Having multiple income streams is essential to becoming financially stable. Earning an active income from your full-time job is necessary, but passive income apps can help you reach your goals sooner.
These apps offer a terrific way to create additional sources of revenue so that you won’t rely solely on your day job to make ends meet. Many have low or no fees, helping you maximize your profits.
Here are some of the best ways to generate extra income with little effort.
What Are the Best Passive Income Apps?
Earning residual income is not as difficult as you might think. Whether you invest $100 or $1,000, you need to choose the right platform for your situation.
In reviewing potential opportunities, we considered these factors:
- Ability to generate passive income
- Fee structure
As a preview, here are our top choices to start earning passive income.
|SoFi||Investing in stocks|
|RealtyMogul||Investing in real estate|
|CIT Bank||Earning on your spare cash|
|Acorns||Fractional share investing|
The passive income websites we list first typically require the least amount of effort and have low investment minimums.
1. SoFi Invest
SoFi Invest lets you invest in stocks and ETFs without trading fees. You can also buy fractional shares with as little as $5 per trade.
If you don’t want to self-manage your portfolio, the app offers automated portfolios. You can choose a financial goal to help pick an asset allocation of stock and bond index ETFs with no fees required.
Stocks and funds are among the most popular passive income ideas since you have many investment options and high liquidity. These perks make it easy to diversify your portfolio according to your risk tolerance and goals.
For example, you can choose aggressive growth stocks as a young investor or shift to dividend ETFs to avoid volatility and earn recurring income as you age.
In addition to buying and selling stocks, the investment app lets you trade cryptocurrency futures. You can also receive access to other benefits, such as career coaching and financial planning.
If you’re new to investing, the platform is excellent since it offers a user-friendly design and educational resources. Plus, options trading as well as taxable and retirement accounts are available to all investors.
More experienced investors might find SoFi Invest lacking since it doesn’t offer index funds, mutual funds, or bonds.
2. M1 Finance
With M1 Finance, you can buy fractional shares of individual stocks, ETFs, and prebuilt portfolio pies. Better yet, there are no trading fees.
The minimum investment is $100 to open a taxable brokerage account and $500 for retirement accounts. Then, you must invest at least $25 on subsequent trades.
This trading app uses dynamic rebalancing to buy additional shares of positions below their target allocation percentage.
The app won’t sell overallocated holdings unless you request a manual rebalance since this can be a taxable event.
M1 Finance is excellent for beginner investors and experienced long-term investors who are comfortable managing their own portfolios. Its automated portfolio tools make the investment process easier.
The portfolio tools don’t offer the same extent of personalization as a robo-advisor. Optional non-investing features that can help you earn extra money include a high-yield savings account and a cash back debit card.
You must upgrade to M1 Plus for the most financial benefits. This optional premium membership costs $10 per month or $95 annually.
Read our M1 Finance review for more information.
Most people don’t have the capital, experience, or free time to purchase and manage a multifamily real estate investment. Fortunately, there are ways around this.
Individual investors can invest $5,000 into two crowdfunded REITs:
- Income REIT: Invests in multifamily, office, and retail projects with monthly dividends. This investment option is less aggressive and emphasizes earning rental income.
- Growth REIT: Holds apartments and focuses more on long-term growth potential. It also pays quarterly dividend distributions.
Accredited investors with a high net worth can invest in individual placements where the initial investment is between $25,000 and $50,000.
Since this is a crowdfunded investing platform, the service hires a property manager to screen tenants and collect rent so you can get mailbox money.
You may also earn money if the property sells for a profit since you receive a portion of the equity appreciation.
Unfortunately, the investment minimums are higher, and you will most likely need to hold your shares for at least five years to avoid early redemption penalties.
4. High-Yield Savings Accounts or CDs
Parking your cash in a high-yield savings account or a bank certificate of deposit (CD) is an effortless way to earn passive income on your savings. It’s an ideal strategy for those who are risk-averse.
Interest rates are at their highest levels in at least 15 years. Earning bank interest is competitive with conservative investment strategies that aim to optimize yields and manage risk.
However, the returns may not be as high as other passive income opportunities.
CIT Bank offers several high-interest savings products without any monthly service fees. The minimum opening deposit is $100 for most savings accounts and $1,000 for CDs.
Read our guide on are CDs FDIC insured to learn more about how they might fit into your overall portfolio.
There are several interest-bearing options with different rates and balance requirements. You can choose one or several that best match your savings habits and current cash balance.
