Is Swagbucks Worth My Time? A Swagbucks Review

Have you heard of Swagbucks?

If you’re here, you probably want to learn more about them.

It’s consistently one of the most popular programs on our list of sites to make extra money and I wanted to do a deeper dive into them.

I first learned about Swagbucks after meeting with some of their folks at Fincon, a great personal finance conference held each year, and they’re great people. Unlike a lot of other online programs, Swagbucks gets out into the community and it’s good to put faces with names.

That said, the big question isn’t whether they’re nice folks but whether you can put more money into your pocket using them.

For that, we have to start at the beginning.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Swagbucks?
  2. How do you earn Swagbucks?
  3. What is Swagbucks Local?
  4. What can you get for Swagbucks?
  5. Is Swagbucks Worth the Time?

What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is a free online rewards program (you should never pay to join any program like this). You earn Swagbucks, redeemable as cash or gift cards, for doing your typical online activities through their portal. You can watch videos, search the web, shop, answer surveys, discovering new online content, play games, and many more activities.

Swagbucks is run by Prodege, based out of El Segundo, CA. They were founded in 2005 and they run several sites online, including MyPoints and MyGiftCardsPlus. Prodege, LLC has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are an Accredited Business (since 5/21/2010).

Since inception, Swagbucks has paid out over $185.5 million to its members (as of April 2017)!

How do you earn Swagbucks?

You earn Swagbucks by doing things through the website.

There are a lot of ways to earn Swagbucks:

  • Watch Swagbucks TV (videos): You earn 1 SB for every 6 videos, with bonus points during promotions. Sometimes you earn 2 SB per 6 videos. You can do this on your phone too, I watch Movie Trailers to earn SB.
  • Daily poll: Earn 1 SB for voting each day. It’s a fun little multiple choice question.
  • Daily “Crave:” Which is where you auto-surf websites, usually 2-3 for 1 SB on the first take.
  • Searching the web: Swagbucks Search is powered by Yahoo! (which is powered by Bing) and you can randomly earn points by using the search.
  • Special Offers: Various brands partner with Swagbucks to offer members trials or discounts, you can earn points by taking advantage of these offers.
  • Answer surveys: There is an unending supply of third party market research surveys you can take for Swagbucks.
  • Cashback shopping: Swagbucks has a cashback shopping portal too where you’ll earn points for shopping through it.
  • Playing games: There are games in Swagbucks that you can play to win Swagbucks. If you prefer to try to earn money playing games, our list of games that pay real money is a better fit.
  • Refer friends: When you refer your friends, you can get 10% of their Swagbucks earnings for life.
  • Daily bonuses: If you earn enough Swagbucks in a day, you get bonuses as shown at the top of the screen.

Swagbucks also has a mobile app you can use to earn Swagbucks by searching the web, taking special offers, watching videos and answering surveys (including the daily poll).

Try Swagbucks Today
(take advantage of the $5 sign on bonus!)

What is Swagbucks Local?

Swagbucks Local is a separate mobile app (separate even from their Swagbucks Mobile app) that gives you cash back when you shop at a physical store.

It’s similar to other restaurant cashback programs like Yelp and I use it to maximize my cash back at restaurants. You sign up, link up a credit card, and then go about your day.

When you use your credit card at a restaurant in the program, you get cash back! There’s nothing else you need to do. So easy.

What can you get for Swagbucks?

Each Swagbuck is worth a penny. You usually redeem them at 100 SB for $1 in gift cards or cash (you can get a Paypal deposit of $25 for 2,500SB).

There are often “sales” – where you can get certain gift cards at a discount. A Visa $100 Virtual Reward for 9,900 SB, a $50 Cracker Barrel gift card for 4,900 SB, things like that.

My pick is always the $25 Amazon gift card. You get a 12% discount on your first $25 gift card redemption each month, so a $25 Gift Card comes out to only 2,200 SB. Amazon gift cards are as good as cash in this house.

Is Swagbucks Worth the Time?

Like many things in life, it depends on how much your time is worth.

For most people looking to earn an extra buck or two, it’s a great way to turn your internet surfing time into profitable internet surfing time. You won’t earn a ton of money but picking up an extra gift card or two each month is a nice little perk. When you consider that you’re doing this stuff anyway, you might as well earn some money doing things you’re already doing online.

I view it as an optimization tool. I wouldn’t go out on a walk looking for pennies to pick up on the ground but if I saw one, I’m bending over to grab it. I want to make sure I don’t waste time so if I have to wait somewhere, I might as well earn a few pennies watching a video or maybe a few dollars by taking a survey.

For example, you can earn Swagbucks by shopping through their portal. There are a lot of portals out there but I go through Swagbucks because I know I can cash it out easily. Just recently, I went through them to purchase on Amazon and now I have some points pending:

You will not get rich but you can monetize your downtime easily.

If you download the toolbar, use their extensions, you can earn Swagbucks without extra effort. It’s even easier than picking up pennies from the sidewalk.

For a limited time, you can get a $5 bonus for signing up.

Try Swagbucks Today

Are you a Swagbucks user? What do you think?

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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About the comments on this site:

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  1. Mike Collins says

    Hey Jim,

    I like SwagBucks and I’ve been using it for a couple of years now. When i first started I was earning about $20 per month through the site. These days I ave less downtime and I probably only earn about $5 on average, but it’s still worth it since there’s so little effort involved.

  2. Paul Andrews says

    Great review Jim. I’ve found that the apps like these, where there is very little required on the end of the user often makes whatever the rewards are worth it. After all, if it doesn’t require that much of a change, why not use it? I’ve gotten a couple gift cards fro musing them, so I’d rank them as useful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. [email protected] says

    Thanks for writing this! I’ve been using Microsoft Rewards (formerly Bing Rewards) to get a little return from my downtime. It sounds like Swagbucks is worth a try to complement or replace it.

    • Jim Wang says

      I have a bookmarks folder with Bing, InboxDollars, Swagbucks, and Mintvine. Each morning, I open them all up, click a bunch, and collect my equivalent of like a dollar. I started doing it because I wanted to write reviews of these different services, then it just kind of became a fun little habit. It’s like picking up pennies… it’s usually not “worth your time” but I can’t help myself.

  4. Justin says

    Swagbucks is one of the largest and most trusted reward websites.

    You can get paid for doing many different things online. From taking a survey, visiting a website, playing a game, making a purchase, and many other ways.

    If you are interested you should sign up on their website and download their mobile apps.

  5. Eric Yoder says

    They make hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from your personal information from surveys you take and by selling your email and phone number to their sponsors and you make a penny here and there in return. The site is definitely not worth it. It’s just another information milking site no different from all the other existing survey sites. On top of that you have to spend a lot of cash on their sponsor businesses just to get a few pennies in return. This is certainly not a money making website. Been on the site for years and sti have yet to redeem anything because I refuse to spend cash when I signed up to make money in the first place, and refuse to take thirty through sixty minute surveys for a penny or two.

  6. adam smith says

    Stay away from the free trials. ALL of them require you to stay in at least a day or two past the trial end date triggering a credit card charge. So if it’s a seven day trial you have to stay in for eight. If it’s a month you have to stay in for thirty-two days. Either way you’re going to have to pay a fee to that company to get the credit. And does it make sense to spend $30 on something you probably don’t want to get $10?

  7. Srikanth says

    Swagbucks is a site giving more surveys. However to check whether it is legit to get money after earning the required SB.

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