15 Real Ways to Get Paid for Your Data: Up to $500 a Year


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One of the easiest side hustles to get started with is getting paid to share your data.

Big data is big business, generating an estimated $270 billion by 2026.

And as individuals, we create a lot of data every day. Every Internet search we make, every location we visit, every tap of our phone, even the words we speak — it all creates data. (An estimated 146MB per person per day!)

For decades, we’ve freely given that data away to big companies like Google and Facebook. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.

In fact, several reputable companies will now pay you for your data. In this post, I’ll outline my top picks to make money from the data you generate every day.

Ready? Let’s do it!

Best for Passive Earning
Set it and Forget It
Highest Cash Back Potential
4.0
4.0
4.8

Earn up to $60 in free Amazon gift cards every year.

Earn around $10 a month sharing data with your permission.

This long-running cash back app rewards you for buying the stuff you normally would. Use our referral link below to get a $5 bonus when you scan your first receipt.

Best for Passive Earning
4.0

Earn up to $60 in free Amazon gift cards every year.

Set it and Forget It
4.0

Earn around $10 a month sharing data with your permission.

Highest Cash Back Potential
4.8

This long-running cash back app rewards you for buying the stuff you normally would. Use our referral link below to get a $5 bonus when you scan your first receipt.

YouTube video

1. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

Nielsen is one of several companies that will pay you just to install their apps and run in the background on your devices.

These are low-maintenance, low-overhead ways to pretty much get paid do nothing.

get free amazon gift cards with nielsen panel

You can install the app on your computer, smartphone, and tablet. As Nielsen tracks your Internet usage, you earn points — worth up to $60 per year. Users can redeem points for gift cards or cash out via PayPal.

(Yes, this is the same Nielsen that’s been reporting TV ratings data for decades.)

According to one Google Play reviewer: “It’s simple to use and lightning fast to cash out. Just let it sit there on your device and when you have enough points, redeem them.”

The most common complaint is that it can slow down your device.

2. Take Online Surveys

These aren’t quite as “set it and forget it” as the options above, but are an easy way to get paid to share your opinion.

(Many Side Hustle Nation members report using these apps from their couch in the evenings.)

Here are some of our top picks.

  • Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
  • Survey Junkie – Take 3 surveys a day and earn up to $100 a month.
  • KashKick – Get paid to answer surveys, test games, and try new products.
  • Product Report Card – Get notified about higher-paying product tests, clinical trials, and online focus groups.
  • American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
  • InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
  • iSay – One of the largest and best-rated survey panels.

3. Caden

Caden is another newer app, and is earning me over $10 a month on autopilot

caden app

The app turns your phone into an income generating asset, by sharing data with your permission.

At press time, it was iOS only. Check out our full Caden app review to learn more.

4. Pogo

The free Pogo app is one of my latest finds. By sharing your location and credit card transaction data, Pogo gives you points that you can cash out to PayPal or Venmo.

pogo app screenshots

Just enable location tracking and link your bank account credentials when you sign up.

You’ll start to receive location-based rewards as you drive around town, and other points for your credit card spending. Based on my results so far, I expect Pogo to be worth around $5-20 a year. 

Check out my full Pogo app review to learn more.

5. Fetch Rewards

Many cash back apps will basically give you free money just for tracking the spending you’re already doing.

For example, Fetch Rewards is a favorite of mine. All you have to do is snap a picture of your grocery receipts after your shopping trips.

Easiest to Use
Fetch
4.8

Get cash back for every receipt, plus bonus payouts for buying specific products and brands. Use referral code FETCH300 to get 300 free bonus points added to your account.

Pros:
  • Super easy to use
  • Tons of cash out options
  • Earn more from popular brands
Cons:
  • $0.02 minimum receipt value is on the lower end
  • Some rewards have high minimums

Why are they paying for pictures of your receipts? I’m not really sure, but I also don’t care if strangers know what food we bought.

fetch rewards

Eventually you’ll earn enough points to cash out for a gift card. In our house, it probably adds up to around $10-20 a year, but I’m sure other shoppers earn much more.

I usually opt for the Amazon gift card options, but Starbucks, Apple, Target, Home Depot, and lots more are available as well.

6. Ibotta

Ibotta is one of the longest-running cash back apps, and one I still every week to check for extra cash back on our grocery purchases.

The drawback is you still have to scroll through each store’s listing and choose the products you bought. Then, you snap a picture of your receipt and watch the cash back hit your account.

ibotta earnings

According to Ibotta, people who use the app every month earn over $130 a year!

(You can cash out via gift cards or PayPal.)

7. MobileXpression

Similarly, the MobileXpression app records your smartphone usage habits. The money making app has over 1M downloads, and has paid out over $5 million.

In exchange for sharing this anonymized data, you’ll earn weekly credits redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers.

make extra money with mobilexpression

They’ll even give you a free $5 Amazon gift card after your first week (if you’re in the US).

The company behind MobileXpression, Comscore, is publicly traded and has been in business since 1999.

8. NCP Mobile

Earn gift cards when you use the National Consumer Panel Mobile app to snap pictures of the barcodes of the products you buy. This is a great one to stack with Fetch and Ibotta.

how ncp mobile works

9. Honeygain

I’ve seen a lot of buzz lately around a new app called Honeygain.

According to the site, you can earn up to $50 a month when you share “your unused net traffic with data scientists.”

get paid from honeygain

Just install the app (available on Windows, MacOS, and Android), connect it to the Internet, and earn rewards passively.

On average, it takes users 48 days to reach $20.

Get a $3 bonus to start.

