50 Easy Ways to Make Money as A Teenager in 2020

How to make money as a teenager

How to Make Money as a Teenager

Updated: 12/1/20

Making money online as a teenager is challenging, but with hard work, a plan, dedication, and consistency, it is achievable! The chances are that your teenage years will be full of distractions, you have middle school and high school, a lot of the good and fun, but with that being said, you can definitely get a head start and make some cold hard cash in your spare time. Also, keep in mind this gives you an early education in personal finance, managing your money, and working with other people and customers.

In reality, getting started in business as a teenager, making money online will give you a head start building a passive or active revenue stream. It’s 2020, and you do not need to wait for permission or a college degree to get started. The money you earn can be used for college, future savings, and any successful business can go on your resume. Starting a business that earns some money will give you experience and an advantage in a competitive job environment.

Earning money as a teenager will give you invaluable life experience about running a business, not when you are an adult, but now! There are many ways to consider earning money now in a new business, like a part-time opportunity that still gives you great job experience while earning some extra bucks.

So do we mean getting a part-time job at the neighborhood ice cream shop or the local grocery store? Not exactly, though those options to earn money as a teenager are very good for some kids. But there are many other ways to earn money that involve doing it your way, on your terms, even as a teenager without being full-time. If you are too busy during the school year, you can always use these ideas as a summer job.

Below are some ideas for teenagers that involve a wide variety of business options. The ideas are based on what some successful teens are already doing, and the options include everything from the detail-oriented, hands-on teen to the tech-loving teen and even the philanthropic type.

In no particular order, here are 50 legit ways in 2020 to make money as a teenager:

How to Make Money Online by Renting Video Games

One thing all teenagers have in common is their love of video games. With the unfortunate events of 2020 and virtually everyone worldwide spending more time at home, more and more people across all age groups have played video games. Not to mention, many teenagers might be tired of playing with what they already own. And adding insult to injury is that video games are quite expensive, and store inventories might fall below the current circumstances.

Renting your video games is a great business idea as there currently is a big opportunity for the peer-to-peer video game rental market. Start a group on the social media platform of your choosing, set up payment options, and get some flat rate envelopes from the post office, and you are on your way!

How to Make Money with Grocery Delivery

Again, with the disconcerting pandemic events this year, grocery delivery services are in extremely high demand. You can absolutely do this on your own schedule, part-time. There are national services like Instacart, as well as local services offered by neighborhood stores. There may be age requirements, depending on the delivery service, and you must have access to your own car, but this grocery delivery is a great way to make money as a teenager. Looking to start something more on your own? Then advertise personal grocery shopping and/or delivery options for folks in your community.

How to Make Money with Babysitting

An oldie but a goodie, especially during the summer months! In most areas in the U.S., babysitters can earn between $15 and $20 per hour. Teenagers who have their babysitting and CPR certifications can expect to be paid on the higher end. Still, even teens who babysit without certifications are often in high demand. Ask your parents to advertise your services on FB with their friends or local community pages, and you can put up flyers in places where parents shop. Depending on your age and credentials, you can join sites like Care.com and Sittercity, which require several background checks, but they do the advertising for you. Babysitting is one of our top ways to earn money as a teen.

How to Make Money by Proving Tech Support

Offer tech support and/or lessons to seniors in your community. You’ve probably already done a fair amount of this for family, like your parents and grandparents. The older generations often need help with their computer hardware and software, cell phones, iPads, and other devices. Teaching older people who did not have the advantage of growing up with modern technology is a great way to make money. You can drop off flyers to senior apartment buildings, senior centers, or ask your grandparents if they have any friends who need help. You can set up weekly “lessons” for an hourly rate or charge for as-needed help desk visits.

Make Money as a Golf Caddy

If you love golfing and exercise, you should definitely try your hand at being a golf caddy. Aside from walking beautiful golf courses, you can get paid hourly. Caddy’s typically get tipped at the end of the game. You can search for work online, or you can stop by the local public and private courses and apply there. It’s perfect money if you can build up a clientele.

Make Money Starting Your Own Youtube Channel

There are so many teenage YouTubers making great money; it’s hard to keep track. In fact, a lot of them are making a thousand per month! The typical YouTube channel makes about $1 to $20 for every thousand views. Best of all, if you make evergreen videos (videos that do not get stale and are always applicable and timeless. Think gardening, beauty tips, gaming advice, and more). The upside is limitless, allowing you to make a lot of money.

