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Decades ago, Western Union drew in customers with its crooning “Everybody Needs Some Money Sometimes” ad. Times might have changed, but people’s occasional need for a little extra money hasn’t—maybe you need to pay back a friend, or you don’t have enough for a movie ticket, but for whatever reason, you need to score a free $20 instantly.

Well, I’ve put together 10 ways to make 20 dollars fast—or in some cases, almost instantly. (Sorry, Western Union, you didn’t make the list.) Some of these methods involve getting paid for doing something you already wanted to do (or should do), like shopping online or opening an investment account. In other cases, you can even get paid for playing games and having fun.

Of course, since you’re looking to earn that money quickly, let’s move right along to the list!

Best Ways to Earn $20 Quickly—Our Top Picks


Trading Platform
Top Shopping Deals App
4.2
4.0
Get $105 in Free Stocks
Get up to $50 in bonuses.
Trading Platform
4.2
Get $105 in Free Stocks
Top Shopping Deals App
4.0
Get up to $50 in bonuses.

How to Get $20 (Or Even More) Fast


20 dollars

Below is my look at 10 different ways you can easily score $10—or in most cases, even more—pretty quickly, and sometimes even instantly.

1. Investment Account Sign-Up Bonuses


First up: Sign-up bonuses for starting an investment account. This is a very common way for online stock brokers to attract fresh customers—most brokers offer some sort of giveaway or bonus, though they often change over time.

Below are a few of our favorite brokerage sign-up bonuses.

Related: Best Stock Apps for Teens

Robinhood ($5-$200 worth of free stock)


robinhood sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotions: Free stock worth between $5 and $200

Robinhood is a pioneer of commission-free trading, jumping into the investing public’s consciousness in 2013 when they rolled out commission-free trading. They remain a standout option for cost-minded investors thanks to their continued $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as for its fractional trading, which allows people to invest with as little as $1.

→ How to get your free stock with Robinhood

Robinhood offers anywhere between $5 and $200 in free stock, just for signing up and linking an account.

Once you’ve signed up with this link and are approved for a brokerage account, simply link your bank account or debit card, and Robinhood will give you between $5 and $200 that you can use to buy fractional stock, chosen from a list of “20 of America’s leading companies.”

(Note: You must wait three trading days to sell your gift stock. Once you’ve sold your stock, you can use the money to buy other stocks right away. But if you want to withdraw the funds for cash, you have to wait at least 30 days.)

Related: 15 Best Investing Research & Stock Analysis Websites

Moomoo (21 free shares worth $105)


moomoo signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows, Mac), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: 21 free stocks, each initially valued $5

Moomoo is a commission-free trading platform for stocks, ETFs, and options. While Moomoo is best for advanced traders, offering powerful tools to empower your trading insights and strategies, it takes a different approach from other similarly targeted platforms, favoring simple interfaces and high ease of use. The desktop platform is highly customizable, while the mobile app is straightforward, allowing you to search for stocks and trade with minimal hassle.

Still, Moomoo has more than enough under the hood for advanced traders to get the job done. Its charting system, for instance, includes 62 technical analysis indicators and 22 drawing tools. You can set up alerts based on changes in price, bids, turnover ratio, and more. Free Level 2 market data helps you get a greater understanding of a stock’s value, determine how liquid a stock truly really is, and better time your trades. You can even enjoy 24/7 financial news handpicked by Moomoo’s editorial team.

→ How to get your free money with Moomoo

You can receive up to 21 free shares (collectively worth $105) from Moomoo. Here’s how: If you open a new brokerage account with Moomoo and fund it with $100, you’ll earn 21 free stocks initially valued at $5 each.

Enjoy these free bonus shares by opening an account with Moomoo through our link and making a qualifying deposit.

For Moomoo disclaimer, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

Related: 8 Best Stock Portfolio Tracking Apps [Stock Portfolio Trackers]

2. Bank Account Bonuses


It’s also very common for banks to offer sign-up bonuses, typically on checking and savings accounts.

