Do you like money? What about free money?
Of course, you like money. And of course, you like free money too. What kind of question is that?
What if I told you that there are legitimate companies out there giving away free cash? So many companies want your business and will bend over backward to get it. So many startups have cash and need users, so they'll pay. They want to be on the first page of apps on your phone, they want you to use them, talk about them, share it with your friends… and to get you to do it they will pay you.
Sometimes quite handsomely.
For example, in my line of work I talk to a lot of personal finance startups. They've been getting a ton of investment because money is a central part of everyone's lives. Just the other week, Robinhood scored a $110 million investment valuing their company at $1.3 billion. BILLION. So now they're giving away free stock for new accounts!
They're not the only ones – here's a list of free money offers:
- MissingMoney – Varies, but it's your money
- Arcadia Power – $20
- Twine – $5
- Ibotta – $10 cash
- Netspend – $20 cash
- Uber – $20 off a ride
- Airbnb – $40 travel credit
- Credible – $200 bonus
- TopCashBack – $15 cashback
- InboxDollars – $5 cash
- Swagbucks – $5 cash
- MyPoints – $10 gift card
- eBates – $10 cash
- Rize – $5
- Chime Bank – $5
- Stash – $5 cash
- CapitalOne360 – $25 cash
- Chase Total Checking & Savings – $350 cash
- Robinhood – Free Share of Stock ($3 – $150)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – $600 Cash or $750 in travel
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – 60,000 Rapid Reward Points ($640)
Free Money from Startups
Free Money from Rewards Sites
Free Money from Banks/Brokers
Free Money from Credit Cards
I will update this post whenever these offers change, old ones go away, or new ones are available.
MissingMoney – Varies
This first suggestion is not “free” money per se, it's your own lost money. Go to MissingMoney.com and search for your name and state.
When banks, insurance companies, governments, etc. try to pay you and the check gets returned, it eventually goes to the state's Unclaimed Property division. This tool, run by the Unclaimed Property Clearinghouse, searches for your money and tells you how to get it back.
Free Money from Startups
Startups are always looking to gain users and willing to pay handsomely.
Arcadia Power – $20
Arcadia Power is a company that you connect to your utility company and they will get you 50% clean energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, absolutely free. If you want 100% clean energy, they charge you an extra 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity but that's optional. They will also give you a $20 Amazon gift card just to give them a try.
If you live in a state with electric choice, they will also monitor electricity rates and help you switch to the lowest cost provider without any contract. All this is free, which makes it a no brainer!
Here's a full review of Arcadia Power if you want to learn more about them and what they offer.
Twine from John Hancock – $5
Twine is a savings app built by one of the oldest insurance and financial services companies in the world – John Hancock. Unlike many other savings app, they let multiple people save towards the same goals. The most common use case for this is families and couples, who normally have to figure out a workaround to save towards the same goal.
For a limited time, Twine will give you $5 towards your first goal after you've made your first savings transfer. That's pretty awesome for an app that is 100% free to use (you pay a small fee if you opt to invest your savings beyond their high interest rate savings vehicle).
Ibotta – $10
Ibotta is an app for Android and iOS that gives you cash back when you scan your receipt. You load up rebates for specific items or stores by performing tasks (usually answering a one question survey, watching a commercial, or reading some text) then take a picture of your receipt.
For a limited time, get $10 when you sign up for Ibotta and redeem one rebate.
Netspend – $20
Netspend is a prepaid debit card that will give you $20 if you sign up through a referral. You will receive a debit card in the mail and while there are no maintenance fees, there is a small $1 per transaction fee. I turned it into an Amazon gift card and bought whatever I wanted.
It's a pretty easy way to earn twenty bucks plus you can then start referring people to earn more.
Uber – $20 off a ride
If you've never hailed an Uber ride, you can get $20 off your first ride when you sign up through a referral. It's just that simple!
Use promotion code uberwallethacks to get the free ride if it's not automatically entered in the field.
Airbnb – $40
Airbnb is a great way to find lodging on the cheap, by renting from individuals rather than massive hotel conglomerates. Airbnb has gotten really advanced over the years to the point that you have Super Hosts who are professionals – they aren't big companies but they rent multiple units. They're just as reliable as a hotel but without the cost.
Airbnb offers $40 off your first trip of $75 or more when you sign up through a referral.
Credible – $200 bonus
Credible is a student loan consolidation and refinance company that can help simplify your student loan situation while reducing your payments with better rates. It works with federal and private student loans, applications do not impact your credit score, and they're looking to disrupt the loan space.
You can get a $200 bonus when you refinance your loan with them.
Free Money from Rewards Sites
Rewards Sites are those that pay you to do the things you already do on the internet – like taking surveys, watching videos, reading emails, and shopping online. Many will entice you to join them by giving you a little extra just to sign up.
TopCashBack – $15 cashback bonus
TopCashback is a cash back shopping portal where you earn a percentage back from each purchase you make through their portal. My favorite way to use this is to shop as normal and, before I buy anything online, see if TopCashback is offering any cash back on purchases.
