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Looking for the best smartphone apps that pay you money (or gift cards)? You came to the right place. I've tested a ton of apps that pay you and have thought long and hard about which ones deserve to make the cut for 2017.
While this might seem like an easy thing to do, this was actually pretty difficult as there are so many reward apps now that it's pretty time consuming to test each one enough in order to weed out the good from the bad.
The sad truth is that most apps that pay you money, gift cards, etc. fall into the "meh" category as they always seem to have something holding them back from really being worth your time.
Usually this "something" involves extremely low point value (compared to time commitment) tasks, for example 1 point to take a half hour long survey or two points to watch an hour of videos.
While I can't guarantee that none of these apps ever have low point value tasks, I can say that I've tested each of them and in my opinion, these are currently 2017's best apps that pay you.
Before we get to the list, it should be noted that I didn't include cash back apps because those require you to spend money in order to get paid. While some of those apps are very good and I highly recommend them (check out my Ibotta review), this is not the place to list them as this list represents apps that pay you without you having to spend any money at all.
Alright, enough talk (or writing), on with the list!
Coming in at #1 is Swagbucks, the best free gift cards app (actually multiple apps) for a number of reasons. First of all, the sheer number of ways Swagbucks has to earn money gives it an advantage over many other Android and iOS apps, most of which concentrate on one specific task like watching videos, taking surveys, etc.
Swagbucks has so many different ways to earn that if you've never used Swagbucks before, it can actually be pretty confusing trying to find your way around (if you fall into this category, I highly recommend you check out my Swagbucks guide).
Secondly, Swagbucks has multiple easy point earners where they don't take much time or effort. These include such things as daily Swag Codes, games, and searches that can reward you as well. While none of these give a ton of points, they all add up in the end and take hardly any effort.
Finally, while nCrave videos on Swagbucks' site appear to be few and far between these days, the videos on Swagbucks various mobile apps are still working fine. These videos are great as they mostly play continuously with only the occasional "X" ad displayed requiring you to click it in order to display the next video.
While there are plenty of other apps that pay you that are worth your time, Swagbucks is my #1 pick of 2017.
Perk TV, an app for both iOS and Android, is my 2017 #2 pick for best app that pays you. This is due mainly to the fact that all of Perk TV's videos are continuous play (with the exception of a button that needs clicked that appears every few hours to make sure you're paying attention).
This allows you to select a video from your chosen category and then just watch as it plays one video after another. This makes for a pleasant experience while using it and minimizes the headaches that so many of these apps seem to enjoy giving us users as they force us to click something after every video.
Also, Perk TV allows you to use it on multiple devices at once which is rare and makes earning money much easier. While the limit of devices isn't clearly stated anywhere I could find, please don't abuse this feature as you run the risk of getting banned and/or ruining it for everyone.
Read my full Perk TV review for more info.
The Checkpoints app for both iOS and Android is my #3 pick for 2017 because of the possibility to earn a lot of points in a fairly short amount of time. The cool thing about CheckPoints is that in addition to watching videos, you can also earn points by both scanning barcodes, and "checking in" to stores.
These options give you the chance to really rack up the points as a single trip to the grocery store could get you 100+ points. In addition, you can check into gold star locations on a daily basis (at certain times) with each one granting you 10 points.
With points translating roughly into about $1 per 335 points, you can cash out fairly quickly if you combine all three point earning activities on a daily or semi-daily basis.
If you want to read more about CheckPoints be sure to read my in-depth CheckPoints app review.
Coming in at #4 is S'more, a lockscreen app for Android that pays you for allowing it to display advertisements on your lockscreen. While there are other lockscreens that pay you, S'more has really perfected the model.
What I love about S'more is the simplicity of it. There's no guessing about how much you'll make in a day or trying to figuring out whether you just got paid for unlocking your phone.
S'more pays you 10 points a day, every day that you have it installed on your phone (and it's enabled/working properly, obviously). This is the equivalent of $0.10. While that isn't a lot of money, you have to remember that you'll basically doing next to nothing to earn it.
After you're signed up and the app's installed, you can pretty much just forget about it and before you know it, you'll have enough to redeem an Amazon gift card which, keeping with the simplicity theme, is the only reward available.
Like S'more, Adme is a lockscreen app for Android that pays you to display ads on your phone. Like the other lockscreen apps that pay, it operates pretty much the same way so there isn't a whole lot to say about it.