SoFi Checking and Savings Account (Up to $250 in free cash)


sofi checking savings signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: Earn $50 to $250 in free cash

The SoFi Checking and Savings Account sounds like your run-of-the-mill bank account, but it’s more: It’s also a high-yield savings account that earns 10 times the national average percentage yield (APY) and more than the average high-yield account. Better still, it boosts your ability to save right off the bat by rewarding you with $50 to $250 upon sign-up.

Sofi Checking and Savings covers all of the basics: no monthly account fees, no minimum balances, and website and mobile app access. But it also has several perks that match or top the competition. Features include:

  • Early paycheck reception when you sign up for direct deposit
  • FDIC insurance of up to $2 million (vs. $250,000 for most accounts)
  • Up to 15% cash back when you spend with local retailers
  • No-fee overdraft coverage up to $50
  • Round-ups on debit card purchases, which are deposited into your savings “Vault”
→ How to get your free money with SoFi

First, you’ll need to Sign up with SoFi. Then you’ll receive $50 in bonus cash if $1,000.00 to $4,999.99 is sent to your account within a 25-day period, starting from when you receive the first direct deposit. That number jumps to $250 when you receive $5,000 or more.

The higher cash bonus requires you to hit an admittedly high threshold, but the $50 is still a reasonable bonus for a much more manageable threshold.

Related: 11 Best Free Investing Apps [Invest for Free]

3. Survey Sites


Make money just for sharing your thoughts through paid survey sites. It’s not exactly the most lucrative side hustle, but it is a way to earn money with virtually zero effort. And in some cases, you can get a jump on your cash goals with a sign-up bonus.

Swagbucks ($10 bonus)


swagbucks signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus

Swagbucks is one of the most popular money-making apps because it allows you to earn money or gift cards by doing everyday activities. For example, you can make money by taking online surveys, playing games, watching videos, even doing live trivia.

To get started, sign up for a Swagbucks account and begin participating in some routine tasks offered through the app. Each task earns you “SB” (Swagbucks), which you can cash in for gift cards or redeem for free PayPal money.

→ How to earn free money with Swagbucks

SwagBucks will pay new users 1,000 SB, which is worth $10. All you have to do is:

  1. Sign up using our link.
  2. “Activate” the bonus in the Swag Ups section of your account.
  3. Spend at least $25 at a store featured in Swagbucks.com/Shop. (You must receive at least 25 SB for the purchase, and you must complete it within 30 days of registration.)

Related: How to Invest Money: 5 Steps to Start Investing w/Little Money

Survey Junkie (Paid surveys)


Survey Junkie signup

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)

Survey Junkie is a paid-survey service that’s trusted by millions of users to earn money. The platform matches users with surveys that are most relevant to them. You complete surveys on your own time and earn points for doing so.

Each point earned through Survey Junkie is worth 1 cent. Once you have at least $5 worth of Survey Junkie points, you can redeem them for virtual gift cards from popular merchants including Starbucks, Target, and iTunes. You can also get Visa gift cards or even receive cash back via PayPal or bank transfer. While not always the most lucrative way to make money online, the service routinely has new surveys available for you to fill out.

Related: 7 Best Paid Surveys for Kids and Teens [Online Surveys]

 Branded Surveys ($1 bonus)


Branded Research sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: $1 sign-up bonus

Branded Surveys has paid out more than $36 million to more than 3 million users.

The surveys made available to you will depend on your interests and profile information, as well as what research partners currently need. Each survey earns points; you can cash out once you’ve accumulated at least 500 points. Depending on survey length, users make anywhere from 50 cents to $5 per survey.

You can use your points toward gift cards from more than 100 brands, receive cash in your PayPal or bank account, or even make a charitable donation.

→ How to earn free money with Branded Surveys

Simply sign up for Branded Surveys and you’ll receive 100 points, which is worth $1.

