If you are looking to make some money on the side, you should try Swagbucks. Joining the site is completely free. You can use Swagbucks anywhere, from your home to your library, and even on your commute when you are sitting on a bus. All you need is a laptop or a phone, and a stable internet connection either through your home wifi or your data plan. Although you will not get rich quickly by using Swagbucks, I can guarantee that you can earn at least a few extra dollars every month with this platform. And you get to have some fun too!
Swagbucks is one of the most popular sites to earn money online. By using the platform, you can earn pocket money if you take surveys, watch videos, play games, etc. I thought it would be a good idea for me to write a comprehensive review to help you decide if you should jump on this train.
Swagbucks Review: frequently asked questions
This review on Swagbucks will cover every little thing you want to know about this money-making platform. You will discover what it is, if it is legitimate, how to sign up, and how to earn money with this platform.
What is Swagbucks?
Swagbucks is an American rewards and loyalty program operator. It is based in El Segundo, California. Members can earn points, called SB, and use them to redeem for gift cards or free PayPal payments. As a participant of the platform, you perform specific actions, and in return, the platform will reward you for your time and effort.
Is Swagbucks really free to use?
Yes, Swagbucks is completely free! It does not cost anything to sign up, and it does not cost anything to complete any activities that are available on the platform.
To make things better, Swagbucks actually offers a $5 bonus! If you earn 2,500 SB within the first 60 days of membership, you will be awarded the $5 extra dollars.
How can Swagbucks sustain itself? Is it a legitimate site to make money?
Many people have this question, “Is Swagbucks legit?” After all, the members are not paying, Swagbucks is paying, and the money has to come from somewhere, right?
This is a completely valid concern, but rest assured that Swagbucks is a legitimate business.
So far, Swagbucks has given over $400 million to its members, and it has hundreds of thousands of happy users. I personally use the site myself, and I can say it is definitely not a scam.
The key to their business model is advertising.
As you can see, Swagbucks has a huge membership base. Their membership base makes it ideal for companies to test out ideas, advertise their products and services, and gather opinions that will be the input for their product development. You bet that companies are willing to pay a hefty sum to keep Swagbucks’ users like you and me happy.
Does Swagbucks really give you money?
Yes, Swagbucks does give you money! However, unlike traditional jobs where you get paid cash or direct deposit straight into your bank account, you need to first accumulate SBs, and then use the points to redeem for retailer gift cards or PayPal payments.
You can choose from any of the following:
- Amazon gift card
- Barnes & Noble (check out my Ultimate Personal Finance Book List to see what books to get!)
- etc, etc.
You can get paid as soon as you have 300SB in your account, which is the equivalent of $3.
How does Swagbucks work? How can one earn points?
There are seven different ways you can earn SB points to get rewards.
Market research companies love to know what consumers are thinking about. Therefore, they work with Swagbucks to collect members’ opinions through surveys to better understand how receptive their target markets are to their products and services. Members can complete paid surveys via either the Swagbucks mobile app on their phone or the Swagbucks website. The Swagbucks app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
You can also earn points by trying products. Swagbucks has partnered with reputable companies so members get paid to try services like Hulu, Disney+, StashInvest or ButcherBlock. It is good for companies to get valuable feedback, and good for you to earn some pocket money!
Making money playing games
Yes, you read it right. You can earn money while having fun on their website.
Completing specific actions
Actions can include checking your credit score, sign up for a specific game, etc.
As a Swagbucks member, you also get to be rewarded by watching videos. You will find interesting content to enjoy while getting paid.
You can earn rewards as well by simply scanning receipts from your grocery and convenient stores.
Getting cash-back when you shop online
You can also get cash-back from thousands of well-know stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Old Navy, and Target. To get cash back, Swagbucks members simply go to the Swagbucks website, find the store they want to shop at, and head to the store from the platform. You can also install the Swagbutton on your default search engine. Swagbucks is a browser extension that alerts members whenever they are shopping online.
Can other members of my household become members of Swagbucks as well?
Yes, absolutely. However, each individual in your household must have their own account. It is against Swagbucks’ terms of service to have more than one account per member.
The sign-up process
Members simply sign-up with an email address and password. And, after members verify their account, they can start earning points in the Swagbucks rewards currency called SB. Once members have as few as 300 SB, they can redeem the points for free gift cards or cash via your PayPal account.
The sign-up process is very straightforward. Here are the steps. I am also going to include some pictures to walk you through the process visually.
Go to Swagbucks
The link in the title will take you straight to Swagbucks’ sign-up page. No more need for googling!
