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!
1. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
Nielsen is one of several companies that will pay you to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 $10-20 a year.
The interface is a little frustrating, but Tapestri actually does pay you for sharing your anonymous location data.
The app automatically rewards you traveling around town, and you can earn more by checking in and completing surveys.
I’ve earned $17 in my first few months.
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.”
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 $5 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 hurry!
7. 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.
Safety in numbers: More than 2 million users share their computer usage and browsing habits through this service.
8. 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 – Earn up to $40 a month and cash out beginning at just $5.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- YouGov – Long-running survey panel, with data often cited in the media.
- Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.
- Pinecone Research – Earn $3 for each 15-20 minute survey. They’ll send you a $3 check after your first one.
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
10. 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.
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.
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.
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.
According to Ibotta, people who use the app every month earn over $130 a year!
(You can cash out via gift cards or PayPal.)
With Dosh, there are no codes to scan or receipts to upload. Instead, you’ll just earn automatic cash back at lots of nearby locations after you link your credit card.
It’s pretty cool to get bonus cash back at places like Shake Shack — we were gonna eat there anyway!
But where Dosh is perhaps most interesting is in booking hotels. When you book through the app, you can get up to 40% cash back at 600,000 hotels!
13. 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.
Marble is the first and only “rewards program” for insurance.
Marble lets you sync your home, renters, auto, and pet policies in one dashboard, and then pays you up to 5% cash back on your premiums.
They’ll even give you a $5 bonus when you add your first policy.
Since you have to have many of these coverages already, getting paid for them is like getting free money.
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 5,000-10,000 miles to earn a $1 Amazon gift card.
For most users, that will amount to $5-20 a year.
Still, every dollar counts and the app just runs in the background. After you install it, you don’t have to do anything to rack up your miles.
At press time, you can get 1500 bonus miles when you join through my referral link. To learn more, check out our full Miles app review.
Another way to get paid for your data is with Cashwalk. The Cashwalk app pays you to walk by turning your step activity into gift cards, with power users earning $5 every 3-4 weeks, or around $85 a year.
The only drawback is you have to open the app every day to claim your coins. (That’s how they get you to look at the ads that pay for your gift cards!)
Get 100 coins as a sign-up bonus w/ referral code XB7UK.
Check out our full Cashwalk review to learn more.
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.
You can earn money by:
- tracking steps
- logging meals
- opting into challenges
- completing surveys
- 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.
18. Capital One Shopping
The free Capital One Shopping browser extension does a few things for you:
- Alerts you of better prices while you’re shopping at Amazon
- Automatically applies coupons when you’re checking out online
- Gives you rewards you can cash out for gift cards as you shop
Where the data sharing element comes in is with the Price Protection feature. To opt in for that, you have to link your email account. Then, Capital One Shopping “reads” your e-commerce receipt emails, and notifies you if the price drops on anything you bought.
If the purchase is eligible for any sort of price protection guarantee from that store, Capital One will help you claim it.
I’ve had it installed for a while, and have saved over $300 so far as a result.
(You don’t need to bank with Capital One to use it, either.)
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!
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.