Having multiple sources of passive income is a useful way to diversify your earnings. There are a variety of passive income apps you can download to start making money right away. None of these apps are going to make you a millionaire, but they are a simple way to get some extra spending cash.  Some are even great apps for effortless money.

Active vs. Passive Income


Sometimes there is confusion over what falls into the categories of active income versus passive income. Active income is money you earn directly from work you perform. This includes both hourly and salary work. In other words, you’re trading your time or skills for money. 

Active income is the most common form of income, which includes standard “day jobs,” freelancing “side gigs,” and activities such as consulting or coaching.

Conversely, passive income is money earned with assets you control and aren’t actively putting work into. This includes sales from products, such as apps or books. These earnings could also be from rental real estate business profits, investment returns, or affiliate earnings. You can also earn money without spending time through passive income apps. 

Many articles and people will describe any easy work, such as taking surveys or watching ads as passive income because it doesn’t involve much mental or physical effort. But you’re still trading your time to do these activities. 

Most of the money-making apps I mention in this article don’t require you to do much more than download them and let earnings accumulate. However, I also include some apps which monetize activities you already enjoy doing. The money might accumulate slowly, but it’s doing so without significant additional effort on your part.

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    Best Passive Income Apps for Effortless Money


    Some notes on the items found in this list of passive income apps:

    • Some require investing money and earning passive income from investments purchased in these accounts
    • Some apps on this list either don’t need you to do more than download them or will pay you for activities you do anyway.
    • Finally, some of these apps can’t work together, so you’ll need to determine which ones work best for you. 

    However, many can be running simultaneously, meaning even if each is only making a small amount, combined you can earn a noteworthy sum. 

    Let’s start first with the best passive income investing apps, proceed to the best cashback / savings passive income apps, then look at mobile phone passive income apps and gaming apps and finish with other passive income apps.

     

    1. M1 Finance ($30 bonus)


    m1 finance

    M1 Finance is a free stock app allows you to build personalized portfolios of stocks and index funds traded as exchange traded funds (ETFs). The service does not charge fees for trades nor does it assess any assets under management (AUM) fees for using the platform.

    Further, the service allows you to purchase fractional shares of companies you believe will perform over time.  If you have a desire to invest in major tech companies but can’t afford to purchase their higher-priced shares all at once, you can elect to purchase them in fractional amounts.

    Where M1 Finance can produce passive income for you is through use of their several automation tools.  These can help you to turn the typically time-intensive nature of investing into a passive income stream.

    M1 Finance offers more than 80 expert-curated portfolios, numerous automation tools and fractional shares to unlock investing gains and passive income for your finances.

     

    2. Public


    public sign up screen

    Public.com is a new investing service which offers you the opportunity to invest in numerous types of stocks while also enabling you to connect with other investors as you would on social media.

    The service offers themed bundles of stocks where you can invest in several companies which share common characteristics. These items can include topics like environmentally-conscious companies, diversity and inclusion-focused enterprises, produce their goods in America, and many more.

    Also, like M1 Finance, Public offers you the ability to purchase fractional shares in companies that carry higher stock prices without dropping the full share price. Public requires no investing minimum to begin nor does it require any account minimums. Signing up can net you free stocks and make trying it out worth your while.

     

    3. Constant ($7 bonus)


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    4. Acorns ($5 bonus)


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    Acorns is one of the best financial apps which can help your money grow with time. Initially designed only to offer “round-ups,” or when the app takes money spent on linked debit and credit card purchases rounded up to the nearest dollar and investing it, it has quickly expanded into other services as well.

    One feature, “found money,” is when the app finds additional money to deposit in your account when you shop with companies partnered with Acorns

    The service charges a low monthly fee (as low as $1/mo) but is free if you are a student using a .edu email address or are under age 24.  This makes the app one of the best investments for young adults. It’s best to use on mobile, which also appeals to younger demographics. 

    Because the app automatically works on your behalf as you make regular purchases or deposits, Acorns is a good fit for young adults who want to invest small amounts incrementally and seeing it grow over time.

    Additionally, Acorns now also has “Acorns Spend” which is the first checking account with a debit card that saves, invests, and earns on your behalf. If you select this service, it also includes the other available subscriptions, Acorns Plus, Acorns and Acorns Later in the bundle!

     

    5. Fundrise


    fundrise product info

    While many of these passive income apps offer the potential to earn decent amounts of money for minimal effort, this app has one of the best opportunities to earn real money for your investment.

    Fundrise is not a cashback, loyalty, expense trimming, or gaming app.  Instead, Fundrise is a platform which enables you to invest in real estate based on your investing goals.

