Our Favorite Money Apps and Services for 2021

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

“Best of” lists pop up at the end of the year, but we want to look ahead. Sure, we’ve only just started 2021 but we already have some favorites to share.

Since we all obviously want to start with our best foot forward, we picked a handful of apps that withstand the test of time. They’re a variety of useful (some fun!) money apps and services that can help in any financial situation.

Bookmark these in case you need them soon!

1. Get $5 to Invest in Google, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, and More

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Danny Guinta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

You might think that investing is complicated. Or that you’ll never get a share of these well-known brands like Google, Amazon, Tesla, etc., but you can. And you don’t have to be rich either.

That’s because Stash, an investment app, lets you start investing with just $1. You can choose where to put your money in and they provide guidance and tools to help you along the way. You can invest in some of the major companies that you use or buy from regularly to make a custom Personal Portfolio.

With Stash Growth and Stash+, you can also choose the Smart Portfolio option which offers hands-off stress-free investing since Stash will invest for you based on your risk tolerance. Plus claim bonus stock when you attend Stash’s virtual Stock Parties!

As a bonus, Stash is giving new members $5 for any first investment so create an account to get started.

2. School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In

When you’re looking for something to do at home, check out Solitaire Cube on iOS, which is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash.

The game matches you with players of the same skill level, so all is fair. You could win some serious cash, like Katie N. who took home $380,984 as one of the Top 10 Solitaire Cube players! Even casual players like Amanda, a stay-at-home mom from IL, won a 55″ TV, $6,000, and more prizes.

You can deposit as little as $2 to start playing for real money, and there are always bonus cash opportunities to get even more value. Currently, there is a $350,000 prize pool tournament you can get in on!

So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire Cube to win legit cash, definitely download this game for free for your iPhone. 

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

3. Fetch All Your Receipts (Even Virtual) & Get Free Money Back

Alice Ly / The Smart Wallet

Check your pockets; check your purse. And keep email receipts.

Grab all the recent receipts you have and scan them into Fetch Rewards to earn points towards free money. Even better? Connect your email inbox and it’ll count your email receipts too from Amazon, Instacart, Shipt, and more!

Basically, shop at any store (grocery, drugstore, warehouse, everywhere and online), snap a pic with the app, and boom, you’ve got points for money. Upload your restaurant and drive-thru receipts too.

There’s no minimum spend, no need to manually select items, just scan in any receipt from any store and it’ll automatically reward you.

Be sure to grab 2,000 welcome points on us when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt!

4. Over $7 Million Paid Out to Steady Members to Date - Sign Up for Your Share!

Over 3 million people are already using Steady to find extra income, and on average members make $5,500 a year more!

Once you link your bank account (it’s secure!), the app’s Income Tools feature will give you personal insights into the extra money you’re making.

Plus, earn extra cash rewards through their Income Boosters perk too. Basically, get paid to try out useful brands to help manage your money even more.

It only takes a few minutes to sign up for free and answer some work history questions and what type of job you’re looking to see opportunities immediately!

5. Not Your Grandma’s Bingo - Play Anywhere for Cash

Blackout Bingo is a fast-paced and competitive bingo game that you can play anywhere on your phone. And even against your friends virtually.

2 minutes. That’s all you need per game where you play against another person around the world. Everyone sees the same card and balls so by daubing (tapping the number) fast and correctly, you’ll get bonus boosts for more points! Tap the incorrect number and points will get docked so don’t get sloppy!

You can play for free on iPhone against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…cash! Cash game winners can win up to $1,000 or more. Residents of AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN can’t participate in cash games but can win prizes!

6. Play Solitaire to Win Cash. No Longer a Single Player Game.

Less than a few minutes. That’s all you need to win real cash when you play Solitaire Cash, a fun Solitaire iOS game with a modern twist.

It’s like regular Solitaire but you compete against other players at the same skill-level as yours to see who can solve the deck the fastest, and for cash! Play in groups of 5 or more and the top 3 for each game wins.

Players have already won thousands of dollars! Solitaire Cash is free to download and play on iOS but cash tournaments are specifically not available in AZ, AR, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, SC, MT & SD.

If you like playing quick games for chances to win cash, check it out.

7. Pop Some Colorful Bubbles to Make Some Bank

The classic bubble game comes back with a modern twist where you have 3 minutes each game to pop or clear as many bubbles from the board as you can.

It’s called Bubble Shooter! Tournaments, and no matter your skill level, you can have fun against real players around the world.

