How many emails do you read per day? For some people, that answer is a dozen. For others, it could be a hundred or more.
Well, did you know that there are a handful of legitimate sites that will pay you to read emails? If you’re the type of person who spends a good amount of time in your inbox, these sites can be a decent way to make a little bit of extra money.
A few of those same sites now offer users a new opportunity for making money: when you’ve run out of surveys, can’t face another movie trailer, and have no receipts because you’re doing a no-spend challenge, you can get paid to read emails.
Why Do Companies Pay You for Reading Emails?
Many of us are familiar with “get paid to” sites, where users make money by completing simple tasks like answering surveys or uploading receipts. And we understand why these tasks are worthy of pay: companies use them as a source of market research, advertising, and referrals.
But fewer people have heard of sites that allow you to get paid to read emails, and it’s not immediately clear why a company would pay someone for completing that particular task.
The simple answer is advertising. According to Lifewire, the click-through rate for emails sent in North America is a dismal 3.1%. Advertisers want to give potential customers a reason to actually open their emails, and money is a pretty good incentive.
The paid emails contain ads for various products and services. Sometimes opening and reading the email is all that’s required, and other times you’re prompted to answer a short survey (in order to verify that you actually read it), or carry out some other easy action.
Most of the time, there’s also an incentive for completing a more desirable action, such as signing up for trial offers or purchasing the advertised product/service.
How Much Money Can You Make?
“Get paid to” sites aren’t a significant source of income, but they can be a good way to make a little extra money or earn some free gift cards in your downtime. The amount you earn is usually commensurate with the amount of effort the tasks require.
The pay for reading emails varies across sites. In general, you’ll earn between one and five cents per email.
Because most sites have a minimum threshold that users must meet before cashing out (typically around $25), you’ll almost always need to participate in some of the sites’ other money-making activities, such as answering surveys, getting referrals, using a shopping portal, and/or watching videos.
Get Paid to Read Emails: The Best Legit Email Sites
If you Google “get paid to read emails,” you’ll find dozens of sites that claim to pay you to do so. Unfortunately, many of those sites have unrealistic minimum withdrawal amounts or are simply trying to phish for your personal information or install malware on your device. Either way, you’re never going to see a penny for your efforts.
If you want to get paid to read emails, stick with these legitimate sites. They’re owned and operated by reputable companies and are known for providing a good experience to their users.
Quick summary: InboxDollars is an online shopping portal. Members earn cash-back when using the portal to shop at thousands of online retailers. You can read my full, in-depth review here.
Trustpilot rating: 4.2/5
Best for: Smartphone users. InboxDollars has one of the most user-friendly mobile apps. It’s easy to manage your account and take advantage of special in-store offers while out shopping in a brick and mortar store rather than just shopping online.
Other ways to earn: Users have the opportunity to earn by answering surveys and watching videos.
Sign-up bonus: New users will get a $5 sign-up bonus when they join InboxDollars.
Minimum cash-out: The minimum threshold to cash out is $30.
Quick summary: Swagbucks is one of the best-known online rewards sites, offering members significant cash-back when shopping through the company’s online portal. Check out my Swagbucks review for more details.
Trustpilot rating: 4.3/5
Best for: Frequent online shoppers. Swagbucks has some of the best cash-back deals online. Often, the emails you’re paid to read are related to cash-back offers, so frequent online shoppers can rack up some serious savings here.
Other ways to earn: Swagbucks is one of the most comprehensive “get paid to” sites. Users can earn money by taking online surveys, doing online searches, watching videos, and playing games.
Sign-up bonus: New users will get a $10 sign-up bonus when they join Swagbucks.
Minimum cashout: The minimum threshold to cash out is 300 points (SBs), which is equivalent to $3.
Quick summary: MyPoints is an online shopping portal that offers users cash-back when they shop with more than 2,000 partnered retailers.
Trustpilot rating: 4.4/5
Best for: Laptop/desktop users. Users can earn points by printing out and redeeming coupons from the site.
