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Everyone could use some extra cash, but it can be hard to find a good way to earn more money in your spare time. Plus, many side hustles can be difficult or frustrating to manage, and few of us want to think about doing more work after we get home from a hard day at our full-time job.
While they won’t make you rich, there are many game apps that pay real money for playing games or completing simple tasks on your phone. Some of these apps pay real money to the people that use them. There are dozens of these apps out there, and, yes, many of them are sketchy or scams. But there are a few that are not only legit but worth it.
You won’t be able to replace your full-time job with these apps, but they can give you some extra pocket change so you can treat yourself to something nice.
Swagbucks is one of the best-known game apps that pay real money to its users. It’s easy to sign up for the service, and you can use it from any major phone or your computer.
The site offers a wide variety of ways to earn rewards points, which are called Swagbucks. You can take surveys, search the internet, watch videos, sign up for offers like free trials of different products, or use the website’s shopping portal to earn rewards when you make purchases online.
Swagbucks’ games hub provides a few different categories of games, includingCash Games. You can play these games for free, but you won’t earn anything. If you’re confident in your skills, these games offer player-vs-player competitions with cash prizes. The catch is that you have to pay an entry fee to play. If you win, you can make a profit, but you’ll lose your money if you lose the game, just like any gamble.
But Swagbucks will give you a rebate on some of your entry costs. For example, you might get four Swagbucks (worth 1 penny each) for every dollar you spend on entries.
Swagbucks also offers free games to play that help you earn a few Swagbucks each day.
Finally, you can earn Swagbucks by downloading and playing games on your phone. For these, you have to sign up for the offer on Swagbucks’ site and download the app. You also have to meet certain requirements to earn the reward, like reaching a minimum level.
MyPoints is a very similar website to Swagbucks, offering rewards for activities like taking surveys, watching videos, and playing games.
It has more of a focus on earning money when you shop, rewarding you with as much as 40% in points at a partnered retailer’s store or website. The site also offers coupons that you can use to save even more when you shop.
If you want to earn rewards while having some fun, there won’t be games, but you can fill out MyPoints surveys or answer poll questions on the site. These actions will help you build up some points without spending any of your money.
You can cash out your MyPoints for money sent to your PayPal account or redeem them for various retailer gift cards. You can also convert your points to United MileagePlus miles, letting you save some money on your next flight.
Mistplay is an Android-only game app that pays you real money for playing different games on your phone. When you download and open Mistplay, you’ll be greeted by a list of different games that are available to play. You can choose any of the games listed, download them, and start playing to start earning rewards.
Mistplay has three different reward currencies you can earn: GXP, PXP, and Units.PXP. You can also earn Player Experience Points. They’re all tied to your account. You earn PXP whenever you play a game through Mistplay. Having higher PXP levels will also increase the rate at which you earn GXP.
GXP, or Game Experience Points, are tied to specific games that you play through the app. The more GXP you have in a game, the more Units you’ll earn from playing that game. If you move to a new game, you’ll start at 0 GXP for that game. GXP doesn’t expire or degrade, so you can always return to games you’ve played in the past.
Units are the currency you can redeem for rewards like gift cards. How many Units you can earn will vary from game to game and how much GXP you can have in a game. Games can offer varying levels of Units from one day to the next, so while specializing in one game can be a good way to build GXP, you might be able to earn more from playing different games.
In general, you’ll earn $3 to $5 per hour and can redeem your rewards once you’ve earned about $5 worth of Units. On some occasions, you can boost your earnings by completing streaks of playing a game consistently or by competing in contests.
Learn More: Can You Really Make Money Taking Online Surveys?
Publishers Clearing House is best known as that company that shows up at people’s houses with oversized checks, but it also runs a phone app and website on which you can play games.
One thing that makes Publishers Clearing House different from the other apps and sites on this list is that you won’t be earning guaranteed rewards. You can’t play a game for an hour and know you’ll earn $3. Instead, playing games online or through the app earns you entries into Publishers Clearing Houses’ different contests and giveaways.
These giveaways include multi-million dollar drawings and instant-win or online scratch-off games worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The odds on most of these games are long, so you probably won’t win anything in most cases. Still, these games can be a fun way to pass the time, and there’s a small chance that you’ll win one of the major contests. That could be life-changing.
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Long Game is another unique app that rewards you for playing games. The base of the Long Game app is a checking and savings account. These accounts work just like checking and savings accounts at other banks. The savings account pays 0.1% APY, and the checking account doesn’t pay any interest.
You’ll earn coins when you deposit money to your Long Game savings account. You can also sign up to have debit card purchases rounded up to the next dollar, automatically depositing the excess to savings. This lets you earn coins each time you make a debit card purchase.
