Passive income is defined as income that requires minimal effort—or perhaps even zero effort—to earn. Want to know how to make money in a passive way? Here are the 24 best passive income apps that you can use to make money this year.
What is passive income?
Before we begin, you may ask, “what exactly is passive income”? Simply put, passive income is money you earn that doesn’t require you to do a lot of “active” work. Our regular salary requires that we work for a company 9-5: this is active income. On the other hand, the dividends you earn on the money you invest in the stock market count as passive income, because you don’t need to work for the dividends.
People who achieve financial independence will tell you that passive income streams are the key to success. Passive income can free you up from the daily grind of work so you can focus on what you truly enjoy while still generating income.
Here are the best side hustles to make passive income:
1. Automate your investment with Acorns
Investing your money is an easy way to make some passive income. Not only do you benefit from capital appreciation (aka. price increases), but you can also benefit from dividend payouts. Both of these sources of income are purely passive.
Acorns is the leading micro-investing app in the U.S. It is a super easy-to-use app that enables you to invest your life’s spare money. You only need under 5 minutes to sign up, and there is no minimum investment required. You will be investing in a low-cost, diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds with this investment app, and watching your money grow effortlessly. Acorns is suitable for anyone, even beginners, who are looking for a relatively easy solution to grow your money. Sign up for Acorns here today!
Check out my Acorns review to learn more!
2. Use TopCashBack to earn cash back on online purchases
TopCashback.com is one of the United States’ most generous cash back sites. In addition to passing at least 100% of the commission rate that stores pay back to their members, they also provide discount coupons that can be used in conjunction with cash back. Sign up for TopCashBack.com here.
3. Download the Drop app
The Drop app is one of my favourite passive income apps. For every single purchase that you make through Drop, you get some cash back! Drop has more than 2,500 stores from a wide array of categories listed, including many well-known brands like Amazon and Starbucks. Don’t forget that Drop also has flash deals and boosted offers that you should take advantage of. Sign up for Drop here.
Check out my Drop app review to learn more!
4. Get cash rebate with Rakuten
Rakuten, formally known as Ebates, is another popular online cash-back shopping site in the US and Canada.
Using Rakuten is very simple. All you need to remember is that if you want to make an online purchase, you go to Rakuten’s website first, from where you select the desired merchant. Rakuten will then automatically redirect you to the merchant’s official website. Alternatively, you can also install their browser extension (which is what I did) and you will be notified whenever a cash-back or a bonus offer is available.
Rakuten has more than 2,500 stores from a wide array of categories listed, including many well-known brands like Dell, Walmart, Chapter-Indigo, and Amazon.
I have been using Rakuten since 2016, and have always remained a happy member!
To get a cash bonus with your first qualifying purchase:
If you are in the US: sign up here.
5. Use Fluz app to earn cashback on your everyday purchases
Fluz is a cash back platform partnering with hundreds of major brands such as CVS, Home Depot, Burger King, and thousands of local brands that your friends, family, and co-workers all shop with daily. Sign up for Fluz app here.
How does Fluz work? Well, you are buying gift cards from well-known brands from the Fluz app. And once you’ve bought a gift card for your desired amount, you immediately get cash back which stays in your Fluz wallet until you withdraw it or use it to purchase more gift cards. Once you’ve purchased the gift cards, you can then use these in-store or online to pay for items.
With Fluz, not only can you earn cash back instantly on your entire purchase amounts, you can also earn from the purchases of others you referred to the network as well. This is a nice way to generate some passive income. Sign up for Fluz app here to start earning passive income today!
If you are in Canada: sign up here!
6. Play games with Android app Mistplay to earn extra cash
Mistplay is a wonderful Android app that allows you to play games and make money. It is as easy as downloading the app on your Android phone, playing games, earning Mistplay units, and cashing out to earn gift cards!
If you are in the US: Sign up for Mistplay here.
If you are in Canada: Sign up for Mistplay here.
7. Money Well (Android only)
Have you ever wanted to earn money or gift cards while playing games? It’s time to get lucky and get the money you deserve for playing!
Once you start playing, we track your active time in the game. Throughout the games, you will collect tickets that you can exchange with gift cards. All you have to do is play one of our games and you will pick up your Paypal money, Amazon gift card, Steam voucher, PSN cards, Nintendo vouchers, Google Play Store coupons, iTunes gift cards, and more!
