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15 Legitimate Ways to Get Fast Cash

angelawatson
Angela Mae Updated: September 4, 2023 • 13 min read
delivery driver

If you're wondering how to get cash fast, legitimately, and easily, you're in luck. Nowadays, there are many ways to make some extra money online or in person, especially with the rise of the gig economy. With the rising cost of living and inflation, many people find themselves in need of additional income to ease their financial burden and decrease debt.

Read on to discover ways to make legitimate cash fast.

How to Fet Fast Cash

How to raise cash quickly? There are many ways available, many of which can be done entirely online.

Many of these options are easy to get started, have minimal to no setup costs, and can pay you quickly.

1. Sell Products Online

If you have access to products that are in demand, you could sell them online on platforms like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Shopify to make fast cash today. Some of the more common things to sell include jewelry, clothing, and accessories, as well as books, electronics, collectibles, antiques, and furniture.

  • How easy to start: Medium. Do your research and ensure there's a demand for your product. Set up a dedicated page on your selling platform of choice. You'll have to market your product and your store, which could require marketing and advertising efforts. Lastly, you'll have to track your inventory and provide customer service, which will have to be timely and accurate.
  • How fast you'll get paid: Payment times can vary based on your products and demand. Typically, you can expect to get paid in a week or less.
  • Setup costs: You'll need to pay for things like product materials, packaging, and shipping costs unless you join a fulfillment program offered by a platform like Fulfillment by Amazon. Also, keep in mind that most of these platforms make money by taking a cut of your profits. The cut typically depends on the product category and other factors. These fees and commissions can impact your profit margin, so when selling products online, it's essential to carefully consider costs.

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2. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you're organized, have great communication skills, and have some experience providing administrative support, you could offer your services to small business owners and entrepreneurs as a virtual assistant. There are also many online training courses you could take to improve your skills or get some credentials, and this job can be done remotely from your home.

Virtual assistants make around $23.92 per hour, but you could potentially earn more than that if you go freelance.

  • How easy to start: Medium. It can take a bit of time to get started, especially if you need to do any online or in-person training. If you want to get started more quickly, sign up on a platform that will connect you with clients.
  • How fast you'll get paid: Most virtual assistants get paid biweekly or monthly.
  • Setup costs: If you already own the basic equipment necessary like a good quality computer, reliable internet service, a headset and related software (ex. bookkeeping software), you can keep your startup costs quite low. However, you'll need to consider the efforts it will take to market yourself including creating a website, business cards and costs associated with registering your business, like licenses, permits and business insurance.

3. Take out a 401(k) Loan

When you need to get cash now, another option is to access a portion of your retirement money early, in the form of a 401(k) loan. When you take out a 401(k) loan, you're essentially borrowing and repaying yourself, not a bank or an online lender -- so the loan won't have an impact on your credit score. Another positive is that most plans allow you to make repayments directly through payroll deductions, using after-tax dollars. You’ll typically have about five years to pay back the loan.

Not all 401(k) plans offer loans, so check with your plan sponsor (usually your employer), or review the Summary Plan Description to see if yours does. There are also certain restrictions with 401(k) loans. For example, you may only be able to take out 50% of your balance, or up to $50,000.

  • How easy to start: Easy. As long as you have the money, it’s typically easy to take out a 401(k) loan. There are certain restrictions, though. For example, you may only be able to take out 50% of your balance, or up to $50,000.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You could receive the money within one to three days, in most cases. It might take a little longer if you don’t do direct deposit into your bank account.
  • Setup costs: Like any loan, 401(k) loans come with interest – the standard rate is prime plus 1% to 2%. They can also incur other taxes or penalties, depending on how much you borrow. Plus, once the money isn’t in your account, it won’t accrue as much interest for retirement.

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4. Take Out a Personal Loan

A personal loan is a loan that you can use for nearly any reason, from debt consolidation to covering emergencies. Like most loans, personal loans have their own repayment term – often 12 to 60 months –, interest rate, and other lender fees. If you have good credit, you could potentially get a loan with better terms and rates.

  • How easy to start: Medium. As there are a variety of personal loan providers each with their own eligibility requirements and processes, it's hard to put a level of difficulty on applying for a personal loan. The better your credit score, the more steady your income and the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the higher your chance of getting approved.
  • How fast you'll get paid: Most lenders will disburse the funds to your account within 1 to 7 business days. If you’re looking for how to get instant cash online, look for a legitimate lender with this option.
  • Setup costs: Applying for a personal loan shouldn’t cost any money. However, you may have to pay an origination fee, as well as any interest fees. Some personal loans come with late fees and prepayment penalties, too.