You can redeem coins to enter sweepstakes or play different games in the Long Game app. If you do well in the games, you can win cash prizes. Some of the games offer hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash prizes, and Long Games sweepstakes have awarded up to $1 million in prizes in the past.
If you win, Long Game deposits the money directly to your account. While Long Game can be a fun way to gamify your savings and earn some extra money by playing games, it’s worth considering the opportunity cost. Many online savings accounts offer interest rates higher than Long Games’ 0.1% APY. You may find rates as high as 2% APY as you’ll do at Chime.
Depending on how much you have to put in your savings, you might earn more from a higher interest rate account than from playing the Long Game app games.
Chime Disclosure – Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Chime cannot guarantee when files are sent by the IRS and funds can be made available.
^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
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Givling is a trivia app available for iPhone and Android that offers cash rewards and helps people with student debt repay their loans.
There are two ways to win money through Givling.
The first is by playing in Givlings daily trivia games. You can play up to twice per day. Each time you play, you’ll join a three-person team and answer true or false trivia questions until you finish the round or miss too many questions. Each question you answer correctly earns you points. If your team has the highest score at the end of a competition period, you’ll split the cash reward.
The second way to earn is by playing daily games, which earn you queue points. Givling operates a crowdfunding queue for people with student loan debt. You’ll see advertisements when you play Givlings games. The company takes some of the revenue from these ads and uses it to pay large portions of players’ student debts. You can also complete sponsor offers to earn queue points.
As you earn queue points, you’ll move up the queue to get up to $50,000 of your student debt paid based on the number of queue points you have. The company has paid almost $7 million of people’s loan debt so far.
Givling doesn’t offer guaranteed payouts, making it more like the sweepstakes or lottery, but it’s a fun way to play some trivia for free and gives you the chance to win big.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about playing games to earn money.
Yes, if an app lets you earn money by shopping, you can usually use a rewards credit card alongside the app. This is a good strategy for doubling up on your earnings. You’ll get points in the app or website for shopping with one of its partners and earn cash back, points, or miles from your credit card.
The reality is that most apps that pay you to play games pay very low amounts or only offer a small chance of getting a big payout. If your primary goal is to make money, these apps probably aren’t worth the effort. Working more hours at your regular job or working on a side hustle is likely to be more lucrative than playing these games. However, if you’re looking for a way to have fun and earn some pocket change, these apps can be an excellent way to do that.
If an app is paying people to play games, that money has to be coming from somewhere. These apps make money in a variety of ways. Some apps will get paid by game developers who want more players for their games. By referring you to those games, the app gets a referral fee. Your reward is a cut of that fee. Other apps show advertisements or let users pay to play games. They use the money from ads and paying users to fund prizes for everyone.
We considered two primary factors when designing this list: how much you can earn and if the app is fun to use.
The point of this article is to list apps that you can use and games you can play to earn some extra money. If you can’t make any money or take hours to earn pennies, you might as well be playing a different game that you enjoy more.
The games that reward you also have to be fun. It isn’t worth the effort to slog through something that isn’t fun for a reward of a few pennies. There needs to be a good mix of potential reward and entertainment to make these apps worth using.
Other factors, such as user reviews and experience, as well as how easy the app is to use, also played a role. No one wants to use a broken or out-of-date app to try to earn rewards because the annoyance of dealing with a faulty app isn’t worth it.
Unfortunately, there are lots of scams in the market of games that pay you to play.
One good sign of a scam is games that make you pay money before you can participate. At best, these games are gambling, and highly-skilled players are likely to have a huge advantage. You’ll be more likely to lose money than make it with these games. At worst, these games will take your money and make it almost impossible to earn rewards or cash them out.
Some apps that give you rewards for playing other games on your phone also try to steal your data. Be very careful about which applications you install on your phone and follow security best practices. Check the reviews for apps before you install them, and don’t give them more access to your device than is absolutely necessary.
While there are many scams in the getting-paid-to-play market, not all of them are scams. The apps on this list are perfectly safe to use and a good way to earn some extra cash by gaming.
Use your best judgment and do your research before installing any app or giving the app access to your device and you should be safe to game and earn some cash.
Playing games on your phone won’t make you rich, but there are a few options out there that let you have fun and earn some extra cash. Don’t expect them to replace your day job, but they can help you afford a nice lunch or subsidize your daily coffee habit.
TJ is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in credit, credit cards and bank accounts. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, playing games (of the video and board varieties), soccer, and ultimate frisbee. You can find his work on his website, tjporterwriting.com.
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© 2021 DoughRoller. All rights reserved.