Other ways to earn: Users can earn points by watching videos, answering surveys, and doing online searches. One way to really ramp up your earnings is through MyPoints’ generous referral program. When someone joins through your referral link, you’ll earn 25 points and 10% of the total points your referrals earn for life.
Sign-up bonus: New users are eligible for a $10 Amazon or Visa gift card as a sign up bonus for joining MyPoints.
Minimum cashout: The minimum threshold to cash out is $25.
Quick summary: FusionCash is a “get paid to” site that doesn’t make users earn points and convert them to cash; instead, you earn cold hard cash for completing tasks.
Trustpilot rating: 3.1/5
Best for: Those who are active on reward sites. If you don’t use the site for 90 days, you’ll lose any money you’ve earned and not yet cashed out. Because of this, we prefer the above sites. But if you can stay active, FusionCash is worth checking out.
Other ways to earn: Fusion Cash rewards users when they answer paid surveys, conduct online searches, watch videos, and (here’s one we haven’t come across before) listening to the radio! There’s also a referral bonus earned when you refer your friends.
Sign-up bonus: New users will get a $5 sign up bonus for joining FusionCash.
Minimum cashout: The minimum payment you can request is $25.
How to Avoid Wasting Your Time
As I was researching for this article, I came across many “best of” lists published by other personal finance websites that include companies with less-than-stellar ratings and reputations.
While I won’t go so far as to call those sites scams, I also won’t recommend them — they either have too many negative reviews from users or have super-high withdrawal thresholds relative to the amount they pay per task.
Here are a handful that stood out to me:
- Cash4Offers: This is a legit site that pays between one and five cents per email. However, the minimum cashout amount is $35. That means in a best-case scenario, you’d have to read 700 emails to actually see any money. While you shouldn’t go into paid-to-read emails expecting to make big bucks, 700 emails for $35 is still a poor return on your time investment.
- EmailCashPro: This site may fit the technical definition of “legit,” but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever see a payout. That’s because (a) it pays just one cent per email (or less), (b) you typically only receive two or three emails per day (according to user reviews), and (c) the minimum cashout amount is $11. Thus, you’d have to read 11,000 emails to be able to withdraw your earnings. At a rate of three emails per day, that would take you just over 30 years to accomplish.
- Inbox2Cash: Their website claims they’ll pay you up to a nickel per email, but they list their “Total Paid to Members” amount as $0.00. And while the minimum payout is $5, some users have reported that they stopped receiving emails just before hitting that threshold.
There are many other questionable sites out there, but these three examples illustrate a few things to watch out for. When you’re considering whether or not to sign up for a site, ask yourself these three questions:
- Does the company have decent ratings on Trustpilot and BBB?
- Is there a realistic way to hit the minimum withdrawal amount?
- After calculating the number of emails you’ll have to read to hit the minimum, does it seem like the amount of money you’ll receive is worth your time?
The answer to all three of those questions should be “yes.” If not, move on to the next site or a different money-making opportunity.
Of all of the “get paid to” tasks, we like answering online surveys the best. While it does take a little bit longer to complete a survey than to read an email, the payoff is usually much higher, making it a more realistic way to earn money.
Get Paid to Read E-Mail: Final Thoughts
Getting paid to read e-mail can be a legitimate way to earn a little extra cash without much time or effort, but it’s not lucrative enough to stand on its own.
That said, if you’re already a fan of rewards sites and like to make money online by answering surveys, shopping online, and playing games, then adding reading emails to your tasks can help you reach those minimum cashout thresholds more quickly.
Just make sure to stick to the email sites mentioned above, and keep your expectations realistic; this will never be a full-time online job, but you can use it to score some (almost) free money in your spare time.
Also, one pro tip: if you decide to join a paid email program to make a little money online, I strongly recommend that you use a dedicated email account rather than your primary personal email account. Doing so will help keep your main inbox from being flooded with offers.