Related: 12 Best Apps That Give You Money for Signing Up [Free Money]

4. Free Cryptocurrency


As I mentioned above, many online brokers frequently offer free stocks or cash as sign-up bonuses. However, on occasion, they also try to reel in customers by offering free cryptocurrency.

SoFi Invest ($10-$100 in free Bitcoin, $5-$1,000 in free stock)


sofi invest free stocks

Invest as actively or as passively as you’d like with SoFi Invest.

The Active SoFi Invest Brokerage Account has no required minimum balance, charges no commissions on stock, ETF, and options trades, and its options trading is free of contract fees, too. SoFi also offers 24/7 trading of 30 cryptocurrencies, access to initial public offerings (IPOs), and fractional stock buying for as little as $5.

Want to put your portfolio on autopilot? SoFi’s robo-advisory services will create a portfolio for you free of charge (that can be designed to address one or several goals) and auto-rebalance it for you as necessary over time.

And one thing that sets SoFi apart is your ability to handle many financial tasks within the very same app. SoFi’s app allows you to tackle anything from banking and investing to student loans, insurance, and mortgages.

→ How to earn free Bitcoin with SoFi Invest

You can earn between $10 and $100 worth of Bitcoin when you sign up and make your first cryptocurrency trade. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new account with SoFi.
  2. Buy a minimum of $50 worth of any cryptocurrency within seven days.

The following trade sizes earn the corresponding Bitcoin bonuses:

  • $50-$99.99 earns $10 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $100-$499.99 earns $15 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $500-$4,999.99 earns $50 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $5,000 or more earns $100 worth of Bitcoin.
→ How to earn free stock with SoFi Invest

You can also earn between $5 and $1,000 worth of free stock from SoFi Invest. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new account with SoFi.
  2. Fund your account with at least $10 within 30 days of opening it.

Once you fund your account, you’ll receive $5, $10, $25, $100, or $1,000 worth of stock. (Prize level awarded at random—the greater the prize, the lower the odds.)

Related: 75 Cryptocurrency Statistics Show Crypto’s Gone Mainstream

5. Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses


Many premium credit cards offer sign-up bonuses for new users who spend a minimum amount of money within a predetermined time frame. Assuming users only make purchases they would have regardless of the new card, the sign-up bonus is free money.

However, some credit cards have a potential catch: Namely, those with generous sign-up bonuses often charge an annual fee. While this fee is usually waived the first year, it can eat up your sign-up bonus. My advice? Ignore great promotional freebies on annual-fee cards, and instead seek out simply good bonuses on no-fee cards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited ($200 in free money)


chase freedom unlimited signup

You don’t have to pay to get a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card—and in fact, if you spend enough, they’ll pay you $200.

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a no-fee credit card that offers generous cash-back rewards:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchases booked using the card through the Ultimate Rewards program
  • 3% cash back on purchases at drugstores and restaurants
  • 1.5% cash back for every $1 spent in all other categories (excluding gambling)

And points never expire as long as the account remains open.

→ How to earn free money with Chase Freedom Unlimited

You can earn a healthy $200 in free money from Chase in two easy steps:

  1. Open up a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card account.
  2. Spend $500 on qualified purchases within the first three months after you open an account.

That $500 threshold is quite low compared to many other credit cards, which sometimes require thousands of dollars in spending to receive a bonus—putting you at risk of running up credit card debit just to nab some extra cash.

Related: 50+ Best Money-Making Apps That Pay You Real Money

6. Online Games


Companies need to conduct user testing, and they’ll pay to have it done. All you need to do is find paid gaming opportunities through a website that connects companies to players.

Scrambly (Play games, try apps, earn money)


Scrambly signup

Scrambly lets you play games to earn rewards. Users test companies’ products on their phones with various in-game steps. In exchange for testing the apps and playing online games, they get coins. These can be exchanged for gift cards or cash back to a PayPal account.

