(Updated November 2017)
If you thought you knew all about survey sites and research market panels, coming across the National Consumer Panel might prove that notion wrong. Yes, the website does offer the well-known system of paid surveys, but their main program is something completely different that, with enough patience, might be worth the time and effort. But before deciding, let us offer you a general idea behind the company so you can choose if it’s your type of thing or not.
National Consumer Panel overview
You would be surprised how many people have tried and are still using the National Consumer Panel system to gain extra money in a month.
If this is the first time you have heard of it, the main thing you might want to know is that it is a market research company that was created as a joint venture between IRi and Nielsen, both firms from the United States and based in gathering consumer insight.
National Consumer Panel is a program that collects consumer data by providing them with a handheld physical scanning device that will later send all the information to these two parenting companies so they can study it and come up with new solutions that will help them upgrade brand marketing.
When you join the program, you will be sent the scanner device to your residential address, which you will later use every time you visit the supermarket to buy groceries.
As this is an activity that you normally do anyway, National Consumer Panel is a good way to get paid for doing nothing new or out of the ordinary in your life’s routine. It might take 10 extra minutes or so, but you can get rewarded for it.
Once the week is over, you will have to transfer the data to National Consumer Panel so they can turn it into points that you later will be able to redeem into gift cards and prizes.
In addition to this, you will also have a chance to complete surveys and record other information about your shopping like how much you paid, which method you used, and where you went shopping. All these activities also generate points that go to your account balance.
How can you join?
The first issue with National Consumer Panel is that their membership is quite closed, and they won´t let you anywhere near a member account if you do not match the household demographics they are looking for.
However, this should not be a reason not to try. Once you go onto their website, you´ll have a chance to answer certain questions and provide basic information (age, sex, job) so they can later decide whether your profile is useful to them or not.
If you happen to be what they need, you will receive an email with an invitation to sign up for a member account.
Equally, if your household qualifies for a scanner device, they will immediately mail to the address you registered on the website. If not, you will have access to an NCPMobile app that you can install on your smartphone, which does exactly the same: scan the barcodes of the groceries you acquire.
The good thing is that this process is completely free, so if you do not match the correct criteria, you won´t lose anything at all. You might as well give it a try, right?
Nevertheless, the whole National Consumer Panel´s system is quite particular, so keep reading before you decide if you truly need that scanner device.
How can I make money?
If you found your way into the National Consumer Panel network, and you received a scanner device or installed the mobile app on your smartphone, you should then proceed to go shopping as usual.
Once you get home, you will have to scan the barcodes of each of the products you bought and save the shopping data until it is time to send it to National Consumer Panel at the end of the week.
When you do this, you will receive points that can be added to your member account and later be exchanged for gift cards, charity donations, household items like vacuum cleaners or kitchen appliances, and a few other things.
At the same time, you will be receiving surveys and questionnaires every once and while that will help you gain more points.
As soon as you have acquired a total of 8,000 points in your account, you will be able to cash them out. National Consumer Panel has a gift catalog that helps you choose what you like best.
Alongside all the rewards mentioned above, you can also opt to buy cash sweepstakes entries, which will let you participate for cash lottery prizes. These cash lotteries are held weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually, and include a Grand Prix Drawing of $20,000 every three months.
You can also acquire National Consumer Panel Perks & Discounts that can come quite handy when purchasing products and services.
Lastly, by being part of the National Consumer Panel, you will be part of their Rewards+ program, too, which will provide you with special discounts at major retailers like AT&T. Getting deductions for your phone doesn´t sound bad at all, does it?
First, National Consumer Panel is a high-standard company that truly rewards its customers. They have, in fact, won for in 2017 and for the third year in a row, a Best Companies to Work for Award from New York State
This is not really a paid surveys website, so if completing questions about products and services is not your favorite thing, you will have the chance to still make some money by doing something you do every week, which is shopping for groceries.
Also, there is no way you can fail with National Consumer Panel; almost everyone has a smartphone these days so installing the NCPMobile app is not an otherworldly thing. But, if you happen to own an old cellphone, and you are still eligible for a handheld scanner, all you have to do is contact them explaining the situation and they will reply with a solution.
Something you might come across with is a broken or non-functioning scanner. The company will then tell you to send it back and you will soon receive a new one, unless you want to opt for the mobile app instead, which also works just fine.
Finally, if you have the handheld device, you can establish a direct wired connection between the scanner device and your Wi-Fi router so that the scanner can automatically transmit data at the end of the week.
The panel is quite closed, which means you will not be immediately accepted into the program, and there is a possibility that you might not be accepted at all. Their decision will be determined by which type of consumer they need, so if they have a great supply of users that match the same criteria as you, chances are you will not get in.
If you are on the lazy side, having to scan each and every one of your groceries items will make you run out of patience, especially with frozen food. This process can be time consuming, which is why many people have taken the decision of carrying the scanner to the supermarket to scan the barcodes as soon as they select the products.
Another disappointing thing about National Consumer Panel is that you cannot make cash with it. There is no possible way to get paid via PayPal, checks or direct deposit—only with eGift cards and the rewards already stated. If you are in search of a method that will let you see real cash, NCP is not what you are looking for.
Also, it seems that the rewards’ quality has decayed and shrunk over time, eliminating good gift card choices for stores like iTunes.
Similarly, the points you can gain shopping one time are few, meaning you will have to do a lot of errands before you can exchange at least 8,000 points for a $10 gift card. Some people pass the scanner between family members to help them rack up the points faster, but this might not be legal and you should consider this before you do it.
National Consumer Panel is a legit company that will give you rewards in exchange for the scanned data of your groceries’ barcodes. You will be able to get a gift card or a sweepstakes entry every once and awhile, but you will have to forget about getting cash through them.
As we explained above, you will also be getting a few surveys that will help you gain points faster, and will be eligible for discounts from retailers like AT&T only for being part of the program.
The rewards might not be that good, but if they sound worthy to you, you should definitely give National Consumer Panel a chance. After all, you will go shopping every week, so it´s not a bad idea to get something back from all the money you spend, is it?