There are a ton of teenage YouTubers making thousands of dollars per month from Youtube ad revenue. The average Youtube channel makes anywhere from $1-$20 per thousand views, so the earnings can really stack up.

You can be as you as young as 13 and start earning income as a YouTuber.

How to Make Money Tutoring or Giving Lessons

Is there one subject you are really good at, or do you just enjoy working with young kids? Set up an online (via Zoom or FaceTime) or in-person tutoring business! During the school year, help kids in subjects like math, science, and English. If you are a great writer, help kids with their papers and projects. If you are a theater or music lover, offer music lessons or acting coaching. During the summer, you can help with summer reading and math packets. If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are websites like TakeLessons, where you can advertise your “expertise” after passing some background checks and evaluations.

Whether you go out on your own or use a service like TakeLessons, tutoring is a great way to make money as a teenager.

How to Make Money as a Teenager by Doing Cleanouts

Most people have garages, basements, attics, and/or multiple closets that need to be cleaned out. Offer a service to help folks not only clean out but also haul away their junk. Because one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, many items can be dropped off at local charity shops, which many clients will appreciate. Anything that cannot be donated can be discarded at your local municipal dump, and most municipalities charge reduced fees to residents. Dump fees can be included in your overall service charge. Helping folks declutter is a win-win for everyone!

Make Extra Dough Working at Your Local Movie Theater

There are plenty of ways for teens to make money working at a movie theater. Teens can work at the concessions, being an usher, or even tearing tickets. Moreover, you might get fringe benefits such as seeing movies for free or snacks and drinks from the concession stand. Your mileage may vary on benefits, so it probably good to talk to the manager or any of the teens working there.

Make Money by Doing TaskRabbit Errands and Tasks

Make money doing tasks with TaskRabbit! Be prepared to help people with literally any task they need help with, like cleaning, moving, lawn care, light home repairs, assembling furniture, mounting TVs, etc. The work can be hard, but the pay can be great! While helping with tasks is a totally legit way to make money, one drawback is that laborers must be at least 18 years old.

Make Money with your Friends and Family by using Boostapal

Get your friends and family to use Boostapal – Boostapal understands that teens’ jobs are few and far between, so they provide another way for teens to earn money. Teens become ambassadors and get their family and friends to become “Boosters” and make all online purchases through Boostapal shops. Teens earn a specific dollar amount on all qualifying purchases from over 1,500 stores. Stores include popular favorites like Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and more. It’s that easy!

Make Money by Offering Pet Sitting Services

Pet Sitting – Do you have a way with the 4-legged, fury kinds? A pet sitting or dog walking business would be a legit way to earn money if you are a teen. Teens can offer dog walking and/or pet sitting services to busy individuals and earn a handsome fee for doing so. According to Angie’s List, dog owners can expect to pay $15 – $20 per walk that lasts 20 minutes long. Pet sitting services are charged per day and can be as much as $40 per day, and $75 if overnight help is needed. Start getting clients by advertising at local pet stores, online, and introducing yourself to area veterinarians. Some pet sitting sites can help match sitters with pet owners, but they require the teen to be at least 18 years old.

Make Money Playing Video Games

Play Video Games for cash – You read that right! Get paid to play video games. And we aren’t talking about winning a major Esport title. The voyeur industry is on fire (think YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Live), and there are tons of people out there who love to watch other people play video games. If you are particularly good at a game, or even particularly bad, consider Twitch. The platform allows you to charge subscribers to watch your channel where subscribers watch you play via live stream or an uploaded recording.

Make Money Online by Teaching People How to Play Video Games

Teach Video Games – Love playing but don’t want to put yourself out there for others to watch? Then consider teaching other young kids and teens how to play video games. Gamer Sensei lets e-sport “pros” to provide coaching or lessons. You can apply to be a Sensei, and once approved, you can set your own dates and times. This is a great way for teens to earn legit money.

Make Money by being a Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer – This might be easier said than done, but one-way teens can still earn money. If you love putting yourself out there and don’t mind some unfriendly comments, then becoming a social media influencer is for you! Become an influencer by sharing your experiences, travels, opinions, and general thoughts. Platforms include Instagram, Tik Tok, and even YouTube. Becoming a social media influencer requires a great deal of media management as well as creativity. Influencers make money via advertising and also sponsored posts.

