice: Browse the world wide web
- Earn a bonus of 300 tokens upon signup.
- Continue your regular browsing activity to earn daily points.
- Take advantage of additional opportunities to earn and complete surveys from brands who want your opinion.
Instead of surfing the web for free, earn some passive income by adding the UpVoice extension to your browser to let it track your ads. In exchange, you earn daily points that you can redeem for gift cards to eBay, Best Buy, Nike, Target, Sephora, and more.
UpVoice’s participating sites include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, and LinkedIn. When you browse one or more of those sites with the UpVoice extension on, you receive a total of 10 tokens daily. That means if you scroll through Twitter for 15 days in a month, you’ll earn 150 tokens. In the first year, UpVoice says you can make $75 or more in rewards.
14. Slidejoy: Place ads on your lock screen
- Earn cash or gift cards, or donate your earnings to your favorite charity.
- Earn the same amount of points whether or not you engage with the ad.
- Offers more than one way to earn, from scratch-off offers to games, surveys, and more.
Slidejoy is an Android-only passive earning app that pays you to watch videos and run ads on your lock screen. But the best part is you’ll still earn the same amount of points whether you watch the ads or dismiss every one.
It’s unclear how many points, called Slidejoy Carats, you’ll earn per ad or video, but 1,000 Carats equals $1, and you earn 20 just for signing up. You can redeem Carats for a cash transfer to your PayPal or gift cards to several notable online retailers.
For more ways to earn Carats, refer your friends, link the app to your Facebook account, or check out the Offers section to take part in different types of activities.
15. Robinhood: Buy and sell stocks
- $0 opening balance and no annual fees.
- Invest in thousands of stocks with as little as $1.
- Customize your portfolio with pieces of different companies and funds to reduce risk.
- Offers commission-free investing in individual companies or ETFs.
If you want to try stock market trading, consider signing up for Robinhood, a commission-free trading app used to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency. Experts and beginners consider Robinhood a tool that supports portfolios and generates passive income, especially since you can buy and sell stocks for free.
Plus, when you download the app, Robinhood funds your account with free stock that could be worth up to $207. Read our Robinhood review to get a full picture of Robinhood’s features and how it streamlines the process of investing in and buying and selling stocks.
16. M1 Finance: Invest with a robo advisor
- No-fee robo advisor for passive or beginner investors or for investors who want a combination of automation and hands-on control.
- Free to trade, open an account, and there are no account minimums.
- Automates investing and rebalancing.
Best for passive investors who want to build their investment strategy without relinquishing total control, M1 Finance is an online investment platform that gives you the autonomy to choose your investments with access to a robo advisor should you need guidance or assistance.
M1 Finance lets you invest in stocks, ETFs, and fractional shares of companies. And one huge perk is you can create a joint account with a relative, spouse, or domestic partner. With no minimum to open an account, no management account fee, and no fee to trade, you can focus on putting your money where it needs to be to generate the most passive income.
Read our M1 Finance review to see the specifics of how you can earn passive income through the platform.
Let Your Smartphone Pay for Itself with Passive Income Apps That Make Money While You Sleep
It’s possible to create a consistent stream of passive income with any one of the apps on our list. Even if your extra cash comes from apps that pay you to watch ads, you’re succeeding in your goal to maintain streams of income outside of your day job.
While using only one passive income app probably won’t pay the bills, using multiple apps can eventually let your hobbies, smartphones, pastimes, and vehicles pay for themselves while you sleep.