Swagbucks Review 2021: How to Earn the Most With the Popular Rewards App


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When I first heard of Swagbucks, I was skeptical.

Any site with the name “bucks” or in it immediately sets off my internal scam alert.

But I’ve been a user for five years now, and I can definitively say that Swagbucks isn’t a scam. In fact, it’s one of the most popular online rewards sites in the U.S.

If you’re looking for an easy and even fun way to make a little extra cash each month, here are the best ways to make money with Swagbucks (and what parts of the platform probably aren’t worth your time).

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is a rewards platform where users can complete surveys, watch videos, and perform other short tasks to earn Swagbucks, abbreviated as SBs.

One SB is roughly equal to $0.01, but the conversion rate changes depending on the payout option you choose. You can exchange your SBs for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, or Target. Or you can donate your earnings to charities like the American Red Cross and Unicef.

Swagbucks is a subsidiary brand of the media company Prodege, LLC along with three similar sites: MyPoints, ShopAtHome, and InboxDollars.
Since its start in 2010, Swagbucks has gained over 20 million users and paid out over $556 million in cash and free gift cards. Swagbucks’ reputation is well known in the online sphere. They’ve been featured in publications such as Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, and U.S. News & World Report.


Sign-Up Bonus Terms and conditions apply.

DollarSprout Rating Quick rewards for easy tasks.

Swagbucks is an online rewards platform that offers up to 20% cash back when users complete surveys, shop online, purchase gift cards, watch videos, sign up for free offers, and more. Points can be redeemed for gift cards and PayPal cash, with a minimum payout of $1.

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  • Free to create an account
  • $10 sign-up bonus available
  • Wide variety of ways to earn points
  • Most points are credited to your account immediately
  • Clean website and mobile app with easy-to-use interface
  • Quick and easy money without making any drastic changes


  • Difficult to earn a substantial income
  • No one knows exactly how search points work
  • Some of the best cash-back opportunities require you to spend money
  • Must spend $25 with Swagbucks Shopping in the first 30 days of opening your account to receive the sign-up bonus

Is Swagbucks Legit?

Swagbucks is a legitimate company that pays real money. The site has a 4.3-star rating on Trustpilot with more than 21,000 reviews.

Swagbucks’ parent company, Prodege, LLC, currently holds a B rating with the BBB. There are a few hundred complaints on Prodege’s profile, but there are zero unanswered or unresolved issues.

I’ve used Swagbucks myself (as you’ll see throughout the rest of this review) and received payouts in the form of Amazon gift cards. So I can attest that Swagbucks is indeed a legitimate company.

7 Ways to Earn Swagbucks Rewards

You can earn SBs in seven different ways. Swagbucks refers to them as:

  1. Answer (taking surveys)
  2. Shop (cashback)
  3. Magic Receipts (send them your paper or e-receipts)
  4. Discover (sign up for free samples and deals)
  5. Watch (short videos)
  6. Search (use the Swagbucks search engine)
  7. Play (computer and phone games)

I tested all seven ways to earn with Swagbucks. Here’s an overview of each one, my experience, what I think is worthwhile, and what you might want to avoid.

1. Answer (taking Swagbucks surveys)

One of the more popular ways to make money on the site is by taking Swagbucks surveys.

Major brands rely on companies like Swagbucks to get feedback from consumers. When you take a survey, those companies pay Swagbucks for your answers, and Swagbucks passes on some of their earnings to you.

When you first sign up for Swagbucks, you’ll fill out a demographic profile with things like your age, income, and interests. Swagbucks uses this information to match you with surveys that are a good fit.

You’ll still need to answer pre-qualification questions to take some surveys, and there’s a chance you’ll be disqualified. If that happens, you may end up with a small reward or no points at all.

Each day, you can find survey options in your account. The more accurate and complete your profile, the better your survey matches will be, which should mean less time answering pre-survey questions just to be disqualified.

Swagbucks offers four main survey options:

  1. Gold surveys
  2. Peanut Lab surveys
  3. Your survey profile
  4. Daily polls

Gold Surveys

Swagbucks Gold Surveys

These are the highest-paying surveys Swagbucks offers. They range in payout from 20 to 500+ SBs and take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes to complete, based on Swagbucks’ estimate.

Peanut Lab Surveys

This section includes offers to earn points for donating to charities, signing up for free samples, and purchasing new products and services. Swagbucks describes Peanut Lab Surveys as a way to “Get SB by engaging with brands and advertisers.”