Make Cash Selling on Poshmark

Sell Items on Poshmark – Most teens have a few big-ticket presents in their closet from high-brow brands. Even certain sneakers are now considered big-ticket items. Teens can sell not only their own unused or gently used items on Poshmark but can also offer to sell items for their family and friends and then charge a commission per sale.

Make Additional Income by Renting Out your Car!

Rent out your Car – Are you one of the lucky teens who has his own car? If you and your parents agree, then you can use apps like Turo or Sixt to advertise your car as a private car rental. The make and model of your car will determine the rate you can receive. Turo provides an estimate for the rate you can expect to receive per rental, as well as an estimate for your annual potential earnings.

Make Great Money Delivering Dinner

Dinner Delivery – Old enough to drive and looking for a legit way to make money? Then consider on-demand meal delivery services like Uber EatsDoorDash, etc. You set your own hours and can decide which days you want to work. With the current limitations with indoor dining, on-demand food delivery services are in high demand. And if you don’t have an interest in working for a formal delivery service like Uber Eats or DoorDash, many local restaurants are improvising and offering delivery, so food delivery jobs are fairly easy to come by.

Earn Money by Scanning your Groceries

Scan your Groceries – National Consumer Panel states that it is a great way to earn “points for gift cards, merchandise, and more” just by scanning food items you are buying anyway. The service provides desired feedback to the grocery industry regarding what products are being bought, the frequency, and the location. Participants use a barcode reader to scan all purchased food items like groceries and even take out and market items.

As a teen, it shouldn’t take you long to scan the items and earn rewards, and it doesn’t cost you anything but time. And you can expect to earn more if you include family and neighbors’ groceries and food products.

Make Money by doing Transcription Work

Transcription Work – If you have good typing skills and a good ear, you can transcribe audio files. Sites like TranscribeMe have a growing network of people who work from home transcribing various audio files. And TranscribeMe claims to pay the highest rates in the industry with no shortage of work.

Side Hustle Some Extra Clothes Ironing Cash

Ironing – While you might not know what ironing actually is, it remains a necessary evil in most households. As families become increasingly busy, many chores keep getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, and this is where a motivated teen comes in to help! Help with some day-to-day mundane but important chores like laundry and ironing. You can charge per the load plus per piece of clothing that needs to be ironed.

Start by offering the service to your friends’ parents and neighbors, or advertise on community FB pages. Word of mouth will spread quickly, and we are sure you will be pressed for your help!

Make Some Extra Cash by Taking Surveys

Take Surveys – Qmee pays you for your opinions. Install the Qmee app on your browser and mobile phones and then take surveys and/or watch advertisements and earn money. It is as easy as it sounds and is honestly a legit way for teens to earn money.

Earn Cash by Teaching Conversational English

Teach Conversational English – You don’t need to be a grammarian to help non-native English speakers learn conversational English. You can become a personal English coach on sites like Samespeak and help others around the world. All lessons are virtual via video calls, and Samespeak provides lesson plans and a course syllabus. Rates are about $10 per 30-minute lesson, so it is a great way for a teen to earn extra money.

Get Tan and Earn Money as a Teenage Lifeguard

Lifeguarding – If you love to swim and be out in the sun, consider becoming a lifeguard. Check the Red Cross for lifeguard certification courses near you. Community pools, swim clubs, country clubs, and even some YMCAs are always in need of junior lifeguards, especially during the summer when demand is high and pool hours are long.

Make Extra Bucks doing Landscaping.

Landscaping – Another chore that busy adults hate to spend their spare time doing is mowing their lawn, raking, planting, pruning, and weeding. Virtually any type of yard work could be potential income for you.

You can start a mini landscaping business and offer a small number of specific services. Get a couple of friends to help, and you can share the work and finish a house in no time. Hand out flyers in your neighborhood, advertising on local FB groups, and post flyers around your community.

Make Money as a Teen Online by Crowdworking

Become a Crowdworker – Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (known as MTurk) is a marketplace where businesses can hire remote workers to do tasks that cannot be done by computers. There are thousands of tasks posted, like tagging items in an image, identifying objects seen in satellite images, and identifying duplicate listings in catalogs, content writing, and more.

