You can only work so many hours per day, so if you want to build wealth, you will need to make money while you sleep. For this to happen, you must find ways to generate passive income. Unfortunately, earning passive income can seem overwhelming as it often requires a lot of money or effort upfront to see any returns.
Thankfully, there are many passive income apps you can use to create new sources of income on top of your nine-to-five, so you can have money coming in even when you’re not working.
While many side hustles can feel like a second job, here are 22 passive income apps for those who want to make extra money without using up all their free time.
We all know real estate investing is a decent way to earn an extra income, but the reality is that becoming a landlord is a lot of work. Finding the right rental property, screening tenants, and handling maintenance requests are all factors traditional landlords have to deal with. You can avoid the headaches of being a landlord with real estate apps.
Fundrise allows unaccredited investors to begin real estate investing for as little as $10. With Fundrise, you can pool your money with other investors to access projects typically reserved for billion-dollar institutions. Find out more in our Fundrise review.
HappyNest is a Fundrise alternative that also offers access to real estate investments. For only $10, a HappyNest REIT lets you invest in commercial real estate without waiting to save up for a downpayment.
This passive income app is unique because you can passively invest your money without effort. If you link a debit card or credit card to your HappyNest account, you have the option of rounding up every purchase to the nearest dollar, and that change will go towards more investments. For example, if you purchase a coffee for $3.25, the app will round up to $4 and set aside $0.75 towards purchasing additional shares.
Groundfloor is a passive income app that combines saving with investing, something they refer to as “savesting.” The platform promises an annual return of 10% for investors, a rare find these days. You can invest in individual renovation loans or use automated investing tools to fund real estate projects that match your expectations.
Groundfloor’s Stairs savings account earns you 4% interest on your money without any account minimum, so you can invest as much or as little as you wish. With Groundfloor, you can see returns every 4-12 months, which is rare since many other real estate investing apps will lock your money up for extended periods.
Mainvest is a small business crowdfunding app that lets you create passive income by investing in small businesses. This passive income app touts that you can target 10-25% returns with as little as $100. When the small business grows, so does your return, meaning your passive income can rise even higher.
You can customize your portfolio based on your preferences, like location, risk tolerance, and industry. Plus, Mainvest vets every small business that applies, only accepting about 5% of applicants. You get quarterly repayments and access to an asset class typically reserved for institutional investors with significant amounts of capital.
Acorns Round-Ups feature helps you passively invest your money with spare change. For example, if you spend $4.38, the app will round up to the nearest dollar and invest that $0.62 for you. You can invest your money in diversified portfolios, including ETFs, built and managed by financial experts.
With over 10 million sign-ups, this passive income app is trusted by folks who went to invest and earn passive income without being involved in the entire process. For a low monthly fee of $3, you can begin investing in funds the experts have vetted for you. Learn more in our Acorns review.
We started this list of passive income apps with a real estate platform, so it only makes sense to include Yieldstreet, one of the best real estate investing apps. Their alternative asset classes range from commercial property to art, exposing you to future passive income from unique sources.
Yieldstreet’s investment opportunities depend on how much you’re willing to put in and how much risk you can tolerate. The app provides you with regular updates on your portfolio’s performance.
Public offers zero-commission trades and connects you with other investors like you would on a social media platform. You can invest in prominent companies with fractional shares and themed-stock bundles. There’s no account minimum to get started.
With Public, you can automate your investments with weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly contributions or make periodic lump-sum purchases. You can also invest in the following asset classes:
- Contemporary art
- Luxury goods
- Music royalties
For more information, check out our full Public review.
The basic account won’t cost you anything, and there are no account minimums. You can build your portfolio based on expert recommendations to begin earning passive income. You can also earn 3.75% on your cash with Robinhood Gold, its premium platform.
New customers will get a free stock as an incentive when they sign up, and the mobile app has made investing simple enough for anyone to use, so you don’t have to worry about a steep learning curve. Learn more in our Robinhood review.
9. M1 Finance
M1 Finance helps you build your investment portfolio to create passive income from your savings. It has automated investing tools that help you find the best ways to generate passive income. You also get access to expert-curated portfolios, taking the stress out of choosing the best stocks to invest in.
If you don’t have the funds to invest in specific companies, you can purchase fractional shares with M1 Finance. Its passive income investing app allows you to handle all your investing needs under one platform, including account access and investment tools. Find out more in our M1 Finance review.
For years, Airbnb has provided travelers with more accessible options for booking accommodations. It’s also one of the best passive income ideas out there. If you have an extra bedroom or additional space in your home, or you’re willing to invest in a rental property, you can create a short-term listing on the Airbnb platform.
With Airbnb, you can create a passive income stream with minimal effort once set up, especially with outsourcing tasks like cleaning or handling guests. You can also develop systems, such as digital check-ins and automated messages, to make the process as smooth as possible.
The amount of money you can earn from your Airbnb will depend on the unit’s location and size. Airbnb’s website has a calculator that gives you an estimate of what you could earn.
Neighbor allows you to turn your extra space into cash by renting it out to neighbors in need of storage. Create multiple streams of income by renting our space in your basement, garage, or driveway via the peer-to-peer rental app. Here are some examples of the spaces you can list on Neighbor:
- Extra room.
- Entire storage unit
With $1,000,000 in insurance protection for you and your renters and a guaranteed payment plan, this is easily one of the best passive income apps. You can list your space for free – after that, you’ll only have to pay a small fee of 4.9% plus $0.30 for processing when you receive your monthly rental payouts.
Swagbucks is one of the best online survey websites, but you can also earn points for shopping online, playing video games, and searching the web. When you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards to retailers like Amazon or as cash back through PayPal.