The “no cost” offers require you to give your information to partner companies, sign up for samples, and/or complete a questionnaire before you receive your SBs.

Swagbucks Peanut Lab Surveys

Your Survey Profile and Daily Poll

The daily poll renews each day. It’s 1 question worth 1 SB. Not much, but an easy point for little effort.

Your Survey Profile is on the same page as the Gold Surveys.

Swagbucks Survey Profile Questions

You get 2 SBs for every 10 questions you answer. That may not sound like much, but the questions are short and multiple-choice, so they go by pretty quickly.

🔍 Reviewer’s take:

One thing I appreciated about taking surveys with Swagbucks is that the points are credited to your account immediately. As soon as you complete a poll, Gold survey, 10 profile questions, etc., your points in the upper right corner of your account will refresh with your new balance.

Some of the Gold Surveys take a while to complete. One I did took about 30 minutes, and I earned 137 SBs. Since the points aren’t a direct 1-to-1 dollar conversion (it depends on the reward you redeem your points for), it’s hard to know your hourly rate. But assuming I chose a reward where 1 SB equals $0.01, this survey would’ve had a payout of ~$2.74 per hour.

Swagbucks Gold Survey Earnings

Surveys aren’t the highest-paying side hustle, but that’s on par, if not a little above average, for other survey sites I’ve tested.

Other than the Gold surveys, I really liked answering the Your Survey Profile questions. They’re simple demographic information, for the most part. And they go by quickly, so it’s easy to keep scrolling through and earning points.

The Peanut Lab “surveys” seemed a little spammy to me. You’re directed to a different site to complete the offers, so it’s not directly on Swagbucks. I started to sign up for a Seventh Generation sample, but the sign-up process was confusing, and there was no clear end.

It kept going into different offers and asking for more information. At one point I realized that the fine print on one question said, “I understand that agreeing below to receive calls is not necessary to receive my samples.” But if you didn’t read that part, you’d think you have to agree to move forward. I felt like it was misleading.

I went through a few rounds for different types of samples and eventually decided it wasn’t worth it for me. You have to complete the entire questionnaire and accept an offer at the end to get your rewards, so I didn’t receive any SBs for Peanut Lab surveys.

Gold surveys, daily polls, and survey profile questions: worth it.

Peanut Lab Surveys: don’t waste your time.

Related: 18 Sites That Pay You to Take Surveys Online

2. Shop (get cashback)

Swagbucks shopping works like Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates). When you shop through one of their links, Swagbucks receives a small commission. They pass on part of that commission to you as cashback.

For example, a 5% cash-back deal on Amazon means you’ll get 5 SB for every $1 you spend when you purchase something through a Swagbucks link.

Swagbucks offers a wide range of retailers to choose from, including Amazon, Athleta, Lowe’s, Banana Republic, and travel sites like Priceline and Hotels.com.

Swagbucks Cash Back

The Swagbucks shopping page also offers coupons for local deals through Groupon. When you find a deal you like, just click the link that directs you to the company’s site where you can complete your shopping trip.

Sometimes Swagbucks offers multiplier deals for specific retailers. So if a store normally offers 1% cashback, but has a 10x deal, you’ll receive 10% cashback, or 10 SB, for every $1 you spend. There are no codes necessary for the multiplier deal.

It can take 30 days or more for your Swagbucks points to show up in your account depending on the retailer.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: Swagbucks Shopping is pretty straightforward. But not all the deals are what you see on the surface.

For example, I clicked on Amazon because I thought I’d buy a book and get some cashback. But the “up to 4% cashback” they refer to on the card is only for purchasing Amazon devices like a Kindle or Echo. I was bummed to realize I couldn’t get points for anything I wanted to buy on Amazon.

But other deals, like Banana Republic, offer a set amount of cashback no matter what you purchase. The best way to earn points with Swagbucks Shopping is to add the SwagButton extension to your browser and shop as usual. Any time Swagbucks offers a reward for a site you’re shopping on, you’ll see a notification to “activate” the deal.

Swagbucks Swag Button on Banana Republic

It’s very similar to Honey, Rakuten, Capital One Shopping, and other cashback apps. I have them all installed on my Chrome browser. Any time I’m shopping, I use the extension that offers the best deal with the site I’m on.

In my opinion, it’s definitely worth installing the SwagButton (and other cashback shopping extensions) to make sure you’re always getting the best deal when shopping online.

