So, you’re looking to get your hands on free stuff online? These days, the internet is awash with different sites offering cashback, free gift cards and cold hard cash in exchange for taking part in surveys – but, what if you could get all of these in just one place?

Swagbucks is a one stop shop for making and saving money online. With offers including cashback on shopping, games, paid surveys and more, Swagbucks seems almost too good to be true – but is it? In this article, we’ll explain the ins and outs of Swagbucks and explore whether it’s a good place to earn a little cash or a great place to waste your time and energy.

1. How does Swagbucks work?

In order to take advantage of the benefits of Swagbucks, you first need to join up – this is free, quick and easy and you can join using either your email address or your social media accounts. Once you’ve verified your account, you’ll be credited with 15 SB points and you’re ready to go. If you choose to, you can now add a ‘Swag button’ to your browser for easy access.

Swagbucks works through a reward system known as ‘SB Points’ which can be redeemed for gift cards for major stores such as Marks & Spencer, Mastercard and Amazon, or Paypal credits.

You can also use Swagbucks to earn cashback on your online shopping. There are two ways to shop with Swagbucks:

  • The first, most straightforward is to browse Swagbucks for coupon codes which you can then use at the checkout stage when shopping online at your chosen store.
  • The second method is the cashback option – this works in a similar way to other cashback sites whereby you click onto your chosen retailer on the Swagbucks site and then browse and shop your retailer as normal. Once your purchase is complete, your Swagbucks account will be credited with up to 20% cashback in SB points for every dollar you spend. Although it is possible to get 20% cashback, most stores pay from 5% upwards. Stores featured on the Swagbucks site include Boohoo, Starbucks, Amazon, Groupon, Kohls and many many more.

2. How do I earn SB Points?

Members earn points by filling in surveys, signing up to partner schemes and shopping. For example, you can sign up to Tails Dog Food and receive 600 SB points and two weeks of dog food for free (with a $2 surcharge for post and packing).

Alternatively, you can earn points by filling in surveys for a number of different companies, most of which only take between two and five minutes to complete.

As a general guide, many surveys will pay 5 SB points and a £10 Amazon gift card will ‘cost’ 1440 SB points. Activities like joining the Tails Dog Food scheme, however, will earn considerably more points. Once you’ve completed each assignment correctly, your Swagbucks account will be credited with your new points.

Finally, you can actually earn SB points just by watching videos on the Swagbucks site!

3. Swagbucks and me

Curious about this great sounding site, I decided to give it a go – the following is an account of my experience of using the site.

Signup

Signing up to Swagbucks was really quick and easy. I opted for the email method and received my verification email immediately and was up and running within seconds.

The Swagbucks site is very user-friendly, making it easy to navigate to your chosen section. After receiving my 15 SB points for joining, I took a few seconds to earn another 60 SB points by adding the Swag button to my browser via Chrome extension. I then chose to activate my ‘Daily Goal’ for the promise of earning another 9 points.

Take surveys on Swagbucks

Next, I scored another 5 points by filling out a survey which, as promised, took around three minutes to complete and was mainly personal information such as address, age, occupation etc. This brought my points total to 70. I now decided that it was time to go for bigger points.

I decided to take a survey which claimed to take around 21 minutes in order to earn 105 SB points and was directed to a different website. After answering the first few test questions, it appeared that I was not eligible for the survey and was credited with one point instead of the 105 to be earned by completing the task. I now had 71 SB points – and needed 480 for a £3 Amazon gift card. At this point, I had spent approximately 20 to 25 minutes using Swagbucks and decided to check out the shopping coupons.

Shopping on Swagbucks

I navigated to the coupon section by clicking onto ‘Shop’ and was then presented with a list of coupons available. I chose to ‘reveal’ the boohoo coupon which was for 25% of knitwear, jackets and boots and included 3 SB points. Having been directed to the Boohoo site, a pop up message told me that ‘it may take 7 days for my purchase or cashback to show in my account’. At this point, I decided not to continue with the purchase.