The best part of MTurk is teens only have to be 14 years old to join! You decide which tasks you want to apply for, and you decide when and how often to apply. MTurk is not only a legit way to earn money, but also an easy one, too!

Make Money Taking Customer Service Calls

Listen to Customer Service Calls – When your parents make any customer service calls, the calls always start with the disclaimer that “calls may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.” So who actually listens to those calls? Well, you can! Humanatic provides a service of reviewing calls and customer feedback for various companies, and the only thing you need to join Humanatic is a valid PayPal account. It is a super-easy way to earn extra money while working from home and on your own schedule, even as a teen.

Make Money Online Selling Virtual Products

Sell Virtual Items – Ever need to buy an extra life or a specific tool while playing a video game? Selling items for these in-game purchases is a way to make legit money. Second Life is a virtual marketplace that allows you to sell digital items and get paid. Here is a quick start guide for Second Life.

Make Cash Reselling Sneakers

Reselling Sneakers – Sneakers are a hot commodity. New sneaker styles are released and often sell out in minutes. And many vintage styles are also in high demand, and pairs in good condition can be sold for a nice profit. There are tons of sneaker communities that provide information on upcoming releases and resale ideas. Top resellers can make 5 figures a month, and there is still plenty of room for other teenagers to make legit money still.

Make Cash and Have Fun Being a Camp Counselor

Be a Camp Counselor – Most communities have tons of summer camps that always need seasonal employment. Or maybe you went to a day or overnight camp and have aged out and are ready to be a CIT (counselor in training) or a full counselor. Camps love to hire teenagers because they often work great with kids, and many have been to camp and know what it is like. Check out local job boards or a website like CCUSA for available camp counselor jobs. Working at a summer camp is not only a legit way to make money, but it is also a lot of fun.

Stack some Cash Selling Old Electronics on eBay or Etsy

Sell Old Electronics on eBay or Etsy – Did we already mention that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Maybe you have an older iPhone or iPad lying around, a box of DVDs in the attic, or a handheld game system you no longer use — these older electronics are definitely worth something! Use sites like eBayMercari, Facebook Marketplace, or Decluttr to check the market and reasonable prices and sell your items online.

If you use a site like Craigslist, please make sure not to use your personal phone number or meet any place other than in front of a local police station. Lastly, if you are artistically skilled, you can try Etsy.com. Etsy is a marketplace for craft goods.

Sell Your Old Books for Cash

Sell Old Books – Have you ever heard of a site called Half.com? Well, that site was started as a way to sell old college textbooks when online selling was just taking off. Now that site is part of eBay, and the founder is a top Venture Capitalist. That sort of rocket trajectory might not be the path for all teenagers starting a business, but we are sure you all have quite a few old books lying around (both old and newish!). Selling old books is a great way for teenagers to make legit money, and apps like BookScouter make it easy to do so!

Earn extra dollars by Testing Websites

Test Websites – Companies often need average users to test newly launched websites. These tests might include commenting on the ease of use of the site, design feedback, recording any glitches, etc. You don’t have to be an expert in website design or a professional developer. Usually, companies are looking for everyday users to test and provide feedback. Sign up on a site like usertesting.com and earn $10 for every 20-minute test completed.

Make Money Watching Movie Previews

watch Movie Previews – This is another great job that teenagers can do at home, whenever they want. Watch prospective movie previews and give feedback for money. Sites like Market Force and Swagbucks provide opportunities for customers to watch trailers and take surveys and get paid to do so.

Earn Some Side Income Repping Household Products

Rep Household Products – Multilevel marketing has a bad name. Still, there are plenty of direct sales companies where you can invest a small amount and sell their products without getting caught in a multilevel circle. Avon and BeachBody are just a couple of very successful direct sales companies that provide legit ways for teenagers to earn money. It is best to choose something that is of interest to you and that you might even use yourself. And also, do some research and make sure the company is a direct sales and not a multi-level marketing company.

Once you start selling, tap your friends and family first, and then word of mouth and social media will help grow your business.

Make Money as a Teen Managing Social Media for Companies and Small Business

Manage Social Media for Companies – For most teens, using social media is second nature, like walking and eating. But for many business owners, it is a real chore to keep their social media accounts current and relevant, not to mention it isn’t part of their core business, no matter how important it might be. Consider offering your services to manage social media accounts for businesses. Advertise on FB and hand out flyers to local small businesses. Guarantee there will be more than one small business owner who will jump on the opportunity to have you take over managing their social media accounts.

