What if I told you there’s a way to earn free gift cards simply by changing your default browser?
Swagbucks is a platform that turns the money it makes in advertising dollars into rewards for its users. You can then redeem those reward points for prizes like gift cards.
Using Swagbucks isn’t likely to provide you with the income of a part-time job, but it is a legit way to earn some extra spending money when things are super tight.
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How Swagbucks Works
Swagbucks is a multi-faceted platform that rewards you for engagement. When you engage with the platform, you earn points called SB.
SB points can then be traded in for various rewards, including but not limited to:
- Gift cards.
- Sweepstakes entries.
- Donations to charity.
How to Earn Points with Swagbucks
To earn SB points, you have to engage with the platform.
There are many ways to do this, but they do not all reward you equally.
Use Swagbucks’ search engine.
One of the core ways to earn these points called SB is to use Swagbucks’ search engine.
If you’re a Millennial, you might remember alternative search engines like Ask Jeeves and Bing. Swagbucks’ search engine works in the same way.
If you can’t remember when these search engines were competitive, think of Swagbucks’ search engine as an alternative to Googling things.
You won’t get rewarded every time you use the search engine; the reward points are apparently random using this method. A realistic expectation is 10-20 SBs for every 10-20 searches, though your results may be more or less.
Shop Swagbucks’ affiliate network.
One way Swagbucks makes money is through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is also one of the ways this site makes money. For example, Swagbucks is one of my affiliates. When you click on one of their links in this post and signup, this site receives a small commission.
You don’t pay more when you purchase through an affiliate link. The company just uses a portion of the profits they would have made anyways to pay the affiliate commission.
Swagbucks has a shopping portal where you can find many big retailers you probably shop with anyways. When you do this, you can earn SB points.
Also when you do this, the retailer with whom you shopped pays Swagbucks a commission.
Swagbucks sometimes frames its shopping rewards as cashback offers. But what you’re really earning are those SB points.
To do this, Swagbucks is currently valuing each SB point at $0.01.
So if they’re offering a 1% cashback offer, what they’re really offering is 1 SB point for every dollar you spend.
Keep an eye out for Swagbucks special offers.
In conjunction with the ‘cashback’ offers when you shop with Swagbucks, you will also find special offers.
During your shopping experience, these offers will look like deals and sales in the Swagbucks portal.
There are other areas of the site where you can ‘Discover’ special offers when you download apps advertising with Swagbucks, or earn points for signing up with partner services who advertise with Swagbucks.
Want to earn more with Swagbucks? Watch videos.
You can earn points for Swagbucks by watching videos on their platforms.
The people I’ve known who have earned a ton of points for SB using this method don’t actually ‘watch’ the videos, but leave them playing in the background while they’re doing something else.
Take Swagbucks surveys and answer polls.
Another way Swagbucks awards you points for SBs is when you answer polls and surveys. A quick way to get a SB point is to answer the daily poll.
However, surveys are not the best way to earn points. You may get excited the first few days as your queue of potential surveys initially fills, but it is likely to deplete quickly. You may even get part way into a survey only to find out you don’t qualify.
Earn more with Swag Codes.
You can find Swag Codes lots of places, but the best way to approach this method is to follow Swagbucks on all their social media accounts.
Swag Codes typically come and go quickly. While you will very likely be rewarded for watching for them if you’re vigilant, it can quickly become an obsession that’s not worth it if you don’t set boundaries on your time.
Related Post: Money Hacks in a Time of Social Distancing
Refer friends to Swagbucks.
If your friends are uninitiated, there is a lot of point-earning potential in introducing them to Swagbucks.
Swagbucks has a referral program that rewards you with 300 points for each friend you send their way off the bat. You’ll get this bonus after they earn their first 300 SB points.
After the signup rewards, you also earn 10% of their lifetime points.
In month two, if they earn 1000 SB points, you’ll earn 100 SB points without doing anything.
In month three if they earn 800 SB points, you’ll earn 80 SB points without doing anything.
And so on.
Right now there’s also a 100 SB point bonus when a friend you refer installs the Swag Button. The Swag Button is a browser extension that automatically lets you know when you’re shopping with a Swagbucks affiliate so you can claim your points.
To participate in the referral program, you will be provided with your own, unique Swagbucks signup code. You will be invited to share it via email and social media. The link will then track everyone who signs up using it, crediting you with any points earned on each referral.
Play games on Swagbucks.
Playing games on Swagbucks is not going to make your rich quick. But if you’re sitting around playing games on your phone or other device anyways, you might as well get rewarded for it!
Complete daily goals to earn points for SBs.
Swagbucks has a daily goal feature you can activate. You start off by getting a few points just for activating it.
You can earn more by meeting a certain point goal Swagbucks sets for you. For example, your daily goal might be 40 points. If you meet that goal, you might be rewarded with 3 more points.
