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Is Swagbucks legit?

It claims to have paid over $450 million in cash and gift cards.

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Swagbucks lets you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards or transferred into your PayPal account for cash. However, you should assume that your activity online will be tracked, and your personal data may be shared and sold to third parties.

While it’s true that Swagbucks has paid users over $450 million over time, at the end of the day it’s a marketing company that makes money by collecting information about your online activity and shopping habits. Its parent company, Prodege, also owns MyPoints, ShopAtHome, InboxDollars and more.

How does Swagbucks work?

With Swagbucks, you trade your time and personal insights for SB — short for Swagbucks — which you can redeem for gift cards or cash via PayPal. In short, you earn money by letting advertising companies into your brain. Not a bad thing, if you’re looking to make some extra money and are comfortable with the privacy implications.

How can I earn money with Swagbucks?

  • 1,000 SB equals $10 — unless it’s running a promotion.

A few of the ways you can make money:

  • Take surveys. Answer questions about your shopping habits and preferences. Swagbucks assigns specific surveys based on your age, gender, birthday, location and other demographic information. Most Swagbucks surveys take less than 10 minutes to complete.
  • Watch videos. Kick back and relax while watching quick videos about current events, politics and other buzzworthy topics.
  • Play games. Earn four Swagbucks for every dollar spent on in-store purchases.
  • Go shopping. You can earn up to 10% back in Swagbucks by shopping at its partner retailers, online or in person. It’s got deals with thousands of companies, from Athleta to Walmart, Vera Bradley, Calvin Klein and more.
  • Search the web. Use the Swagbucks search engine instead of Google, and you’ll be rewarded with points.
  • Refer friends. If someone you refer signs up and earns 500 SB within their first 30 days, you’ll get 500 SB of your own — plus 10% of their lifetime earnings.

You can also earn bonus SB by meeting certain thresholds. For example, you can earn 6,000 — or $6 — by answering seven surveys a day, on top of the points you earned from each individual survey. And answering the daily poll question will always earn you 1 SB.

How much can I earn?

The amount you can earn with Swagbucks depends on how much time and effort you devote to it. But if you use it for 15 to 30 minutes a day, you can expect to earn about $1 to $2.

Swagbucks browser extension

After you make an account, Swagbucks will prompt you to add the SwagButton to immediately earn 25 SB. This extension will alert you if you’re on a website that offers cash back and automatically applies any existing coupon codes at checkout — kind of like Honey.

Keep in mind that when you add the SwagButton, it installs cookies that track your activity on and off the Swagbucks site, and it shares this data with third parties.

Cashing out with Swagbucks

You can redeem your SB for gift cards or cash through PayPal when you reach a minimum of 300 SB — that’s $3. Just go to your account and click Redeem. Choosing PayPal is the quickest way to transfer cash straight into your bank account.

What are the gift cards worth?

While most of the gift cards follow the $1 per 100 SB rule, it also has cards that cost fewer SB than the cash equivalent. Here’s a roundup of some of the top deals in September 2020, for an idea of what to expect:

  • $25 Visa Reward Card for 2,175 SB ($21.75 cash equivalent)
  • $25 Amazon gift card for 2,200 SB ($22 cash equivalent)
  • $50 Domino’s gift card for 4,650 SB ($46.50 cash equivalent)
  • $50 Fanatics gift card for 4,250 ($42.50 cash equivalent)
  • $10 CVS gift card for 950 SB ($9.50 cash equivalent)
  • $25 Hulu gift card for 2,200 SB ($22 cash equivalent)

Is Swagbucks safe?

It depends on your definition of safe. Swagbucks collects and shares your personal information with Prodege and its business partners, along with vendors, advertisers, merchants, survey partners, joint business ventures and other trusted service providers.

Your personal information includes:

  • Name
  • Precise location
  • Credit card number
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number

You can opt out of data collection by adjusting the settings of your devices, but that could limit your ability to earn SB. And it’s unclear to what extent adjusting your personal settings will affect the amount of data that Swagbucks collects, shares and sells.

Does Swagbucks track your personal data?

Yes. Swagbucks’ privacy policy states that it may allow third parties to “set and access cookies and other similar tracking technologies” on your device. So if you sign up for Swagbucks, assume that your activity on the Internet and your mobile device will be tracked.

Does Swagbucks sell my personal information?

Yes. Swagbucks states that it may sell the following:

  • Your personal information
  • Your activity on its platform
  • The websites you visit
  • Your geolocation

Swagbucks further states that it may work with “consumer data resellers” that could sell your data to other companies, beyond the ones you interact with directly.

Only residents of California have the option to opt out of having their personal information sold.

Is Swagbucks secure?

Swagbucks is vague about its security measures in the Privacy Policy. While it maintains “security measures” to help protect your personal information, it states that “the Internet and other technologies and communication channels are, by their nature, not entirely secure, and your information may therefore be subject to interception or loss.”

Based on that statement, all information you transmit to or through Swagbucks is done at your own risk.

Swagbucks customer reviews and complaints

Swagbucks has a 4.3 Excellent rating on Trustpilot, from over 17,500 reviews. Likewise, it’s been accredited on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2010, where it has an A rating and 4 out of 5 stars from over 1,100 reviews. That’s more positive overall than Ibotta, a competitor in the cashback space.

In a Reddit post asking how much users made monthly from Swagbucks, a majority of posters reported earning over $100 monthly. That said, negative reviews complain that its customer service team is unresponsive, so if you have trouble receiving your compensation, you may run into frustrations. And to underscore this issue, Swagbucks hasn’t responded to any of the complaints on Trustpilot or the BBB.

Current deals from Swagbucks partners

Home Depot Home Depot

Up to 40% off appliances + instant savings

Best Buy Best Buy

Black Friday Deal of the Day: Save on Beats headphones, laptops and more

Best Buy Best Buy

Early Black Friday deals on 100s of tech items

Bottom line

If you’ve got time on your hands and are comfortable with the privacy implications, Swagbucks is a legit way to earn extra money. But if you aren’t ready to take the plunge, try some publicly available deals, discounts and coupons to save money without signing up for anything.

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