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Your criminal empire is fueled by the almighty dollar in GTA Online.
In GTA Online, the difference between a common street criminal and an all-powerful crime lord is usually just a few million dollars. That can seem like a wide gap to close when you’re just starting out or short on cash, but the full suite of modes, jobs, heists, and more in GTA Online means you’ll likely always be earning money one way or another. Still, some missions are more lucrative than others. Here’s how to make money fast in GTA Online.
GTA Online regularly offers extra cash for certain modes. This can be anything from stunt races to stealing cars to assassinating targets and more. At least a few times each month, Rockstar will highlight a mode or modes and reward you with bonus GTA$ for playing them. You can keep track of all the bonus cash on offer at any time on the Rockstar Social Club, the developer’s social network for its many games.
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At the time of writing this guide for example, you can make three times as much cash as normal for completing Air Races. Find all jobs and modes within your in-game smartphone and jump into whichever path is paying top dollar. This is the most straightforward, approachable way to make money fast, though much grander paydays await further down this list.
GTA Online lets you gamble away your GTA$ at the Diamond Resort & Casino. You really shouldn’t do that. But you should still stop at the casino every real-life day to spin its gift-giving Lucky Wheel. It offers prizes such as new clothing, vehicle discounts, and even a brand-new car from the casino showfloor. Some spins will also net you GTA$ or casino chips.
Our suggestion: Don’t spend the chips. Trade them back in for more money. While the casino’s ultimate owners–Take-Two Interactive, really–would love you to buy into a few games of chance, doing so is most likely going to be a way to lose money fast, not earn it. Pocket any earnings the wheel gets you, then seek more cash elsewhere in the city.
GTA Online has a particular mission strand that exist as a nod to Red Dead Redemption. Randomly while exploring Los Santos, you may get an email from a mysterious “Vanderlinde” (Dutch, is that you?) who will send you a cryptic sepia-toned photo of a secret loot drop in the city. You’ll then be given a vague area to search for a clue–a note clung to a tree, pole, or some other surface. That note will then give you three more clues to explore. Once you’ve found all three clues, you’ll be given the location of your treasure.
While these Treasure Hunts reward modest sums, they also give you special weapons like a gold revolver, and they’re not very intensive, making them a good bet for when you want to make some money but also reap other rewards quickly too.
While the above financial tips are good ways to make small but consistent money, these next two are really the focal points of GTAO’s bustling in-game economy and gameplay loop. GTA Online offers a number of career paths for wannabe gangsters, kingpins, and corporate bigwigs. Deciding on a career path early, then focusing on building your empire is one of the best ways to find purpose early in GTA Online. Careers include becoming an executive, a gunrunner, a biker, and a nightclub owner, and your character’s path through Los Santos is largely up to you (and maybe sometimes to griefers).
Each business will need to start from the bottom and involves investing in the right career-building properties like offices, bunkers, MC clubs, and nightclubs for each respective career, but in time you’ll be able to make plenty of money doing any of them. You can even change careers if you want to.
If one career is better than the rest, we’d argue it’s the executive path. Going that route allows you to buy warehouses where you can source and export cargo such as vehicles. Selling cars in GTA Online is a fan-favorite way to make heaps of money quickly.
The trick is to fill your warehouse with low- and mid-tier vehicles. Your missions will always involve sourcing or exporting cars valued more than those you have already collected in your warehouse. Essentially, you’ll be forcing the game’s somewhat randomly generated cargo missions to favor the top-end vehicles, giving you the best possible paydays. If you’re strictly in it for the cash, that’s arguably your best bet, but you’ll be doing a lot of career-related missions, so you may also want to consider picking the career you find the most fun.
Executives sell cargo, gunrunners steal goods, bikers manufacture drugs, and nightclub owners run businesses and supervise staff. This last career is often considered the game’s hardest career as it requires a lot of upfront money and the hiring of employees. Therefore, this is most likely going to be a career you may choose to switch to later in your GTA Online career, rather than one you’ll start out with from day one in Los Santos.
The important thing to know about career-building in GTA Online is it’s essential to any long-term player’s plans. Think of your GTAO career as the story mode for the multiplayer suite. Whatever else you’re doing–racing, TDM, et al–you should also be building your career. Some of the activities surrounding careers are passive, like hiring other players to do your dirty work, so you can make money without even actively engaging in some of the content. Not to sound too much like your parents, but you really should be planning for the future.
GTA Online Heists are the centerpiece of an ever-growing online suite of things to do and see, and it earned that distinction by being the game’s biggest, most elaborate, and most lucrative missions. Heists are designed for co-op play and can’t be taken on alone (with one exception, the Cayo Perico Heist), plus they need some early investment from you or your allied criminals, so this isn’t something you can do right away as you arrive in Los Santos.
Instead, consider it something like an endgame. Once you’ve saved up roughly one million dollars in your GTA account, consider it time to plan out your first heist–and only after you’ve bought some of the heists’ necessary properties and vehicles, such as an arcade for the Casino Heist or the Kosatka submarine for the Cayo Perico Heist. You’ll need to embark on a number of planning missions before the final heist is ready to be attempted, and the entire process is challenging to say the least. Be sure to have a close-knit team, maintain voice comms if possible, and come loaded up on weapons and armor to survive.
Paydays for the game’s eight available heists are enormous and make most other earnings look like the coins you’d find under your couch cushions. If done in order, most heists also earn you more than the previous heist. While heist payouts are based on a number of factors, such as how many players were involved, whether you’ve played it before, how well you performed, and on what difficulty you played, the best possible payouts for each heist are as follows:
Clearly these missions are the best possible lump sums in the game, but given their high barrier for entry, they aren’t going to be what gets you off the ground early in Los Santos. The most effective use of your time is going to be to start building your career from day one, fill downtime with the game’s easy (but modest) paydays, and build up to your eventual role as a crime lord and thief extraordinaire. Time is money in Los Santos. Spend your time wisely and the money will pour in.
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PS Plus Free Games For February Are Available Now