The Platinum Savings account, for example, currently pays 5.05 percent on balances over $5,000.
Interest rates are variable and adjust higher or lower in connection with the Fed rate. Savings accounts don’t have a minimum investment period, and you can make penalty-free withdrawals.
Read our CIT Bank review for more.
Investing in stocks can be one of the best passive income ideas to pursue if you want to build long-term savings. This is because of the low investment minimums and how easy it is to sell your positions.
Acorns makes investing simple for beginner investors because you can invest as little as $5 at a time.
Passive investors will also enjoy this app as their investment portfolio holds stock and bond index funds with rock-bottom expense ratios and minimal volatility.
This platform is a robo-advisor, so it decides which stocks and bond index ETFs to invest in to get instant diversification. You can even invest in socially responsible funds and a Bitcoin-linked ETF for a customized asset allocation.
Acorns will rebalance your portfolio to stay within your risk tolerance and investment strategy. However, you cannot hold individual stocks with this app.
In addition to transferring money from your bank account, you have two additional ways to automatically invest in stocks:
- Purchase round-ups: Round up your purchases to the next dollar and invest the difference. For example, if you buy a gallon of milk for $4.01, the app will invest the remaining $0.99 for you.
- Cash back on purchases: Invest your shopping rewards from over 15,000 online and local retailers.
Unlike other micro-investing apps that charge an annual advisory fee that’s a percentage of your portfolio value, you pay a flat monthly fee with Acorns.
There are currently two pricing plans with investing and banking features:
- Individual ($3/month): Taxable and retirement investment accounts, a checking account, a metal debit card, and educational tools.
- Family ($5/month): The individual plan features plus custodial investing accounts.
Additionally, it’s free to open an account. You can even earn a $5 welcome bonus.
Read our Acorns review to learn more.
An unused car is an awesome way to earn passive income. With HyreCar, you can rent your personal car to make money.
This carsharing app allows people to rent your car from you instead of using a large or national chain. If you have an extra car or don’t drive much, it is a legitimate passive income opportunity to pursue.
When you list your car, you’ll pick the amount per day that others can pay to rent your vehicle. It might be best to browse the website to see what prices other people have set for their vehicles.
After registering, make sure you upload high-quality photos of your car. These photos give car owners a better chance of renting their vehicles out.
According to the platform’s site, car owners earn an average of $720 per month in rental income. Your income potential is higher when you have a newer vehicle that’s available the majority of the month.
Additionally, your car is eligible for liability coverage during the active rental period. However, you may need to purchase more coverage from your auto insurance provider.
While it doesn’t cost anything to get started with the platform, HyreCar does take a cut of your profits. This ranges from 15 to 20 percent, depending on which protection plan you select.
If you don’t mind renting your car, this is an excellent option to rent your stuff out for money and earn some spare cash.
Renting out extra space in your home is an excellent way to supplement your income. You can rent extra storage areas around your home or garage using Neighbor.
This self-storage app lets you list your spare room, garage, or driveway for free, and a photographer can take photos.
Additionally, you can offer to store personal belongings, RVs, campers, boats, and business inventory on a month-to-month basis.
You are automatically eligible for up to $1 million in liability coverage when a customer uses your storage space.
For example, you might be able to earn $100 per month by letting someone store their boat in your driveway. Or, you can make a similar amount by renting your basement.
This app is unique as you can start earning passive income without any upfront costs. However, you will pay a small processing fee each month that your space is actively rented through the site.
Robinhood is another stock trading app that lets you build a portfolio with a small amount of money. The app allows you to buy and sell stocks, including fractional shares.
You only need $1 to start, and the app has no trading fees. Investment options include stocks and ETFs trading on the United States stock market. It’s also possible to trade select cryptocurrency futures.
This platform can be good for beginner investors who want to invest in the stock market as well as experienced investors who want to buy partial stock shares and access some advanced investment options.
You can invest through a taxable brokerage account or tax-advantaged individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
It’s also a good option if you want easy access to dividend stocks to start saving for retirement but don’t have much money to invest.
However, other stock trading apps can be better if you want in-depth research and charting tools to help you with your retirement planning.
It’s free to join, and you can receive a free share of stock as a welcome bonus.
Read our Robinhood review to learn more.
Building passive income through real estate does not require long-term tenants. Airbnb is one of the best passive income apps to improve your finances.
As an Airbnb host, you rent out your spare room or home for extra money. It’s possible to choose the dates your property is available to rent for additional flexibility.