To earn rewards faster, people can also take surveys and invite friends. When you recruit friends, you get a commission on their lifetime earnings.

There is no minimum or maximum amount of time you have to spend. You can do this occasionally for just a bit more spending cash or more frequently to rack up rewards faster.

Related: 30 NFT Statistics to Understand [Market, Sales & Trends]

7. Shopping Online


If you’re going to shop anyways, why not earn some free money online while you’re at it? Let’s look at apps that dole out shopping rewards.

Related: 8 Best Personal Capital Alternatives

Rakuten ($10 bonus)


Rakuten signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile (iOS, Android, Galaxy Store)
  • Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus

Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) has become one of the most popular apps among shoppers because of the rewards and savings it offers when you buy through the app. To date, it has paid members more than $2 billion via cash-back rewards, making it an easy and powerful way to make money.

To take advantage of the shopping savings, you can either shop through Rakuten’s online platform or install the Rakuten Chrome browser extension, which identifies potential shopping savings as you browse online retailers. Rakuten leverages its massive scale to extract affiliate revenue from more than 2,500 retailers—when you use Rakuten to get shopping savings, brands pay Rakuten a commission, which it then shares with you every three months (an admittedly infrequent payout schedule) via PayPal or check.

→ How to get your free money with Rakuten

Currently, all you have to do is sign up with Rakuten, you’ll receive a $10 bonus.

Related: 31 Millennial Spending Habits & Income Statistics to Know

8. Cash-Back Apps to Earn Money While Shopping


You’re going to shop anyway. You might as well get some of your money back. Cash-back apps are simple: Spend money, then get some of it back. The “free money” from cash-back apps is, of course, the cash-back rewards you earn, but some of them even offer immediate bonuses for signing up.

GoCashBack ($8 bonus)


GoCashBack signup

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS)
  • Promotion: $8 sign-up bonus

GoCashBack is a cash-back app trusted by more than 700,000 users who’ve collectively earned more than $8 million in rewards. The free platform allows users to shop online at retailers like eBay, Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s, GNC, and more, and get up to 40% back on their purchases. (However, actual cash-back rates are more commonly in the low- to mid-single-digit range for most offers.)

You can shop through GoCashBack’s website or app, or use their Chrome browser extension to claim coupons and deals through various participating retailers. You can use their GoCashBack app to check your cash-back status from anywhere and click through while on the go to save when you shop on your phone. You can withdraw via PayPal, check, and gift cards.

→ How to get your free bonus with GoCashBack

Get an $8 sign-up bonus today simply by … well, signing up for GoCashBack.

Related: 10 Best Micro Investing Apps [Small, Automated Stock Trading]

9. Sell Unwanted Stuff Online


Selling items you don’t want online is a win-win as you simultaneously create more space in your home and make money. Two of the most popular websites for selling items online are Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

You can post on these websites for free. You’ll need a Facebook account to start selling on Facebook Marketplace, though.

If you have larger items, such as furniture, you can make 20 dollars fast selling these items. For smaller items, such as clothes, you might want to bundle several items together to make more with each transaction.

Just be prepared to negotiate. When shopping online for used items, people often try to haggle to buy for less than the posted price.

Related: 30 Best Side Hustles for Teens [In-Person + Online]

10. IRA Matches


You might be asking yourself, “Wait, what do you mean an IRA match?”

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are a type of retirement account that enjoys certain tax benefits. However, unlike with 401(k)s, which are run through employers and often offer a match, you directly open up an IRA through a broker. So whereas you might very well receive an employer match when you contribute to a 401(k), brokers, generous as they might be, don’t pony up money for your IRA.

Or at least, they didn’t … until recently.

Robinhood (1% or 3% IRA match)


robinhood sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: 1% match on IRA contributions (3% match with Robinhood Gold)

Robinhood has evolved from a bare-bones app appealing to mostly beginner investors to a fuller-featured account suitable for a wider range of experience levels. For instance, Robinhood now offers individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs via Robinhood Retirement.

