Personal Finance
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12 Ways to Make Money on Your Phone

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Updated February 21, 2024

If you've got a smartphone, you've got options for making money in the palm of your hand. You can start a side hustle or online business or look for ways to create passive income. Many ideas don’t even take much time. By using your phone to experiment with different money-making ideas, you can figure out what works best for you.

12 ways you can earn good money from your phone

When using your phone to make money, your income-earning potential will depend on which money-making ideas you try and how much time you’re willing to put in. Whether you need a few dollars to cover your weekly coffee habit or a larger amount to pay for your monthly expenses, here are some of the best ways to earn money from your phone.

1. Participate in consumer research

Sharing your opinions is one of the easiest ways to make money from your phone. There are plenty of companies willing to pay money to conduct market research with regular consumers.

Essentially, you're getting paid to complete surveys and answer questions. The amount you can earn varies by survey site, and there are plenty to choose from.

Swagbucks
Survey Junkie
Inbox Dollar
Average payout

$0.40 – $2

$1 – $3

$0.50 – $5.00
Payment method
Paypal or gift cards
Paypal, eGift cards, or bank transfer
Paypal Cash, Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, and more
Minimum to cash out
$3 for gift cards; $25 for PayPal

$5 (500 points)

$30
Promotion

$10

N/A

$5
View OfferView OfferView Offer

One of the most popular sites for consumer research is Survey Junkie. Millions of people use Survey Junkie to share their feedback on brands and get paid for it. You can take surveys or join online focus groups to earn points which you can redeem for cash or e-gift cards to top retailers.

While you won’t get rich using Survey Junkie, the site claims that you can make $40 per month by completing three surveys a day.

2. Sell things you don't need

If you've got some clutter lying around the house, you've got a simple way to make money from your phone. Many experts recommend the “six month rule”—if you haven’t used or worn something in the past six months, you’re probably safe to get rid of it.

List your items for sale online, and when they sell, you get paid. Some of the best options for selling your old stuff on your phone include:

  • Facebook Marketplace.
  • Local Facebook bargain groups.
  • Craigslist and Ebay.
  • Apps like Decluttr or LetGo.
  • Clothing resellers like Depop and Poshmark.

Remember that if you're meeting up with local buyers to drop off items you're selling, always choose a neutral, safe location.

3. Invest for extra income

There’s a reason Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. Investing is one of the most time-tested methods for building wealth over the long term. These days, it's easier than ever to buy and sell stocks or other securities directly from your smartphone.

There are a few ways to make money from your phone with investments. You could download an investment app and try your hand at day trading. However, that requires expertise and time since you must constantly monitor the markets to decide when to buy and sell a security.

An automated savings app offers a more passive approach. Round-up apps like Acorns link to your bank account and round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar. The “spare change” is then invested into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds so you can easily grow wealth on autopilot.

Acorns

Acorns

Acorns

Cost
$3 per month for Acorns Personal; $5 per month for Acorns Personal Plus; $9 per month for Acorns Premium
Min. investment
$5
Fees

Transactions: $0

Acorns Personal: $3/mo

Acorns Personal Plus: $5/mo

Acorns Premium: $9/mo

Expense ratio: 0.03%-0.25%

Bitcoin: 0.95%

4. Earn cash back when you shop

If you shop online using your phone, you can earn cash back on the things you buy. Monay saving apps, such as Rakuten and Drop, let you earn back a percentage of what you spend when you shop at their partner retailers.

Rakuten, for example, allows you to earn up to 40% cashback when you shop online or through the mobile app. You can also get an introductory cash bonus when you sign up and make eligible purchases, along with additional cash bonuses for referring friends and family.

Pro tip: Stacking a cash back app with a cash back credit card can put even more money back into your pocket.

5. Get paid to play games

If you enjoy playing games on your phone, why not make some extra money for your efforts?

Apps like Mistplay reward you for playing games on your mobile device. When you download Mistplay and create an account, you can earn in-app currency for your playing time. You can then redeem that currency for gift cards from Amazon, Best Buy, and other top brands.

InboxDollars is another app that pays you to play games. You can also make a little extra money by taking surveys through its app or earning cash back at partner retailers.

Will playing video games on your phone make you rich? Absolutely not. But it’s a simple way to pick up some extra money with a minimal investment of time.

6. Monetize your TikTok account

TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform, and if you spend a lot of time on the app, you might be able to monetize your presence.

There are many ways to make money on TikTok. Depending on the type of content you create, you can try the following:

  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Joining the TikTok Creator Fund.
  • Live Streaming.
  • TikTok Shop.
  • TikTok ads.
  • Brand sponsorships.

You can also use TikTok to drive traffic to a website or e-commerce store that you own. Keep in mind that you'll need to build up a decent following first, so this might not be a way to make money fast. But there are TikTok creators earning a sizable income from their channels.

