Swagbucks is our favorite online rewards site.
The sheer number of ways to earn — especially from the online activities you’re already doing — make it an easy choice to sign up.
But because the site is so expansive, it can be overwhelming.
Should you watch videos, use the Swagbucks search engine or take the daily poll? It’s hard to know.
In this article, we’ll get specific about what’s worth your time and what’s not.
Swagbucks 101: How It Works & What to Know
If you’re not familiar with Swagbucks or reward sites in general, here’s a quick primer.
These sites allow you to earn money with a variety of online activities. Common ways include online shopping, completing surveys, watching videos and signing up for offers.
And while these sites are free for users, make no mistake: the companies that run them earn money, too.
To highlight one example, market research companies pay Swagbucks to have users take their surveys. In turn, Swagbucks pays users a percentage of that money for completing that survey.
With Swagbucks, you’re paid in points, which are called SBs. You then exchange your SBs for gift cards to stores like Amazon, or use them to get cash through PayPal. SBs are worth about 1 cent each.
While there are many other rewards sites like Swagbucks, few compare in terms of size, popularity and reputation. In fact, Swagbucks has now paid out over $450 million in rewards to its members since it was launched in 2008.
Editor’s Note: For a deeper dive into how the site works, check out our comprehensive Swagbucks review — it goes into detail about the different ways to earn, with step-by-step guides for each. And read through our list of the best Swagbucks hacks to learn how to optimize your time on the platform.
6 Best Ways to Earn Money on Swagbucks Fast
If you’re looking to earn SBs fast, here’s what we found to be the best methods.
#1. Money Makers
By far the best way to accumulate SBs fast is through what’s known as money makers.
A money maker allows you to actually profit by purchasing something upfront. Most money makers are for subscription services.
As an example, when I signed up for Hulu/Disney+ for $12.99, I went through Swagbucks. At that time, the deal allowed me to earn 1,800 SBs (valued at $18).
There isn’t a dedicated section inside of Swagbucks that lists all these offers. The best ones are typically found in the “Trending Now” section.
#2. Sign-Up Bonuses
For earning SBs fast, signing up for different services comes in at a very close second place, just behind money makers.
Most of these sign-up bonuses are for financial services.
For example, current offers allow you to earn SBs by signing up for Chime (a free online bank account), Rocket Money (a budget tracker with other money-saving tools), and Acorns (a micro-investing app).
The benefit here is that, unlike with money makers, you usually don’t have to pay anything up-front.
There’s always some decent opportunities here. For example, Chime Bank currently has an offer for 15,000 SBs ($150) for creating an account and setting up direct deposit.
Yes, these offers take some time. You have to not only sign up, but sometimes also move some money around. However, on a per hour basis, your earnings are quite high.
Case in point: a TWTW team member recently took one hour to sign up for a few of these offers and earned $240 worth of SBs.
Note that Swagbucks also offers its own sign-up bonuses. If you don’t yet have an account, make sure to visit our Swagbucks promo codes page to get the details on all the current offers.
#3. Online Shopping
Online shopping — especially for purchases you were already set to make — is another easy way to earn SBs.
Cash-back rates can climb up to 20%, although those offers are rare; rates are typically between 2% and 10% at major retailers.
If you average 5% cash-back on $500 of purchases every month, that’s a $25 gift card earned — or $300 worth of gift cards over the course of a year.
In what was my biggest Swagbucks haul to date, I once earned 19,560 SBs (valued at $195.60) when purchasing a mattress.
The key to maximizing your Swagbucks earnings this way is:
- Only buy what you’re going to buy anyway — otherwise, you’ll be busting your budget just to try and earn points.
- Check to see the stores Swagbucks is featuring, as this is where you’ll often find the offers that get over 10%.
Pro Tip: If there’s something you’re in no hurry to buy, a site called Cashback Monitor allows you to set up alerts for when cash-back rates change at Swagbucks. This is helpful for bigger purchases, or even for stores you shop at frequently, such as your favorite stores to buy clothes. Learn more about how it works in our Cashback Monitor review.
#4. Surveys Worth 200+ SBs
What’s great about taking surveys is that they usually pay instantly.
With the ideas above, it may take a few days or weeks to have your SBs credited to your Swagbucks account.
But with surveys, you can log in today, take surveys, and see the points in your account shortly thereafter.
The downside is that you can’t earn big money with surveys. While we discussed earning $240 of SBs with only an hour of work, that’s not possible with surveys.
The first thing to know about surveys is they are not all are created equal.
We’ve found the best surveys are the ones worth over 200 SBs.
These opportunities are limited. Yet, if you’re looking to earn above minimum wage taking surveys, it’s best to stick to these.
To find the highest paying surveys, just pop into the “Answer” section of Swagbucks and look for the surveys that pay the most in the least amount of time.
And if you like taking surveys, check out our roundup of the best-paying survey sites (Swagbucks is near the top of the list).
Pro Tip: Gold surveys on Swagbucks are not always the highest-paying surveys.
#5. In-Store Deals
In-store deals are a newer feature of Swagbucks. And looking at the current offers, they represent some great ways to earn on everyday purchases.
And there are even a few money making opportunities where you actually earn more in SBs than the item costs (or very close to it), just like the online money makers described earlier in the article.
To find the best offers, head over to the “In-Store Deals” section and sort by cash-back amount. This gives you a list of the offers with the most potential.
From there, aim to find something you were already going to buy. Here are some of the top-paying offers at the time of writing:
From there, you have to upload your receipt to Swagbucks (this is where the Swagbucks app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices, comes in handy).
Swagbucks has a generous referral program that can allow you to rack up points both short-term and long-term.
You’ll get 300 SBs when your friends sign up and earn 300 SBs in their first 30 days.
But the best part is that you’ll also earn 10% of your friends’ SBs for as long as they’re a member.
Also, make sure to have your friends download the browser extension. Doing so earns you an extra 100 SBs, bringing your total to 400 SBs for everyone who signs up.
What to Avoid On Swagbucks
There are more than a dozen other ways to earn on Swagbucks at any given time.
Yet, in our testing, we found few that consistently paid above minimum wage.
In other words, you’re better off investing your time in a legitimate side hustle than spending hours trying to earn just a few bucks.
Here’s what we found about some of the other popular ways to earn:
- Watching videos. If you enjoy watching the videos and it’s something you watch anyway, you can rack up a few points here and there. Just don’t expect to earn big.
- Playing games. As with watching videos, if you enjoy the activity you can earn some SBs for your time. But it’s a very low dollar-per-hour task.
- Daily poll. You’ll only earn 1 SB by completing the daily poll. Yes, it’s only a few clicks — but you’re looking at a maximum of $3.65 for doing this every day for a year.
- Swagbucks search engine. Personally, I just like Google a lot better (as it’s much faster and the results are better). But aside from that, there’s a max amount you can earn per day (which is about 50 SBs), and you’d have to complete dozens of searches to hit that mark.
On a separate note, there are better ways to make money online with these types of activities. Here are some resources we’ve put together that you may want to check out:
- How to get paid to watch videos and get paid to watch ads.
- How to get paid to play games.
- How to get paid to take surveys.
- How to get paid for searching the web.
Final Thoughts: Best Ways to Earn Money On Swagbucks
The goal of this article is to show you legitimate ways to earn more than a few dollars per hour for your time.
With the right methods, it is conceivable to earn a good-sized gift card (e.g. $50 to $100) every month by paying close attention to sign-up offers, money makers, cash-back deals, high-paying surveys and in-store offers.
These ways to make money on Swagbucks often take a bit more legwork up front than simply just signing up and playing games. But if you want to earn big, they are the way to go.