Swagbucks Review: Is This a Good Way to Make Money?

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There are a ton of ways to earn money online, but we’ll be the first to tell you they’re not all worth your time, especially when it comes to survey sites.

You might spend hours taking online surveys just to earn a few measly points. Surprise! You need 5 million points just to earn a $5 gift card. (OK, we’re exaggerating, but you get the point.)

But here’s one legitimate option to consider: Swagbucks.

The free online rewards site will pay you to hang out on your computer (or phone) — watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, you name it. Before you sign up, read our complete Swagbucks review.

What Is Swagbucks? Is Swagbucks Legit?

Swagbucks is a free online rewards program that pays you to complete certain online tasks. (More on these tasks below.)

The site has been around for more than a decade and is owned by parent company Prodege, LLC, an internet marketing company with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Over on Trustpilot, Swagbucks has received more than 36,000 reviews to date, and it boasts a 4.2-star rating.

To date, Swagbucks reports it has paid its members more than $576 million in rewards.

How Much Money Can You Make Using Swagbucks?

How much money you earn using Swagbucks will largely depend on how much time you spend on the site, but you could potentially pocket hundreds of dollars in cash or gift cards.

In fact, The Penny Hoarder has interviewed a number of successful Swagbucks earners, including Jessica Maloy. The 42-year-old secretary from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, earned $600 in about a seven-month period. She mostly earns points by taking surveys.

“If you have nothing else to do, why not do it?” she said. “It really doesn’t take much to earn money that you normally wouldn’t have.”

We also spoke with Angela Cadle, a single mom who lives in New Philadelphia, Ohio. She started using Swagbucks back in 2010. She used the gift cards she earned to buy Christmas presents for her son.

When we talked with Cadle in 2018, she’d earned approximately 73,000 SBs — or about $730.

6 Simple Ways to Earn Money on Swagbucks

The Swagbucks app and website are both easy to navigate. It takes seconds to make an account with your email address and a password. Plus, Penny Hoarders can get a $5 bonus.

Once you’ve signed in, you can start earning SBs (SwagBucks). SBs are basically points. Typically, 1 SB is worth 1 cent. As you complete tasks on Swagbucks, you’ll collect SBs. You can then exchange these SB points and get cash through PayPal or gift cards.

When we checked for this Swagbucks review, you could get a gift card with as few as 300 SBs. (That’d get you a $3 Amazon gift card.)

Here are several ways you can earn points:

1. Take Surveys

Swagbucks lists dozens of survey opportunities at any given time. Determine which ones you want to take based on the amount of time they’ll take to complete and the SB award amount.

Taking surveys is perhaps the best way to make money on Swagbucks.

When you’ve logged into your Swagbucks account, simply scroll down until you see the word  “Answer.”  Here you’ll find a number of survey opportunities.

These are brand-recognition surveys, product-appeal surveys, advertising-effectiveness surveys and the like. When we looked, you could complete a range of surveys taking anywhere from 10 to 23 minutes and earn around 20 to 70 SB each.

The surveys vary in length and topic. We’ve taken ones about fast food, alcoholic beverages and our cars.

Just a heads up: Like all survey sites, you probably won’t qualify for all the surveys. Swagbucks does its best to match you with the most relevant ones, though, so you won’t waste a ton of time on qualifying questions.

And if you don’t qualify for a survey, Swagbucks will give you 5 SB just for trying.

2. Watch Videos

It’s true. Swagbucks will pay you to watch videos. You won’t earn a lot (usually 1 SB per short video clip), but the videos are in all sorts of categories — entertainment, home, travel — so you’re likely to find something that appeals to you.

You can also download the Swagbucks app, which plays videos on your phone. Just plug in your phone, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and set it aside to play videos — and earn rewards — while you do something else.

According to Swagbucks, you could earn up to $5 per day watching videos.

3. Play Games

Already play games on your phone or computer? Play them through the Swagbucks site to earn additional SBs.

Do you like playing games online?

When you play your favorite games through the Swagbucks site and make any in-game purchases, you can earn points. So you’ll basically get paid for a game you’d already be playing.

4. Magic Receipts

Swagbucks offers SBs when you grocery shop through “Magic Receipts.”

To find these deals, scroll down until you see “Magic Receipts” and then click “View All.” You’ll find a range of categories, including toiletries, produce, frozen food, candy and even magazines.

A few offers we saw when we visited the coupon portal included up to 300 SB back when purchasing Werther’s Caramel Popcorn and up to 1,100 SB back with the purchase of Penetrex Joint & Muscle Therapy Cream.

Find the deals you want, then click “Add to list.” After purchasing items on your list, you can submit a photo of your receipt to earn your SBs.

The added step of submitting a receipt may seem like a hassle, but that’s part of what makes Swagbucks unique — it’s designed for Penny Hoarders like you who are willing to put in a little effort.

I’m sure we don’t need to say this, but just in case: Only use deals for stuff you need to buy.

5. Shop Online

Doing some online shopping? See if the store you’re shopping at is on Swagbucks. You could earn SBs for your purchases.

