Reviews Swagbucks

Swagbucks Review 2024: Still Legit? Our Insights After 5 Years

Swagbucks Review
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If you’re brand new to Swagbucks, here’s how it works:

  1. It’s free to sign up. Then you can earn points (called SBs) by taking surveys, using the site’s cash-back shopping portal, playing games, completing offers and more.
  2. Each SB is worth 1 cent and can be redeemed for a PayPal cash deposit or gift cards for most major retailers.

This Swagbucks review explains my experience using the service for over five years, including some of the changes that have occurred over that time and whether it’s still worth signing up for.


Quick take: Swagbucks is our top pick among general online reward sites thanks to its best-in-class offers and shopping deals, excellent payment options and easy cash-out process.

Our top three Swagbucks insights:

  1. The best way to earn on the platform is by completing offers. For example, I earned $300 by joining Chime and receiving two direct deposits.
  2. Before you shop online, check the Swagbucks “Shop” section to see if there are Flash Deals. For example, at the time I’m updating this article, they’re offering a Flash Deal for 12% back on Walmart purchases. Flash Deals often increase around holidays. This is the second best way to earn.
  3. Expect to earn relatively little (around $2 per hour, based on our testing) for surveys and most other activities on the platform.

Our experience: Since 2019, I have earned 54,166 SBs (approximately $540) on Swagbucks, primarily through shopping and deals. Another team member has earned over $800 since signing up, and even won a Nintendo Switch in a sweepstakes. However, we’ve recently encountered more tracking issues with the platform than in the past.

Bonus: New users can earn a $10 bonus by spending $25 through the site's shopping portal within 30 days of signing up. See the latest Swagbucks sign-up bonus details.

  • Low minimum cash-out requirement ($3), with options for PayPal and many gift cards.
  • As one of the largest reward sites, Swagbucks consistently introduces new opportunities. For engaged users, earning $10 to $50 monthly is feasible, though the methods will vary from month to month.
  • Rewards dedicated users with exclusive earning opportunities.
  • The pay for easy tasks like surveys is low.
  • The platform has more issues with tracking shopping trips and offer completion than other sites we’ve tested.
  • Expect customer service delays and multiple follow-ups to address issues.

How Much Can You Expect to Earn?

The chart below shows our actual Swagbucks earnings data, which we compiled by going through all of our combined activity on the platform over the past five years. This includes data from myself and one other team member. 

Given that we didn’t track our time spent from the start, we’ve provided our best estimates for each activity.

ActivityTotal EarningsEstimated Hourly Rate
Signup offers$1,071.97$107.20
Signup bonus$10.00$100.00
Search wins$0.35$0.35

While the two of us earned $20 per hour on average after combining our data, it’s important to realize that we primarily used the platform for shopping and signup offers. Someone who doesn’t spend a lot of money online, or who can’t complete signup offers, isn’t going to earn nearly as much.

For example, if a person just wanted to focus on surveys and other small tasks, their dollars per hour would be significantly lower. 

This highlights an important expectation you should have when using Swagbucks: the speed at which you want to make money often correlates with the payout you can expect.

If you’re looking to earn money quickly, you may be drawn to surveys, games and other activities that can be completed in a short amount of time. But these methods generally provide low payouts (often just a few dollars per hour). 

On the other hand, offers and cash-back shopping transactions yield higher earnings but they may take more time or effort to complete (especially in the case of signup offers), and the SBs you earn can take as long as 90 days to appear in your account. 

Keep this tradeoff between speed and payout in mind when choosing your earning strategies.

Overall, our earnings represent the upper end of what you can expect from the platform, but the data should give you a realistic expectation of what’s possible with a strategic approach. 

Swagbucks Money-Making Methods Ranked

Swagbucks offers a wide variety of ways to earn rewards, each with its own unique characteristics. The rankings below are based on factors such as earning potential and effort required, as well as our preferences.

