1. Quick Summary
  2. How Do You Make Money With These Apps?
  3. 20 Apps that Run in The Background
  4. 3 Investment Apps for Passive Income
  5. FAQ
  6. Conclusion

Having a side income is good and all. With it, you can earn extra cash for that trip you’re saving up for or just that big purchase you want to make. However, that all requires something which we all have way too little of – time.

So what if there was a way to earn money online by doing nothing?  Fortunately, there are tons of apps out there that help you do just that!

How Do You Make Money With These Apps?

Some red flags arise when you hear that you could make free money with zero effort. And while that’s a valid concern, these apps are 100% legitimate and pay you.

Here’s How Those Apps Make Money:

  1. Data Collection Apps.  This is the category most of these types of apps fall in.  Examples of data collection includes your internet usage, purchasing behavior, social media usage, and more to help with research or selling to third-party companies. It's important to note, all apps here sell the data anonymously.
  2. Investment Apps. These let you invest in REITs, stocks, or loans. Then you can just set it and forget it and see your money rise. However, before jumping in, it's important to understand there’s a risk of losing all your money based on financial trends.

Before we go on, you need to know one thing. And that is that these apps won’t help you retire. Instead, they should be used as an extra way to make some more money every year.

20 Apps that Run in The Background

Let’s talk about the money-making apps that pay you for doing nothing. These apps will help you earn around $100 per year.

Some of the apps may give you a joining bonus If you sign up via any referral code from your friends or family.

1. Mobile Xpression

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Starting the list, we have Mobile Xpresson. It’s an excellent market research app that pays you credits weekly for collecting data.

That includes your mobile browsing habits, app use, and purchasing behavior.

With the collected credits, you can redeem them through cash through PayPal or gift cards such as Amazon, Walmart, and more.

Try Mobile Xpression out here!

2. Mobile Performance Meter

Like the previous one, Mobile Performance Meter is another market research app. It also collects data about your mobile phone use. As the app runs in the background, you earn “meter” points every single.

These points can be redeemed into gift cards like Amazon, Domino’s Pizza, or more. But if you prefer, you can just get it via PayPal cash. This is one of the best ways to make free PayPal money.

You can expect to earn around 5 to 10 dollars. The only con is that this is only available to Andriod users. So, Apple users won’t be able to try it out.

Try out Mobile Performance Meter here!

3. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

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Continuing with the list, we have Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel. The Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel pays you the rewards for collecting data about your internet usage.

The great thing is that you can connect all your devices, including your phone, laptop, or tablet.

If you install the app on your computer, you will automatically enter the $10,000 monthly sweepstakes. So it’s worth trying out.

Try out Nielsen Mobile & Computer Panel here!

4. HoneyGain

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This is one of the best passive income apps I have for you is HoneyGain. With this, you’ll only have to install the application and let it run. It generates money by selling your unused internet bandwidth.

The pay depends on your location, traffic demand, and the number of users around your area. However, you should be paid around $10-$11 monthly.

Try out HoneyGain here!

5. National Internet Observatory

Next up, there’s the National Internet Observatory! It’s another excellent research app that collects data on your internet usage.

All you need to do for this is install their Chrome browser extension and leave it working in the background.

Not only will you start earning some easy passive income, but you’ll also get a $10 bonus for signing up. Just remember to share your insight through surveys occasionally.

If you're wondering if passive income apps work or not, your perception will change after using this app.

Try out the National Internet Observatory here!

6. Capital One Shopping

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Technically, this app won’t earn you any extra money. Instead, this one helps you save some money when you’re shopping online.

Capital One Shopping app gives you coupons automatically applied when checking out.

To start saving, you don’t need to be a Capital One card owner. So it’s worth installing for your next shopping spree.

Try out Capital One Shopping here!

7. Mistplay

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Mistplay technically isn’t a source of passive income app. Instead, it pays you to play mobile games! So, if you’re already playing games on your mobile, Mistplay is a must-download.

You must download the app, find games you’d like to play, and start playing. Then, you can earn rewards for reaching new levels, showing up daily, and more.

After you earn enough units, you can redeem them into gift cards like Visa, Xbox, Uber, etc.

Overall, one of the best rewards apps you can try today.

Try out Mistplay here!

8. Buff

If mobile gaming isn’t your thing, Buff might be for you. With this, you get rewarded for playing video games on your PC. There are many ways you earn money.

You can earn by playing well in matches, spinning the daily lucky wheel, completing weekly challenges, and more.

Once you earn enough buff points, you can redeem them into rewards like Steam gift cards, codes for new games, PC equipment, and more.

Try out Buff here!

9. Cash App Boosts

If you’re a Cash App user, then there’s a way to earn some rewards via the rewards program of their app.

Registering for Cash App Boosts allows you to earn cash back for purchases with your Cash App debit card. All you have to do is install the app, and you’re good to go!

You should check if the store is participating with Cash App Boosts. If so, no matter how small or large your purchase is, you can earn back some money!

Try out Cash App Boosts here!

10. InboxDollars Web Search

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InboxDollars is known for being a survey site. While that’s true, InboxDollars offers you another way to earn some cash: browsing the internet.

For this, you’re asked to use InboxDollars’ search engine; through this, they pay you.

So the next time you search for a recipe, using InboxDollars Web Search might be more beneficial.

Try out InboxDollars Web Search here!

11. Savvy Connect

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SavvyConnect is yet another excellent app for earning some money in the background. It’s another research app that pays you to collect data about your internet usage.