Our favorite strategy? Hang multiple bubbles from a “parent” bubble, and then POP the parents so all the bubbles drop at once! It’s extremely satisfying to get those combos.

Play for free, and when you’re ready, switch over to cash games to earn faster! Cash game winners can win up to $10,000 (no joke).

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.

8. Get a Personal Loan Fast Even if You Have Bad Credit

Your credit score is important but sometimes, unfortunate circumstances happen to good people. It’s not always a fair representation of your financial history to be judged by 3 digits.

Even if you have a poor credit score and have been turned down by credit card companies, you could still qualify for a personal loan* for your short-term financial needs.

OppLoans can help. They work to rescue and rebuild middle-income credit-challenged members for a brighter financial future.

Submitting an application won’t impact your FICO credit score^ and you’ll be able to get the best personal loan that you may need for car repairs, medical, family, rent, major purchase, etc.

Here’s who can qualify:

  1. Residents of FL, AL, AR, AZ, DC, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, KY, KS, LA, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NM, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, SC, WA, WI, WY, or VA
  2. Have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 for the states listed above except AL is $3,500, and GA & ID is $3,000
  3. 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
  4. At least 90 days at current employer
  5. Have direct deposit

Qualified borrowers can borrow up to $4,000 depending on creditworthiness and state of residence.* “Payback is on a set term so no surprises and they are cheaper than those payday loans. I was able to get approved in just a few short hours. They really came through and helped me out!” Mike from Clover, SC.

And when monthly payments are made back on the loan, OppLoans will notify the 3 credit bureaus to build up your payment history!+

9. Affordable Car Insurance Exists - Here’s How You Could Save Up To $610

You’re sharing the same roads with a lot of different people. Distracted people, oblivious people, road-rage people, etc. It’s best to cover yourself with insurance when everyone is operating a giant motor vehicle.

That’s why car insurance exists and is mandatory. You might be overpaying on your current insurance premium since it can be a hassle finding another provider.

However, you can search for quotes easily on EverQuote. They help match you among dozens of regional agencies and insurance carriers to filter the best matches to save on your car insurance.

It takes less than 4 minutes to fill out the form and you’ll see a list of matches that show online quotes, email, and potential phone quotes.

EverQuote can save drivers up to $610 a year on average* compared to their current insurance premiums. Once you see your list of potential matches, choose the online ones you want or wait for more information via email or phone.

It’s a pretty simple process, so try it out to see how much you could be saving on the road!

10. The Automated Financial Assistant That’ll Help You Save $720/Year

New Year’s resolutions are coming up but make savings an all-year event.

Just use Truebill, a free money management app that’s like your personal finance assistant. It groups all your banking accounts together so you can see your earnings and spending in one spot. Plus, it helps you budget even if you don’t know how to.

It’s simple:

  1. Download Truebill for free
  2. Link your bank accounts and credit cards so Truebill can analyze transactions (it’s secure and read-only access!)
  3. You’ll get monthly reports of your spending and how it changes over time

Plus:

  • The app will find all your recurring bills and subscriptions (even those you forgot about)
  • Truebill can help lower your bills by 20% (they negotiate for you)
  • The app also helps you start budgeting and set up auto-savings too

Save easier with Truebill and make your “new year, new you” vows count!

11. Get Free Stock Worth Up to $225

@MayoFi | Unsplash

Investing may seem expensive and most people put it off until they have “enough” money for it.

But time is the most important factor and Robinhood lets new investors get started with just $1.

This free trading app lets you trade stocks, ETFs, and options, along with cryptocurrency, commission-free! When your application is approved, they’ll give free stock worth $2.50 up to $225 for new members, with chances to get a high-value stock in Facebook, Microsoft, etc.

With a near-perfect 4.8 score from 2.3 million people, it’s a popular app that you should check out if you’re interested in investing.

12. 21 + Solitaire = Real 💰 and Serious Fun

Check out 21 Blitz, an extremely fun and fast-paced mobile card game. Play against real people at your skill level to compete for cash and prizes like tech, kitchen appliances, even a car!

It only takes 3 minutes to play. Make as many 21s as you can before the clock runs out or until you run out of moves. And for a limited time, you can get 2x points multiplier to get even more points!

Play for free against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…well, cash! Currently, players are invited to play in a guaranteed $23,000 prize pool tournament. Plus, get up to $30 for each friend you refer. Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN but you can still win some amazing prizes!