You will arrive at a page that looks like the below. Simply enter your email address and your password, and click “Sign Up Now”. You can also Sign up with Facebook to make the authentication process easier.
Verify your account
After you sign up, you will receive an email in your inbox asking you to verify your Swagbucks account. Simplify verify it, and you will be taken to the Swagbucks homepage. You are now ready to start making some extra cash!
Land in your Swagbucks dashboard
Welcome to your dashboard. Once you are on the Swagbucks platform, the below image should be what you see immediately.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the title of the section is called “Answer Surveys and Earn”. However, as you scroll down, you will see that Swagbucks has categorized ways to earn into sections.
Here is a complete list of sections that you will be able to see:
- Answer surveys and earn
- Featured ways to earn
- Most popular ways to earn
- Shop and earn
- Discover special offers and earn
- Play games and earn
Click on any one of them and start earning!
How to qualify for surveys
To qualify for surveys in Swagbucks, you will first have to fill out your demographics information. This step is to make sure that the platform can find you the surveys that are best for you.
Swagbucks makes it easy. Simply click the first box shown to you on the screenshot above. You will need to fill in your basic information such as the following:
- Postal code
- Level of education
- Marital status
- Whether you rent or own
- Information of kids (e.g., how many and their ages)
- Employment status
- General information about your employer
Please do your best to fill out the information as truthfully as you can. Of course, if you don’t feel like disclosing a piece of information, you can always pick the option “Prefer not to answer”.
Keep in mind, however, that if you have too many “Prefer not to answer”s, then Swagbucks may not find as many surveys for you as you’d like.
Numbers of surveys depends on your demographics
The number of surveys you get depends on your demographics. Companies have a quota in mind when they run surveys, and they want to make sure that the respondents fit into their target market. After all, it doesn’t make sense for a company specializing in female products to run a survey in which 80% of the participants are male.
At the end of the day, Swagbucks can only operate if they can fulfil the requests of the companies.
Overall, their survey taking experience is very pleasant, even for beginners.
One especially nice thing about Swagbucks is that it specifies how much time it will roughly take for you to complete a survey, and how many points you can receive. This way, you can decide if a survey is worth your effort, and can set aside time to do it uninterrupted.
How to earn cash through Swagbucks
You collect points for any actions completed
You will be rewarded pointed for any actions completed on the Swagbucks platform.
Filling out surveys can take anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes, and you will be compensated accordingly. You will also be compensated for completing any other actions, such as signing up for a vendor’s service, download an app, etc. For some of the actions, you can earn as much as over 10,000 points!
In their “Rewards” page, you can see the conversion from points to actual dollars.
- 100 points: $10
- 50 points: $5
Getting paid is easy. Here is a screenshot of some of the rewards available. You can redeem for as little as 300 SB ($3).
The gift cards go on sale, too
A very nice feature of the Swagbucks prizes is that they go on sale too! They have days when they offer 20 – 25% off select rewards. One SB point is usually worth $0.10, but in case of a sale, it can worth more!
You may want to wait to redeem gift cards on one of these days and get a bigger bang for your buck!
Swagbucks’ referral program
Swagbucks also has a referral program. Each time you refer a friend when earns 300 SB within their first 30 days, you can earn 300 SB for free. Furthermore, you will also get 10% of their SB earnings for the life of their account. A pretty sweet deal isn’t it!
Additionally, you can also earn an extra 100 SB when someone you refer adds the SwagButton on their laptop or desktop.
Alternatives to Swagbucks
Of course, Swagbucks isn’t the only reputable online platform from which you can make legitimate money. There are many free sites that you can try as well. All of the ones listed below have been around for quite some time, and they all have a solid reputation. These are some of the best side hustles that you can do.
Opinion Outpost is another popular survey site. You can earn points by completing surveys, testing products, watching ads, and completing real-world missions.
Survey Junkie is yet another popular place where you can earn gift cards with surveys. By sharing your opinions to help brands deliver better products and services, you will also get rewarded with your time.
MyPoints is also an excellent place to get paid for answering surveys and influencing brands.
What I especially like about MyPoints is that it also rewards you with points if you print off coupons from their site. Yes, you read it right. You can access coupons to help you save money, and the site will reward you for it! What’s not to like about this arrangement? Sounds like a good deal to me!
Pinecone Research is one of the highest paying survey sites out there. Depending on the survey lengths and genre, you can get paid $3 or more per survey.
This platform was one of the very first survey sites that I tried when I was still a student struggling to find ways to pay for my college tuition. The extra cheques in the mail (yes, they actually sent out cheques!) always brightened my day.
