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Decades ago, Western Union drew in customers with its crooning “Everybody Needs Some Money Sometimes” ad. Times might have changed, but people’s occasional need for a little extra money hasn’t—maybe you need to pay back a friend, or you don’t have enough for a movie ticket, but for whatever reason, you need to score a free $20 instantly.

Well, I’ve put together 10 ways to make 20 dollars fast—or in some cases, almost instantly. (Sorry, Western Union, you didn’t make the list.) Some of these methods involve getting paid for doing something you already wanted to do (or should do), like shopping online or opening an investment account. In other cases, you can even get paid for playing games and having fun.

Of course, since you’re looking to earn that money quickly, let’s move right along to the list!

Best Ways to Earn $20 Quickly—Our Top Picks


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Stock Trading App for Beginners
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Top Shopping Deals App
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Get up to $50 in bonuses.

How to Get $20 (Or Even More) Fast


20 dollars

Below is my look at 10 different ways you can easily score $20—or in most cases, even more—pretty quickly, and sometimes even instantly.

1. Investment Account Sign-Up Bonuses


First up: Sign-up bonuses for starting an investment account. This is a very common way for online stock brokers to attract fresh customers—most brokers offer some sort of giveaway or bonus, though they often change over time.

Below are a few of our favorite brokerage sign-up bonuses.

Plynk™ Invest ($85 in free cash bonuses)


plynk signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: Earn $10 for signing up; Plynk will also double your deposit up to $75

Plynk is an app designed to help you start investing and learn along the way, and they’re currently offering up to $60 in bonuses for new accounts.

The Plynk app helps beginner investors put their money into an investment portfolio. The platform uses straightforward, easy-to-understand language to explain investing concepts. No jargon. No complex charts and tables. Just simple-language tips and how-tos.

One of Plynk’s most interesting features involves, of all things, gift cards. Specifically, you can redeem unused gift cards for money that you can use to buy stocks in your favorite companies.

If this sounds interesting to you, consider opening an account with Plynk. To make it more worth your while, they have a few special offers.

→ How to get free bonuses with Plynk

Simply open an account and link your bank account to get a $10 signup bonus. Plynk is also offering a special bonus promotion through Feb. 15, 2024. If you make a deposit, Plynk will double it to $75. Customers must have a minimum of $25 in net deposits during the promotional period to receive a match. That means you may be eligible for up to $85 in signup bonuses from Plynk by taking qualifying actions.

 

Robinhood ($5-$200 worth of free stock)


robinhood sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotions: Free stock worth between $5 and $200

Robinhood is a pioneer of commission-free trading, jumping into the investing public’s consciousness in 2013 when they rolled out commission-free trading. They remain a standout option for cost-minded investors thanks to their continued $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as for its fractional trading, which allows people to invest with as little as $1.

→ How to get your free stock with Robinhood

Robinhood offers anywhere between $5 and $200 in free stock, just for signing up and linking an account.

Once you’ve signed up with this link and are approved for a brokerage account, simply link your bank account or debit card, and Robinhood will give you between $5 and $200 that you can use to buy fractional stock, chosen from a list of “20 of America’s leading companies.”

(Note: You must wait three trading days to sell your gift stock. Once you’ve sold your stock, you can use the money to buy other stocks right away. But if you want to withdraw the funds for cash, you have to wait at least 30 days.)

 

Moomoo (15 free shares worth $30-$30,000)


moomoo signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows, Mac), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: 15 free stocks, each valued between $2-$2,000

Moomoo is a commission-free trading platform for stocks, ETFs, and options. While Moomoo is best for advanced traders, offering powerful tools to empower your trading insights and strategies, it takes a different approach from other similarly targeted platforms, favoring simple interfaces and high ease of use. The desktop platform is highly customizable, while the mobile app is straightforward, allowing you to search for stocks and trade with minimal hassle.

Still, Moomoo has more than enough under the hood for advanced traders to get the job done. Its charting system, for instance, includes 62 technical analysis indicators and 22 drawing tools. You can set up alerts based on changes in price, bids, turnover ratio, and more. Free Level 2 market data helps you get a greater understanding of a stock’s value, determine how liquid a stock truly really is, and better time your trades. You can even enjoy 24/7 financial news handpicked by Moomoo’s editorial team.

→ How to get your free money with Moomoo

You can receive up to 15 free shares (collectively worth anywhere between $30 and $30,000) from Moomoo. Here’s how:

  1. If you open a new brokerage account with Moomoo and fund it with $100, you’ll earn five free stocks valued between $2 and $2,000 each.
  2. If you make a net deposit of $1,000 or more in the promotion period, you’ll get a total of 15 free stocks valued between $2 and $2,000 each.