While paid survey sites aren’t pure passive income, you are monetizing activities you may already be doing (like surfing the web or playing games, while making money you otherwise wouldn’t have. Check out our Swagbucks review for all of the details.
Drop app allows you to turn your spending into points you can redeem for rewards as good as cash. Download the app, earn points by shopping at your favorite stores, and reward yourself with Drop points. These points are redeemed as gift cards, charitable donations, and even crypto.
The app currently works with over 500 brands and rewards you for making purchases you were already planning to make. The categories for earning points include beauty, apparel, groceries, dining, travel, and entertainment.
Dosh gets you automatic cash back from many popular retailers. You don’t have to worry about scanning receipts or going through coupons. Simply download the app, and get cash back when you shop, eat out or even book a hotel room for your next trip at one of Dosh’s 10,000 partners.
When your balance reaches $15 in cash-back rewards, collect your earnings through PayPal, Venmo, your bank, or donate it to charity.
Rakuten’s passive income app generates income for you via cash back. Shop at over 3,500 stores while the Rakuten browser extension keeps track of your online purchases. Rakuten’s partners pay them a commission for sending customers, and Rakuten shares this with users as cashback.
With over 15 million members and $2 billion in paid out, Rakuten is a legit source of passive income. After signing up, there’s a $10 welcome bonus when you spend your first $25. You can get paid via PayPal to ensure the money lands in your account every three months.
Upside is a passive income app that lets you earn cash back on gas at over 50,000 locations nationwide. You can earn up to $0.25 per gallon of gas you purchase at select locations. Upside is free to join, and they pay you in cash, so you don’t have to worry about collecting points or gift cards.
With gas prices increasing, it makes sense to earn money back on a purchase you would be making anyway.
Trim analyzes your spending habits to see where you can cut back and save money. From there, the app will negotiate bills on your behalf by tapping into its team of experts who can secure lower rates for you, guaranteeing to lower your bills by 30%. While you’re not technically earning passive income with this app, you’re saving money and decreasing your monthly spending without effort.
According to Trim, users can save up to $620 annually by using its app. With over 2 million users and $70 million in savings delivered, Trim is another way to keep more money in your bank account.
Capital One Shopping is a passive income app that lets you save money and earn rewards points for shopping at your favorite stores. The service is free even if you’re not a Capital One account holder.
The Capital One Shopping app uses comparison shopping to help you find lower purchase prices, and the browser extension automatically applies coupon codes to your online shopping cart.
19. Rocket Money
Formerly known as Truebill, Rocket Money works on your behalf to save money. The experts at Rocket Money negotiate lower monthly bill payments and cancel subscriptions you’ve forgotten about. Use the app to track your spending and review your budget to save even more money.
With over 3.4 million members, Rocket Money claims to have saved its users over $245 million in the last five years. If you’d like to add more money to your bank account with minimal effort, try Rocket Money.
Tada is a cash back app that lets you earn up to 20% back on purchases with the browser extension. New users also get a $10 sign-up bonus with their first order.
The app is free to use, and you get paid through PayPal or with gift cards, depending on your preference. Sign up, buy groceries or make any purchase as you usually would, and then scan your receipt. Tada also offers a browser extension for online shopping.
OnMyWay is a passive income app that pays you to stay off your phone while driving. This could be a decent source of passive income if you’re often on the road and want to ensure that you’re not engaging in bad driving habits that could lead to accidents.
While the app won’t make you rich, you could still increase your passive income by referring friends for a commission.
Earny is a cash-back app that automatically tracks the prices of your recent purchases and then gets you a refund if the price happens to drop. You can also save money when using the app for your purchases.
If you link your Amazon account to Earny, you can get updates with 24/7 price tracking and price drop alerts. You can also get a refund when your Amazon order arrives late. If you shop online often, you’ll likely benefit from the savings with Earny.
Are Passive Income Apps Legit?
In this article, I’ve included passive income apps that are used by thousands of people and have been proven to either help you make or save money. What separates each app are the different levels of effort and commitment required to use them. Some of these passive income apps will bring in money while you shop, others will help you save money on your monthly expenses, and some may even give you a lucrative stream of revenue.
As a general rule of thumb, we urge you to watch out for websites that promise you “guaranteed passive income” with no effort required. There are many apps to help you make money available, but none of these will get you rich overnight.
We vetted this list to include passive income apps that have proven to generate or save money. If you’re concerned about an app’s safety, check out reviews on the Better Business Bureau and the various app stores to see what’s said about an app before downloading it.
A common question revolves around passive and active income. Passive income apps aim to find a new income without spending too much time. The goal is to use your active income from your nine-to-five job or side hustle to create passive income sources that allow you to have money coming in continuously.
It’s hard to settle on the highest-paying app because it depends on your situation and how invested you are in earning money. For example, you can make thousands of dollars on Airbnb if you have a prime property or space to rent out. If you have a lot of money to invest, robo-advisors like M1 Finance or a REIT app like Fundrise can be very lucrative over the long term.
The lowest-paying apps will almost certainly be the paid survey apps and get-paid-to apps. At best, you can make a few bucks a week on each app, enough to pay for a couple of streaming subscriptions or a few Starbucks coffees. But while these apps won’t make you rich, they have the lowest barrier to entry. You can download Swagbucks or Survey Junkie and start earning within minutes. I recommend signing up and using multiple apps simultaneously to maximize your income.
The Final Word on Passive Income Apps
As you look to increase your cash flow, it makes sense to take advantage of the passive income opportunities right in front of you. The trick is to create multiple income streams that constantly bring in money. Every little bit of income adds up over time, and one day you may be able to pay your bills from your passive income.
For more passive income app ideas, here’s a video that covers other apps not featured on our list: