Reviews

InboxDollars Review: A Legit Rewards Site or a Time-Waster?

InboxDollars is one of the first websites you’ll find when searching for ways to make money online.

The site has high ratings on both the App Store and Google Play along with hundreds of thousands of positive reviews from satisfied users, and has paid out nearly $60 million in rewards to its members.

But is this “get paid to” site as good as it sounds? And can it be a realistic way to earn extra cash by completing simple online tasks, like taking surveys and reading emails?

Websites like this can sometimes be massive time-wasters, either paying you next to nothing for your effort or making it so hard to cash-out that it’s nearly impossible to actually get paid.

So we set out to answer those questions. And after digging deep into the service for this comprehensive review, we’re happy to say that InboxDollars does not fall into either of those categories.

InboxDollars is a legit rewards site, owned by a well-known company. And with consistent use, it can put a few extra dollars in your pocket every month.

In this article, we’ll run through the different ways to earn, talk about how to optimize your time on the site, and answer some of the most common questions about the platform.

InboxDollars Review: What It Is and How It Works

InboxDollars is a website and app that gives you about a dozen ways to make money from home (or wherever you happen to be). These are quick, simple tasks like completing market research surveys, watching short videos, and reading emails.

As you can imagine, the pay for these tasks is low. However, since they take such little time and energy, it’s possible to rack up a decent account balance relatively quickly.

Of course, some people think this is too good to be true. Why would a website pay someone to do these things? Well, there are a few different reasons, which vary depending on the specific type of activity.

When it comes to surveys, companies pay InboxDollars for access to consumer data. For example, a bank might want to gain insights into a specific group of consumers in order to figure out how to market its products and services to them.

When it comes to emails, companies are hoping you’ll be interested in the content and take some other action (like clicking through to buy a product). In this case, you’re essentially being paid to look at an advertisement.

In other words, InboxDollars serves as conduit between consumers and brands.

Quick Facts:

  • Must be 18 years old, a resident of the United States, and provide a valid email address to join.
  • Users earn actual money (not points) by completing online tasks.
  • The minimum payout amount is $30.
  • There’s a $3 “processing fee” when you request payment.
  • You must complete at least one task every 10 days, or your account will be deactivated (you can reactivate it by request for two months).

Is InboxDollars Legit or a Scam?

InboxDollars is legit and widely-recognized as one of the best survey sites on the internet.

The site was founded by CotterWeb Enterprises all the way back in 2000. In 2019, it was acquired by Prodege, the firm that owns and operates Swagbucks — the massively-popular rewards/get-paid-to platform that has paid out over $411 million to its members (which is nearly seven times as much as InboxDollars).

Prodege has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a “Great” rating from the review aggregator Trustpilot.

We’ve tested dozens of sites in this space and have found InboxDollars to be among the most transparent when it comes to how much you’ll earn and how you’ll get paid — with the exception of “Scratch & Win” rewards, which we discuss later in the article.

Ways to Make Money With InboxDollars

One of the best things about InboxDollars is that it has a large (but manageable) list of ways to make money. Some rewards sites specialize in just one type of task — like surveys — and it can be hard for users to make enough to meet the minimum withdrawal amount. On the other hand, Swagbucks offers so many different ways to earn that it can be overwhelming.

Here’s a list of the different earning options, organized by their placement in the InboxDollars sign-up process and navigation menu.

#1. Sign-Up Bonus

Many sites offer sign-up bonuses, and you can make a decent chunk of free money quickly just by running through the list. With InboxDollars, you’ll get $5 cash added to your account balance as soon as you join, confirm your email address, and complete a brief profile survey (which covers basic demographic info and takes about five minutes).

However, keep in mind that you won’t have access to that bonus until you’ve accumulated $30 in rewards, which is the minimum withdrawal amount.

#2. Paid Emails

As its name suggests, InboxDollars will pay you to read emails — sort of.

Up to four times per day, the company will send a “Paid Email” to your registered address. All you have to do is open the email, read it, and click a button to confirm.

However, you don’t get paid directly in cash for this. Instead, you earn progress on something called your “Scratch & Win” meter.

The InboxDollars Scratch & Win Meter.
Completing activities moves the meter from left to right.

The “Scratch & Win” game consists of three scratch-off cards with different maximum prizes. Users unlock each card by completing tasks on the site (including reading emails). At each stage, you have the option to scratch the lower-value card or keep filling up your progress meter. If you choose to “Scratch Now,” the progress meter resets.

This is one area in which InboxDollars isn’t transparent about your earning potential. It’s not clear how much completing any particular activity will move the progress meter, and the company says that the amount changes all the time. Additionally, it’s not clear how much you can win on each card, nor what the odds are of winning the maximum prize.

For this review, we scratched off two cards at the “Win up to $10” level and received two cents and one cent, respectively. However, it took virtually no time to unlock each card — we only had to read one email and take one survey.

We also scratched off one Tier 2 card (“Win up to $25”), which we earned by playing a game (more on that below). We received three cents from that card:

InboxDollars Tier 2 Card
You can win more by scratching off second and third-tier cards.

Related readingGet paid to read emails — the only three ways that actually work.

#3. Offers

The InboxDollars “Offers” section features both free and paid trials, and you can sort them by clicking on the following subcategories:

  • All: Everything, organized by the offers InboxDollars most wants you to see and act on.
  • 100% Free: No up-front payment is required, but you usually have to provide your credit card number.
  • New: The latest additions to the site.
  • Club Favorites: In theory, the most popular offers — although they tend to be similar to those found in the other sections.
  • Making Money: Offers focused on side hustle opportunities, like bonuses for becoming an Airbnb host or a DoorDash courier.
  • Saving Money: Offers here are typically related to personal finance.

If you’re familiar with the concept of “money makers,” then you already know why taking advantage of offers like these can be one of the best ways to make money fast on a rewards site.

But for the uninitiated…

A money maker is an offer that pays you more in rewards than you spend on the product or service. For example, an offer might pay you $10 to sign up for a service that costs $5 per month. In this case, you had a net profit of $5.

Of course, the trick is to make sure that you cancel whatever you signed up for before the next billing cycle, or your gains will be wiped out — sometimes by a lot, as the trial offer price is often quite a bit lower than the renewal price.

So, when taking advantage of these offers, make sure you pay attention to the following:

  • What’s the last day you can cancel without being charged? Create an event on your phone’s calendar for the day before, and set up a reminder.
  • What do you have to do to cancel? Sometimes you have to call within certain hours, or jump through some other hoop. Read both the offer and trial details completely. If it’s not clear how to cancel, you might want to avoid the offer.
  • Consider using a service like Privacy.com, which allows you to link your checking account and then create virtual “burner” debit cards that can have spending limits, can be locked to a single merchant, and can be paused or closed at any time. This way, you never have to give out your actual credit card number — and it’s much easier to prevent an unwanted payment.

#4. Surveys

Online surveys can be an easy way to make money because, after all, everyone has an opinion. All you have to do is share yours and start earning rewards.

The surveys you complete are used for market research. As I mentioned earlier, InboxDollars has partnered with brands that pay to get this valuable information from consumers.

Unlike some other survey websites, InboxDollars is a survey aggregator. That means you might be redirected to a third-party survey site, but you’ll still be paid by InboxDollars for answering questions.

Upon signing up, you’ll be required to complete your profile survey. It will take you about five minutes, and you’ll earn 50 cents.

The InboxDollars Profile Survey
You’ll need to provide basic demographic info to use the site.

Once you start getting survey offers, keep in mind that you don’t have to complete all of them. If you’re pressed for time, take the ones that give you the highest payout per minute. For example, choose a survey that offers $1 for 10 minutes over a survey that offers $2 for 30 minutes.

This probably seems like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many people just take the first survey that comes their way — even if it’s not the one that provides the best return on their time investment.

This is especially important on InboxDollars because the pay rates for surveys vary widely. In our testing, we found surveys that paid as little at 50 cents per hour, and those that paid as much as $18 per hour.

The best strategy is to take the profile survey, then be patient with the surveys you choose to complete from there on out. Make sure to check your survey offers two or three times each week to spot the higher-paying ones.

Additional options: When we ranked the best online survey sites, InboxDollars came in near the top of the list. Another good option is Survey Junkie.

#5. Videos

Like Swagbucks and a few other sites, InboxDollars will pay you to watch videos. Sometimes, all you have to do is let the video play in the background; other times, you need to actually interact with it (such as by clicking a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” button to rate it).

