The Truth About Money-Making Games and Apps

The Truth About Money-Making Games and Apps

We’ve all seen the ads and perhaps been intrigued by them. What could be an easier and more fun way to earn a little extra cash than by playing money-making games or by using money-making apps? Probably nothing, right?

Well…we hate to break it to you, but these highly popular money-making games aren’t all they seem to be. 

Let’s have a chat about how money-making apps turn a profit and how to be careful when playing them. We’ll also look at some tips for the best way to approach these apps, and maybe even make a little money. Finally, we’ve listed the top five most reputable money-making games, along with some of the worst. 

So read this first and then decide for yourself if this fun side hustle is worth your time.

How Money-Making Games Make Their Own Money

You can’t expect a free game to give away money for no reason. There’s always a reason, and it all comes down to turning a profit for the app developer. Remember, if you’re not buying a product, then you are the product.

Here are some ways that money-making games and apps make their own money:

  • They track and/or collect your personal data. This includes your web and search history, locations, purchases, other apps you use, contact lists, and sometimes even pictures. This data is then sold to third-party interests (marketers, etc.) for a profit. 

  • They earn sponsorships from all the brands they feature.

  • They play ads. And more ads. And even more ads.

  • They offer their users paid upgrades that unlock “special” features.

Now, these aren’t necessarily bad ways that businesses make money. You just need to be aware of them so that you can choose to (or choose not to) give your information away, be swayed by brand placement, or pay for dubious features. 

Read the fine print and online reviews for every app before you decide to download it. Check the app’s permissions. Are they demanding access to areas of your phone they have no need to use for the game?

How to Be Careful Playing Money-Making Games

Once you know what you’re getting into, it’s still important to be careful when playing money-making games. 

Here’s what you can do to keep yourself from getting played:

  • Don’t get addicted. Gameplay is intentionally and specifically designed to hook people and keep their attention for the long haul. The constant short bursts of play followed by small rewards and progressively more difficult levels with lures of bigger rewards tricks your brain into wanting more and more.

  • Enjoy playing the game for its own sake, instead of constantly trying to attain rewards or spending money for upgrades. Find games that have been designed for long-term play without forcing you to make additional purchases. Better yet, play actual board game versions with in-person players.

  • Go into the situation knowing that money-making apps don’t offer tangible, real-life benefits. Inevitably, they’re distractors and time wasters when you could be doing something much more positive with your time (including earning a lot more money by working for a paycheck).

  • Set and stick to your goals and limits—and make them ones that are quick to reach. If you set a goal to earn $10 (not $200) for gas money, end the game when you get there. If you don’t want to play for more than 20 minutes a day, set a timer and close the app when it goes off.

  • Regularly delete games, apps, and other distractions from your phone. This way you’re forced to assess which games bring you joy and which are a waste of storage space and battery life. 

Being careful when purchasing and playing money-making apps will ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

How to Actually Profit From Money-Making Apps

Now that you understand how money-making apps make their own money and how to be careful with your playtime, you’re ready to learn the tricks to actually making money yourself. Yes, it is possible to do without wasting your own money or time (with some apps, at least). But how? 

Here are some tips for making a profit from money-making games and apps:

Be realistic about how much money you might win. It’s very unlikely you will ever get more than a few bucks at a time. Additionally, some games have a minimum payout balance required before you can get your cash or gift card.

Be mindful of how much time and money you spend because that will quickly eat into any profits.

Turn off any options that let you make payments without effort. This can include Touch ID, stored passwords, saved credit card numbers, and auto logins.

Avoid any games or apps that charge a fee to download.

Some apps that allow you to cash out charge a fee to do so. It’s often better to save up and transfer a larger amount at once than to transfer multiple small amounts over the course of a week or month.

Watch for these seven online gaming scams and permissions:

    1. Secret cell phone dialing
    2. Free in-game credits for participating in activities from third-parties
    3. File sharing 
    4. Channeling money through third-party operators, especially when the site is based outside the U.S.
    5. Phishing accounts through password change requests
    6. Selling or trading virtual assets
    7. Phony work-from-home jobs

Failing to follow these tips (or falling for any of these scams) will mean you lose money, instead of making it.

The Top 5 Most Reputable Money-Making Games (and the Worst)

Now it’s time for the fun part! 

Here are the top five most reputable money-making games that you can rely on for a good time:

1. Lucktastic is basically the online, free version of scratching lotto tickets. You can make real money but like all scratch-offs, there are no guarantees. 

2. Brain Battle is a rapid-fire math game where you can earn tickets to put into a cash-win drawing.

3. Givling is a trivia game that features true-or-false questions about a wide range of topics. If your team is the high scorer, each team member splits the cash reward. What’s even better is that Givling helps pay off users’ student loans.

4. QuickRewards Network lets you win cash or gift cards by playing trivia or Guess My Number games, as well as by taking surveys, watching videos, etc. 

5. Bananatic is where you can go to test and review games. However, instead of earning cash, you’ll earn credits for more video games or Amazon gift cards.

6. Here are two examples of the worst money-making games that you want to avoid at all costs:

    • Sweatcoin (it can take over 5 years to earn enough coins to cash out).
    • Merge Number Plus (you earn money fast, but the requirements for cashing out are impossible to meet without months of continual gameplay).

Although we’ve only listed two games in the “worst” category, remember there are many, many others out there that are just as bad. Scam games often shut down when the outcry against them grows too loud, only for the developers to launch a “new” game that has similar dynamics but is just as dishonest.

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