Before you get started though, make sure you’re truly on an unlimited plan—it sounds like this could chew through a lot of bandwidth in a hurry!

10. SavvyConnect

Using “safe, cutting-edge technology to collect data as you surf the web,” the SavvyConnect VIP program pays you up to $5 a month per device.

savvyconnect

That means when you connect your smartphone, tablet, and desktop/laptop — and remain active in the SavvyConnect community — you can earn $15 a month or $180 a year.

11. CoinOut

CoinOut won’t replace your day job, but could pay you up to $36 a year for uploading your shopping receipts.

coinout review

It’s easy to use and you can cash out for an Amazon gift card as soon as you earn your first $3 worth of coins.

Check out our full CoinOut review to learn more.

12. Reklaim

With Reklaim, you can see where your data is going — and get paid for it by opting in to share it with certain advertisers.

reklaim data sharing app screenshots

The app really emphasizes personal control and consent. The more data you share, the more points you’ll earn, which you can then cash out for a variety of gift cards, or a PayPal or Venmo transfer.

One thing we liked about Reklaim is that it’s fairly passive — you’ll keep earning points every week as long as your account remains active.

13. Permission Research (Desktop)

Permission Research will send you a $10 Visa gift card after you install their software and keep it on your Windows computer for a week. After that, you’ll earn $10 for every month you keep it installed ($120/year).

permission research

Safety in numbers: More than 2 million users share their computer usage and browsing habits through this service.

14. Miles

The new Miles app gives you “frequent flyer miles” for all the travel you do, whether walking, biking, driving, riding, or flying.

By letting the app track your location data, you’ll earn free points that can be redeemed for gift cards. This one may be best for heavy commuters though — it takes 5,000 miles to earn a $3 Amazon gift card.

For most users, that will amount to $6-20 a year.

At press time, you can get 4,000 bonus miles when you join through my referral link. To learn more, check out our full Miles app review.

15. Evidation

The Evidation app partners up with health companies for market studies. You get to be a part of cutting edge medical research, and get paid for it.

evidation

You can earn money by:

  • tracking steps
  • sleeping
  • logging meals
  • opting into challenges
  • completing surveys
  • tweeting
  • and more

Evidation connects with apps like Apple Health, Samsung Health, Fitbit, Strava, MyFitnessPal, and Garmin.

Earn $10 for every 10,000 points, and cash out through PayPal or straight to your bank account.

What’s the Best Way to Get Paid for Your Data?

While there are lots of ways to monetize your data, none of them will make you rich. Even if you did everything on this page, it may only realistically add up to around $500 a year.

Which option (or options) is best for you depends on your comfort level in sharing personal data online, and whether or not the rewards are worth it for you.

I use many of these apps myself, and see it as a fun and relatively non-intrusive way to make some extra money.

Any good ones I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Alternatives to Making Money from Your Data

As far as side hustles go, getting paid for your data is only one option. Here are some alternatives to consider that may require a bit more work to get started, but have better earning power.

Market Research Studies

You can find several companies that facilitate online and in-person consumer research studies and focus groups.

My personal favorites are:

user interviews

Credit Card Rewards

You’ve got to promise to use this strategy responsibly, but it’s made my wife and I thousands of dollars.

Credit cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offer a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months — with no annual fee. That's up to 40% cash back!

capital one quicksilver

Learn more here.

If you know you’re gonna spend $500 in the next 3 months, that’s #freemoney. This card also gives you one of the highest cash back rates, with unlimited 1.5% back on every dollar you spend.

Related: Credit Card Rewards 101: How to Earn Free Cash and Travel by Spending Smarter

Real Estate Investing

Rental real estate is one of the oldest side hustles in the books, and is still viable today.

If your local market is too expensive, take a look at Arrived, a cool online marketplace built for busy investors. For as little as $100, you can buy shares of cash-flowing rental properties.

Hands-Off Rentals
Arrived | Cash Flowing Rentals
4.5
Pros:
  • Earn quarterly dividends
  • Completely hands-off
  • Low minimum investment ($100)
Cons:
  • Limited liquidity
  • Not super diversified
  • Listings can sell out quickly
We earn a commission if you sign up, at no additional cost to you.

arrived real estate

My friend Dustin Heiner built up his rental portfolio and was able to retire before 40 on the cash flow.

Reselling Furniture Returns

As a part-time Sharetown rep, you’ll pick up gently-used furniture returns from direct-to-consumer brands.

side hustle with sharetown

Since the items aren’t new, the companies can’t really take them back and resell them — but you can. The Sharetown reps I’ve connected with report earning $150-250 per item.

And the cool part is the inventory doesn’t cost you anything until it sells.

Highest Earning Power
Become a Sharetown Rep
4.0

Sharetown reps make money by reselling gently-used furniture and bed-in-a-box mattresses. Top reps earn $4000+ per month.

Pros:
  • Low startup costs
  • Great earning power
  • No hunting for inventory
Cons:
  • Requires a truck or SUV
  • Bulky items to store
  • Not available in all areas

Check out our full Sharetown review to learn more.

Serious About Making Extra Money?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get paid for your data?

Yes, you can get paid for your data by installing tracking apps on your computer and smartphone. These apps monitor your behavior and location in the background, and in exchange, pay you. The rates are usually in the range of $10-50 per year.

How much can you make sharing your data?

While there are several companies that will pay for your Internet and mobile data usage, none will make you rich. At best, serious data sellers can earn around $500 a year.

What companies will pay you for your data?

Many reputable companies will pay you for your data, including Comscore, Nielsen, Capital One, and Fetch Rewards.

Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. Comments are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

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