I hate to admit it, but I find myself playing mindless games on my phone all too often. There are a lot of games out there that cost money, but I tend to play free games unless something comes very highly recommended. But what if you could actually get paid for playing games? Are there game apps that pay cash?
How do game apps that pay cash make money?
It seems counterproductive, right? A game app that pays you money to play? How does that work?
Many times, there’s an affiliate deal going on. An affiliate is being paid to drive you to play the game. So if you go play the game, the affiliate gets a kickback from the creator and the affiliate then gives you the money. And the more games you download through the affiliate, the more they get paid.
Similarly, some apps that show you ads get their money by showing the ads. The company then passes on some of their income from the ads to you, the user.
Other times, the app is going to be pushing you to pay to play with the chance to make money the more you pay. It’s definitely just a form of gambling, and you will have to decide whether or not that is a risk you want to take with your money.
So what apps will pay me?
I did quite a bit of research into game apps that pay cash, and here are some that seem to have positive reviews.
Mistplay is available only in the Google Apps store, but seems to be a pretty common recommendation. I have an iPhone, so was unable to test it myself, but from what I can tell, this app has a lot of different games you can play where you earn credits that can be exchanged for gift cards, including Visa gift cards. It seems to be a site where game developers can test out their games and upgrades, so you’re being paid to help the developers. Seems like a win all around.
Blackout Bingo is another popular game where you can make money – but this one is a bit more like gambling. You can play for free and win Ticketz, and when you have a ridiculous number of Ticketz, you can cash out for money. And the more you play, the more your Ticketz multiplier increases. But the real winnings come when you spend money, much like you would in exchanging your cash for casino tokens. The company that runs this game, Skillz, also has other games with similar models. The solitaire game is pretty entertaining, but again, it’s going to take a while to reach payout levels.
But be warned – the free games are guaranteed to be easier than the paid games. You will win a bunch of free games, and think “Well, I’m pretty good at this, I’m going to put some cash into this.” And you will likely lose. It’s how these games are designed.
Lucktastic is digital scratch-off tickets funded by ads. There are a lot of ads, and the money is slow going, but it’s pretty mindless, and if you’re looking for a way to kill time while sitting in a waiting room or on public transportation, this might be a good way to entertain yourself.
Another game I saw discussed a lot was Solitaire Cash, but I’m not linking it because many people seemed to call it a scam. A lot of the positive reviews are affiliate links, and not only is this a pay to play game, but plenty of people discussed how hard it was to ever cash out.
Are there other ways to make money with apps?
The thing to remember is that there is no such thing as free money. If an app is free, or if it is paying you, you are the product being sold. Someone is making money somewhere. Frequently with free apps, that’s with ads or by trying to convince you to pay for upgrades. So consider how else your time might be monetized.
One reasonable way to make money with apps is by using a survey app. You are being paid for your data.
Qmee doesn’t pay a lot, but I’ve actually managed to cash out with the app, so I can confirm it’s a valid way to make a little money.
Swagbucks has been around for years and is another way to make some money, but this is usually in the form of gift cards.
Personally, I would be wary of the companies that offer to pay you just for installing an app on your phone and leaving it running. Who knows what they’re all tracking, and do you really want some unknown company to have all of that information? That warning goes with many of these apps – read the fine print. Check to make sure they’re not just randomly selling your personal information to any number of places.
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Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.