  1. Signup offers. Swagbucks’ “Discover” section features lucrative offers to try new products and services, mostly from finance companies like online banks and investment platforms. These offers usually pay between $30 and $100, but sometimes more.
  2. Money makers. These are some of the quickest ways to make money on Swagbucks, but they require follow-through. For example, I earned $18 in SBs by signing up for a Hulu free trial and paying for one month of the service for $7.99. I earned more Swagbucks than I spent, and got to catch up with a show I wanted to watch on Hulu. But you have to remember to cancel before you’re charged for a second month, or you won’t end up actually making a profit. 
  3. Cash-back shopping. Great potential to rack up SBs quickly. Swagbucks has a wide array of participating retailers, making it easy to save money on the items you were already going to buy. Plus, they offer great limited-time promotions (i.e., extra cash-back). For the best results, install the Swagbucks browser extension, which lets you earn cash-back on your purchases with just one click. 
  4. Booking travel. Limited-time deals often go up to 12% cash-back for major hotel chains.
  5. In-store cash-back. Swagbucks “Magic Receipts” feature allows you to earn rewards for in-store shopping trips by uploading a picture of your receipt. Some offers are valid at all stores, while others are store-specific.
  6. Buying gift cards. While it may seem counterintuitive to buy gift cards to earn points that you’ll redeem for gift cards, don’t overlook this strategy! Swagbucks has its own online store that offers major-chain gift cards at significant discounts, and you can often stack those with other offers.
  7. Surveys. Swagbucks’ pay rate for surveys is good but not the highest in the industry. They do have a reasonably large inventory, which means there’s usually surveys available, but disqualifications are common.
  8. Dining deals. Swagbucks offers a small selection of restaurants, including independent and large chains, where you can link your credit card and automatically earn cash-back when you pay. Most restaurants give 4% cash-back.
  9. Daily poll. This only takes one second, but it’s also only worth one SB.
  10. Playing games. There are only a handful of free games, and they pay a maximum of a few cents per day. There are numerous mobile game offers where you can earn significant SBs for reaching in-game milestones, but this can take a very long time and often requires making in-game purchases. 
  11. Searching. You can only get paid if you use the search engine within Swagbucks, and the payouts are random and small (often just a few cents each).

How Reliable Is Swagbucks Tracking?

The most important aspect of any rewards platform is that any offers you complete are tracked properly. If you have to jump through hoops to get the points you were promised, it’s not worth the time or hassle. 

Transactions like cash-back shopping are easy to track and most sites credit them properly. But completing an offer like signing up for a new bank account and receiving a direct deposit takes longer and is more complicated.

We’ve completed many offers on Swagbucks without any problems. But there was one instance in particular where we did encounter issues. 

One of our team members completed all the requirements for a Plynk offer on Swagbucks, which promised $75 for joining the investment platform and depositing $10. 

They followed the instructions to the letter, but when they checked their Swagbucks account a few weeks later, the credit was nowhere to be found. And while the referral shows up in their Swagbucks activity log, no points were ever issued: 

Swagbucks missing plynk offer.

Naturally, they reached out to Swagbucks support to resolve the issue. However, what followed was a series of delays and disappointments. 

It took over a week to receive a response. When that response finally came, they were told they had contacted the wrong department. 

The support representative said they would process the claim anyway, but it felt like they were doing our team member a favor rather than addressing a legitimate concern.

But the troubles didn’t end there. 

Our team member then received a second email requesting a plethora of details about the offer, some of which were no longer accessible once they had clicked on it. 

Swagbucks asked for:

  • The name of the offer, shop, survey ID, or activity.
  • The credit value associated with the issue.
  • A detailed explanation of the problem they were facing.
  • The date of completion for the relevant task.
  • Proof of completion in the form of a screenshot, including transaction dates, email address, name on the account, delivery confirmation, or any other relevant information.
  • For game offers, a screenshot of the Player ID, usually found in the game settings.

At this point, the process had become so convoluted and time-consuming that our team member decided it wasn’t worth pursuing further.

For example, what does “date of completion” mean for a multi-stage offer like downloading an investment app, passing the identity verification process, linking a checking account and transferring funds? 

In this case, the only date the team member had access to was the date they clicked the link within Swagbucks. 

The takeaway: If you’re going to complete offers, especially very high-paying ones, take screenshots and log everything you can along the way. 

Best Swagbucks Alternatives

While Swagbucks is a top-notch rewards site, there are several alternatives that excel in specific categories. 