In either case, as the screenshot below demonstrates, you won’t make a killing with this strategy.

InboxDollars Videos
You can only earn a few cents by watching videos.

In order to earn the listed payouts, you have to watch a playlist rather than a single video. This is important to note because while the “Discovery Videos” (as shown above) auto-play — and you’re not required to actually watch them — your browser will snap back to the video’s tab each time a new video loads, regardless of what else you’re doing on your computer.

And since that happens about every 30 seconds, it’s not really possible to multitask.

The videos themselves are… an interesting mix.

We clicked on “Trending Videos” and were shown both a Fox Deportes video about the German Bundesliga (the top professional soccer league in that country) and one titled “Jessica Simpson says that Chuck Norris was her acting coach as a child.”

#6. Shopping

Generally speaking, cash-back shopping is the simplest and most lucrative way to utilize rewards sites like InboxDollars. All you have to do is visit the site’s shopping portal, click a link to go to your online merchant of choice, and then complete your transaction normally. The site earns a referral fee for sending traffic to the merchant, and they share a portion of that with you in the form of cash-back.

There are three different cash-back sections on InboxDollars:

  • Cash-Back Shopping: Straightforward offers from dozens of major retailers. Recent offers included 5% cash-back on Kohl’s orders and up to 8% cash-back on Home Depot orders.
  • Discount Codes: Coupon codes that you can enter when checking out.
  • Groupon: Groupon offers are integrated into the site, and you can purchase them without leaving InboxDollars. When you do, you’ll earn a flat 5% back on all qualifying purchases (things like gift cards and charity donations are excluded).

InboxDollars’ shopping options are quite limited compared to sites like Swagbucks and Rakuten, with fewer options and rates that can be on the lower side of the spectrum.

Still, it’s a good idea to check multiple sites before making a purchase, as offers change constantly and the site with the best rate today might not be the site with the best rate tomorrow.

Resource: You can use Cashback Monitor to check which rewards site has the best offer for a particular retailer. Learn how it works in our review.

#7. Coupons

Do you like saving money by using coupons? If so, that’s another way to get paid through InboxDollars. You’ll earn 1 cent for every coupon you print, up to a total of 25 cents per day.

And of course, you’ll also get the face-value savings when you use the coupon at the store. So you’re earning money in two different ways with this method.

You may want to limit your coupons to the ones you’ll truly use, however. Between the paper and ink, each page you print will cost you money.

Related reading: Check out our article about saving money on groceries and our guide to eating healthy on a budget.

#8. Games

There are two ways to get rewarded for playing games on InboxDollars.

The first is by playing free, browser-based games like “Monkey Bubble Shooter” and “Candy Jam.” These are simple and easy, and playing them earns you progress on your Scratch & Win meter (although how much, and at what intervals, is unknown).

How does InboxDollars make money by having you play free games?

Very simply, they shows you ads (which rotate periodically) while you’re playing:

InbxoDollars Games
Tasers provide good defense against bubble-shooting monkeys…

The second way to earn by playing is via cash-back on the money you spend on WorldWinner games.

WorldWinner is a site where you compete against other players in cash tournaments for casual games like Wheel of Fortune and Angry Birds.

This option is not well advertised. The only way to access it is by going to “Games” and scrolling through the list of free games until you see the link (as shown below):

InboxDollars WW Games
The link to WorldWinner is hidden in the list of browser-based games.

Here’s how it works:

  • The offer is only eligible to people who do not have a WorldWinner account — you must join the site by clicking through from your InboxDollars account.
  • To earn earn cash-back (which varies from .5% to 2%, depending on the game), you must deposit money into your WorldWinner account.
  • You’ll earn cash-back based on the entry fees you pay, not the amount you deposit.
  • Crediting usually occurs within five days, but it may take as long as 45.

Note that WorldWinner is owned by GSN Games, which also operates a suite of popular cash-tournament casino games. In the past, InboxDollars users could earn as much as 18% cash-back when they paid to play those games, but the program was discontinued in 2019.

Other options: Check out this list of ways to get paid to play games — they may be more lucrative than InboxDollars’ Scratch & Win cards.

#9. Easy Cash

Easy Cash is similar to the “Offers” section, with one important difference: the deals you find here do not require you to provide your credit card information — you simply have to complete the specified activity.

Some of these offers truly are easy. For example, you can earn 10 cents for completing a brief survey. On the other hand, the more lucrative offers (like applying for a loan) are not.

#10. Search

InboxDollars has its own search engine (which is powered by Yahoo!), and you can earn rewards by using it. As with most of the methods on this list, there are a couple of different ways to earn.

Way #1: You’ll earn “Scratch and Win” meter progress whenever you complete four “qualified searches.”

What are qualified searches? InboxDollars describes them as “a search that is performed naturally, where you’re seeking actual results for the query you entered.”

In other words, you can’t just do a bunch of nonsense searches to try and rack up earnings.

Way #2: You’ll earn five cents when you conduct a qualified search on four consecutive days.

#11. Refer Friends

You’ll earn $1 cash (applied to your account) per referral, as well as 30% of your referrals’ lifetime earnings.

#12. WinIt Codes

WinIt codes are words or phrases that InboxDollars shares at random times, primarily on social media.

When you find one, you have a limited amount of time to enter it into the widget in your account dashboard, as shown below.

If you do, you’ll earn a small cash reward (a few cents) or progress on your Scratch & Win meter.

InboxDollars WinIt
You have to click the arrow to un-collapse the WinIt Code box.

InboxDollars Mobile Apps

InboxDollars offers both an iOS and Android app, and each has slightly different features.

InboxDollars on iOS

The company’s iPhone app is called InboxDollars Surveys.

Here’s what you can do with it:

#1. Take surveys. The app gives you quick access to all of your available surveys in a clean, easy-to-use format. This is helpful if you want to complete surveys on the go, because the main InboxDollars website isn’t optimized for mobile browsers.

#2. Scan barcodes. This is a money-making option that’s available exclusively via the iOS app. If you give the app permission to access your location, it will show you a list of nearby retailers (like Target and Walmart) and ask you to scan the barcodes of specific products inside those stores.

#3. Read paid emails.

#4. Review your account balance and earning activity.

#5. Monitor your Scratch & Win progress, and scratch cards.

#6. Enter WinIt codes.

InboxDollars on Android

The Android app is simply called InboxDollars.

Here’s a list of its features:

#1. Take surveys.

#2. Read paid emails.

#3. Review your account balance and earning activity.

#4. Monitor your Scratch & Win progress and scratch cards.

#5. Enter WinIt codes.

#6. Complete offers. (I.e., the promotions found in the “Offers” section of the main site.)

#7. Watch videos. There’s a quick link to “Cash TV,” which is a playlist of videos that reward you with Scratch & Win meter progress.

#8. Play games. Some of the browser-based games are available in the app.

#9. Search the web.  

Spin and Win

Sometimes when you’re in the middle of filling out a survey, you’ll be disqualified from it. That can happen because you don’t meet some particular demographic requirement, or because one of your answers ruled you out of the target audience for that particular survey.

To take some of the sting out of spending a few minutes working on something you can’t complete, InboxDollars created the “Spin and Win” wheel. Whenever you’re disqualified from a survey (up to a limit of 20 times per day), you’ll have the opportunity to spin a Wheel of Fortune-style wheel to win a small cash prize.

However, this is only available for InboxDollars users who joined prior to November 2019. For newer members, Spin and Win was replaced with Scratch & Win — the only functional difference being that you earn Scratch & Win meter progress for every survey, whether you’re disqualified or not.

InboxDollars vs. Swagbucks

Swagbucks and InboxDollars are often compared to each other. They’re both popular reward sites that offer many ways to earn money, and since 2019 they’ve been owned by the same parent company.

However, they’re very different in a number of key ways:

  • Swagbucks features over two dozen different ways to earn, and they add more new ones all the time. InboxDollars has about half that, and the site’s offerings change less frequently.
  • Swagbucks pays you in points (called Swagbucks or SBs) rather than raw cash. You can then redeem your points for a variety of rewards, including gift cards. Sometimes, you can get those gift cards for discounts off their face value, making your points worth more.
  • Swagbucks has no minimum withdrawal amount. You can cash out as soon as you have enough to redeem your points for a prize (which is typically $3).

In addition to these three points, it’s worth noting that Swagbucks makes it much easier to earn money through cash-back shopping, which tends to be the most lucrative way to leverage rewards sites.

