What Is Swagbucks?
(Updated November 2017)
Swagbucks is a rewards program that allows you to cash in on your daily online activity. In an introductory video on the company’s website they call themselves, “The fun rewards program that gives you free giftcards and cash for the everyday things you do online.” Before we go any further, let me just say that this is a true statement. Swagbucks is not a scam, it is a legit way to earn cash by doing everyday things online.
The company launched in 2005, and has expanded rapidly since. Now in 2017, Swagbucks has millions of users, millions of Facebook fans, and has paid out $137 million and counting to their users. As of 2017, Swagbucks is available in the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Germany, France, and India. Though all Swagbucks features are not available in every country, it is still pretty amazing to have expanded to so many countries so fast.
Swagbucks is unique in some ways, firstly it has a great user interface, secondly, the company has its own currency called swagbucks (SB). Each swagbuck is worth one penny in real-life currency. Ever wanted all your Monopoly money to turn into real cash while playing? When using Swagbucks, fake money actually does turn real.
Ways To Earn With Swagbucks
Online shopping on the Swagbucks website: Swagbucks is affiliated with a number of online stores, all you have to do is shop at these stores and you will be able to earn a certain number of swagbucks for every dollar spent. A number of well-known shopping sites are partnered with Swagbucks, including Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s and Nike. This cash back program has been cited by many users as the best way to earn money through Swagbucks.
The scheme is essentially affiliated marketing and works because stores like Nike and Walmart are paying Swagbucks a cut in exchange for a spot on their website. Swagbucks is sharing that cut with you, and everyone wins! For example, if you buy a pair of shoes from Nike for $100 through the Swagbucks website, Nike will pay Swagbucks 10 percent or $10. Swagbucks in turn will pay you half of that $5 (in SB), so you got those kicks for $95.
Browsing the Net: Earn swagbucks by swapping your search engine from favorites like Google or Yahoo to the Swagbucks search engine. You will earn SB for everyday searches on their engine. Fun fact: the Swagbucks search engine is actually just Yahoo, so it is basically the same. If you make Swagbucks your default search engine you can make money without doing anything extra or special.
Playing Games: There are a bunch of popular games on Swagbucks (Wheel of Fortune!) and you can earn SB just by playing. The SB earned for playing games is not that much, but if you were going to play those games anyway (Scrabble, anyone?) it’s worth it to play them on the website that will pay you to do so. You can also play tournaments that can earn you up to 200 SB.
Watching Videos: This one is for all those of you who have felt guilty for spending hours on end watching videos on the Internet (I know I have.) Swagbucks will pay you to watch those videos, though they have put a cap on the amount of swagbucks you can earn with this feature. The maximum amount you can receive in a day through watching videos is 150 swagbucks. ‘Swagbucks TV’, which is what their video platform is called, actually has some pretty interesting videos, and it is easy to get hooked and forget you are doing it for the cash. The videos are quick (mostly under five minutes) and are on a wide array of topics including Entertainment, Food, Fitness and World News. ‘Swagbucks TV’ does not work in every country.
Taking Surveys: The website has a list of surveys you can take. Choose the ones you want to answer according to the time they take and the swagbucks earned. Most surveys will take around 15 – 30 minutes depending on how fast you can get through them. Although mundane, Swagbucks’ surveys can help you earn some SB quickly, because each survey pays between 1 SB to 1,000 SB. Keep in mind that the number of surveys you can qualify for reduces greatly if you are outside the US or Canada.
Reaching your daily goal: Swagbucks gives you a daily SB earning goal. If you manage to reach that goal you will get a 10 percent bonus. If you reach your daily goal seven days in a row, you will be given an additional bonus. A friend who also uses Swagbucks told me this is her favorite feature because she likes having a set goal, and wants to push herself to reach it everyday.
Keeping an eye out for Swag Codes: These are hidden codes that can be found on Swagbucks’ social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Once found the codes can be redeemed for SB. There are new codes available everyday.
Hourly Random Winner: Swagbucks has an “Hourly Random Winner” scheme that is exactly what it sounds like. Every hour, a random person is picked to win a number of swagbucks. If you happen to be that winner, just click on the notification and you will get some free SB.
Special Offers: Special offers usually have a slightly higher number of SB attached to them and can vary greatly. You stand a chance to win lots of SB if you sign up for an offer or buy a product through the Swagbucks Special Offers scheme. Looking through the Special Offers doesn’t hurt, because you may just find something there that you wanted to buy anyway.