5. Become a Rideshare or Delivery Driver

If you’re looking for a way to get cash now, then consider becoming a rideshare driver through a company like Uber or Lyft. Alternatively, you could become a delivery driver for a fast food joint – like Pizza Hut – and make some fast cash that way.

  • How easy to start: Easy. It’s generally not difficult to get started with these options. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old (in most cases), have a valid driver’s license, a registered and insured vehicle and a clean driving record.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You could get paid every one to two weeks.
  • Setup costs: If you already have a reliable vehicle, you won’t need to pay for that. You might be responsible for income tax (depending on how much you earn). You’ll also need to pay for gas and any vehicular maintenance costs.

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6. Become a TikTok Influencer

If you’re charismatic and creative, you could create engaging videos on TikTok or a similar platform for free to raise cash quickly. Over time, you can grow your audience and monetize your content.

Once you have 10,000 followers and 100,000 views in the past 30 days, you can join the TikTok Creator Fund. You could make anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month this way.

  • How easy to start: Hard. This is a harder option than some of the others because it takes a large upfront time commitment and consistent uploading. The more views and engagement you have, the more you could get paid.
  • How fast you'll get paid: TikTok usually pays its creators once a month.
  • Setup costs: The initial cost depends on the recording device you use, as well as whether you need props, products, or anything else for your videos. The average cost of a smartphone, for example, is about $720.

7. Try Freelancing or a Side Gig

If you have skills in any one area – from writing to data entry to voice-over work – you could offer them as a freelancer. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork let you connect with people who are looking for your skills.

These platforms also let you set your own rates. The more people you work with, the greater your visibility – especially if you have good reviews – and the more you can earn. And if you have a unique skill set, you could potentially charge even more.

  • How easy to start: Medium to Hard. Getting started as a freelancer can vary in difficulty depending on how you go about it. If you want to build your own client base, it can take several months or even years. Even if you use a marketplace like Fiverr, it might still take some time to get recognized and increase your earning potential.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You could get paid upfront for your services, or after you’ve completed the project. This depends on the platform you use, too.
  • Setup costs: Being a freelancer can be financially rewarding, and the upfront costs are usually low. Primarily, you'll need to invest in marketing yourself to reach prospective clients. This might involve creating and growing a social media presence, launching your own website, offering free trials and more.

8. Create an Online Course

You could earn anywhere from about $20 to $500 every time someone buys your course. The exact payout depends on a few factors, such as the platform you’re using and the value your course offers to others.

It’s possible to create a course in nearly anything, from technical skills like programming to graphic design to business ownership. If you have something worth selling, consider putting it on a platform like Teachable or Udemy.

  • How easy to start: Hard. This option can be hard to start since you’ll need to first create a good course that people want to buy. It can take longer if you don’t already have an audience or social media presence.
  • How fast you'll get paid: This depends on the platform you use. Teachable, for instance, have a daily, weekly, or monthly payout schedule. It can take a few extra days to receive payment.
  • Setup costs: Many platforms don’t charge you any money upfront. Rather, they’ll take out a cut of your sales. For example, Teachable charges a 2.9% payment processing fee (plus $0.30). You’ll also need a computer or laptop plus any equipment or software needed to create your course.

9. Make Websites

Making a website is another great way to earn extra cash online. Approximately 71% of small businesses have a website, meaning 29% still need one. It costs anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 to create a website, making this a highly lucrative option if you have the right technical skills.

  • How easy to start: Medium. This depends on your current skill set and how long it takes you to find clients. You’ll need some knowledge of UX design, coding, graphic design, and so forth. You’ll also need to be able to reach businesses or brands willing to pay you.
  • How fast you'll get paid: This is up to you. If you’re a freelance website designer, you could get paid a portion of your fee upfront and the rest once you finish the design. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
  • Setup costs: Startup costs vary based on the software you use. For example, a monthly subscription of Adobe products is $54.99. You may also need a high-tech computer that can run the required software, so expect to spend over a thousand on that.

10. Offer Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of using different social media platforms to promote a brand. You can do this freelance for some extra cash. The skills used in social media marketing include content strategy, digital marketing, management, communication, and writing.

A full-time Social Media Marketer earns $53,811 a year, on average. As a freelancer, you could charge by the hour or work on retainer. How much you can earn depends on a few things, like how successful you are and the brands you work with. One study found that the cost of running a social channel – with all content include – ranges from $500 to $10,000 a month.

  • How easy to start: Medium. It can be difficult to get started, especially if you don’t already have a solid presence online or a portfolio of clients under your belt. To make it easier, start by offering your skills on a site like Upwork.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You could get paid within a few days of completing a project if you work on a platform like Upwork.
  • Setup costs: The initial cost tends to be low since you only need a computer and secure internet access, but you might need to pay for advertising or marketing like paid social media ads and SEO efforts to reach a broader audience for your services.