Last but not least, enjoy a smooth game experience with no advertising in the games.
8. Cornhole League (iOS & Android)
Throw bags and earn rewards with Cornhole League!
Cornhole is a fun and popular family game in which players take turns to toss fabric bean bags at a raised platform with a corn hole in the far end. It is one of America’s favourite games, and one that you see regularly at barbecue parties. Why not take it to the next level and play it on phone? You can have fun defeating your opponents, participating in prestigious tournaments, and unlocking many rewards!
To participate today:
9. Install Honey
If you are interested in earning passive income, you may want to try Honey, a subsidiary of PayPal. Honey is a browser extension that can easily help you find coupons online. It also automatically helps you apply the coupons to your purchases so you can always get the best deals!
10. Use a cash-back credit card
Using a cash-back credit card is probably one of the oldest ways to earn passive income.
If you are looking for a Canadian card, you may want to consider signing up for the no-fee Tangerine Money-Back credit card. It is my primary credit card that offers cash-back on every purchase, including 2% for three categories of your choice. I use the card on a daily basis, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Check out my Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review to learn more!
Worried that you may not have enough credit history to get a cash-back credit card? Don’t worry, you can use a secured credit card, such as Neo Secured Credit Card, to build your credit history.
11. Join Survey Junkie Pulse and earn extra money passively
Survey Junkie Pulse is one of the top passive income apps that you can use to earn side income without much additional effort. By automatically sharing your digital browsing behaviours with Survey Junkie through their Pulse program, you can easily earn passive income. Survey Junkie Pulse is run by Survey Junkie, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the consumer insights platform DISQO.
Internet browsing habits are used for market research purposes to analyze how various consumer groups behave. Secure information — such as passwords or credit card details — is never collected, and personally identifiable information is masked by encryption. Check out Survey Junkie’s resource here to understand how insights are shared.
Of course, if you don’t feel like sharing your digital browsing behaviours, you can still sign up for Survey Junkie and earn some side income by taking surveys, playing video games, etc. Check out my Survey Junkie review to learn more!
12. Join Swagbucks
Using Swagbucks is a semi-passive way to make money online. Swagbucks is one of the most popular money making apps on the market. You can earn points, called SBs, by completing short tasks. They include shopping at your favourite store, searching the web, taking online surveys, watching videos, or playing games. Yes, you read it right. You can play video games and make free money at the same time!
The payouts of the tasks differ based on the difficulty of the tasks. You can then use the points to redeem for free gift cards or cash via PayPal.
An interesting feature of the Swagbucks prizes is that they go on sale too! They have days when they offer 20 – 25% off select rewards. You may want to wait to redeem gift cards on one of these days and get a bigger bang for your buck!
If you’d like to learn more about Swagbucks, check out my complete review on Swagbucks!
13. Earn quick money with KashKick
Doing online surveys is the best way to earn cash on KashKick. Of course, other way to earn money, such as finding great deals, surfing the web, and watching videos, are also available. Using KashKick is a great way to make some money in your down time.
Check out my comprehensive KashKick review to learn more!
14. Install the Nielson Computer & Mobile Panel app
Formed in 1923, 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.
15. Install Embee Meter CX on your Android phone
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 (you can get it easily on Google Play Store) and only specific devices are accepted into the program.
16. Use S’Mores Lockscreen app
S’Mores Lockscreen tops the list of the highest paying lockscreen apps. With the app installed, you are shown ads as you unlock your phone. You are then compensated for your time watching the ads. This app is available for people living in the US.
17. Buy fractional shares to participate in passive income investments
If you have limited capital, it doesn’t mean that you cannot invest. As a matter of fact, you can purchase fractional shares on many platforms such as Acorns, Robinhood, M1 Finance, Ally Invest, and SoFi. Fractional shares will enable you to earn extra passive income without needing a large upfront capital.
18. Get paid to walk with Sweatcoin
Sweatcoin is the #1 fitness app in many countries based on its ranking on the App Store and Google Play. The app allows users to earn sweatcoin when they walk or run inside and outside.
You get 0.95 sweatcoin for every 1,000 steps you take and can redeem them for cash (via PayPal) or rewards (gift cards, fitness products, Apple watches, FitBit, music downloads, etc.). They also pay you 5 sweatcoin for every friend you refer to the app.