Related: 12 Cash-Back Apps to Save Money on Everyday Purchases

3. Magic Receipts (send them your paper or e-receipts)

Magic Receipts is similar to Ibotta and other cash-back grocery apps.

When you find something you like, you add it to your list on Swagbucks and purchase it from a participating store like Walmart, Target, or Kroger. Then upload your receipt to get SBs.

Swagbucks Magic Receipts

Each item is worth a different number of SBs. Some are 2 SBs (for onions, apples, etc.) and others can be worth as many as 3,000 SBs (tequila, cleaning supplies, etc.). Certain items are also brand-specific or require in-store shopping.

Be sure to click on each offer and read the “fine print” section for all the requirements. Many deals require that you purchase a minimum amount to receive your points.

After you shop, you can go to your shopping list in Swagbucks to submit your receipt. Swagbucks will ask you where you shopped and which items you bought. Upload a picture of your receipt, and Swagbucks will scan it and credit your account.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: I think Swagbucks’ Magic Receipts feature is really cool. It’s a new addition to the platform, so I’d never used it until recently.

One thing I’ve learned after using it a couple of times is that you have to pay close attention to which stores allow which offers. I just added some of the items I needed or wanted to my list, went to Kroger (where I do most of my grocery shopping) and bought them all.

It wasn’t until I got back and uploaded my receipt that I realized not all of the items I chose were available from Kroger. So I didn’t receive the points I expected for everything on my list.

Admittedly, this was my fault, not Swagbucks’. But it did teach me to read all the details on an offer before making the purchase.

Uploading my receipt was easy. I did it on my laptop, but you can also do it from the Swagbucks app. I thought it would take a few days to get the points, but they were credited to my account immediately, which was a nice surprise.

Swagbucks gave me 100 SBs for buying any brand of eggs.

Swagbucks Activity with Receipt

Magic Receipts is probably worth a shot for most people. If you have one place you normally shop and don’t want to run all over town for deals, then click on the store you normally shop at to see what deals are available there. That’s what I plan to do going forward.

4. Discover (sign up for free samples and deals)

With Swagbucks Discover, you can earn SB by signing up for product trials, donating to charities, downloading mobile apps, and more.

The offers in this section are similar to the Peanut Lab surveys. There’s even a link under the “Offers from Our Trusted Partners” section that goes to Peanut Lab.

In a nutshell, they’re all offers from companies that partner with Swagbucks. Some of them require you to make a payment or deposit, and others just require a sign-up.

A lot of these offers have a longer wait time. Whereas surveys and cashback offers appear in your account within days if not immediately, the Discover offers can take a month or more to show up.

Not all offers are that high-value, but you can sort and filter to find the ones that make the most sense for your situation. If you want to earn points without spending money, you’re probably better off browsing the free offers section.

Swagbucks Discover

If you’re interested in exploring new brands and earning the highest rewards, you’ll want to check out the featured deals and sign-ups listings.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: I didn’t try any of these because, like I said, they’re largely similar to the Peanut Lab offers. Even though there was nothing I was interested in signing up or paying for, there might be for you.

For example, some of the options in my account were to sign up for Stash (investing app), Charlie (a money management app), and Home Chef meal delivery kits.

Be sure to click the offers you’re interested in and read the “Top 3 Things to Know” section. It usually tells you how long it’ll take to receive your points, whether or not you have to pay for something, and other handy details to help you decide whether it’s worth it or not.

I think some of the offers here could be worth it depending on the person. Like one offer to get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN for $13.99 per month. I have all the streaming subscriptions I need, but for new Disney+ users who want to try out these services, it could be a good deal.

Related: Branded Surveys Review: An Easy Way to Make Extra Money

5. Watch (short videos)

With Swagbucks Watch, you can choose from over 10 video categories, including entertainment, fashion, health, food, and travel. Each category is typically worth 1 or 2 SBs.

Swagbucks Watch

When you click on a category, a new tab will open in your browser. Playlists are typically three videos. But you don’t have to watch the entire video to move on to the next.

Each video has a timer set for 30 to 60 seconds. You can see it running on your browser tab. When that timer is up, you can go to the next video.

If you click back to the tab with the timer, the timer will pause. But if you click on any other tab, it’ll continue going, which means you could earn points watching videos with Swagbucks while working on other things.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: Earning points with Swagbucks Watch was easy for me, but it wasn’t as passive as I thought it would be.

