You're not going to get far in Red Dead Online without a pocket full of cash.
Unfortunately, money doesn't come easy in the Red Dead Online economy. There's no easy way to make money in Red Dead Online, but if you're happy enough to play through the main online story missions you can steadily fill your swag bags. Changes are being made to how the Red Dead Online economy works, so watch this space.
How to make money in Red Dead Online
Here's what we recommend for a steady income across story missions, multiplayer and out in the open world.
This sounds obvious but it's not just cash you're after. With regular kills against NPCs and general bad dudes you come across during missions, you'll only ever get a handful of change or a dollar or two at best. But what you're also looting is tonics or drinks, food or other items that you'd normally pay for. Money is thin on the ground, so not having to spend cash on food items that you can loot saves you a pretty penny. The same goes for ammo, which you'll pick up automatically when you run over a dead body. If you engage in a Gang Hideout or other showdown be sure to loot as you go. Bodies disappear pretty quickly so don't wait around to loot everyone at the end.
Hunt and sell pelts
Hunting and selling the pelts requires patience but it pays out well. The same rules apply in Red Dead Online as they do in Red Dead Redemption 2 - perfect pelts are the most valuable, so don't go blasting animals with buckshot multiple times unless your life depends on it. Arrows, the Varmint Rifle and the Bolt Action Rifle are your best tools. Otherwise, here's a big guide to getting perfect pelts. You sell pelts at the Butchers in Red Dead Online, not the Trapper.
The story missions payout better as you work through them
To begin with, the story missions handed out by Horley don't seem to pay much, but as you progress you're looking at a healthier profit. Stick with them and you'll soon be filling your wallet enough to pay for a persistent posse. Working in a posse - playing these story missions with friends in co-op - makes them a lot quicker and easier to do. If you equate time to money, you're going to want to be as efficient as possible. Your first big story mission score will likely be Kill Them, Each and Every One, which should give you around $150 - $250.
Treasure maps don't pay out as much as they do in Red Dead Redemption 2, but they are easier and it's basically free money. Treasure maps in Red Dead Online simply put a marker on your map and you need to search the treasure location for cash and trinkets. Expect anything from $25 - $100 per map. You'll get one at the very start of the beta, and another when you hit rank 10. You can also find them on NPCs throughout the world - an early mission for a sheriff will send you looking for a crook. You can loot it off his dead body, loot him while hogtied, or agree to let him go in exchange for the treasure. Remember that your actions affect your Honor rating which ties into how much you pay for items at stores. Remember, good boys and girls get discounts.
If you're looking for a decent treasure map, here's a guide to the Bard's Crossing treasure location.
You'll be handed cash for entering and playing the multiplayer Playlists in Red Dead Online but the time/reward is questionable. If you're doing it just for fun then it's a nice bonus, but don't expect a big cash payout. Multiplayer modes also cough up gold nuggets which you can eventually scrape together into a Gold Bar, but it's going to take you around 8 hours of play.
Free Roam and Stranger Missions
Generally speaking, Stranger mission pay out very little, as does taking part in Free Roam events. They can be fun, but you're not going to get rich quick. The postman mission for example, ask you to ride around town dropping off mail. It pays less than 70 cents per delivery, which amounts to less than $4 for 20 minutes work.
In Red Dead Online's summer update, Rockstar introduced three new roles to the game: Bounty Hunter, Trader, and Collector.
The one you're most interested in for making money is Trader, which you can start by heading to a Post Office and accepting Cripps' invitation. If you're playing on PlayStation, you don't even have to fork out any startup cash.
Once you've claimed your Butcher's Table from him you can bring home your hunting materials to craft goods to sell. You then deliver them to needy customers both near and far for profit!
If you're looking for more help, check out our expanding Red Dead Online guide.