Posted by William Charles on April 17, 2017

Published on April 17th, 2017 | by William Charles


An Honest Swagbucks Review – Scam Or Legitimate Website?

In this honest review of Swagbucks we look to see if it’s a scam or legitimate website to make money online. Swagbucks is a website that lets you earn points (called Swagbucks or SB for short) that can be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards for completing the following:

  • Searching
  • Shopping
  • Answering Surveys
  • Watching Videos
  • Referring friends

How Much Are Swagbucks Worth?

Before we get started, it’s important to understand how much Swagbucks are worth. The easiest way to think about it is that 100 SB = $1. It’s possible to get better value out of your points, but that’s a basic guideline. We have more information on redeeming Swagbucks for the best value here.

Earning Swagbucks

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at the different ways you can earn Swagbucks.

Sign Up/Referral Bonus

Currently Swagbucks is offering new users a total of 500 Swagbucks for joining when they use a referral link (mine is here if you want to use it). Broken down as follows:

  • 300 SB when you earn 300SB or more
  • An additional 200 SB when you spend $25 or more through shop & earn

You can also refer friends to the site, you’ll earn the same bonus mentioned above when your friend completes the requirements. You’ll also receive 10% of the points they earn (don’t worry, your friend still earns the same amount of points they’d normally earn) for life. This means if your friend earns 10,000 Swagbucks you’d receive 1,000 as well.


Swagbucks has a shopping portal (similar to Topcashback) that lets you earn SB for you’re online shopping. For example if you wanted to make a purchase at eBay they might offer one SB per $1 spent at eBay. Obviously this is just a bonus that can be applied to your normal spending, but keep in mind that Swagbucks doesn’t always offer the best rates. In our example above another shopping portal might be offering 2% cash back on that same eBay purchase.

I recommend looking up the shop your planning on making a purchase with on cashbackmonitor and then you can see what portal is offering the best rates.

Watching Videos

Swagbucks let’s you earn points for watching videos, the amount of points you earn varies. I find this a giant waste of time, the earning rates are incredibly low and the videos are mostly boring. For example, sometimes they might give you 1 (yes, one) SB for watching ten videos. Unless you have an obsession with pennies or just don’t value you’re time properly this is a terrible option for trying to earn money.

Answering Surveys

You can earn SB for answering surveys, the amount you earn will vary based on your demographic (e.g student age people will generally be offered much less than somebody in their mid-40’s) and the survey itself with longer surveys offering more money.

Personally I also find answering surveys to be a huge waste of time, I don’t really like the prospect of making less than $1 for answering a survey that takes 20 minutes. That being said, I know some people that like to do this when they are multi tasking something else/are just bored.

The other thing I don’t like about answering surveys is that often they ask you questions to see if you’re eligible to take the survey. Sometimes these “pre-surveys” can take several minutes and then they say you’re not eligible and you receive nothing.


“Discover” is probably the most profitable part of Swagbucks, this where they offer you SB for trying new things and they can often be very profitable. For example some previous deals are:

You can view recent deals we’ve covered here. It’s usually a nice mix of getting some freebies and some extra points.


You can get a few SB by using swagbucks search engine as a replacement for google. Personally I find it cluttered with ads and more difficult to use, so it’s not worth the small amount of points you earn.

Cashing Out

I have never run into any issues with cashing out my SB for Paypal credit or gift cards. They do require you to click a confirmation link that they sent to your e-mail whenever you cash out to verify it’s really you that is cashing out.

swagbucks proof

Issues With Swagbucks

There are a number of issues with Swagbucks and as I said, this is an honest review. The two biggest issues are:

  • Deactivated accounts. Some readers have reported having their accounts deactivated (really shut down), with all of their points forfeited. This seems to most commonly happen to readers who sign up and then take advantage of several of the Discover/Deals. Contacting support rarely ends up with a satisfactory outcome.
  • Not tracking purchases/deals correctly. Readers also report not receiving the SB they should be eligible for due to tracking issues with Swagbucks. It’s sometimes possible to get this fixed, but often it takes so long it’s not worth the effort. This post has some tips on dealing with this.

I’ve never had either of the above two happen to me directly, but readers report it often enough that I believe they are real issues on the site. The chances that these will affect you are likely to be low, but it’s something to consider.

Our Verdict

A lot of the site is a huge waste of time and I wouldn’t recommend those parts at all. As mention the shopping portal can be useful sometimes, just remember to check competitor rates first. The deals section is probably the most useful/profitable part of the site and the only thing we really recommend/blog about. You can make a bit of side money and get some freebies if you know what you’re doing and pay attention to the fine print. We try to point out the more profitable/useful deals on our site.

Hopefully if found the review helpful, if you did then you can help us in two ways:

  • Retweet/share this post on social media (by doing this our post will rank higher on the search engines and more people will be able to read a more unbiased review).
  • Sign up using our referral link.

If you do sign up, make sure you follow us on Twitter or regularly check back as we will post any good money making Swagbucks deals we can find here.

26 Responses to An Honest Swagbucks Review – Scam Or Legitimate Website?

  1. Ferris says:

    I started back 10+ years ago when I was a kid. Just not worth anyone’s time unless you’re making $15+ on something posted here.

    • IOException says:

      If you were a kid 10 years ago, you are still a kid now. 😋

      I say this as a 20-something kid.

      Life has many lessons to each us.

  2. Eric says:

    They also have phone apps where you can watch videos but they loop on their own. It’s also a huge waste of time but if you needed to top up an account or if you have 10 burner phones there could be some value there.

