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Stay-at-home parents, students, and freelancers in the gig economy are all earning extra money through survey sites. You can choose from many different survey sites, such as Swagbucks, that offer various rewards and payouts. However, with so many online scams, it’s important to know which survey sites are legitimate and which are a scam.

Swagbucks is one of the more popular companies to feature online surveys and other ways to earn points and cash. Since its name continued to pop up in search results and in online freelancer and gig forums, we thought we’d give it a try.

Here is our review of Swagbucks, including how I used it and what I earned as a result of six month’s worth of surveys, videos, web searches, and more.

What is Swagbucks?

swagbucks logo
Swagbucks bills itself as the largest free online rewards program. Based in California, it is a subsidiary of Prodege, LLC, a media company that also owns MyPoints, Inbox Dollars, and ShopAtHome. An array of media publications and online sites have featured survey site since its launch in 2008.

You can join Swagbucks if you live in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or Ireland.

Is Swagbucks Legit?

Based on user reviews and reports from organizations that track businesses, Swagbucks is credible. Its website reports that it has more than 20 million subscribed users. It has earned a reputable rating with Trustpilot, while its parent company has a fairly good rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

How Does Swagbucks Work?

Users earn Swagbucks points (SB points) by taking surveys, playing games, shopping, searching the web via the Swagbucks search engine, and watching videos.

It took only a few minutes to set up a free account. All we needed was an email address and a password. As part of this sign-up process, we had to share some key pieces of demographic information about ourselves to get matched with the most appropriate surveys.

Ways to Earn

Surveys are one of the most popular ways to earn points and money. Swagbucks works with many major brands to help them better understand their customers and target audiences and to find out what they think.

1. Surveys and Videos

There are three types of surveys you can take on the site: Daily polls, daily surveys, and everyday surveys. We accessed these survey options from my account, which keeps email alerts out of our inbox, unlike some other sites.

Next, we tried watching videos, which we already like doing, so it was enticing to get paid. There are ten categories you can choose from and then a list within each category.

2. Shopping Online

Since we’re avid shoppers, we also enjoyed the prospect of being compensated for making purchases we’d have made anyway. Swagbucks is like other rebate programs such as Ebates. We simply used links that Swagbucks provided. In return, we would get a certain rebate percentage or commission for buying through those links.

This option also gave us access to valuable coupons for local and online retailers. You’ll find many of your favorite retail brands, including Amazon and eBay. You can also find printable coupons to use in retail and grocery stores.

3. Searching the Web

We also earned money by using the Swagbucks Search Engine. That took some getting used to, because my smartphone automatically defaults to Google, while the Swagbucks engine is Yahoo!-powered. I received rewards based on the amount of time we spent searching.

4. Playing Games

Games are another way to earn Swagbucks. we earned points through in-app purchases with a wide range of game types. This wasn’t our favorite way to spend money, to be honest. We preferred other options, such as Swagbucks Discover. Here, we could sign up for free trials, join a membership or subscription site, download mobile apps, and donate to charities. There were numerous offers that appealed to us, including a generous promotion with DoorDash.

5. Sweepstakes and Referrals

You can also earn points by referring others to Swagbucks. You’ll get a certain percentage of each converted user’s lifetime points on the site. Swagstakes—Swagbucks’ version of sweepstakes—are also another way to potentially win money or prizes.

Finally, you can buy gift cards directly from Swagbucks through its MyGiftCardsPlus.com site. We earned up to 10 percent back in SB points through our purchases.

Do’s and Don’ts

Here’s some advice on what to do and not to do when using Swagbucks, based on my experience with the site:

  • You’ll need to stick with a video instead of jumping to other tabs. The video will pause and wait for you.
  • Searching for the same thing on the Swagbucks search engine won’t work. The site tracks queries and will only credit you with SB points for unique searches.
  • Turn off any ad-blocking software and have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player installed in order to play the games.
  • If you sign up for any of the free trial offers, be sure to schedule a cancellation reminder. Otherwise, you will start paying out on each one on a monthly basis.
  • Download the Swagbucks app for iOS and Android devices to keep using and earning on the go.
  • Use the Swag Button, a Google Chrome extension that ensures you are still earning money no matter where you go.
  • Pay attention to Swag Codes that often pop up while you are using the site and take advantage of them, where possible. These limited rewards deliver extra value.
  • There are also extra bonuses during various holidays that helped me rack up considerably more Swagbucks rewards than at other times in the year.
  • Accumulate as many SBs as possible because these lead to the ability to access larger reward options.

Types of Rewards

Despite the name, which evokes the idea of cash, SB points must first be converted into cash, gift cards, or prizes on a percentage basis. There are numerous Swagbucks rewards, including things like Amazon and other gift cards. You can redeem gift cards for as few as 300 SB points and up to 50,000 SB points.

Other options include redeeming SB points as PayPal cash with a linked PayPal account. This is possible once you earn 2,500 SB points. You can also donate your SB points to a charity of your choice.

The Good and the Bad

There is a lot to like about Swagbucks and their earned rewards and cash opportunities. Some of the surveys also pay out very well. One that we took paid $50, but it was very time-intensive. However, most tasks on Swagbucks don’t pay that well.

Other benefits of Swagbucks included the large variety of prizes and discount offers; the site and app functionality; a simple user interface; and clear directions on how to earn points.

On the downside, it takes up to 30 days for some points to show up in my Swagbucks account, especially those that involve their retail partners. Although there are many ways to earn Swagbucks, some of the categories have a limited offering, such as the games and surveys.

Other things that we didn’t like as much included the low number of qualified surveys, the length of time it took to accumulate points, a sluggish search engine, and non-responsive customer service.

Overall Impressions of Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a fun site that lets you earn a little extra money and some nice perks. It’s not a place to get rich or make a living. In fact, it pays well below minimum wage.

However, it’s an ideal way to get more value from things you already do like shop, watch videos or play games—things you can do when you relax in the evenings or on the weekends. Swagbucks can also save you money—perhaps more than what you make from the site, as cash or gift rewards from the points—because the rebates and offers are diverse and plentiful.

This is a legitimate company that is completely transparent in how it does business. Swagbucks can provide you with a combination of strategies to save money with coupons, rebates, and offers while also delivering some cash and gift cards options.

About the Author

John Boitnott

John Boitnott

I am a tech writer and journalist for more than 20 years who contributes to several respected online publications including BusinessInsider, Inc., and Entrepreneur. In addition to journalism, writing about social good companies and in-depth research, I’m also active in my community and enjoy metaphysical book reading groups, as well as hiking on the amazing trails of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Published by Debt.com, LLC