Once you have got some SB in the bank, just trade them in for gift cards from Swagbucks’ many partners that include eBay, Walmart, Starbucks and Subway. There is a Paypal gift card too, and if you trade that in, you are basically getting cash. On the platform, 1 SB = 1 cent.
Swagbucks is free to join.
The company is accredited by the BBB (the Better Business Bureau who keep scammers in check and protect customers) AND they have an A+ rating. This means that they are definitely legit and safe.
Swagbucks has a very generous referral program. If you refer a friend (all you have to do is send an email to your friend through Swagbucks) and they join the site, you will get 10 percent of their earnings for life. That means if your friend earns 200 SB, you will get 20 SB for doing nothing except getting them on the site. Swagbucks also gives you a referral link that you can share on your social media platforms, so it is easy to get your friends on board.
When you’re answering surveys, Swagbucks is upfront about where your information is going. Nothing is hidden from the user, and they expect the same level of honesty from you.
The Swagbucks platform is easy to use. When I signed up, I was guided through how to use the platform in an easy-to-understand tour. The website is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.
Swagbucks recently launched a new mobile app that is easy to use and can be downloaded onto iPhone and Android devices. So you can get some SB on the go, anytime! Keep in mind that since the app is new, there are still not that many features available on it.
Like on all websites that offer surveys, sometimes you will get disqualified while taking a survey on Swagbucks. When this happens though, Swagbucks takes more responsibility than most other sites and will give you 1 SB if you are disqualified 5 times on one day. They also send you a message stating that they will try and find you better matches in the future. That said, imagine spending 20 minutes of your precious life on a survey to make 20 cents, only to be told that you are not qualified to take the survey. It can really sting.
Amazon is on the list of Swagbucks’ online shopping partners, but it may as well not be there because hardly any products on Amazon qualify for the cash back program. This can be annoying if you do most of your shopping on Amazon like I do.
Even if you make Swagbucks your default browser, you will not earn SB for every single search you do. Apparently Swagbucks gives you SB for three random searches during the course of a day. Another point to consider is that the Swagbucks search engine is not as good as Google. This is my personal opinion (maybe I am just used to Google), but if you are using Yahoo, you may not even see the difference.
The single biggest complaint from reviewers online is that Swagbucks is a “time waster”. It is a really time consuming way to earn cash. But if you are willing to put in the time (or if you already have a lot of spare time you are looking to kill), it can get addictive.
Tips To Improve Your Swagbucks Experience
You can download a Swag Button extension that will alert you of new deals even when you are not on Swagbucks. This button also alerts you when there are new Swag Codes available. As mentioned above, Swag Codes make for easy SB, because all you have to do is put the code in the platform and you get some credit for it.
If you do not feel like actually watching videos on Swagbucks, you can just leave the videos on in the background while you do something else. You don’t have to spend any of your time and you will still get the rewards. I am guessing some of these videos are essentially ads (because how else would Swagbucks make money off them), and who wants to watch adverts all day.
Do the daily poll. It takes only one minute of your time and will earn you one SB a day. If you are really committed you could just put a reminder on your phone.
Follow Swagbucks on the company’s social media platforms. Even just following them on Facebook will help you know about hot deals and new schemes.
Swagbucks is a legit way to make some extra cash. Even if it is a very small amount (for example if you do nothing else but switch your search engine) you will still earn something that you would not have otherwise.
If you are planning on joining Swagbucks, there is just one thing you must decide – how much of your time are you willing to spend on the platform? When I used Swagbucks, I made a conscious decision to spend very little of my time on it. I just switched my Internet browser, did the daily poll (on some days), played a few games (that I was going to play either way), and bought an item using their cash back scheme (that I was going to buy anyway, and I did not find a better deal on a different website.)
In this way, I managed to make a $20 gift card in about three and a half months of passively using Swagbucks. Considering I actually did nothing to inconvenience myself too much or wasted any time, this was free money. It is definitely not enough to pay for anything major, but I could get a few coffees and feel good about myself because they are free. If you plan on using this platform in a similar way, I highly recommend it, because who would turn down free money? Swagbucks’ tagline is “Put Cash Back In Your Wallet”, and that is exactly what they do.
However, I can’t recommend using Swagbucks as a part-time job, or in order to make real money. It is a time consuming way to make a couple of bucks, and you would have to ask yourself whether your time is worth it, or whether you could be doing something else more productive to earn that extra cash in a simpler way. You do not want to wake up one morning six years from now, and wish you hadn’t spent all your time addicted to taking surveys on a website.
If you are looking for a better option, then MySurvey is a very good website in my opinion.