  3. Nate says:

    Sometimes it’s worth it to “watch” NCrave videos since they will auto loop (look for small blue circle bottom right of video) I’ve had some run all day. Also you can download 6 apps on IOS/Android and let those run. Select a “favorite” usually from the home and garden section where they have 10 second clips and those will auto loop.

  4. shaky02dd says:

    Swagbucks local deserves a mention. Nice to get a free 7-10% back in swagbucks for meals.

    Often the same restaurants that are part of rewards network are also on swagbucks local. Net 22% back is pretty grand.

  5. adam d says:

    If you sign-up for swagbucks through spirit airlines website under “partners” you get 750 spirit miles from swagbucks, but more importantly you keep your spirit miles alive for another 3+ months, helpful to those with a decent balance but have closed the mastercard and the heavily discounted award redemptions. My spirit miles last over 4months with no activity.

  6. Kelsi says:

    thanks for the write up Doc!

    swagbucks to me is the equivalent of a TL;DR in that its not worth my time for the return.

  7. Adam says:

    the worst part are the everyday offers that dont track. I’m talking about the inbox offers for downloading & trying out an app. when I first signed up & ventured to those offers from the inbox, there wasnt an issue w/points posting within 15-30mins as promised. but lately they dont at all – no matter if its an iOS or android app. the tracking links are often horseshit since a lot of the times they just goto random spam ads. so you have to keep refreshing & trying the links (aka added rev for the ad company & SB) to get the app to even show. but even after all that BS, the points dont show up for you.

    its obv not worth contacting support to open tickets for these 20-50 pt offers so I’ve just concluded that SB is playing games. as a result I’ve quit doing these, huge waste of time…. last note: 2 of my last big discover offers (2000-3000 pts) did NOT track. I’m convinced SB is playing games, because I never had this issue when I first signed up. now that I’ve earned a few SBs, redeemed a few SBs, offers dont seem to be tracking all of a sudden? even tho I havent changed anything on my end. hella suspect that SB is messing up somewhere if not screwing folks all together & blatantly.

  8. Mark O says:

    I just started using them a few months ago and already had an order not track (gamefly offer). Every time I email them they just say they are working with their partner to fix it. Was supposed to be instant pay out and it has been like 3 weeks already. Also did the proactive offer which is supposed to pay in 10 days and it has only been 4 or so but there is no tracking or any type of confirmation that I made the order – no pending or anything so probably will have to fight for that. I think I am done with them at this point.

  9. Peter says:

    They suck. When they have an issue not posting correct shopping portal cashback they end up ignoring support requests (even with documentation). I deleted my account a long time ago. Hope they go out of business.

  10. Troy says:

    Would like to add that I also had tracking issues with Swagbucks. I tried the hulu offer and ofc the deal didn’t track properly and they still didn’t reimburse even after submitting a ticket with documentation.

    I also tried all the other stuff on the site and like other people have commented it was a huge waste of time for very little if any payout.

    Avoid like the plague.

  11. Vadim says:

    Did their bluehost offer by the books. Cancelled service after 4 months. They denied points citing I did it not in good faith.

  12. sara says:

    A very dishonest company. Will close your account for no reason. Be warned.

  13. Curmudgeon says:

    I signed up during the Hulu promotion. Never got the points even after submitting a ticket. Fortunately there was no out of pocket cost for me since Bank of America picked up the cost through one of their daily deals.

    This seems like a waste to me and I won’t participate in any future deals with them.

  14. Kan says:

    I don’t know about you guy but I been getting Walmart gift cards from swagbucks. The only reason is I know the tricks.

    • Eric says:

      Why would you need tricks to redeem for a Walmart gc? Or do you mean you use tricks to turn the Walmart gc into cash?

  15. Lissa says:

    I use a different site that’s much easier than Swagbucks. Plus the you can get intstant gift cards, PayPal or checks and can cash out as little as a dollar.. after you make your first 5 you get access to features like chat which is very helpful to see what the best offers are .. if you would like to try it out here is the link [link removed, don’t randomly post your referral links]

  16. Sarah M. says:

    Whenever I go to Swagbucks for a deal/offer I answer the daily poll. It’s only 1 swagbuck, but you get to see the comments devolve into barely literate political/religious ranting.

  17. MontyFC says:

    When redeeming SBs for GC option, I see multiple $25 GCs (Amazon, Uber, Target, Walmart etc) being sold at 12% discount (2200 SB).

    The terms state “Get a 12% discount on your first $25 gift card redemption each month. Excludes PayPal.” If its only 2200 SBs per month per GC merchant, it would take me years to redeem all my SBs 🙁

    It would be a good idea to include this in the review as well.

  18. Chris Li says:

    Could you guys update your Swagbucks referral links? When I click on referral links from other site the sign up page explicitly says that there will be a five dollar bonus upon signup, while there is no mention of the bonus when I use either of the two links you guys posted.

    I would love to use one of your site’s referral links to support you guys and what y’all do instead of using another site’s links to get the sign on bonus.

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t see any way to have the $5 bonus show with the referral link. I poked around and couldn’t see such an option. Can you put the link here or send it to me via email ( of another referral link that you see the $5 bonus?

  19. Ace Malik says:

    This is the worst cashback program, it keeps sending me reminders:

    Swagbucks Member,
    Don’t let your 185 SB points go unused!*

    To keep your account active, simply visit Swagbucks and earn SB.

    They are forcing me to do this and is unacceptable

    • Eric says:

      Why not just quit the site then? I don’t think them asking you to login and answer a daily poll is that big of a deal.

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