Enjoy these free bonus shares by opening an account with Moomoo through our link and making a qualifying deposit.

For Moomoo disclaimer, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

 

2. Bank Account Bonuses


It’s also very common for banks to offer sign-up bonuses, typically on checking and savings accounts.

SoFi Checking and Savings Account (Up to $250 in free cash)


sofi checking savings signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: Earn $50 to $250 in free cash

The SoFi Checking and Savings Account sounds like your run-of-the-mill bank account, but it’s more: It’s also a high-yield savings account that earns 10 times the national average percentage yield (APY) and more than the average high-yield account. Better still, it boosts your ability to save right off the bat by rewarding you with $50 to $250 upon sign-up.

Sofi Checking and Savings covers all of the basics: no monthly account fees, no minimum balances, and website and mobile app access. But it also has several perks that match or top the competition. Features include:

  • Early paycheck reception when you sign up for direct deposit
  • FDIC insurance of up to $2 million (vs. $250,000 for most accounts)
  • Up to 15% cash back when you spend with local retailers
  • No-fee overdraft coverage up to $50
  • Round-ups on debit card purchases, which are deposited into your savings “Vault”
→ How to get your free money with SoFi

First, you’ll need to Sign up with SoFi. Then you’ll receive $50 in bonus cash if $1,000.00 to $4,999.99 is sent to your account within a 25-day period, starting from when you receive the first direct deposit. That number jumps to $250 when you receive $5,000 or more.

The higher cash bonus requires you to hit an admittedly high threshold, but the $50 is still a reasonable bonus for a much more manageable threshold.

 

3. Survey Sites


Make money just for sharing your thoughts through paid survey sites. It’s not exactly the most lucrative side hustle, but it is a way to earn money with virtually zero effort. And in some cases, you can get a jump on your cash goals with a sign-up bonus.

Swagbucks ($10 bonus)


swagbucks signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus

Swagbucks is one of the most popular money-making apps because it allows you to earn money or gift cards by doing everyday activities. For example, you can make money by taking online surveys, playing games, watching videos, even doing live trivia.

To get started, sign up for a Swagbucks account and begin participating in some routine tasks offered through the app. Each task earns you “SB” (Swagbucks), which you can cash in for gift cards or redeem for free PayPal money.

→ How to earn free money with Swagbucks

SwagBucks will pay new users 1,000 SB, which is worth $10. All you have to do is:

  1. Sign up using our link.
  2. “Activate” the bonus in the Swag Ups section of your account.
  3. Spend at least $25 at a store featured in Swagbucks.com/Shop. (You must receive at least 25 SB for the purchase, and you must complete it within 30 days of registration.)

 

Survey Junkie (Paid surveys)


Survey Junkie signup

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)

Survey Junkie is a paid-survey service that’s trusted by millions of users to earn money. The platform matches users with surveys that are most relevant to them. You complete surveys on your own time and earn points for doing so.

Each point earned through Survey Junkie is worth 1 cent. Once you have at least $5 worth of Survey Junkie points, you can redeem them for virtual gift cards from popular merchants including Starbucks, Target, and iTunes. You can also get Visa gift cards or even receive cash back via PayPal or bank transfer. While not always the most lucrative way to make money online, the service routinely has new surveys available for you to fill out.

 

Branded Surveys ($1 bonus)


Branded Research sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: $1 sign-up bonus

Branded Surveys has paid out more than $36 million to more than 3 million users.

The surveys made available to you will depend on your interests and profile information, as well as what research partners currently need. Each survey earns points; you can cash out once you’ve accumulated at least 500 points. Depending on survey length, users make anywhere from 50 cents to $5 per survey.

You can use your points toward gift cards from more than 100 brands, receive cash in your PayPal or bank account, or even make a charitable donation.

→ How to earn free money with Branded Surveys

Simply sign up for Branded Surveys and you’ll receive 100 points, which is worth $1.

 

4. Free Cryptocurrency


As I mentioned above, many online brokers frequently offer free stocks or cash as sign-up bonuses. However, on occasion, they also try to reel in customers by offering free cryptocurrency.

SoFi Invest ($10-$100 in free Bitcoin, $5-$1,000 in free stock)


sofi invest free stocks

Invest as actively or as passively as you’d like with SoFi Invest.

The Active SoFi Invest Brokerage Account has no required minimum balance, charges no commissions on stock, ETF, and options trades, and its options trading is free of contract fees, too. SoFi also offers 24/7 trading of 30 cryptocurrencies, access to initial public offerings (IPOs), and fractional stock buying for as little as $5.