You can cash out via PayPal once you have $10.00 in your account and they send the money on the 1st and 15th of each month which means you don't get paid the same day like you do with S'more.
Read my Adme app review for a lot more information regarding this great app.
The last Android lockscreen app in this list comes in at #6: SlideJoy. Like the previous two, SlideJoy pays you to keep it installed on your phone, displaying ads whenever you wake up/turn your phone on.
Unlike the previous two apps listed, SlideJoy allows you to cash out via multiple different rewards including PayPal, Amazon, Google Play, among others. Also, SlideJoy has a cool feature other lockscreen apps don't: Scratch Offs!
That's right, you can win additional points (called "carats") by watching a quick video ad and then scratching off a virtual ticket. Other then the time it takes to watch the ad, they don't cost anything and they seem to pay off pretty well.
I wrote an in-depth SlideJoy app review which you may want to check out if you're considering installing it.
Panel App is an app for both Android and iOS that pays you to let it track you. Using your phone's GPS, it tracks where you go and gives you corresponding surveys from time to time (don't worry, they're very short).
Each day that you have it installed on your phone and your phone is on/moving, you get points which you can then redeem for various rewards like Amazon gift cards. Panel App is great because it's almost completely passive.
Once it's installed, you really don't have to do anything, and other than the occasional small survey, you can pretty much forget about it and just check in occasionally to see your point total.
The downside to this one is how long it takes to accumulate points. It is a very slow earner (at least for me) so just be aware of that before you sign up.
Personally, I don't mind that it takes a long time to be able to cash out as I'm really not doing much for the eventual reward(s) and I heavily favor passive apps as they're about as close as you can get to completely free money.
My #8 app pick, GrabPoints, is another Android only app that's rather new to me as I downloaded it fairly recently. I included it on this list though as it seems promising due to a number of features.
Firstly, GrabPoints is similar to Swagbucks in that it also has a ton of ways to earn cash including videos, surveys, articles, downloading apps, etc. While I'm partial to the video section, I appreciate the ability to make money via different ways.
Secondly, GrabPoints is fairly generous with bonus points. Pretty much on a daily basis you'll get a notification that you've been awarded bonus points (usually 7 in my experience) which is awesome because, well, they're free points and who doesn't love free points?!
At #9 is appKarma, and app for Android and iOS that is also fairly new to me. While I'm generally not a big fan of the "download to earn" apps, appKarma appears to be the best of the bunch.
Not only does the app look a lot nicer than some (*cough* CashPirate), but it also has a few different features that I like.
One of those features is a daily check in bonus. Without requiring you to do anything other than open the app and click the bonus button, you get 5 free points every day.
The other cool feature of appKarma is that once you download an app, in addition to the points you get for downloading it, you will get additional points (10) for using the app for a few minutes each day for a set number of days.
This is great because I always felt the problem with the download to earn apps is that eventually you run out of apps to download. These additional ways to earn points helps you continue to get points without relying on downloading more apps, at least for a time.
Last but not least, coming in at #10 is Qriket, an app for both Android and iOS that allows you to win real money via spinning a virtual wheel. In order to be able to spin said wheel, you have to view an ad (usually a video) which awards you one spin (you can save up spins if you want).
Qriket is sort of unique on this list as there's no guarantee that you'll earn anything. It's really more of a game of chance although it's a pretty good one that you'll earn something if you spin enough.
For reference, I have over $20 in my account right now (you can't cash out until you have $25). Once you hit $25 you can request a PayPal transfer.
While spinning the wheel is the main way to win money on Qriket, you should check out my complete Qriket review to read about the other ways you can win money. While some may not care much for Qriket, if you enjoy gambling/games of chance type of apps, you'll probably really enjoy Qriket.
There you have it, the top 10 apps that pay you of 2017.
Hopefully this list is useful and you discovered at least a few apps that are new to you that you can use to make some extra cash in 2017.
If you're looking for even more apps that pay, head on over to Google Play or the App Store and just search for something like "make money" or "earn cash", etc. If you find any cool apps there that I haven't talked about, feel free to contact me to let me know!
Thanks for taking the time to read all the way down here. If you found my list helpful, I would greatly appreciate it if you shared this with your friends so they can make a little extra money in 2017 with the top 10 apps that pay you, too!