While completing small tasks can earn you a few cents here and there — pennies that no doubt add up over time with consistent use — earning 2% and up on almost everything you buy online can quickly make that look like loose change.

In general, Swagbucks offers better cash-back rates and has a wider selection of offers.

But that’s not always the case, so it can be a good idea to sign up for both sites. Then you can compare which one will give you a greater amount of money back for the purchase you’re about to make when you’re shopping online.

You may also want to consider joining Rakuten, which is often regarded as the best cash-back portal on the web.

Further reading: We spent hours researching and testing Swagbucks for this comprehensive guide that explains all the different ways to make money on the site.

Payment Options

After you’ve been at it for a while, you’ll probably be anxious to request your first payment. As noted earlier, you’ll need a minimum of $30 in your account balance. Once you hit that mark, you’ll have the option to withdraw your funds as an e-gift card (for retailers like Amazon and Walmart), a prepaid Visa card, a PayPal deposit, or a paper check.

Note that PayPal payments are processed one per week, on Wednesdays.

For members who are making their first withdrawal, payments take 10 to 16 days to process.

One important thing to note here is that the site has an “active account” requirement. If you don’t complete at least one qualifying task within a 10-day period, your InboxDollars account will be deactivated. And if you have a pending payment when your account goes into “inactive” status, that payment will be canceled.

Here’s why that matters. Say you’ve been using InboxDollars for a month or two and have finally hit the $30 payout threshold. You might be tired of taking surveys every day and decide, now that you’ve finally been paid, to take a little bit of a break.

But since your payment can take up to 16 days to process, taking a break might mean you go “inactive” before it’s sent. Therefore, it’s important that you remain active on the site until you actually have your reward in-hand.

One negative thing about InboxDollars is that they charge a $3 processing fee for requesting payment, which may not seem like a lot but works out to 10% of the minimum withdrawal.

Gold Members Get Paid Faster

When you start out on the site, you’ll be classified as a “non-Gold member.” Once you receive your first payment, you’ll be automatically upgraded to Gold membership status. There’s exactly one benefit of being a Gold member: your payments are issued in three to nine days instead of the usual “up to 16.”

Frequently Asked Questions About InboxDollars

If there’s anything you’ve been searching for that isn’t covered in this review, please let us know by leaving a comment below!

How much can you make from InboxDollars?

Your potential earnings will depend almost exclusively on how much time you spend on the platform. With the $5 sign-up bonus and consistent usage, it’s possible for the average member to hit the $30 minimum withdrawal threshold within the first month.

We estimate that your average earnings will be between $10 and $50 per month if you use the site on a regular basis, meaning that you log in daily and take most of the available surveys. If you take advantage of online shopping, trial offers and referrals, your earnings can be significantly more than that.

How much does InboxDollars pay to watch videos?

The typical payout is around five cents for a playlist of about five minutes. However, keep in mind that you don’t actually have to watch the videos to earn the credit.

“Cash TV” (which is separate from the paid videos) rewards you with an undefined amount of Scratch & Win meter progress.

Is InboxDollars a worthwhile survey site?

When we ranked the best sites paid surveys, InboxDollars came in at #4 behind Swagbucks, Survey Junkie and Branded Surveys. It’s easy to use and the surveys are high-quality, but payouts vary widely and aren’t always the highest you can find online.

Are there any sweepstakes on InboxDollars?

The site will occasionally run promotional sweepstakes, but sweepstakes are not a regular part of the platform. That’s different than its sister site, Swagbucks, which lets you redeem your points for sweepstakes entries.

Does InboxDollars work in India?

We’re often asked if InboxDollars works in India, the Philippines, and other English-speaking countries. Unfortunately, the service is only available to residents of the United States.

InboxDollars Review Summary

InboxDollars is one of the top general rewards sites on the internet. It has an established history, provides multiple ways to earn, is easier to use than some other options, and is owned by a legit company that has paid out nearly $500 million in rewards.

So you can rest assured that it’s not a scam. And when used the right way, it can be a legit source of extra income that you can tap into in your spare time.

You’ll never get rich with this site, but active InboxDollars members can make $10 to $50 per month — a solid chunk of extra money that can be used to chip away at your financial goals or give you a little extra breathing room in your budget.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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