While you can click away to another tab and work on other things, you still have to return to the timer tab every minute or so to start the next video.

That can be a hassle if you’re trying to focus on other things.

Not to mention each playlist of three or so videos is only worth one or two SBs. Watching videos is a low-effort way to earn points, and it’s good if you want to discover new content or get caught up on some news you may have missed. Otherwise, you’re probably better off sticking with Gold surveys and the profile questions.

6. Search (use the Swagbucks search engine)

This tool rewards you for searching the web with the Swagbucks Search feature. You can search directly from your Swagbucks account or install the Swagbucks Search Chrome extension to make the site your default search engine.

Swagbucks Search

The platform rewards points randomly. I spent some time using the Swagbucks search engine (which is powered by Yahoo), and I didn’t earn any points for my 10-20 searches. But here’s what I learned from Reddit users who have earned with Swagbucks Search:

  • Swagbucks will notify you when you get a “Search win” and tell you how many points you’ve earned.
  • You’ll have to complete a Captcha to prove you’re not a robot.
  • Rewards range from ~5 to 25+ SBs for a winning search.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: It’s not worth your time tracking to “hack” Swagbucks Search for points. Consider these a nice bonus on top of points you earn from Surveys or shopping.

To maximize your points with Search, set Swagbucks to your default search engine. (Swagbucks shows you how here.) I use Google’s search engine and SEO tools for work, so I can’t personally make the switch. But if you currently use Yahoo as your default search engine, then not much will change.

7. Play (computer and phone games)

Swagbucks offers three main ways to earn with games:

  • Make in-app purchases
  • Reach a minimum level within a specified timeframe
  • Play online and win randomly

Swagbucks also offers a number of popular games including Bejeweled, Solitaire, Bingo, Angry Birds Champions, and Slots. For these games, you can earn points for each dollar you spend on in-app purchases.

This section is pretty straightforward. When you find a game that interests you, just be sure to read the requirements so you know what you need to do to receive the points.

🔍 Reviewer’s take: I appreciate how transparent Swagbucks is about what it takes to earn points with the offers. You can click on the card for each offer to read the requirements, like if you have to pay or get to a certain level to earn your SBs.

I wish there were more free online options to choose from. There were only three in my account, and each one had a maximum limit of 10 SBs.

Swagbucks Free Games

It’s also not clear when the free games pay out. I played Pyramid Solitaire and won (with what I thought was a decent score) and didn’t get any SBs.

Swagbucks Solitaire No Points

But then I played again, lost, and was rewarded with 2 SBs. So your rewards don’t seem to be tied to your performance in the game.

Swagbucks Solitaire Points for Losing

A lot of the mobile games require you to reach a minimum level within a certain amount of time to get the reward. For example, this Club Vegas game comes with a 5,000 reward, which is roughly $50 in points. That’s a hefty payout, but you have to reach level 100 within 14 days to get the reward.

Swagbucks Mobile Game Requirements

If you have the time and like discovering and playing new games on your phone, this could be a fun way to earn with Swagbucks. Worth the time for some, but not for others.

Related: 20 Real Money Earning Games and Other Ways to Get Paid to Play Games

How Much Can You Earn with Swagbucks?

You won’t get rich or even make close to a full-time income with Swagbucks. The company is clear about that.

I earned 256 SBs over about three days just from taking a single survey, uploading one receipt, and testing out the Play and Watch features. (Not all of the 256 points are shown below because they didn’t fit on the screen.)

Swagbucks Total Earnings

Keep in mind that SBs aren’t always worth $0.01 each. The higher the reward you cash out for, the more each SB is worth. For example, a $1 Amazon gift card costs 140 SBs, but you can get a $5 Amazon gift card for 500 SBs. 

If you use the site regularly and take advantage of the highest-earning offers, like cashback shopping, Gold surveys, and Discover deals, then you could reasonably expect to earn $10 to $30 per month in Swagbucks, or even more if you take advantage of referrals, bonus points, and Swagbucks’ mobile apps.

Earn points for referring friends

When you sign up for Swagbucks, you get a unique referral code. If you enjoy using the site, send your code to any friends or family members you think would also benefit from it.

When they sign up and start using the site, you’ll get 300 SBs when your referral earns 300 points or more within their first 30 days. Plus, you’ll earn 10% of their lifetime earnings for as long as their account remains active.