19. Get paid to lose weight with HealthyWage
It takes a ton of hard work and dedication to shed a few pounds. However, if you already want to lose weight, why not gamify the process and use HealthyWage?
The concept of HealthyWage is simple: you make a bet on how much weight you can lose. When you achieve your goal, you win real money!
Of course, keep in mind that you should lose weight in a healthy manner. Never go to the extremes to win prize money. It is never worth it.
20. Open a high-interest savings account
Opening a high-interest savings account is an easy way to make some passive income. Chequing accounts from major banks nowadays earn barely any interest, so your best bet would be to open one with an online bank.
If you are in Canada, I recommend that you check out EQ Bank. This bank offers one of the highest interests in all savings accounts in Canada, and the money is accessible at any time. In addition to regular savings accounts, EQ bank also has registered accounts such as TFSA and RSP.
21. Create a blog
If you enjoy writing like me, you may want to start a blog. Although creating a blog does require some active work in the beginning, as your audience grows, your blog will become a great stream of passive income for you. For example, I have started generating a healthy side income from ads (I joined ezoic ad network), affiliate marketing (I see the best results from Aragon Premium), sponsorships, freelance writing opportunities, and more.
Of course, starting a blog requires some tools. Here are the blogging tools I use:
- NameSilo: One of the most economical registrar and hosting companies out there. I stumbled upon this company and have been very happy with the service. It is my current registrar. Use promo code “bellawanana” at check out to get a special discount! Sign up for NameSilo here.
- SiteGround: This is my current hosting company. I like it for its SiteGround optimizer plugin, the free email accounts, and the better speed with my site. Sign up for SiteGround here.
- Ezoic: This is the ad network I have joined. It pays quite a bit better than Google AdSense, and it provides a wealth of knowledge to help grow your site. Sign up for ezoic here.
- Bluehost: perfect for beginners who want to upgrade from a free platform (so you can start monetizing) but who also want to minimize spending. Check out my Bluehost review to see why I chose it as my first hosting company. Sign up for Bluehost here.
22. Rent out what you have
Renting out what you already have, such as a spare room or a car you don’t drive often, could also be a good idea if you want to generate passive income.
Here are some passive income apps:
- Airbnb (for rooms)
- Turo (for cars)
- Fetch Truck (Sign up for Fetch Truck here and you can earn up to $30,000 per year).
- RVShare: You could earn up to $40,000 in additional income per year from your RV when you aren’t using it. Sign up for free at RVshare and reach millions of renters every year. The platform provides one-on-one training and coaching, and they verify every renter so you always know who you’re renting to. Sign up for RVshare here!
23. Use Zillow Rental Manager to manage your rental property
Zillow Rental Manager helps you manage your rental property more efficiently, and that can put more money in your pocket. With the Rental Manager, you can list your rental properties on Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads. It also allows you to screen tenants online, run criminal and credit checks, and have rental payments sent directly to your bank account.
24. Real estate investments
If you have a large enough capital and are looking to start a side hustle, real estate investing is certainly a good way to make passive income.
Real estate projects allows you to grow your money in two ways: rental income and capital appreciation. You can make money by renting out the property. As well, over time, the real estate is likely to increase in value, so you can sell the property to make a profit in the future.
Of course, real estate investing does come with potential risks. You may have to deal with unruly tenants, and your property may decrease in value due to unforeseen circumstances.
25. GoCashBack.com to get cash back when you shop online
GoCashBack is one of the fastest-growing Cash Back websites. Shopping through GoCashBack.com allows you to get up to 40% Cash Back at your favourite stores, including eBay, Walmart, Home Depot, Ssense, Macy’s, GNC, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Groupon, and 11,000 more. GoCashBack comes with a Chrome extension as well as iOS and Android apps.
You can get $5 bonus right away when you sign up. When you tell your friends about GoCashBack and they sign up, you can get a referral bonus, and they can, too! You can also earn 5% of your friend’s cash back in the first year. Sign up here to take advantage of this offer!
As you can see, there are many side hustle ideas that you can use to start making money right away. These are my the best passive income ideas that I recommend you use to help you generate some side income (even if you already have a full-time job) effortlessly. Most of these endeavours only require some minimal initial setup, and you can watch your money grow while you sleep or enjoy whatever you are interested in doing. What’s not to love about these apps to make passive income with?