Earn Passive Income as a Teen by Monetizing your Blog

Monetize your Blog – Have you been writing a blog, or interested in starting one? Like popular social media accounts, blogs can be monetized to earn money. The two main ways to monetize blogs are by using Google Adsense and also through affiliate links. Both are legit ways to earn money and don’t take any more time or effort than what you would normally be doing on your blog.

Make Cash at Your Own Pace with Gig Job

Gig Jobs – There is a new emerging market for gig workers, officially defined as “independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers.” So, of course, there are sites where companies and gig workers can be matched up. Instawork is a major player in the gig economy and allows companies and gig workers to connect. You will pick and choose which type of gig job you are interested in and have flexibility over when the work is performed. Pay rate, due dates, gig duration, and other job information is all available before you match any potential gig.

Teens Can Make Money Sharing Opinions and Reviews

Give your Opinion and/or Review – Kind of like the movie trailers and website testing, there are many other products for which companies need customer opinions. Thing music, fashion, product experiences, secret shopping, etc. Some work is online through sites like Reckner, Market Force, and Slice the Pie. And then other jobs are in the field, like being a mystery shopper. Never, ever pay to participate in an opinion or secret shopping job! No legitimate customer experience marketing company will ever require participants to pay anything, especially a membership or participation fee. Remember, the idea is to find a legit way for you to make money as a teenager.

Teens can Make Cash Taking Surveys.

Take Surveys – This has to be one of the easiest ways for a teenager to make money. Answering surveys online or going to survey sites can pay up to $50/survey, but beware of scams that run aplenty. Many of the same companies that pay for opinions and reviews also pay for surveys. Check out Reckner, Market Force,  Survey Junkie, and Swagbucks. Again, the most important aspect of this job is to find a real company that will pay you to take surveys online.

Take Your Side Income and Invest it to Make Money.

Invest your Money – Do you have some birthday money that you have saved up over the years? Consider taking some of it and investing in the stock market. Investing money in the stock market is not for the faint of heart, and most financial advisors say young investors should aim to invest for the long term.

Historically, investing in the stock market took large sums of money, but now there are many ways for investors to participate even with small amounts of money. Sites like Robinhood have fractional shares in many stocks. And other sites like e*trade and TD Ameritrade are great for beginners and require small minimums to get started.

Earn Extra Income from Anywhere Providing Online Customer Service

Online Customer Service – There are so many companies that now hire at-home customer service representatives, but U-Haul has a particularly teen-friendly program. Job responsibilities include answering calls, monitoring customer experience, and more.

Get Cash as a Teen Freelance Writer

Freelance Writing – If you have a way with words and an eye for grammatical details, then becoming a freelance writer could be for you. The freelance writing business is a great way for a teenager to make legit money and build a pretty good portfolio for college and job applications. You can find basic writing gigs on sites like Fiverr and Upwork, or you can start a blog and post all of your portfolios. You can then use social media for advertising your blog and freelance writing services.

Make more Money with Bake Sales.

Bake Sales – You don’t have to love to bake to have bake sales. If you have friends and family who love to bake, offer to sell their baked goods, and split the proceeds. Many people like to serve homemade goods but don’t have the time or skills to bake anything.

Organize local bake sales in different places in the community like charity events (may require you to donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity), or advertise on social media to sell baked goods for special occasions (cookies for graduations, cakes for birthdays, etc.). Ask for referrals and for clients to post pictures on their own social media — word of mouth is a great way to grow your baked sales business. This is a fantastic way to make money as a teenager.

Earn Extra Selling Stock Photos

Sell Stock Photos – Making money taking pictures doesn’t mean you have to be a famous photographer or even that you have tons of expensive camera equipment. Good quality stock photos are in high demand for online magazine articles, blogs, and more. And almost every teen has a cell phone in his pocket. With the advances in cell phone camera technology, it is super easy for teens to take great pictures and then post them for sale on stock photo platforms such as iStockShutterstock, Adobe Stock, and more. Selling stock images is a legit way to make money as a teenager.