7. Get paid to watch videos

If you watch videos on your phone, you could be getting paid for your time.

Swagbucks, for example, pays users to watch videos and complete other short tasks like playing games or taking surveys. You can also earn cash back when you shop online or in stores with the Swagbucks app.

Swagbucks
Survey Junkie
Inbox Dollar
Average payout

$0.40 – $2

$1 – $3

$0.50 – $5.00
Payment method
Paypal or gift cards
Paypal, eGift cards, or bank transfer
Paypal Cash, Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, and more
Minimum to cash out
$3 for gift cards; $25 for PayPal

$5 (500 points)

$30
Promotion

$10

N/A

$5
View OfferView OfferView Offer

Watching videos may not be the most lucrative option for making money. But it doesn't require any special skills or a college degree, making it an easy option for earning extra cash.

8. Become a dropshipper

Dropshipping is an online business model that requires a minimal upfront investment.

As a dropshipper, you set up a storefront and feature products from third-party companies or suppliers. When someone buys an item from you, the third-party company is responsible for fulfilling the order and shipping out the products.

So how do you make money as a dropshipper? It's simple.

You buy the products from the third-party company at wholesale, then sell them at the retail price to your audience. The difference between what your customers pay and what you pay for the items is your profit. Best of all, you don't have to store any inventory or handle shipping yourself, so you can run your business entirely from your phone.

Dropshipping has seen a rise in popularity in recent years and is expected to continue growing. According to Grand View Research, the dropshipping industry was valued at $225.99 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow by 23.4% from 2023 to 2030.

9. Sell your photos

If you love taking photos with your phone, you could make money by selling them to stock photo websites such as Foap and Shutterstock.

For example, Foap allows you to upload your pictures from your phone and sell them to brands. You license your photography for commercial use and in exchange, collect payments from the brands that purchase them. Shutterstock works in a similar way, in that you can upload your photos and make money when someone downloads them.

10. Gig apps

Gig apps connect you with money-making opportunities locally. Depending on which app you're using, you might get paid to:

  • Walk dogs.
  • Shop for and deliver groceries.
  • Deliver restaurant orders.
  • Drive people around.
  • Complete odd jobs or simple tasks.

There are lots of gig apps that allow you to make money with your phone. Some of the most popular options include Rover, DoorDash, Instacart, Shipt, Postmakes, Uber, and TaskRabbit.

For example, Rover connects dog walkers and pet sitters with pet owners who need help taking care of their furry friends. DoorDash pays you to pick up and deliver local restaurant orders. And Care.com can help you find babysitting gigs in your community.

11. Become a user tester

User testers get paid to test out websites and apps. All you need to do is visit the website or download the app, test it out, and report your findings back to the testing company.

It's a low-stress way to make money from your phone without a lot of effort. If you're looking for a site that pays for user testers, try UserTesting.com or the TryMyUI app.

Both platforms offer opportunities for user testing gigs. The more time you spend testing digital products, the more money you earn.

12. Start a YouTube channel

YouTube can be a lucrative way to make money from your phone if you're able to build up a solid subscriber base and get the necessary viewing hours for monetization with ads. As of 2024, YouTube creators will need 4,000 viewing hours on their channel over the previous 12 months in order to begin monetizing. Aside from ads, you can also monetize a YouTube channel with:

  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Selling products.
  • Channel memberships.
  • Sponsored content.
  • Super chat and stickers.

It's fairly easy to create a new YouTube channel and start uploading videos or shorts from your cell phone. You may want to spend some time studying what kind of content is popular if you're stuck on which niche to choose.

TIME Stamped: Making money from your phone isn't that difficult if you know where to look

Creating extra income can help take the pressure off your budget or make it easier to reach your goals, like saving or paying down debt. With so many different ways to make money on your phone, it's worth exploring some of the possibilities if you could use some added cash in your bank account.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are the best money-making apps in 2023?

Some of the best apps for making money from your phone include Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and Rakuten. With Survey Junkie, you can earn money from taking consumer surveys while Swagbucks pays users to complete short tasks like watching videos or playing games. Rakuten, meanwhile, pays you cashback when you shop at its partner stores.

How can I reduce my phone bill?

If you need to reduce your phone bill you can start by reviewing your current service plan to eliminate any unnecessary charges. Cell phone insurance, for instance, might not be something you need to pay for if it’s already included as a benefit on one of your credit cards. Other ways to trim your phone bill include moving to a lower plan and signing up for autopay if your provider offers a discount for doing so.

Can I make money without working?

It's possible to make money without working a traditional job. For example, you can create passive income using an investing app or through affiliate marketing. And dropshipping, taking surveys, and shopping online using cashback apps are other ways to make money without having to get a job.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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