Bonuses for cumulative goals like streaks ensue.
Compete with Swagbucks.
Sometimes, Swagbucks will run competitions.
During these competitions, you’ll join a team with other Swagbucks users. You’ll then collectively work together to try to earn more points than the other team.
The winning team is rewarded with points for SB.
Download apps to earn SBs.
Swagbucks has expanded its app offerings considerably since the platform began. Today, you can earn SB points on your mobile device.
Each app has a max number of points you can earn per day, so using multiple apps in conjunction is the best way to maximize your earning potential.
Plus, you can earn extra points for downloading each app.
- Swagbucks Mobile. This app allows you to earn points through access to the shopping/affiliate portal, surveys and videos. Though all the other Swagbucks apps are focused on video in select niches.
- SB LIVE. Swagbucks LIVE is an app setup to operate like a gameshow. There are real, cash prizes in the thousands of dollars, but there are also bonus SB point opportunities just for participating.
- Swagbucks Watch. While you can earn points for SBs watching videos in Swagbucks Mobile, Swagbucks Watch is built for the task. Here you’ll mostly find movie and game trailers, along with a few interviews and select scenes. This is the only Swagbucks apps that is only available in Google Play.
- Swagbucks Answer. If you only want to earn points through surveys, Swagbucks Answer is likely the app for you.
- MovieCli.ps. MovieCli.ps is very similar to Swagbucks Watch, and allows you another opportunity to earn points.
- Sportly. Sportly is a Swagbucks app that allows you to view short videos on anything from YouTube-esque fitness tips to interviews with experts in the field.
- IndieMusic.tv. This is an app where you can watch music videos from indie artists across genres.
- Lifestylz.tv. Clips on this app center around celebrities, travel, home decor, food, fitness, family and personal growth.
There are ads between the videos, and you can’t skip them. These ads are another way Swagbucks makes money.
What’s the most effective way to earn Swagbucks?
Most of us search the internet multiple times per day. That’s why one of the lowest-effort, highest-impact ways to earn points is by setting Swagbucks to be your default search engine.
Anecdotally, the Swagbucks users I’ve encountered have used videos as the secondary most effective way to earn points. With all the app options, you might need to spread your watching across Swagbucks platforms to maximize your earning strategy.
If you get a few friends engaging on the platform, that’s another lucrative point stream, as well.
Taking advantage of various partner special offers can be lucrative, but typically requires you to spend cold, hard cash. You’re not optimizing your points if you’re spending money to get them.
What are the least effective ways to earn Swagbucks?
Surveys on Swagbucks can eat up a lot of time — sometimes for zero reward. This method is not the best way to optimize your time.
How to Redeem Swagbucks
Rewards are switched in and out, but the most consistent offerings are gift cards, sweepstakes entries and opportunities to donate.
I don’t recommend using your points for sweepstakes entries. It’s too close to gambling — which is an addiction that affects your personal finances in a very direct way. You may be dealing with SB points rather than dollars, but this is a slippery slope if you have addictive tendencies.
The conversion rate to donate your points to a charity is $0.01 for each SB point. While it is great to give back, this is not the best way to optimize your Swagbucks time from a pure point-to-value ratio.
How to get the biggest bang for your Swagbucks.
Gift cards are available in denominations as little as $5. We’re talking about retailers you likely spend money with on a monthly basis anyways. Examples include but are definitely not limited to:
- Google Play.
- Sam’s Club.
If you buy in at the $5 level, though, you’re still only getting the $0.01 per 1 SB point conversion rate. That conversion rate is the same for every gift card level except for one.
To truly maximize your Swagbucks experience, you will want to look at $25 gift cards. These offer better conversion rates than those with both higher and lower dollar values.
Right now the standard conversion rate on many $25 gift cards is between 1.13 cents and 1.14 cents for every SB point.
How much can you earn with Swagbucks?
The amount you can earn with Swagbucks varies. The people I’ve known that really go at it can consistently come out with up to $250 in gift cards per month, though I don’t know that it’s necessarily worth the time investment.
Barring some really impressive workflow processes.
If you’re only taking surveys, you’re likely not going to earn very much at all.
Realistically, when I was at peak Swagbucks use, I would earn anywhere from $25-$50 in gift cards per month.
This was primarily from using Swagbucks as my primary search engine. Though I did pseudo-regularly play videos and games using the platform, too.
Is Swagbucks a scam or legit?
Swagbucks itself is safe to use and pays out its rewards promptly. As with any advertisement you find on the internet, you’ll want to use your common sense when engaging with third-party offers or ads after you’ve left the Swagbucks platform.
Bear in mind that to optimize your points, you need to strategize how you use the platform. If you’re not optimizing your usage, your rewards are going to feel very low compared to your efforts.
But if you optimize your strategy, there are real gift cards on the other side. I’ve cashed in points for them myself.