Become a Teenage Mystery Shopper

Become a Mystery Shopper – Similar to completing surveys, writing reviews, or providing your opinions; you can make money by becoming a mystery shopper. Retail companies hire mystery shoppers to go into one of their stores and then report back on their entire experience, including the store’s condition, the customer service you received from staff, and how you felt shopping in the store. As with some other jobs on the list, many illegitimate companies are trying to scam potential shoppers, so make sure to watch for warning signs like being asked to pay to see jobs.

You can also make sure that the companies are MSPA members. Sign up for legit mystery shopping jobs at sites like Market Force and Best Mark.

Become a Ref for Teen Sports

Refereeing – Most local sports leagues need referees. Even townships have youth recreational leagues for which they need referees. As teenagers as young as 15, you can go through the process of becoming license refs in a variety of sports. Check state referee sites like the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program to find a local program in a sport that interests you.

Get Additional Income by Being a Personal Assitant

Become a Personal Assistant – Do you like to organize your closet in your spare time, or appreciate the details? Then being a personal assistant may be for you. As life becomes busier and busier, many households require a personal assistant to help with day-to-day tasks such as buying groceries, updating calendars, running errands, opening mail, etc. Advertise in your community or offer your services to ay friends or family. As your business grows and you make more money, you can even hire some friends!

Add Some Cash by Teaching a Foreign Language

Teach a Foreign Language – If you grew up in a multi-lingual home or are in an advanced level of a foreign language, consider teaching a foreign language. Websites like Verbalplanet match tutors to students. Lessons are conducted virtually, and you set your own schedule. Tutors can earn up to $30 / hour.

Make Money as a Teenager Selling your Wardrobe

Resell your Wardrobe – Always looking for the latest trends and need some money to keep up? Consider reselling your gently used clothing items on sites like ThredUp and Poshmark. These online consignment sites accept items from thousands of brands and generally must be less than 5 years old. Reselling clothes is easy, and it is very little you have to do to make money this way, and you can also take a small commission for selling clothes for your friends and family.

Side Hustle some Income with Online Freelance Work

Online Freelance Work – Similarly to freelance writing, if you have some other niche skills like graphic design or coding, using Fiverr and Upwork to get online freelance jobs. You set your schedule and fee and can work anywhere. Freelance work is a great legit way to make money as a teenager.

Teens can Make Money Reviewing Songs.

Review Songs – Most teenagers already love music and listen to quite a bit of it, so why not get paid to do so! Music Xray is a super cool platform that pays listeners for their opinion on new songs to get special access. Rates are about $0.10 per song, and you will be asked for your feedback on lyrics, thoughts about the artist, and more. Song bits are about 30 seconds long so that it won’t take a lot of time, and you can listen to them anywhere, even on the go.

Add Income by Selling your Graphic Designs

Sell your Graphic Designs – If you enjoy graphic design, you can help others by finding freelance jobs online or selling your own designs on CafePress or Creative Market. Take your designs and add them to items like t-shirts, mugs, and more and sell them on CafePress. Creative Market allows you to sell your own logo, font, and other design elements. Both are great ways for teenagers to make money.

Make Money as a Teenager by Having a Garage Sale

Even though you are a teenager, you probably have a lot of junk at your house or apartment collecting dust. Well, dust off that old stuff and have a garage sale! Garage sales are the epitome of money-making ideas. Ask your parents and siblings, and family members if they have anything they would consider selling and asking for a price. Once they agree to sell, give them a minimum price and ask them if you keep anything extra for your sales work.

You can advertise the garage sale in advance by putting an ad in the local paper and putting up signs around the neighborhood. You should be able to make good money fast!

In Summary

There are so many legit and fun ways to make money as a teenager! Starting your own business or creating a side-hustle is a great way to earn your own money and independence and is a great resume builder. Find something you enjoy doing in your free time, and it won’t feel like work. Last but not least, make sure you open a savings account at your local credit union!




The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin has an article about the image problems that the big banks are facing right now. He asks whether it is a temporary problem or something much worse, and looks to the Move Your Money project as a sign that, for the big banks, things are serious.

And the public outrage so far doesn’t seem to have dented business, except around the edges. But it soon may.

Several private equity and hedge fund units within firms like Goldman and JPMorgan have slowed efforts to raise capital until more clarity emerges about proposed regulations like the so-called Volcker Rule, which would forcibly separate those businesses from their firms. Bank of America, trying to score some points with customers, announced a plan to eliminate overdraft fees, a move that will likely cost the firm tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post recently helped start a campaign called “Move Your Money” to persuade the public and businesses to transfer their money from big banks like Bank of America and JPMorgan to community banks. So far, it seems to be working, at least in small numbers: the City Council of Los Angeles recently approved a bill that requires banks to reinvest in the community.

