Make money playing games on your phone

The top apps, best games and what to watch out for

It's possible to make some extra cash just by playing games on your mobile. Perfect for lazing by the pool over the summer holidays (or in front of the TV at home). We've got everything you need to know below.

This is the first incarnation of this guide – if you have any extra tips or feedback, please let us know in the forum.

Playing games on your phone is just one way of making some extra cash. See our other guides, including:

Boost your income | Earn cash from market research | Make money online | Top survey sites

Quick tips & what to watch out for

Don't be tempted to spend money on in-app purchases. This is all about making money, NOT spending it. It's possible to play games and earn money without any spending, but gaming apps are likely to tempt you to spend to try to boost your experience.

Withdraw your cash as soon as you can. These apps aren't banks. There's no protection if one goes under, taking your cash with it. So withdraw your cash as soon as you reach the payment threshold.

If you struggle with gambling or other addiction issues, give mobile games a miss. As we mention above, mobile games often try to tempt you to spend money, and can be addictive. Don't try these apps if this is a risk for you. If you need help, visit Gambleaware.

Spend gift vouchers ASAP. If you're given the choice, opt to get paid in cash. If you get paid in gift vouchers, spend them ASAP. This reduces your chances of being left with invalid vouchers should the retailer go bust. Plus it means you can't lose them or forget about them until they go out of date. For more info on this, see our gift voucher warning.

Ignore adverts for gaming apps that claim you can make £1,000s. Using the apps below, you might earn £10 to £50 a month if you put some time in. Apps that claim you can earn £1,000s each month are scams and should be avoided at all costs. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Top 'get paid to play' apps & websites

It might sound like a dream scenario, but these apps really do pay you for playing games. They're funded by adverts (so be prepared to sit through some terrible videos), and they pass on some of that money to you. It's worth noting, the majority are only available on Android phones.

  1. Mistplay – Android only, huge range of games


    To earn money with Mistplay, you need to download the free app (only available for Android), then select games to install and play on your phone. You'll only earn if you launch the game via Mistplay so it can track your time spent playing (a bit like using a cashback site).

    How do I earn money?

    Mistplay rewards you with units when you've played a game for a certain length of time. It splits these time periods into 'levels', and you earn points when you hit each one. When you've earned enough, you can then redeem your units for a gift card, or prepaid Mastercard. Two-thousand units are worth £5 in gift cards. It took MSE Sarah less than a day to earn a £5 voucher.

    You'll earn points quite quickly when you first start playing a game, but the higher you go, the longer it takes to move between levels. This means it can be worth playing lots of different games, rather than sticking to just one. Bear in mind too that once you reach level 20, you'll stop earning units for that game.

    As well as playing games, you can earn units for a few other things:

    • 100 units for inviting a friend
    • 15 units for signing up to the newsletter
    • Two units a day for maintaining a daily streak (play a game through the app for several days in a row)

    Are the games any good?

    Mistplay has one of the biggest selections of games we've seen, ranging from Solitaire to war strategy games such as Viking Rise. You'll also find games based on popular TV shows, such as The Walking Dead: Survivors and Star Trek Fleet Command.

    Some of the games are genuinely fun to play, as MSE Sarah found when she tried out the app:

    I've made £40 so far using Mistplay. I've enjoyed some of the games so much, I would happily play them even if I wasn't getting paid. These are my top picks so far:

    • Woodoku. Tetris meets a Sudoku grid in a wooden block puzzle game.
    • Love & Pies. Help rebuild a café, and serve customers by merging items to make pies, cakes and more.
    • Royal Match. Match colourful items to solve puzzles.
    • Cooking Madness. Serve customers in real-time by cooking and combining ingredients to order. If you've played Overcooked on a PC or console, this game might feel familiar. It's just as stressful (and fun).
    • Solitaire. You're probably already familiar with this card game, but it's a classic for a reason.

    A number of MoneySavers have also had success earning via Mistplay. Forumite SBarnard says:

    I've been using Mistplay for a few years, and use the Amazon voucher option. Build them up and that's part of Christmas/birthday shopping... I get a £10 Amazon voucher every other month or so.

    And praisedlily says:

    Mistplay is my quickest way of earning £10 at a time currently, though I'm trying to reduce how much time I spend on my phone!

  2. JustPlay – Android only, fast payout but limited selection of games


    The JustPlay app is only available for Android and, like Mistplay, it rewards you when you download and play games.

    How do I earn money?

    JustPlay gives you loyalty coins based on how long you spend playing a game. The longer you play, the more coins you'll earn. You can also boost your coin stash by watching YouTube videos (which are essentially just adverts).

    JustPlay isn't very clear on the conversion rate of coins to pounds, but suggests it's based on time spent in games, achievements in games, and how much a company is paying it to show you adverts. MSE Sarah earned around £1 in a few hours, but more intense playing could earn more.

    There's a countdown in the app for when you can cash-out what you've earned. Withdrawal options include PayPal and Amazon. The good news is, the withdrawal threshold is pretty low (5p for Amazon gift cards, £2 for PayPal).

    Are the games any good?

    JustPlay has a much more limited selection of games than Mistplay. Adverts also appear randomly while you're playing, which can be a bit frustrating.

    Games include Treasure Master, Solitaire Verse, Ball Bounce and Trivia Madness.

  3. Swagbucks – Android and iPhone, variety of ways to earn


    Swagbucks* rewards you for online activity such as answering polls, completing surveys and watching videos. You can earn using the app on Android or iPhone devices or on desktop through the Swagbucks website.

    You can also get rewarded for playing mobile games, and a major benefit here is that a number of them are available to both Android and iPhone users.

    How do I earn money?

    Swagbucks gives you points (called 'SB'), which you can then cash in for gift cards, PayPal credit or other rewards.

    To earn SB by playing games, you'll usually need to be using Swagbucks on your phone, and install the game following the Swagbucks link (a few games can be played on a computer instead). Do note that you often need to be a new user of the game, so you won't earn if you've downloaded it before.

    You're rewarded points once you reach a certain level in the game. So although the SB offered for playing games can be high, bear in mind it will take at least five hours (and sometimes weeks) to earn them. For example, currently playing Family Island gets you 1,500 SB (worth £15) if you reach level 21 within 14 days.

    Are the games any good?

    Swagbucks offers a decent selection of games, including FarmVille, Puzzles and Survival, Triple Tile and Words With Friends 2.

    Get a £20 bonus via our link

    Newbies who sign up via our MSE Blagged Swagbucks* link can get bonus points equivalent to £20 in Amazon (or other) gift cards once they've earned 1,000 SB (equivalent to £10) – giving them a total of £30. However, you'll need to earn the required 1,000 SB within 30 days of signing up. See our Swagbucks deals page for more details.

  4. Cash'em All – Android only, fast payout but limited selection of games

    Similar to Mistplay and JustPlay, Cash'em All rewards you when you download and play games via its app. It's only available for Android.

    How do I earn money?

    Cash'em All gives you points based on the amount of time you spend playing games. This varies by game – when we checked, some gave you 181 coins a minute spent playing, others only 100 coins.

    You can also earn by inviting friends to the app. You get 200 coins for every friend who joins, plus 25% of all coins they then earn.

    Cash'em All is another app with a low withdrawal threshold, starting at 29p (3,999 coins) if you use PayPal. Other options include Amazon and Starbucks gift cards. MSE Sarah earned around 60p (8,000 coins) in less than an hour.

    Are the games any good?

    Games include Candy Crush Saga, Match Masters and Merge Dragons. The selection of games isn't as good as Mistplay or Swagbucks, but you also don't get bombarded by adverts which is a major advantage.

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