11. Rent Out Your Space

If you own a second home or have an extra room in your house, you could rent out that space on a site like Airbnb. As long as you rent out the space for no more than 14 days in a year, you won’t need to report your earnings as income. More active or long-term hosts earn around $13,800 a year on average.

  • How easy to start: Easy. It’s easy to get started, but you will need a spare room or house. If you’re using Airbnb, check the requirements.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You can often get paid quickly. Airbnb hosts get paid within 24 hours of a guest checking in, on average.
  • Setup costs: Some common expenses include cleaning, maintenance, and platform fees. You could also be responsible for things like property or income tax, which can vary by state.

12. Use a Pawnshop

Pawnshop loans can be expensive since they come with added interest and short repayment periods. If you don’t pay the pawnshop on time, they can keep your item instead.

But if the alternative is dealing with debt collectors or ruined credit, a pawnshop loan could be worth your while. If you give something up that you don’t really need back, it’s also no great loss if you do have trouble repaying the loan.

  • How easy to start: Easy. It’s usually easy to get a pawnshop loan since you don’t need high credit or income. All you need is something valuable to pawn, like jewelry or electronics.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You can get paid nearly right away.
  • Setup costs: There’s no initial cost to getting a pawnshop loan but expect to pay interest when getting your item back. The exact rate depends on the state and pawnshop.

13. Offer Pet-sitting Services

If you’re looking for another option for how to make cash fast, consider pet-sitting. One of the easiest ways to get started is by signing up on a site like Rover. Rover lets you create an account where you can offer different services like grooming, dog-walking, and home-stays for different people’s pets. You can set your own rates, though it’s a good idea to check out the competition in your area to make sure you’re not charging too much or too little.

  • How easy to start: Easy. It’s easy to get started if you go through an established platform. The requirements are usually low, but you will typically need to be at least 18 years of age and have a checking account.
  • How fast you'll get paid: You can get paid within a couple of days. Rover, for example, pays within two days of completing a service.
  • Setup costs: These are minimal since the pet owner usually handles any fees related to their pets. If you go through a platform, they might take a cut of your earnings, though.

14. Ask for a Paycheck Advance or More Hours

As long as you have good rapport with your current employer, asking for a paycheck advance or more hours could be a great way to get extra money quickly. Some employers will give you a percentage of your upcoming paycheck early.

If your employer doesn’t do this directly, you may be able to use a paycheck advance app like Earnin to access some of the money you’ve earned but haven’t received early. This can help if you’re in a financial pinch. But keep in mind that any money you get in advance will be deducted from your next paycheck.

  • How easy to start: Easy to Medium. It’s easy to ask for extra hours or sign up for an app. It can be a bit trickier to get a raise.
  • How fast you'll get paid: If you ask for an advance on your paycheck, you could get paid right away. If you use a paycheck advance app, it could take a day or two for the funds to come through.
  • Setup costs: This option doesn’t cost anything.

15. Use App or Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses

Many major credit cards offer sign-up bonuses simply for taking out a credit card through them. Some apps, like Swagbucks and Ibotta, also offer welcome bonuses ranging from about $5 to $30. Both of these are good, legitimate options for how to get instant cash online.

  • How easy to start: Easy. It’s easy to earn sign-up or welcome bonuses with these apps or credit cards. For credit cards, you might need to have good credit and steady income to qualify, though.
  • How fast you'll get paid: This depends on the app or card. In some cases, you’ll get paid as soon as you sign up. In others, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the money to come through.
  • Setup costs: These options don’t come with initial setup costs. If you use a credit card, however, there may be interest charges or other account fees to consider.

Conclusion

If you want to earn extra cash legitimately, you have a myriad of options. Think about what you like to do and assess your current skills first. Also, consider things like setup costs, the barrier of entry, and time to payment. Doing this can help you decide which option is best for you.

Whatever you choose – whether it’s to offer your skills on a freelance basis or signing up for rideshare –, you can earn some money to combat the rising cost of living. Earning extra money like this can also give you more of a financial cushion in case you need it in the future.

angelawatson
Written by Angela Mae

Angela Mae is a personal finance writer specializing in loans, debt management, investing, retirement planning, and financial literacy. She comes from a journalistic background and pulls from hands-on experience and deep-dive research to breathe life into her stories. Her goal is to help others achieve financial stability and independence. When not writing, she can be found traveling, honing her yoga skills, hiking, or exploring new means of healthy, sustainable living.