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The First 90 Days

It’s hard to believe, but the Move Your Money campaign was started just over three months ago. That means that starting April 1, banks will begin reporting their first-quarter operating deposits to the FDIC. In other words, we’ll soon be able to see, in dollars and cents, how much of an impact the Move Your Money project is having. Unfortunately, those reports will be trickling in for the next 30 days, so we’ll still have to wait a bit longer.

In the meantime, though, we can look to whether or not the campaign has affected specific banks. Dennis Santiago tells us about Mechanics Bank, based out of Richmond, Calif., which usually has a hard time attracting new customers. In the last few months, though, they have opened hundreds of new accounts thanks to our movement.


…imagine Mechanic’s bank surprise when in the first week of January 2010 their branches in Oakland, Kensington, and El Cerrito reported that they experienced a six-fold jump in new account openings. Mr. Butler had no idea where it was coming from until the Oakland branch reported that people were streaming in because of something called Move Your Money they’d seen on the Huffington Post. Over the next 90 days, Rauly estimates that Mechanics Bank picked up between 600 to 800 new accounts in their markets directly attributable to Move Your Money. He estimates it’s added between $5M to $6M in new core deposits to their retail banking business. More to the point of running their business, Mr. Butler says being a bank good enough to make the MYM zip code list is 5 to 10 times more effective than anything he can yield from their traditional marketing avenues.

What a windfall! All they needed to do was operate a bank using safe and sound principles. The IRA analysis engine objectively computes the rest. Mr. Butler did note this apparent windfall to this boss Steven K. Buster, the President, and CEO of Mechanics Bank. Rauly paraphrases that Mr. Buster noted that Mechanics Bank paid for this by doing it right, by foregoing the things that got other banks in trouble, by looking like lesser performers when other raked it in, and now they are seeing the reward of doing their job. Hooyah!

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Mechanics Bank isn’t alone. All of the CEOs at a recent community banking conference were not only aware of the Move Your Money effort – they were excited about it.


Legislators can move more than their money — they can put their tax revenues into small banks and credit unions, too. It empowers the local economy and puts a real confidence in community businesses. Arthur Delaney reports for the Huffington Post that Brian Egolf, a state representative in New Mexico has proposed that his state move its money to community banks or credit unions. He said the Move Your Money effort “made a lot of sense.”

Egolf said the account, which is essentially the state’s checking account, holds $1.4 billion and is managed by Bank of America. Egolf’s bill directs state officials to study the feasibility of dividing up the account and distributing it between community banks and credit unions throughout the state. He said he discussed the measure with Gov. Bill Richardson (D) for an hour on Thursday, and that the governor supported the measure.

Egolf said moving state funds into local banks or credit unions would benefit the New Mexico economy by freeing up local credit. “The potential size and impact of moving this money is monumental. The biggest bank in the state right now has $2 billion in assets.”

According to the SFReeper.com, the proposal is attracting fans. Dozens of New Mexicans have taken to the state Capitol to show their support


April is official Financial Literacy Month in the United States. In observance, we want to encourage everybody to take control of their finances by opening an account at a local community bank or credit union. Not only will you be treated like an actual human being instead of a number, but you will probably pay fewer fees and have the knowledge that your money is staying in you own community instead of going to fund Wall Street bonuses.

Fred R. Becker Jr., President of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, agrees that moving your money is a great way to be proactive about your finances. He especially encourages people to look into moving their money to a credit union.

Today is both the beginning of Financial Literacy Month and April Fool’s Day. Coincidentally, I thought it was the perfect time to help folks get smart about their financial choices and revisit the Move Your Money campaign. When it was launched, it ignited a firestorm among many who sought better service, products and rates from local financial institutions like credit unions.

It is with good reason that credit unions remain an oasis for many in our challenging economic times. Earlier this year, Forrester Research released the findings of its seventh annual customer advocacy rankings, which placed credit unions at the top tier of rated firms. Forrester’s yardstick for customer advocacy – the perception by customers that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for its own bottom line – mirrors the core principles of credit unions, which are member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions. The survey also found that the largest U.S. banks dominate the bottom of the rankings.