If you’ve been searching for ways to make money online, you’ve probably come across Swagbucks. Here’s my experience and honest review of Swagbucks.
With a cool sounding name and the website’s tagline promising to “put cash back in your wallet”, Swagbucks seems a money-making opportunity too good to pass on.
To satisfy my curiosity and as an experiment for the blog, I thought I’d see how much I could earn in a month using Swagbucks.
What is Swagbucks?
If you’ve never heard of Swagbucks before, the best way to describe it is a combined survey and cashback site.
In exchange for answering surveys or completing other tedious online tasks – such as watching videos, surfing the web, or playing games – you get paid in vouchers or cash (via PayPal).
You can also earn points, or Swag Bucks (SB) as their known, by shopping with retailers that have partnered with Swagbucks to offer cashback to their customers.
Swagbucks describe their site as a way to “get free gift cards & cash for the everyday things you do online”.
Awesome! Time to make it rain while kicking back on the couch.
Before you take on the role of full-time Swagbuckler, let’s be clear; we’re NOT talking about job-replacing income here.
My initial interest in Swagbucks was sparked from a sign-up offer featured in Martin Lewis’ Money Tips Email. The promotion seemed a no-brainer:
Earn 1300 SB (equivalent to £10 in Amazon vouchers) within 30 days of signing up, and receive a free £20 Amazon gift voucher.
Sweet deal, right?
I mean, how hard could it be to earn £10 doing online surveys? Well, it turns out, pretty hard.
After three hours of surveys – most of which start with the same life-sucking, demographic-pinning questions – I had earned a whopping 188 SB.
To put that into context; my hourly wage was 48.2p!
At this rate, I’d be better off panhandling outside Lidl at the end of the month.
I thought of abandoning the project altogether.
But, through sheer idiotic stubbornness, I toughed it out for another 30 days.
My Total Earnings For 1 Month On Swagbucks
So, the big reveal. How much did I earn in my first month of Swagbucks?
My total earnings for the month were (drum roll please)… 7,281 swag bucks, or £56 if you converted all the points to Amazon vouchers.
BUT… I actually only earned £44 as I (mistakenly) spent £12 on a Swagbucks offer – I’ll explain later.
I earned my swag bucks through surveys, cashback deals and exploring promotional offers:
I share my experience with each method of earning SBs below.
I once worked in a manufacturing factory.
My job was to pull a lever that hollowed out the inside of a metal bush. It was by far the most boring job I’ve ever had… until I answered online surveys.
Taking surveys is not only mind-numbingly boring, it’s also terrible compensation.
The most I earned in an hour was 217 SB (£1.69 in Amazon vouchers). But that was only due to using two double points bonuses.
A wage of 50p per hour is a much more realistic expectation.
One of the most frustrating things about answering surveys is that you don’t qualify for every one – which you only find out five minutes into a survey.
Swagbucks could bring an end to this maddening experience by only presenting you with surveys that your previously answered profile questions qualify you for.
But not every survey made me want to faceplant into the keyboard.
Visual surveys – asking my opinion on ad layouts – were slightly more enjoyable and paid better (100 SB for five minutes work – a much fairer compensation).
I don’t play games on my phone, so this was a nice novelty that broke up the monotony of surveys.
I tried out two games during my trial: Coin Master and Rise of Kingdoms.
Coin Master is a slot machine game where your winnings are used to purchase upgrades for your village To earn my 1500 SB, I had to reach village level seven within 30 days of starting play.
Coin Master is highly repetitive, requires no skill, and isn’t all that fun to play… which is why I’m embarrassed to admit that I ended up reaching level 19.
Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me, but I always wanted to use in-game cash to upgrade my village, repair any damage, and make sure I had enough shields to protect it.
I can see how some people succumb to the endless ads to buy more spins.
Rise of Kingdoms
This strategy game was actually fun to play.
If you’ve ever played warfare-based strategy games like Age of Empires, Command and Conquer, or Civilisation, you’d probably enjoy Rise of Kingdoms.
I don’t know how many hours I ended up sinking into Rise of Kingdoms to reach level 17 (required for 4000 SB), and I don’t want to know.
It’s safe to say that not a whole lot got done in May.
Both games were a massive waste of time, especially as I didn’t receive swag bucks from either of them.
I submitted a support ticket to customer service, but I haven’t had a response.
Of all the ways of earning swag bucks, this was by far the easiest.
I made 2600 SB (£20 in Amazon vouchers) just for signing up through Money Saving Supermarket.
Registering for an energy comparison site also netted me an easy 700 SB, and I also made 350 SB by getting a free Experian credit report.
But not every offer is free. Some require a minimum spend or to stay subscribed after the free trial to earn your reward.
And as I found out, taking advantage of some offers is costly…
I Got Scammed – Well, Kinda
While browsing through the promotions, I came across this offer:
I don’t play the lottery as it’s a waste of money – you’ve got a higher probability of being eaten by a shark.
But a £1 gamble that pays 750 SB (the equivalent of £5 in Amazon vouchers) seemed a profitable trade.
When I was charged another £5 the following day, I was certain I had been scammed.
But in my rush to race through as many offers as I could to beef up my hourly earnings, I didn’t realise I signed up to a weekly subscription.
It turns out this is a common mistake, and Lotto Social have a page to answer disgruntled customers.
To top it off, I was charged £3 for each transaction by my credit card provider as lottery transactions aren’t free – who’d have known? In total, I spent £12 on the lottery, which I didn’t receive any swag bucks for, and – you guessed it – I didn’t win the jackpot.
I guess I finally learned that lesson to always read the small print.
There are hundreds of stores that participate in Swagbucks’ cashback program.
Using Swagbucks to shop online could save you money if you were planning to purchase anyway.
But of course, if you’re taking advantage of a promotional offer just to earn SB, that’s a terrible waste of money.
I bought my usual supplements from My Protein via the Swagbucks site, and I earned 419 SB (about £4).
Swagbucks can be exchanged for PayPal credit or vouchers at well know stores (Amazon, M&S, Starbucks, Currys PC World, John Lewis, Debenhams).
You can also donate SBs to numerous charities (UNICEF, Save The Children, Breast Cancer Research Foundation)
Generally, the more swag bucks you save, the better the exchange rate:
- 800 SB = £5 PayPal
- 1450 SB = £10 PayPal (10% cheaper)
And you’re also better off taking store gift cards over PayPal cash:
- 1300 SB = £10 Amazon
- 1450 SB = £10 PayPal
However, the “exchange rate” can change, and you’ll need to check which stores are offering the best deal at the time.
The Final Verdict
Before I started this trial, I knew that online surveys paid peanuts.
But – ever the optimist – I thought that I could earn at least £200 in a month of doing online surveys.
I was wrong.
With £44 to show for my efforts – most of which came from promotional offers – I would say that answering surveys is a horrible waste of time.
There are much better ways to earn money online, such as freelancing, starting a blog, or building a niche site.
But if you use Swagbucks for the promotional offers and cashback on your regular shopping – and possibly participate in the odd survey – it’s a good way of earning a little extra pocket money.
While it’s not a golden opportunity to make money from home, it’s still a legitimate way of making money on the internet.
If you would like to try out Swagbucks for yourself, you can do so HERE.