Money might not grow on trees, but it definitely does on the internet. As it turns out, free cash is very much a real thing, and there are plenty of ways to get it.
If this sounds like a pitch for a get-rich-quick scam, don’t worry — there are plenty of legit opportunities out there.
We may not be talking about a huge amount of money. But, you can earn money online with very little heavy lifting. For example, companies are eagerly spending money attracting new customers and gaining market knowledge. And, you can get paid by helping them accomplish those things with just a smartphone as your tool.
In this post, we’ll go over the 25 best strategies that will help you find that extra money.
Let’s dive right in!
25 Easy Ways To Earn Free Money Now
Free Money Strategies
1. Open A New Bank Account
One of the easiest ways that you can earn a good chunk of free money quickly is by opening a new checking or savings account.
Financial institutions tend to be quite competitive, so most banks will offer some level of a cash bank bonus with your initial deposit. The amount will vary based on the bank and the size of your deposit.
Some bonuses may only be available in certain areas, but check out these accounts from Chase and Citibank for nationwide options.
2. Rewards Credit Cards
Most credit cards have some kind of reward system built in to encourage spending. Many also offer a sign-up bonus if you hit a certain spending mark in the first few months.
As with their rewards systems, different credit cards offer different bonuses. Between travel perks, dining out, or just cashback, you can find a card that suits your needs.
If you’re really savvy, you can also tailor multiple cards to your spending. Cards will have point multipliers in different areas, so having one card for groceries, one for travel, one for gas, and so on, can help maximize your cashback or reward earnings. Provided that you are paying off your credit card bills on time, and making responsible spending decisions, this can also help your credit score.
But, whatever you do, don’t buy something you can’t afford simply because you want to earn a sign-up bonus. This is how people get into trouble with their credit card bills, and also how credit card companies make most of their profits. That’s because when you don’t pay off your balances each month, you’ll get hit with hefty interest fees.
That said, I only recommend the credit card rewards strategy who are very responsible with their spending, and only if you can for sure pay off your balances each month. Otherwise, the pros don’t outweigh the cons.
Just my two cents!
3. Credit Card Balance Transfer
If you’re carrying a balance and being charged interest on your monthly payments, transferring your credit card debt can save you a lot of money over time.
Credit card companies all want your business, to the extent that they’ll pay you to switch from another provider to theirs. Just find a card that offers a 0% interest rate on balance transfers, and you’ll save yourself a ton as you pay it down.
Take a look at the Citi Simplicity Card, which will give you 18 interest-free months to pay off your balance after your transfer.
4. Refinance Your Student Loans
Ask a millennial what the biggest stressor in their life is, and odds are their student loans will be toward the top of the list.
If you have private loans, you can refinance them through companies that usually offer lower monthly payments and better interest rates. SoFi, for example, is one of the leaders in this space.
Personally, I have several friends who have saved many thousands of dollars by refinancing their student loans. If you have student loans, it’s a no-brainer to call around and see what your refinance options are (it’s free to get a quote and learn what your payments and savings will look like).
5. Find Unclaimed Money
Sometimes money just gets away from you.
Between forgotten bank accounts, overpaid utility bills, or unclaimed property, you may have money sitting out there just waiting to be picked up.
There are several services that will look into it for you, but CreditKarma is one of the most reliable. Just enter in your information, and they’ll do a sweep and let you know what you’re owed.
6. Drive With Lyft
If you’re already looking to make money with a side-hustle, becoming a Lyft driver is a great opportunity to earn some extra cash on top of your regular trips.
Lyft offers an earnings guarantee for drivers, which ensures that you’ll be getting your money’s worth each time you head out. Basically, if you make less than you would typically expect on a given shift, you’ll receive compensation.
The amount that Lyft guarantees depends on where and how much you drive.
7. Invest In A 401(k)
If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement plan, there’s a good chance they offer some level of matching as well. This is one of the easiest ways to earn free money, and with the best long-term payoff.
The structure for each plan will vary, but usually, your employer will match up to a certain percentage of your paycheck that you contribute. Whenever possible, max out your contribution so you don’t miss out on any of it.
You won’t have access to this money until retirement, but that extra cash from your employer will significantly boost the amount that you set aside, thanks to compounding interest.
Learn more about retirement planning and 401(k) matching here.
Free Money Apps & Websites
Paribus is an app that works with your email account to help you get money back on things you’ve already purchased.
The app syncs with your email and tracks your online shopping. If you make a purchase, and the price of the item drops later on, Paribus will negotiate with the seller for the difference.
Paribus is 100% free to use and tracks purchases from over 25 major retailers. The best part is that they don’t take a cut of any savings that they find for you.
Acorns is a micro-investing platform that allows you to invest in the stock market without an upfront deposit. They’ll round off purchases made with a linked credit or debit card to the nearest dollar, then throw the remainder into an investment account.
The account is run by a robo-advisor, so it doesn’t take investment knowledge to use it. The basic plan on the app costs $1 each month, but they offer a $5 sign-up bonus when you link to your bank account. Also keep an eye out for referral bonuses, which change every month.
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is an online shopping platform that finds you cashback on your purchases. It’s an affiliate marketing company, which means that they make money by referring you to certain brands. Once you buy something through the app, they’ll send you part of their payout via check or Paypal.
You’ll earn a $10 bonus just to sign up, with additional rewards for every referral.
Swagbucks has been around since 2008 and pays you for things you’re probably already doing online. Watch videos, take online surveys, play games, and get paid for all of it.
You’ll earn points for each activity, which you can redeem for gift cards to retailers like Amazon or Walmart. You can also opt for cashback through Paypal.