Here are our favorites for each type of earning opportunity:

  1. Sign-up bonuses and offers: Although Swagbucks is our top pick for sign-up bonuses and offers, it’s worth checking other sites, like InboxDollars, MyPoints and KashKick. Since these offers can be time-consuming, comparing multiple platforms to find the best deals before committing is wise.
  2. Cash-back shopping: Rakuten is our go-to for cash-back shopping. They regularly offer among the best rates at major retailers, with more frequent and better limited-time deals than any other platform. See our Rakuten review to learn more. 
  3. Surveys. If you enjoy taking surveys, Survey Junkie is an excellent alternative to Swagbucks. In our testing of Survey Junkie, we earned around $3.75 per hour. Both Survey Junkie and Branded Surveys have a large inventory of surveys (similar to Swagbucks), but they often provide opportunities to earn more since they specialize in this area.
  4. Receipt scanning. For receipt scanning, known as Magic Receipts on Swagbucks, you can stack offers from apps like Ibotta and Fetch. Ibotta is known for its fantastic limited-time offers when you buy specific products. Fetch offers lower earning potential, but it’s incredibly easy to use (simply scan your receipt and you’re done). See our Ibotta review and our Fetch Review
  5. Playing games. There are numerous apps dedicated to earning rewards by playing games. Among them, Mistplay (which is available only for Android) is one of the best options. However, remember that many of these offers require in-game purchases to surpass levels and unlock earnings, so this category ranks lower on our list. If you’re interested in this earning method, give Mistplay a try.

Swagbucks Review: Final Verdict

We think most Swagbucks members can expect to earn $10 to $50 per month with moderate but consistent activity on the platform. Extremely committed users who are willing to sign up for multiple offers per month can earn much more. 

$10 to $50 probably isn’t going to change your life, but there’s no denying that it can add up over the course of a few months or a year.

The big question to ask yourself is whether the time it takes to earn that amount of money could be better spent elsewhere.

Swagbucks is an enormous site, and it can be both overwhelming and addictive. We spent hours researching and testing the platform for this review, and it always felt like there was more to discover.

On one hand, that’s what makes Swagbucks stand out from all the other “get paid to” sites on the internet: not only is it completely legit, it’s legitimately fun.

But that means it’s easy to spend a lot of time chasing SBs. And we think a few aspects of the site provide a much better return on your time investment than others.


  • Deals and offers. This is by far the highest payout activity on the platform and worth monitoring for new opportunities. 
  • Starting your online shopping via Swagbucks is a no-brainer. The portal is easy to use, there’s no minimum withdrawal amount, and the cash-back offers are solid. I personally use this feature and recommend it.
  • Buying gift cards before you shop can save big money. If you know you’re going to make a purchase at a particular retailer, skipping this opportunity is like walking away from free money.

On the other hand, activities like searching and playing games feel more like distractions than serious ways to make money. You can earn a few SBs here and there, but the amounts pale in comparison to the amounts you can earn by starting your shopping at the portal.

With all of that said, if you’re looking for ways to make money online, and things like surveys and “get paid to” offers are up your alley, it’s hard to find a better overall option than Swagbucks — a legit company with a good record of paying out and plenty of different ways to earn.

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R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ since 2010. Holding a B.A. in finance and having completed the CFP® certification curriculum at The American College, R.J. combines formal education with a deep commitment to providing unbiased financial insights. Recognized as a trusted authority in the financial realm, his expertise is highlighted in major publications like Business Insider, New York Times, and Forbes.


    1. Swagbucks is a scam. When I tried to redeem my rewards, they deactivated my account. They refused to give me a reason why, and I am certain I did not violate their terms. This conveniently lets them not have to pay out any rewards.

      1. Thanks for the comment. Swagbucks definitely is not a scam — multiple members of our staff have personally redeemed hundreds of dollars of rewards, cashing out on multiple occasions, as detailed in this review. However, I am sorry to hear about this experience and want to try to figure out why this happened. Can you provide any more details about your situation, such as the types of offers you completed, how much you tried to cash-out for, etc.?

    2. A very reasoned article and answered most of my questions; particularly about the games which I had already suspected were a tedious waste of time, watching ads, unless you were prepared to pay.

      I have made a few quid (Amazon vouchers £60 in total and they do work) doing the odd survey etc that actually complete, so can’t complain.

      I enjoy SB Daily Trivia at 1am UK time and you can win up to 50p on a good day but it’s very US oriented so you need a bit of luck.

      1. Appreciate the perspective of using Swagbucks internationally. Thank you for sharing.

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