    The service offers you real estate investment portfolio options which are prudently selected and proactively grown to build your wealth. This passive income app is among the best to help you take steps to financial independence.

    The Fundrise app allows you to invest in large real estate projects without needing to own the entire property, exposing you to risk. You can invest small amounts across several projects to diversify your portfolio and not have all of your money tied up in one real estate investment.

    As you invest with Fundrise, the app updates you on the progress for each project you invested in inside of your portfolio. 

    To make the investment platform convenient, there is an iPhone app which gives you access to every feature available on their desktop platform. This accessibility means you can check in on your real estate investments wherever you might be.

    Some real estate crowdfunding apps require you to be an accredited investor to place your money with them for investment. However, Fundrise offers some products which non- accredited investors can access as well.

    When you receive passive income from real estate investing on the Fundrise app, it can come to you in the form of dividends.

    If you don’t need the money and want to leave the funds on the platform, you can reinvest through a “dividend reinvestment program” offered by the company.

    Fundrise, along with other alternative investment options, are great to consider for growing your passive income.

     

    6. Truebill


    truebill

    Truebill is an automated financial manager which reviews your expenses and uses automation to identify potential opportunities to reveal the true bill cost. 

    It will reduce your monthly expenses like your cell phone bill, internet subscription, or other utilities and on-going subscriptions. When employed effectively, it can be a great productivity app for automating expense control in the background.

    When you have an ongoing subscription and get upsold on features from these providers, you may use the service for a time but likely continue paying long after you’ve stopped. 

    This happens when you set up automated billing and forget to contact the service provider to cancel the subscription and save yourself some money.

    Another nice feature of Truebill is the ability to negotiate your bills.  Truebill will do this on your behalf automatically and for free. Truebill makes money by keeping a percentage of your savings as an earned fee, costing you nothing out of pocket to save money each month. 

    However, to upgrade to premium, the service will cost for ongoing subscription monitoring ($4.99 per month of $35.99 per year).

    Finally, the Truebill also monitors for service outages. When you lose access to the internet due to an outage, Truebill requests a credit on your account. In some cases, this could result in some significant savings as cable provider reliability is spotty at best.

    In some instances, these outage credits could easily cover the cost of the monthly Truebill Premium subscription.

     

    7. Earny


    Earny is a cash back app which works to track your on-going purchases and capture any price drops after you buy from several retailers. You can enroll in an Earny membership, link your email and Amazon account and let the app handle the rest.

    The app boasts average annual price drop savings of almost $300 per person, and this only likely to increase as they begin to cover more and more services like hotels and travel.

    There’s no major investment of time in this app after setting up your account, making this cashback app truly passive income. To learn more, see our Earny review.

     

    8. Rakuten ($10 bonus)


    rakuten sign up

    Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) has become one of the most popular apps for offering rewards and savings to users who shop through the app.

    To take advantage of the shopping savings, you can either shop through their online platform or install the Rakuten Chrome browser extension which identifies potential shopping savings as you browse online retailers.

    When you use Rakuten to get shopping savings, the rewards you earn will first go to Rakuten, and then be distributed to users.  However, the Rakuten app also provides rewards for other offers in addition to savings earned from shopping.

    The Rakuten app is free to users and earns money by keeping a portion of the savings earned from retailers and affiliate links. Rakuten leverages its massive scale to extract affiliate revenue from over 2,500 retailers and then shares this savings with users.

    For signing up with Rakuten, you can also receive a $10 bonus and earn as much as 40% cashback on your purchases made through the app.

     

    9. Drop ($1 bonus)


    Drop is a passive income app that rewards you for the shopping you do already. The process is simple. You sign up for Drop, connect your credit card, debit card or bank account and pick the five stores you want to earn cash back from automatically.

    Some of the top choices people choose are Uber, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart, but there are many more options. 

    Typically, you earn 0.5 to 1.5% cash back in the form of Drop Points. The points can be redeemed for gift cards to stores, including popular ones such as Amazon and Starbucks. If you want to earn points more quickly, you can play their mini-games (of course, this isn’t passive).

     

    10. Dosh


    dosh sign up

    Dosh works the same way as Drop. The advantage of Dosh is that you aren’t limited to only choosing five stores. It also has well-known brands, such as Walgreens, Nike, Forever21, Target, and Walmart.

    The downside is that you have to wait until you’ve earned $25 to cash out. You can accumulate rewards faster by completing special offers.

     

    11. PEI


    A newer cashback app on the scene, PEI differentiates itself by allowing you to cash out in USD or Bitcoin. Out of their hundreds of partners, some of the most popular are Walgreens, Subway, Burger King, and Starbucks. You just connect a credit or debit card and start shopping.