 Earn on Swagbucks with watching videos

At this point, I still had just 71 SB points and decided to boost my points by watching videos. I clicked onto ‘watch’ and then onto ‘sponsored videos’ and chose a random video about retirement and hit play. Instead of a video, I was directed to the retirement company’s website. I was, eventually, directed to one video which stopped halfway through without giving me the opportunity to review it and earn reward points as promised. I had now been playing with Swagbucks for around 40 minutes and still had just 71 SB points.

4. Is Swagbucks a earner or waste of time?

There are those who suggest that Swagbucks is a scam – which isn’t entirely fair. For each activity listed on the site, you are told clearly how long it is likely to take and, how many SB points / rewards you are likely to earn. Each activity that I completed promised a certain number of points – most of which were delivered straight to my account total on completion and were waiting there for me to redeem – should I ever earn enough points to actually be able to redeem them.

In my opinion, it’s true that you get nothing for nothing and, success with Swagbucks depends largely on how much time you have to commit to the site. Most of the surveys on the site offer five or ten SB points, meaning that you would have to put in a fair amount of time in order to earn enough points to actually redeem for anything at all. Here are my pros and cons of Swagbucks:

Pros

  • Free and easy to join.
  • Supported by some great stores and services.
  • You can earn points easily which can eventually be turned into store cards.
  • You can receive cashback / coupons for great stores.

Cons

  • It can take a reaaaalllly long time to earn enough points for a giftcard.
  • The cashback ‘7 days’ message is vague and did not fill me with confidence.
  • It can be frustrating to take the time to start on a survey only to be told that you’re not eligible.

5. What are the alternatives to Swagbucks?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are tons of reward and cashback sites out there if you know where to look. Here are our favorite alternatives to Swagbucks:

InboxDollars

InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks in that it rewards you for playing games and taking surveys with a point scheme. Although similar to Swagbucks, InboxDollars pays a little more for completing its surveys meaning that you accrue redeemable points a bit quicker. Additionally, InboxDollars has a relationship with Groupon whereby members get $5 back on the purchase of a $20 Groupon coupon. InboxDollars also gives members $5 just for joining.

SendEarnings

SendEarnings is a sister company of InboxDollars and works in a very similar way. Although the rewards are more or less the same, its worth joining both in order to have two different ways of collecting those all important points.

ZoomBucks

Another very similar site to Swagbucks is ZoomBucks and, like Swagbucks you can join quickly and easily using your social media or email address. Like Swagbucks, you can earn Zoombucks points by referring friends, filling out surveys, accepting offers and conducting internet searches. Like Swagbucks, you can redeem or cash out your points as gift cards or cash to your Paypal account.

InstaGC

Popular site InstaGC has possibly the largest choice of giftcards available to members including Walmart, Amazon and BestBuy. With InstaGC, members can also earn up to a whopping 5000 points in one go through various activities and can choose to have their points redeemed through check, bank transfer or Paypal for extra convenience.

Gift Hunter Club

A little different from some of the others listed here, Gift Hunter Club offers a number of different ways to earn points including surveys, taking part in fun contests, sharing content and information with friends and taking advantage of special offers listed on the site. Gift Hunter also has its own radio station on the website and members can earn additional points just by listening to it. Although a great site for earning points, one anomaly is that the site does have a habit of swinging between English and Spanish in its instructions which can be a little confusing.

6. Tips for online offers

Far from being scams, most of these sites, including Swagbucks, do legitimately allow you to earn points which can be turned into giftcards or cash winging its way to your bank account or Paypal.

A few things to note:

  • These are not ‘get rich quick’ schemes by any means – Earning enough points on these sites to get yourself a gift card or small amount of cash takes a time commitment and, occasionally, a financial outlay such as when shopping on partner sites to earn cashback.
  • In many cases, the objective of getting you to fill in surveys on these sites is to gather up your personal data. This means that you can – and will – start to receive increased spam emails and telephone calls from a number of companies looking to get your business.
  • In terms of receiving cashback for shopping, do be aware that, in many cases, you won’t receive your cashback straight away so make sure that you can afford to make the purchase – and to wait for your refund.
  • If you’re unsure about a site, take the time to read the reviews in order to make sure that the site is legit and not just after your hard earned money.
  • Finally, always read the terms and conditions carefully before embarking on any offer or deal.