For example, you might not accept guests when you have family coming into town to visit or if you take a trip.
You choose how much to charge per night, and you can allow guests to auto-book through your listing if you don’t want to approve them manually.
If you want to make this extra source of income more passive, you can hire someone to clean the property or communicate with guests. Outside of those expenses, the travel app can provide a profitable income stream.
If you live in a big city or a tourist area, you can earn a part-time or full-time income via this site. People travel often for leisure and business, and Airbnb has become one of the most popular sites for finding affordable lodging.
However, if you don’t live in a popular destination, your bookings might be more sporadic, making this passive income stream less lucrative.
Read our Airbnb host checklist to learn how to get more bookings and increase earnings.
If you have a lot of free time, earning semi-passive income is a good way to supplement other efforts. A get-paid-to (GPT) site is an excellent option to earn cash while watching TV or during other idle times.
Swagbucks is one of the top money-making apps that lets you earn extra money effortlessly. For instance, the rewards site offers cash back when shopping online or redeeming grocery coupons.
You can make money doing everyday tasks like:
- Taking paid surveys
- Testing products
- Watching sponsored videos
- Shopping online
- Scanning receipts
- Playing games
You can start redeeming your points for $1 Amazon gift card codes. However, PayPal and other gift card rewards start at $5 for most brands.
While most activities require up to 20 minutes of effort at a time, you can earn bonus points by referring friends ($3 per referral) and entering contests.
Your efforts won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s an easy way to make money online by completing activities you usually participate in. Plus, it’s free to register.
It’s also possible to earn a $10 bonus when you open an account and earn at least 2,500 points ($25) in the first 60 days.
Read our Swagbucks review to learn more.
11. Fetch Rewards
Grocery shopping offers one of the best money-making opportunities since you can earn bonus points by purchasing name brands that are already in your cart.
Grocery purchases earn the most rewards, but you can also receive credit for merchandise receipts, restaurants, and linking your email for online purchases.
Each receipt scan earns a minimum of 25 points, and participating brands net 10 points per dollar. Plus, there are special offers to earn from 400 to 4,000 bonus points on select products.
You can redeem your rewards via gift cards once you reach 5,000 points, equivalent to $5. However, the redemption minimum varies by brand, and cash or PayPal isn’t available.
Additionally, you can earn bonus points by referring friends through your unique invite code.
Read our Fetch Rewards review to learn how to maximize rewards with the app.
What To Know About Passive Income Apps
There is a lot to consider when choosing between the various apps that give you money. Here are some common things to keep in mind when looking for the best passive income investments.
Be Aware of Fees
Most apps that help you make passive income are free to join but require you to invest money. You may also need to pay a small annual advisory fee for stock investing apps or service fees.
While this fee can be relatively small, it erodes your earning potential. If a platform charges a membership fee, compare its fees to its competitors and look for user reviews to verify you’re avoiding a scam.
It’s also possible to pay too much, making it more difficult to double your money.
Know What You’re Doing
Risk is inherent when choosing any passive income app. Alternative investment ideas like rental property, small business notes, and cryptocurrency can be riskier than stock index funds.
These options often offer less diversification, and it can be harder to sell your investment.
You should know how a passive income idea can make money, the potential risks, and the investment timeframe. Matching these details to your financial goals can help you find the ideal stream of passive income.
Look for a Clear Fee and Payout Structure
All passive income apps have overhead expenses to pay so that they can help you make money. It’s important to understand how the service pays its bills and if its fees are competitive with similar apps.
Avoid a platform with high expenses since your earning potential is less. You must also decide if your potential income exceeds your fees.
Additionally, most apps withhold a portion of your earnings to cover their expenses. Rental apps like Airbnb and Turo keep a fixed percentage of your income.
On the other hand, micro-investing apps are more likely to charge an annual advisory fee based on your current portfolio value or a flat fee for premium services.
Passive income streams are among the best ways to increase your net worth. Minimal effort is necessary once the money starts rolling in, but it might take time to get to that point.
Thankfully, passive income apps make it easier to start making money from various investment ideas, even if you can only invest $100 or less.
How many streams of income do you have?
SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities”). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) SoFi Crypto is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.
Josh uses his personal experience of paying off over $130,000 in personal debt and changing careers to write about saving money, investing, and paying off debt. He has regularly written for notable outlets including Wallet Hacks, Well Kept Wallet, and Debt Roundup.
Josh was previously an operations supervisor for a Fortune 500 company for seven years. He is married with three small children.