And Robinhood is back to innovating by becoming the first IRA to offer a match on contributions.

→ How to get your free money in an IRA with Robinhood

If you open up an IRA with Robinhood Retirement, Robinhood will match 1% of any contributions, IRA transfers, or 401(k) rollovers into your account—and 3% if you pay for the Robinhood Gold service ($5 per month). The match, which typically hits your account almost immediately, applies to any contributions up to the IRS’s annual limits but does not count toward your contribution limit. So for instance, if you’re under age 30 in 2023, and contribute the maximum allowable $6,500 …

  • If you have a Robinhood Retirement account, Robinhood would match 1%, giving you an additional $65 in IRA funds.
  • If you have a Robinhood Retirement account and subscribe to Robinhood Gold, Robinhood would match 3%, giving you an additional $195 in IRA funds. (That’s $130 more than the normal account, more than paying for the $60 per year you’d spend on Robinhood Gold.)

(Friendly message from your WealthUp tax expert: The reason the IRA match doesn’t count toward your annual IRA contribution limit is because Robinhood treats it as interest income in your IRA.)

Get your free IRA money by signing up for a Robinhood retirement account today.

Related: 10 Best Roth IRA Providers + Accounts

How to Make 20 Dollars Fast: FAQs


What are some free money-making ideas to make $20 fast?

You have many ways at your disposal if you need to make 20 dollars fast.

Sometimes, you can earn extra money through a one-time deal, such as sign-up bonuses. Other ways to earn money quickly are repeatable. You might win real cash prizes for playing games, get paid every time you watch videos, or receive cash-back rewards while shopping for essentials.

How can you make some extra cash from your phone?

Nearly all of the ways you can earn cash that I’ve listed in this article can be done from a smartphone. You can easily earn money playing cash games, taking surveys, signing up for services, and more—all from your phone.

Most people have their phones on them all the time, and I’ll assume you do too. If so, you can make money while riding on the bus, standing in a long line, sitting … ahem, in the washroom … or any other time you have a few extra minutes.

Just remember: Sometimes the reward isn’t cash. Some services pay you with free gift cards or a special credit instead.

Is your opinion really worth money?

Yes, survey sites offer cash rewards to people who take their online surveys. The amount of extra money you can earn will vary by survey. More general paid surveys tend to pay less, whereas the tougher it is to find qualified people to survey, the more money it will pay.

For example, most people could qualify for online surveys about their favorite chip brands. Significantly fewer people could qualify for a survey that only wants to hear from females between the ages of 30-35 with alopecia.

A few popular survey sites to consider are Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and Branded Surveys (all explained in more detail in earlier sections).

Do you have to pay taxes on the extra cash you earn online?

When you earn money online, that is considered taxable income. Many ways you make money online, such as online surveys or selling items, are considered part of the gig workforce. You’re required to report any gig economy money earned—and thus pay taxes on them.

If you’re selling items to make money, whether you’re taxed depends on whether you made a profit. If you sold at a loss, the IRS considers this a “nondeductible loss.” Good news: You don’t pay taxes on the earning. The bad news? You can’t deduct the loss.

Usually, credit cards don’t report your rewards, and you don’t need to pay taxes on them. If you receive cash-back rewards, points, or airline miles, you won’t owe taxes because the IRS considers these to be rebates or discounts instead of income. The same holds for welcome bonuses when you open a new card or conduct a certain number of transactions to receive extra cash.

Are there fun ways to get $20 fast online?

Yes. While many people work challenging online jobs, there are also fun ways to win real-world rewards online. You can earn real cash prizes by playing games, taking surveys, and more. You can even watch videos to earn extra cash or free gift cards.

Related:


Moomoo Disclaimer

Moomoo’s parent company is Nasdaq-listed Futu Holdings Ltd (FUTU). Their subsidiaries are licensed and regulated in the United States, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.