    You receive a $5 signup bonus (cash out minimum is $15). Additionally, through their loyalty program, you earn $0.50 if you shop at the same store five times and some merchants give a $2 bonus if you spend $20 or more.

     

    12. Swagbucks ($5 bonus)


    swagbucks sign up

    Swagbucks is a great app for making money by doing everyday activities. For example, you can make money by watching videos, playing games, taking online surveys, and more.

    While Swagbucks requires some activity on your part, because these are fun activities and things you are likely to do anyway, it monetizes your current activity. In a sense, that makes Swagbucks a passive income app.

    To get started, you will just need to sign up for a Swagbucks account and begin participating in some routine tasks offered through the app. You will see your earnings grow as you participate in more and more activities.

    And for opening an account, you’ll also earn a free $5 bonus. Once you sign up, you can earn extra money by referring friends to the app as well. 

     

    13. InboxDollars ($5 bonus)


    inboxdollars sign up

    InboxDollars allows you to make extra money while you do easy tasks. The cashback program also offers rewards for watching things you like on TV, taking surveys online, or money back from shopping or participating in cash offers.

    This app acts as a rewards club for all kinds of activities you do on a daily basis.  InboxDollars provides you real cash for shopping, searching for information on the web, watching videos and taking surveys online.

    While this passive income app won’t land a ton of money in your pockets at once, InboxDollars is a great way to earn some extra money with a little additional work on your part.  And if you’d like to sign up to try the service, they also offer a $5 bonus just to get started. 

     

    14. Embee Meter CX


    This app works the same as MobileXpression. Embee Meter CX runs in the background of your phone and rewards you for collecting data on phone connectivity to wireless networks. Users typically earn between 10 to 30 cents per day. 

    You can cash out through PayPal each time you reach $5. Embee Meter is available exclusively on Android and only specific devices are accepted into the program.

    15. SavvyConnect


    This app runs in the background of your phone, computer, or tablet (or all three if you want to make triple the money). During this time, SavvyConnect is collecting user data on how you browse the web. You can earn $5 per device each month with a cap of $180 per year. 

    Not enough to quit your job, but a nice bonus if you cash out near the holidays. The cash out minimum is $1, but considering payment is by check, you may want to wait until you have more. SavvyConnect is only available to U.S. residents.

    16. Nielson Computer & Mobile Panel


    Formed in 1923 and touting an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel is a reputable source for passive income. On your end, all you have to do is download it. 

    The app tracks your non-sensitive data, such as which websites you’re visiting. In exchange, you receive $50 per year to keep it downloaded on your devices and you can download it on multiple devices. You’ll also earn entries into the company’s $10,000 monthly sweepstakes.

    17. Mobile Performance Meter


    Here we have another money-making app where all you have to do is download it. After that, just use your phone how you usually would. This company, based in San Francisco, works with reputable market research firms and mobile carriers that want to know how your phone is working. 

    Every day that you use your phone, Mobile Performance Meter gives you “Meter Points.” These points can be exchanged for gift cards for Target, Amazon, and more. You’re only going to make around $6 per month, but it’s completely passive money.

     

    18. MobileXpression


    mobileexpression sign up

    This passive app gives you a $5 Amazon gift card after it runs in your smartphone’s background for a week. MobileXpression is a market research community with the goal of improving the mobile internet. You get rewarded for sharing your mobile surfing activity with them (meaning it collects your data). Rewards include gift cards for Starbucks, Best Buy, or Amazon. 

    You’ll likely only earn a reward every month and a half or so, but it is an effortless app requiring zero effort on your end once installed. Not every smartphone is eligible, so make sure to check their website to see if you qualify.

    Signing up for MobileXpression is free and only requires you to install the app on your smartphone or tablet. To make sure the app is working in the background for effortless money, you’ll need to open the app periodically to claim the credits you’re earning by using the app.

    Each week you run the app will earn you 5 credits and when you have earned 30 credits (5 credits per week * 6 weeks), you can then redeem these credits for a $5 gift card of your choice. However, if you have more patience and choose to wait longer, you can accumulate 50 credits (10 weeks) and redeem them for a $10 gift card. As a further bonus, just for signing up and installing the app, you’ll receive a bonus.

    As far as strategy, it becomes a better deal to wait until you have 50 points earned on your account. If you choose to do this, you can earn ~$50 in gift cards per year ($10 per 10 weeks at 52 weeks per year). What’s better is you can install the app on multiple devices to earn more credits.