Swagbucks is a free app and is offering points equivalent to $10 just for signing up.
InboxDollars operates in a similar way to Swagbucks and gives you free money through Paypal for your smartphone scrolling.
There’s no points system here, and Inboxdollars will pay you via cash or Paypal once you build your balance up to at least $30. They also have a $5 sign-up bonus and offer up to 30% of the earnings generated from your referrals.
ibotta is a cashback app that reimburses you for the things you buy once you scan your receipts. They partner with over 1,500 brands and provide real cashback for everyday purchases that you make through the app.
According to their site, the average user earns $150 each year with Ibotta. Not bad. You can also earn up to $20 as a welcome bonus just for signing up.
MyPoints is one of the oldest sources of rewards through online shopping. Founded in 1996, they have a long history of rewarding users for their purchases.
MyPoints allows you to earn points for your purchases at affiliated retailers, such as Walmart and Groupon. Once you have enough points built up, you can exchange them for gift cards, cash through Paypal, or even United frequent flier miles.
MyPoints is free to use and offers a $10 sign-up bonus.
15. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is one of the most popular online survey websites around. They offer free gift cards and payouts through Venmo or Paypal for providing opinions on brands that you love (or hate).
Survey Junkie also offers an opportunity for additional rewards through SJ Pulse, which is an app that monitors your data. The app is easy to use, and lets you know how long a survey will take (and how many points you’ll get) so you can decide if it’s worth your time.
Dosh is a great fit for anyone who is looking to earn cashback on purchases, and not in the form of discounts or gift cards.
All you have to do is link a debit or credit card to your Dosh account, and you’ll earn money back at over 100,000 locations. You can typically expect to earn between 2% and 10% on purchases, and the app is completely free. Once you reach $25 in earnings you can cash out.
Seated is a free app that gives you cashback for dining out. Once you make a reservation through the app, you’ll get a percentage of your bill back in rewards. Just scan your receipt after your meal, and the rewards points that you earn can be used for gift cards to places like Uber and Airbnb.
A Seated account is totally free, and they partner with over 1,500 restaurants and bars across the US.
Pro tip: Make sure you pay your check with a credit card that offers points multipliers on restaurants, and you’ll stack your extra money even higher.
Stash is an investment app that aims to make investing accessible to anyone. It isn’t truly a source of free money (you’ll have to deposit cash to invest), but since your investments will ultimately generate passive income, I think it qualifies.
There are no account minimums, and Stash offers commission-free trading on thousands of stocks and ETFs. Their basic plan is just $1 per month and comes with advice and tools to get you started.
19. Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards pays you to take quick online surveys. The payouts aren’t much, usually $.10 to $1 per survey, but they’re generally short and can be completed when you have a few minutes to spare.
If you sign up, Google automatically notifies you when surveys are available. The topics cover anything from opinion polls to hotel reviews. For each survey you complete, you’ll be rewarded with credits in Paypal or the Google Play Store.
20. Small Business Knowledge Center
The Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC) pays you for your junk mail.
Yes, you heard that right.
Believe it or not, those annoying letters and spam emails can be monetized. SBKC is a market research center, and they use marketing materials to identify market trends.
SBKC provides pre-paid envelopes for your physical mail, and you can simply forward stuff to them. You’ll earn points for each item you send them, which you can then redeem for Visa gift cards. Their site claims that regular users can expect to earn $20 every 6 to 10 weeks, and can receive additional bonuses for referrals. Not a terrible way to earn some extra cash.
Viggle is an entertainment platform that rewards you for engaging in ad-sponsored content. The app is available on iOS and Android and gives you points to watch videos, play games, or listen to music.
You’ll also have the option to watch live ad-sponsored TV on Viggle. The more you watch, the more points you’ll earn, which you can turn into gift cards or other rewards.
Drop is an online shopping app that rewards you for the things you buy. You’ll earn points by shopping directly through the app, or from making purchases with a linked credit or debit card.
The amount of points you’ll earn on each purchase varies by the store, so be sure to check out their current rates to see where you can get the most back. Drop is free to use and offers a $5 to sign up bonus (paid in points).
23. Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping is another shopping app that helps find you secure extra money in a few different ways.
First, they’ll help you get the best price on things you already buy. Once installed, the app automatically finds the best price for an item you’re looking at. You can also scan a barcode for something you’re looking at in the store.
The other way that Capital One Shopping helps you make money is through rewards. Just add deals from the app for specific retailers, and you’ll earn points toward gift cards once you make a purchase.
Trim is a personal finance app that promises a holistic approach to helping you save money.
The app helps you determine your long-term financial goals and then provides personalized recommendations based on those goals.
Trim has a few different services, and it’s important to note that not all of them are free. A personal finance dashboard, overdraft help, and subscription management are all included. Their assistance with bill negotiation and debt payoff comes with a fee.
25. Smart App
Smart App is a “set it and forget it” platform that runs in the background of your phone and collects data. The app anonymously and securely compiles data with the intention of understanding how people are using their devices. They then take user data to improve online platforms, but won’t share any personal or protected information (such as credit card numbers or passwords).
You’ll earn $5 for every 30 days you participate, with an additional bonus every three months. You’ll also get the option to take surveys for more cash, and they regularly run extra giveaways.
Earn Free Money Now
Whether you’re looking to save for retirement or need a few extra bucks for a night out, free money is out there. Again, you won’t get rich right away, but with the right attention to detail and some clever planning, you’ll be headed in the right direction.
Pick the best tactic(s) for your style and the cash will start adding up before you know it. You got this!