Want to put your portfolio on autopilot? SoFi’s robo-advisory services will create a portfolio for you free of charge (that can be designed to address one or several goals) and auto-rebalance it for you as necessary over time.

And one thing that sets SoFi apart is your ability to handle many financial tasks within the very same app. SoFi’s app allows you to tackle anything from banking and investing to student loans, insurance, and mortgages.

→ How to earn free Bitcoin with SoFi Invest

You can earn between $10 and $100 worth of Bitcoin when you sign up and make your first cryptocurrency trade. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new account with SoFi.
  2. Buy a minimum of $50 worth of any cryptocurrency within seven days.

The following trade sizes earn the corresponding Bitcoin bonuses:

  • $50-$99.99 earns $10 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $100-$499.99 earns $15 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $500-$4,999.99 earns $50 worth of Bitcoin.
  • $5,000 or more earns $100 worth of Bitcoin.
→ How to earn free stock with SoFi Invest

You can also earn between $5 and $1,000 worth of free stock from SoFi Invest. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new account with SoFi.
  2. Fund your account with at least $10 within 30 days of opening it.

Once you fund your account, you’ll receive $5, $10, $25, $100, or $1,000 worth of stock. (Prize level awarded at random—the greater the prize, the lower the odds.)

 

5. Shopping Online


If you’re going to shop anyways, why not earn some free money online while you’re at it? Let’s look at apps that dole out shopping rewards.

Capital One Shopping (Save money on shopping)


capital one shopping app

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (iOS, Android)
  • Sign-up bonus: $10-$50

The Capital One Shopping app can help save you money while shopping online. There’s no need for you to search for deals and clip coupons. The app applies the best available deals at checkout, potentially giving you some jaw-dropping prices. Plus, the service offers rewards you can redeem for free gift cards.

The Capital One Shopping app always compares prices between Amazon and other retailers, helping you potentially pay a lower price. Users can also put items on a watchlist, and the app will notify them when the item goes on sale (or if the price otherwise drops).

The app is free, it works with more than 100,000 stores, and it doesn’t require you to be a Capital One credit card holder to use it.

While the app is convenient, some people may prefer to do their online shopping on a web browser. After downloading the app, you can add Capital One Shopping to Safari as a browser extension and get rewarded there too.

→ How to get your free money with Capital One Shopping

To get your free bonus with Capital One Shopping, you’ll need to download the app to your iPhone and sign up for an account. From there, you’ll be prompted with the option to earn $10 for signing up through the app to install the browser extension on Safari, $10 for installing the desktop app and up to $30 for inviting your friends.

 

Rakuten ($10 bonus)


Rakuten signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile (iOS, Android, Galaxy Store)
  • Promotion: $10 sign-up bonus

Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) has become one of the most popular apps among shoppers because of the rewards and savings it offers when you buy through the app. To date, it has paid members more than $2 billion via cash-back rewards, making it an easy and powerful way to make money.

To take advantage of the shopping savings, you can either shop through Rakuten’s online platform or install the Rakuten Chrome browser extension, which identifies potential shopping savings as you browse online retailers. Rakuten leverages its massive scale to extract affiliate revenue from more than 2,500 retailers—when you use Rakuten to get shopping savings, brands pay Rakuten a commission, which it then shares with you every three months (an admittedly infrequent payout schedule) via PayPal or check.

→ How to get your free money with Rakuten

Currently, all you have to do is sign up with Rakuten, you’ll receive a $10 bonus.

 

6. Sell Unwanted Stuff Online


Selling items you don’t want online is a win-win as you simultaneously create more space in your home and make money. Two of the most popular websites for selling items online are Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

You can post on these websites for free. You’ll need a Facebook account to start selling on Facebook Marketplace, though.

If you have larger items, such as furniture, you can make 20 dollars fast selling these items. For smaller items, such as clothes, you might want to bundle several items together to make more with each transaction.

Just be prepared to negotiate. When shopping online for used items, people often try to haggle to buy for less than the posted price.

 

7. IRA Matches


You might be asking yourself, “Wait, what do you mean an IRA match?”

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are a type of retirement account that enjoys certain tax benefits. However, unlike with 401(k)s, which are run through employers and often offer a match, you directly open up an IRA through a broker. So whereas you might very well receive an employer match when you contribute to a 401(k), brokers, generous as they might be, don’t pony up money for your IRA.

Or at least, they didn’t … until recently.