Of course, Pinecone has evolved a lot since then. It now has an accessible survey app that you can use to take surveys no matter where you are.
The platform also holds giveaways and sweepstakes for all its members. Fingers crossed and I hope you win!
If you are in Canada, Asking Canadians is another source of online survey jobs. For each survey you complete, you will receive loyalty points. The types of loyalty points you can earn include AC Points, Hudson’s Bay Rewards† points, Aeroplan® Miles, Petro-Points™ or VIA Préférence™. You can also choose to enter contests and draws instead of receiving points.
Is Swagbucks for me?
How do you determine if Swagbucks is for you? Answer the following questions for yourself:
If the answer is yes, then making money online through Swagbucks isn’t for you. But if you are only looking to make some extra cash when you have some downtime, then what Swagbucks offers can be what you are looking for.
Nobody likes to be stuck with doing things they don’t like doing. Only join Swagbucks or other online membership platforms if you think you will enjoy doing them.
Completing missions on Swagbucks doesn’t typically take a long time, but it still takes some time. If you are already working 2 jobs or feeling stressed out already with everything that is going on in your life, take a deep breath, and focus on your other priorities first. We all need to manage our time well.
By the way, if you want to improve your time management skills, you may want to check out a super simple yet useful tool called the Eisenhower Matrix.
How to make money using other apps or websites
If, in addition to taking surveys, you are also interested in exploring other ways of making money online, then there are several good alternatives as well. These alternatives require similar levels of effort as surveys. Therefore, they are particularly suitable for people who only have small pockets of time throughout the day.
Use Drop to earn gift cards
Drop is a free app that rewards you for shopping at your favourite brands. It is a well-established app with over 3 million members. It is rewarding and fun, but remember that even if you have extra money, you should only spend it on items you need.
Use Fetch Rewards for your groceries
If you are looking to earn cash-back on groceries, then Fetch Rewards is a great app to have.
Use Ibotta to earn cash-back for your online purchases
Ibotta is a popular online cashback shopping site in the US. You can earn cash-back for all purchases made through ibotta.
Join Rakuten to earn cash-back rebates
Rakuten, formally known as Ebates, is another popular online cash-back shopping site in Canada and the US. Rakuten has more than 2,500 stores from a wide array of categories listed, including many well-known brands like Dell, Walmart, Chapter-Indigo, and even Amazon. Some vendors even offer discounts on top of the cash-back.
Things to remember when making money online
The online world can be a fascinating place. But we all need to remember to protect ourselves. Here are the key things to remember when you are trying to side hustle online.
Set up a separate email address
Although not mandatory, I recommend that you set up an email address just for making-money online platforms. These platforms can sometimes send you quite a few emails, and you want to make sure your important emails don’t get lost in them.
Instal anti-malware software on your computer
This should be a no-brainer, but it is worth reiterating. You want to protect your computer and your personal information at all times.
Do not click on suspicious links
If you see a link that looks suspicious, please don’t click on it. This is another situation where you should listen to your guts. If you aren’t sure, ask your family or friends for a second opinion before clicking on it.
Chances are if you have to ask someone else for another opinion, you already have your answer. Delete that email, now!
Give your eyes a break
Taking online surveys or using cash-back sites can put some strains on your eyes. Don’t forget to give your eyes a break once in a while. As my mom always says, health is “1”, and everything else is “0”. It is only with the “1” that the “0”s have meaning.
Remember to be patient
Patience is key. Any promises to making a lot of money fast are scams. Be patient, and you will see money gradually come.
Enjoy the process
Making some money online via online surveys or cash-back sites is fun and exciting. It shouldn’t feel like a burden. Enjoy the process, and smile!
Remember that by taking surveys, not only are you earning some side income, you are also providing valuable feedback to companies so they can develop better products and services. You are effectively making consumers’ lives better with your contribution. That feels pretty good, isn’t it?
Final Words on Swagbucks
This is it! My complete Swagbucks review. By simply playing games, watching videos, taking surveys, and uploading receipts, you can have a new way to earn a little cash. Is Swagbucks worth it if you want to give it a try? Definitely! It is a fantastic platform for you to make some extra side-income during TV commercial breaks, while you wait for your water to boil, or on your commute to and back from work.
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Bella Wanana is the blogger behind bellawanana.com, a personal finance and lifestyle blog. She loves sharing with her readers the best tips and tricks on personal finance and how to live a balanced but fulfilling life. She is also a freelance writer, and she has been featured on sites like MSN.com, Reader’s Digest, The Financial Diet, Yahoo Finance, and GOBankingRates.