It’s impressive that you can use it on all your devices, including phones, tablets, and computers. The more there are, the more you can get paid.

But this makes this even better because it’s available for both Apple and Android devices.

Try out Savvy Connect here!

12. Survey Junkie Pulse

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Just like InboxDollars, Survey Junkie is also known as a survey site. And just like InboxDollars, they also let their users get paid for searching the internet.

You only have to download the app and leave it working in the background.

Then, you can earn some extra points, which you can turn into gift cards like Walmart and Amazon or just get cash through PayPal.

Try out Survey Junkie Pulse here!

13. Sweatcoin

Sweatcoin is an app that not only earns you money passively but also makes you more healthy. With it, you earn money by walking. For every 1,000 steps, you earn one Sweatcoin.

And if you earn enough Sweatcoins, you can turn them into rewards like iPhones but also opt to donate the accumulated coins to charity.

However, that means that you cannot cash out. Despite that, it’s a great app to have.

Try out Sweatcoin here!

14. ScreenLift

Like SweatCoin, ScreenLift is another unique way to earn extra cash. But instead of encouraging you to walk, ScreenLift gives you money for allowing there to be ads on your lock screen.

That makes this app only suitable for some, but you can earn around $60 per year for allowing ads to be there. You won’t even have to interact with them. To withdraw, you need to have a minimum of 1,500 points.

Try out ScreenLift here!

15. Digital Reflection Panel

Continuing the list, we have the Digital Reflection Panel. It’s an app that pays you money to collect data.

Specifically, it collects data about how you use different websites so that businesses can improve the experience.

And before you ask, the Digital Reflection Panel collects and sells this data autonomously, so fret not! Plus, an average user earns around $120 per year.

Try out the Digital Reflection Panel here!

16. Frequent Flyer App

If you’re an avid traveler, you’ll love this app! Frequent Flyer is like other apps for research purposes as it collects data on your phone usage.

All you have to do is keep the app running in the background, and you’ll earn around $5 per month.

While it’s not much, you can exchange the earned points for gift cards for travel, such as Airbnb or some hotels. So, installing this app is a must to save money on your next trip.

Try out the Frequent Flyer App here!

17. Google Opinion Rewards

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Next up, we have Google Opinion Rewards. It was previously known as Cross Media Panel, which pays you for web browsing. It collects data about your behavior, which is then resold as market research.

You can connect up to 3 devices that each earn around $12 per month. You can cash out with just $2! Plus, to earn some extra cash, you can also finish some surveys.

Try out Google Opinion Rewards here!

18. Datacoup

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Datacoup is just like any other market research app in this blog post. However, instead of collecting data about your internet usage, it contains your social media usage.

To maximize your earnings, you should connect as many accounts as possible.

Plus, if you want to, you can earn extra by connecting your bank account. That will collect data on your purchasing behavior.

You expect to make around $5 per month; however, you need at least $60 before you can cash out. So you can do that once a year.

Try out Datacoup here!

19. Ebesucher

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Ebesucher is an exciting way to earn some money. Keep your browser open and let Ebesicher automatically surf the web. By allowing it, Ebesucher pays you around $65 per year!

You can add as many devices as possible if they have a unique IP address. So, it is worth a try.

Try out Ebesucher here!

20. S’more

Like Screenlift, S’more is another app that pays you to show ads on your lock screen. Once installed, you’ll see an ad after unlocking your phone.

You can then learn more about it or continue using your phone as usual.

Either way, you’ll get paid the same amount. You can expect to earn around $50 per year!

Try out S’more here!

3 Investment Apps for Passive Income

If you want to earn money long-term, there’s nothing better than investing your money. The following three apps don’t require you to make huge investments. Instead, you can start with as low as $5!

21. Mintos

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Mintos is an excellent way to start investing some money. With this, you’ll be investing in some loans. With them, you’ll earn some interest, like 6-7%, while doing nothing.

Furthermore, if you’re eligible, you can let Mintos automatically invest, making it even easier.

Try out Mintos here!

22. Fundrise

If making money through loans isn’t your cup of tea, why not try out Fundrise? It’s an app that helps you earn passive income through REITs. That means you own a small part of real estate and earn from it.

All you need is just $10 to start! However, remember to be patient, as it will take time.

Try out Fundrise here!

23. WiseBanyan

And lastly, we have WiseBanyan. It’s an excellent app for those looking to start investing in stocks. It’s a free robo-investment advisor that helps you find the right stocks to invest in.

But what makes this even better is that you can start with $5.

Plus, there are no commissions, and you get an additional $20 bonus when you start investing through WiseBanyan.

Try out WiseBanyan here!


How Will This Affect My Bandwidth Usage?

Some apps in this list sell your unused internet, so it could happen that you won’t have internet due to it being used up by the apps. For this reason, it’s best to have an unlimited bandwidth plan so that won’t happen.

Are These Apps or Websites Passive?

Yes! Most of these are passive. They only require you to keep them running in the background or do what you already do, like browsing the internet, playing games, etc.


And those apps pay you for running them in the background. To maximize your earning potential, you should start using multiple of them. Then you can earn a few hundred dollars more!

Bob Haegele

About the Author

Bob Haegele Bob Haegele

Bob Haegele, your personal finance guru, draws on years of experience to simplify complex financial concepts and offer actionable advice.

Dedicated to helping you achieve financial success, Bob is here to guide you through every step of your journey to financial freedom with expertise in areas such as investing, student loans, and credit cards. His work has appeared on Business Insider,, and other nationally recognized outlets.

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