Remember: Swagbucks is a full-blown rewards site, so in addition to taking surveys and watching videos, you can also get paid to go shopping. Yup — you’ll earn cash back when you shop through the site.

Here’s how it works: Swagbucks gives you rewards for shopping through its links — i.e. clicking through Swagbucks — before heading to websites like Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Bath & Body Works or even TurboTax, to name a few. (It has partnered with hundreds of brands.)

As with any affiliate program, the retailer pays Swagbucks a referral commission. But unlike most affiliate programs, Swagbucks shares a piece of that commission with you.

Since you pay the same price either way, why not earn a little cash back from your purchases?

For instance, when we checked, Best Buy was paying 10% cash back on certain item categories. That’s 10 SBs per dollar you spend.

Swagbucks will also run special deals and bonuses. For instance, when we were shopping around on the site, it was offering a $200 cash bonus when we shopped through SoFi Checking and Savings.

You can also install the SwagButton, a free browser extension for Google Chrome. This takes seconds, and it’ll alert you anytime you’re visiting a site where you can earn SBs. Plus, you’ll get 25 SBs just for installing it.

6. Refer Your Friends

Want to share Swagbucks with your friends? Referrals are a fantastic way to earn a lot of SBs at once.

When you refer a friend and they sign up and start making money (they must earn 300 SB within the first 30 days of signing up), you’ll both get an extra 300 SB.

And here’s one of the most passive ways to earn on the site: You’ll automatically get 10% of your friend’s SB earnings for the life of their account. That means if they earn 1,000 next month, you’ll automatically get 100 SB.

To find all the details on this, select “Refer & Earn” from the menu at the top left of your Swagbucks account page.

How to Claim Your Money and Gift Cards Through Swagbucks

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Are you ready to cash out?

Like we mentioned earlier in this Swagbucks review, you can exchange your SBs for cash through PayPal or gift cards. When we checked, you could get a gift card with as few as 300 SBs. (That’d get you a $3 Amazon gift card.)

It’s worth noting there aren’t any discounts when you exchange more SBs, and there’s no minimum redemption amount. So, once you’ve earned enough SBs for the reward you want, go ahead and redeem them.

You can redeem up to two rewards each day. Unless you’re keen on earning a ton of SBs, you’re probably going to be well within this limit.

If you’re redeeming for PayPal rewards, make sure you’ve used the same email address for both your Swagbucks account and your verified PayPal account. The transfer can take 10 to 14 days.

If you want to get gift cards instead, you’ve got a ton of options, including Amazon, Walmart, Domino’s Pizza, Visa, Target and The Home Depot.

It can take up to 10 days before you get an email from the site notifying you that your card is ready. Just click on the link in that email and log into your account, and you’ll see your card. Depending on the type of card, either print it out or use the code to add it to your account with the retailer.

Don’t fall into the trap of gambling your SBs. Swagbucks offers Swagstakes, or sweepstakes, for higher value gift cards (like $100 on Amazon), and the entry fee is only a couple of SBs. But these contests are hard to win, so usually you’re just throwing away hard-earned points.

Swagbucks will also allow you to buy SBs, but we don’t recommend that, either.

Pro Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Swagbucks Rewards

One thing we want to emphasize in this Swagbucks review: If you’re putting in the effort to earn Swagbucks rewards, you should make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.

While it’s not super impressive to think about a $3 gift card here or a $10 PayPal transfer there, thinking strategically about how you can use your rewards helps make those benefits more exciting.

Use a few of these tips to help you make the most of your Swagbucks experience:

Earn Toward a Specific Purpose

The Swagbucks Rewards Store has a ton of options for gift cards to places like Amazon, Lowe’s and even gas stations. You’re definitely going to find something you like, but why not focus on a specific goal?

For example, you might start now and plan to use your rewards for your holiday shopping. By the time the holiday season rolls around, you might have a couple hundred dollars on Amazon. Or, if you’re planning a summer road trip, focus on earning gift cards to cover some of your gas.

Reward Yourself

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Don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your monthly budget? Use your rewards to pay for a small treat for yourself or your family, such as a dinner out or a movie night.

Should You Sell Your Gift Cards?

You might want to consider selling your gift cards online, but seeing as you won’t get the full face value, this is probably not your best option. Plus, with so many rewards to choose from, you’ll be able to find a card you actually want to use — or you can always just cash out through PayPal.

In Conclusion… Is Swagbucks Worth It?

All in all, here at The Penny Hoarder, our Swagbucks review is a positive one — especially compared to similar sites.

No, it won’t replace the money you’d make working a full-time job, but it’s a pretty simple way to get cash for doing things you might already have planned on doing.

And because Swagbucks has a variety of tasks you can complete, you shouldn’t get too bored. All of them are easy enough. You can prop up your feet and turn on Netflix while you’re completing online surveys and searching the Web.

So, is Swagbucks worth it? It depends on the person, but if you’re already lounging on the couch, why not? It’s all pretty mindless, and it could result in some extra money in your pocket.

It takes less than a minute to sign up, and you can start earning SBs immediately.

Marian Schembari is a writer, traveler and community manager based in San Francisco.