For example, if your coworker registers using your referral link and earns 1,000 SBs in a day, you’ll get 100 credited to your account. It’s one of the simpler, more passive ways to collect SBs.

Right now, Swagbucks is also offering a 100-point bonus when someone you refer adds the SwagButton on their laptop or desktop.

Earn bonus points for daily goals and streaks

Swagbucks gives you a custom daily earnings goal based on your previous earning history.

Whenever you hit your daily goal (mine is 30, as you can see below), you’ll get bonus SBs. You can also get bonus points for checking items off your daily to-do list and building earning streaks.

A 7-day streak of meeting your daily goal will net you 25 extra SBs.

Swagbucks Bonuses and Streaks

You won’t see bonus points in your account immediately. Swagbucks awards bonuses on the 5th of each month, so you’ll receive a notification when they’re available.

Swagbucks mobile apps

Swagbucks offers seven different mobile apps. Each one allows you to complete different types of tasks for SBs:

  • Swagbucks Mobile (iOS and Android): Shop, answer surveys, and watch videos
  • Swagbucks Live (iOS and Android): Game show app
  • Swagbucks Watch (Android only): Watch videos
  • Swagbucks Answer (iOS and Android): Take surveys
  • MovieCli.ps (Android only): Watch movie clips and trailers
  • Sportly (Android only): Watch videos about your favorite sports
  • EntertaiNow (Android only): Watch videos

The most popular seems to be Swagbucks Mobile, which is also the most comprehensive. It has 4.0 stars in the Google Play store and 4.4 in the Apple store with over 40,000 reviews on each.

Alternatives to Swagbucks

Swagbucks isn’t the only rewards site of its kind. If you enjoy using Swagbucks, here are a few other sites to look into.

InboxDollars. InboxDollars works like Swagbucks in that users complete surveys, watch ads, and redeem cash-back offers. Like Swagbucks, you need to qualify for surveys before you can take them.

Branded Surveys. Unlike Swagbucks, this site focuses solely on surveys. However, their Branded Elite program gives you the opportunity to increase your earnings by completing multiple consecutive surveys. As you earn more, you’ll be entered for the chance to win additional points. At 500 points, you can cash out via direct deposit or PayPal or exchange your earnings for gift cards to your favorite retailers.

Survey Junkie. Survey Junkie is another site that pays users to take surveys. Like Swagbucks, users can download an app, web browser, and register for email notifications about survey opportunities. However, unlike Swagbucks, users can only earn money through surveys, focus groups, and testing products. There are no shopping portals or search engines, and users must redeem their rewards in increments of $5.

Ibotta. Ibotta is a rebate app that lets users redeem cash-back offers at grocery stores, drug stores, and other retailers. Sometimes you’ll have to watch an ad or take a short survey before you can redeem an offer.

Related: 15 Places That Offer Paid Research Studies

Swagbucks Review Summary

It’s hard to do a Swagbucks review justice. There are so many options for earning points that it’s almost overwhelming.

My personal favorite ways to earn with Swagbucks are with surveys, Magic Receipts, and online shopping. Search is great for earning bonus points, but it’s not something I rely on.

The best way to use Swagbucks is to look for ways to fit it into your daily life. If you frequently shop online, then installing the SwagButton on your computer could help you cash in on easy rewards.

If you spend evenings watching Netflix while scrolling through Facebook, consider downloading the Swagbucks app and answering survey questions during that time.

Swagbucks isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. If you’re interested in earning cash back for things you already do, Swagbucks can be a great tool for the part. However, if it’s a high-earning side hustle you’re searching for, you should consider other work-from-home jobs.


Sign-Up Bonus Terms and conditions apply.

DollarSprout Rating Quick rewards for easy tasks.

Swagbucks is an online rewards platform that offers up to 20% cash back when users complete surveys, shop online, purchase gift cards, watch videos, sign up for free offers, and more. Points can be redeemed for gift cards and PayPal cash, with a minimum payout of $1.

Show Hide more


  • Free to create an account
  • $10 sign-up bonus available
  • Wide variety of ways to earn points
  • Most points are credited to your account immediately
  • Clean website and mobile app with easy-to-use interface
  • Quick and easy money without making any drastic changes


  • Difficult to earn a substantial income
  • No one knows exactly how search points work
  • Some of the best cash-back opportunities require you to spend money
  • Must spend $25 with Swagbucks Shopping in the first 30 days of opening your account to receive the sign-up bonus




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