Robinhood (1% or 3% IRA match)


robinhood sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Promotion: 1% match on IRA contributions (3% match with Robinhood Gold)

Robinhood has evolved from a bare-bones app appealing to mostly beginner investors to a fuller-featured account suitable for a wider range of experience levels. For instance, Robinhood now offers individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs via Robinhood Retirement.

And Robinhood is back to innovating by becoming the first IRA to offer a match on contributions.

→ How to get your free money in an IRA with Robinhood

If you open up an IRA with Robinhood Retirement, Robinhood will match 1% of any contributions, IRA transfers, or 401(k) rollovers into your account—and 3% if you pay for the Robinhood Gold service ($5 per month). The match, which typically hits your account almost immediately, applies to any contributions up to the IRS’s annual limits but does not count toward your contribution limit. So for instance, if you’re under age 30 in 2023, and contribute the maximum allowable $6,500 …

  • If you have a Robinhood Retirement account, Robinhood would match 1%, giving you an additional $65 in IRA funds.
  • If you have a Robinhood Retirement account and subscribe to Robinhood Gold, Robinhood would match 3%, giving you an additional $195 in IRA funds. (That’s $130 more than the normal account, more than paying for the $60 per year you’d spend on Robinhood Gold.)

(Friendly message from your WealthUp tax expert: The reason the IRA match doesn’t count toward your annual IRA contribution limit is because Robinhood treats it as interest income in your IRA.)

Robinhood’s IRA itself doesn’t offer as many investment options as other brokerages’ IRAs (for instance, you can’t get mutual funds through Robinhood), but if all you need is stocks and exchange-traded funds, it will get the job done. You can choose your IRA investments yourself, but Robinhood’s Portfolio Builder can also provide you with a custom recommended portfolio made up of five to eight ETFs.

Get your free IRA money by signing up for a Robinhood retirement account today.

 

How to Make 20 Dollars Fast: FAQs


What are some free money-making ideas to make $20 fast?

You have many ways at your disposal if you need to make 20 dollars fast.

Sometimes, you can earn extra money through a one-time deal, such as sign-up bonuses. Other ways to earn money quickly are repeatable. You might win real cash prizes for playing games, get paid every time you watch videos, or receive cash-back rewards while shopping for essentials.

How can you make some extra cash from your phone?

Nearly all of the ways you can earn cash that I’ve listed in this article can be done from a smartphone. You can easily earn money playing cash games, taking surveys, signing up for services, and more—all from your phone.

Most people have their phones on them all the time, and I’ll assume you do too. If so, you can make money while riding on the bus, standing in a long line, sitting … ahem, in the washroom … or any other time you have a few extra minutes.

Just remember: Sometimes the reward isn’t cash. Some services pay you with free gift cards or a special credit instead.

Is your opinion really worth money?

Yes, survey sites offer cash rewards to people who take their online surveys. The amount of extra money you can earn will vary by survey. More general paid surveys tend to pay less, whereas the tougher it is to find qualified people to survey, the more money it will pay.

For example, most people could qualify for online surveys about their favorite chip brands. Significantly fewer people could qualify for a survey that only wants to hear from females between the ages of 30-35 with alopecia.

A few popular survey sites to consider are Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and Branded Surveys (all explained in more detail in earlier sections).

Do you have to pay taxes on the extra cash you earn online?

When you earn money online, that is considered taxable income. Many ways you make money online, such as online surveys or selling items, are considered part of the gig workforce. You’re required to report any gig economy money earned—and thus pay taxes on them.

If you’re selling items to make money, whether you’re taxed depends on whether you made a profit. If you sold at a loss, the IRS considers this a “nondeductible loss.” Good news: You don’t pay taxes on the earning. The bad news? You can’t deduct the loss.

Usually, credit cards don’t report your rewards, and you don’t need to pay taxes on them. If you receive cash-back rewards, points, or airline miles, you won’t owe taxes because the IRS considers these to be rebates or discounts instead of income. The same holds for welcome bonuses when you open a new card or conduct a certain number of transactions to receive extra cash.

Are there fun ways to get $20 fast online?

Yes. While many people work challenging online jobs, there are also fun ways to win real-world rewards online. You can earn real cash prizes by playing games, taking surveys, and more. You can even watch videos to earn extra cash or free gift cards.


Moomoo Disclaimer

Moomoo’s parent company is Nasdaq-listed Futu Holdings Ltd (FUTU). Their subsidiaries are licensed and regulated in the United States, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.


Plynk Disclosures

Google Play Store and Apple Store Ratings are as of the date referenced (06/22/2023) and provide an average rating of users and do not reflect the experience of an individual customer.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.