    Remember, this app provides MobileXpression access to your browsing history and sells it to interested parties. If you don’t mind this, MobileXpression is a great way to make extra money effortlessly. The service states they do not collect or view your text messages, emails, or other personal content.

    If you’re looking to earn more money, consider looking into the Microsoft Rewards program to see how you can convert Bing searches into gift cards.

     

    19. OnMyWay


    If you drive often, and aren’t texting while you do so, you can get paid for it. The OnMyWay app wants to keep drivers safe and off their phones as they drive.

    You simply download the free app, scan your driver’s license, and start to automatically get rewarded for every mile you drive, over 10 mph, without texting. 

    Other applications, such as mapping or music apps, will still work as long as you activated them before you started driving. You can still make phone calls through your in-car Bluetooth.

    You get $10 right away for signing up and then a nickel for every mile you drive without texting. If you refer a friend, you get $2 when they sign up and two cents for every mile they drive without texting. You can exchange money earned for gift cards or cash.

     

    20. S’mores Lockscreen


    This passive income app, available for Android, displays an ad as the lock screen of your smartphone. You can ignore the ad and aren’t required to interact with it. Users receive ten cents per day for unlocking their phones.

    Every time you reach $1, you can cash it out for an Amazon gift card. S’mores isn’t going to make you rich, but it’s a simple set-it-and-forget-it method to get extra money. People often forget it’s even there until they remember to cash out some of their money.

     

    21. Mistplay


    mistplay demo screen

    Mistplay is a great way to earn money by playing video games, participating in contests, and earning money through a loyalty program targeted to gamers. While this app requires some effort on your part on a regular basis, we included it on our list because it monetizes something you already may do: playing games.

    To make money using the Mistplay app (only available on Android at the moment) you can find new games on the app’s mix list, select ones which interest you and gather points from your play activity. From there, you can redeem these earned points toward prizes and invite friends to the app to earn more or join competitions to improve your ranking on the Mistplay app.

    Additionally, the service offers unit multipliers to earn more points. It is worth trying out games with unit multipliers of 3X and 4X, because this allows you to earn gift cards 8X faster than a game with a 0.5X unit multiplier.

     

    22. Airbnb


    traveling for business working in hotel room

    Airbnb allowed my wife and I to earn enough passive income to cover our mortgage payment for two and a half years when we lived in New Orleans. We had an extra bedroom in a lockoff unit behind us which allowed guests to come and go as they pleased with complete privacy.  

    The arrangement recreated the experience of a hotel where you had an entire space to yourself and never had the worry of running into the host. We made a minimum of $500 per month and up to $2,500 on our busiest months (Mardi Gras).

    Of all the apps listed here, it is my favorite because it has the highest earning potential if you have extra space in your house or apartment to rent. 

    If short-term rentals are allowed in your area, Airbnb is a great option to earn additional cash. What’s also great is because it made the short-term rental business an acceptable housing arrangement for the masses, you have access to a database of millions of users instantly who can quickly become customers. It’s possible to get guests the same day you post your listing.  

    However, this app relies on positive reviews so you will need to do a good job of being a host or you won’t have great success in having your listing get booked consistently. Do well enough for an extended period of time and become an Airbnb Superhost.

    If you do well, price your listing accurately, and keep it available, you will have cash flow in your pocket in no time. Turn your extra space into an income-generating asset in no time.

    Are Passive Income Apps Safe?


    In truth, this question involves multiple considerations and factors.  One common theme for these apps is whether they take the necessary steps and precautions to prevent fraud as well as protecting users’ data, privacy and money.

    Many opportunities exist for apps to make money passively, which is why you should be selective with the ones you choose.  These items should factor into your consideration before signing up for an account.

    I chose to create this list of passive income apps to save you time from searching out these opportunities on your own, saving you both time and effort.

    When reviewing these passive income opportunities, make sure to check their reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Google Play Store and the App Store.  Some apps might promise features which many other users did not find to be the case.

    Find out from others whether these passive income apps live up to their promises.  Further, use these ratings to plan which you pursue and avoid potential disappointments down the road.

    Make Money Online Effortlessly with Passive Income Apps


    These passive income apps won’t earn you enough to quit your job. However, they are a great way to make some extra spending money, especially if you use multiple apps. Plus, if you invest the money you earn wisely, it can grow.

    Once you get a taste of passive income, you may also be more inclined to work towards passive income sources that are more profitable. Just take a few minutes to set up some apps, sit back, and let them start earning money for you.

    Disclosure: We scrutinize our research, news, ratings, and assessments using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, this company may receive compensation from partners listed on this website through affiliate partnerships, though this does not affect our ratings. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

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