Let's say you're about to buy a pair of sneakers (or anything) on Nike.com, you can earn 10% back on your purchase when you shop through TopCashback.
For a limited time, they'll load your account with a $15 bonus that will get added whenever you cash out.
InboxDollars – $5
InboxDollars is one of several sites that will reward you for all of those things and more. They one of the few that will pay you to read emails and click on a button inside.
When you sign up, they will give you $5 to start your account. It's free to join.
Swagbucks – $5
A lot like InboxDollars, Swagbucks rewards you for all the same activities online plus gives you $5 to start. With Swagbucks you earn Swagbucks (SB) which you can convert 300 SB to $3 on Amazon – a pretty low threshold compared to many other places. It's about as low as you can get so you don't need to go weeks between awards. (read our Swagbucks review)
MyPoints – $10
MyPoints is a cashback site where you earn points whenever you shop at a partner store like Groupon, eBay, etc. When you sign up, you will get a $10 gift card when you make a purchase of $20 or more with one of these qualifying partners. You'll get 1750 points, the equivalent of $10.
You're going to buy stuff online, you might as well pick up a $10 gift card along the way!
eBates – $10
Much like MyPoints, eBates is a shopping portal that will give you rebates on your purchases. If you don't have an account already, they'll give you a $10 welcome bonus after a $25+ purchase within 90 days.
eBates was started in 1998, which makes it very old, and is now owned by Rakuten, a massive e-commerce comment based in Japan.
Free Money from Banks/Brokers
The days of giving you a toaster are over. Now, banks are giving cash for new accounts and the bigger the deposit, usually the bigger the bonus. Sometimes you'll need a direct deposit too, but you can set that up with job, to avoid fees.
Rize – $5
Rize is a new financial institution that's taking a lot of the features of micro-savings apps and applying it to a regular account. They're an investment advisor, so they're SIPC insured rather than FDIC insured (but to the same amounts), but all the current features are what you'd see in a bank account. You have automatic savings, pay what you want in fees, and there are fun “Power Ups” that you can turn on and off that will juice your savings.
Chime Bank – $5
Chime is a new kind of bank that has no monthly minimums or fees, no overdraft, and they are also FDIC insured, through The Bancorp Bank, with 24,000 fee-free ATMs. They have a Visa debit card that rounds up every card transaction and moves that amount from your Spending account to your savings account, with a 10% weekly bonus on round ups. They also have cashback from a variety of retailers too.
Stash – $5
Stash is an app that helps you invest even if you don't have a lot of money to invest. You can start with as little as a few bucks and you pick portfolios of ETFs that match a theme.
It does come with fees – $1 a month for accounts under $5,000 or 0.25% per year on accounts over $5,000. It's free for the first month.
CapitalOne360 – $25
CapitalOne360 used to be INGDirect, one of the best online banks out there, and they will give you $25 when you open a 360 Checking or 360 Savings account. You need to deposit at least $250 and there are no fees. On the checking account, you'll also need to make 3 debit card purchases in the first 90 days. On the savings account, you don't need to do anything else.
Finally, once you have an account, you can refer your friends. They will get the $25 offer and you will get $20 – you can earn up to $1000 in bonuses!
Chase Total Checking & Savings – $350
If you are near a Chase Bank, you can get their Chase Total Checking and Savings accounts along with a nice fat $350 bonus. You can get $200 for the Chase Total Checking Account and $150 for the Chase Savings Account.
It's a pretty juicy offer from a major bank but the downside is you must request a coupon and open an account at a physical branch. If you have one nearby, this is great.
Check all the terms and conditions of this Chase promotion for full details.
Robinhood is a stock trading app that has zero transaction fees. Buy and sell shares of stock in real-time, pay absolutely nothing in transaction fees. Robinhood makes money on their premium Gold accounts and rebates they get from the exchanges for helping fulfill transactions.
They recently raised $110 million at a $1.3 billion valuation and are giving away a free share of stock when you sign up. You can read more details about the Robinhood free stock promotion here but it's pretty straightforward – download the app, fund it, then get your free stock. No activity or maintenance fees to worry about. You can sell it after 2 business days.
The stock is valued between $3 and $150. I've seen people win shares of Facebook ($~150) and Microsoft (~$68):
Free Money from Credit Cards
Much like banks, credit card companies will also give you bonus points for signing up. There are a ton of credit card promotions so we can't possibly list them here but I have a list I keep updated. We compile the best credit card promotion offers here, so check that for the latest.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – $600 Cash or $750 in travel
Get 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. That's worth $600 cash or $750 on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It comes with a $95 annual fee. You also get 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, 1X points on everything else.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – 60,000 Rapid Reward Points
If you travel a lot of Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card will give you 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after just $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months your account is opened. You get an extra 20,000 points when you spend another $12,000 within the first year.
If you value each point at around 1.66 cents, that's over $640 in airfare. That will get you also that much closer to Companion Pass, which means a friend can fly with you for free! (after the Sept. 11th fees)
What free money offer will you snatch up?