Is Swagbucks Worth the Time? My Official Swagbucks Review

by Chris Tecmire

Making Money Online


You probably already know what Swagbucks is.  After all, even if you’re not using it, there’s a good chance that most of your friends are.  It’s become quite popular, so I won’t spend a lot of time explaining what it is, but for those who are unsure, here’s a brief explanation.


What is Swagbucks?


Swagbucks is essentially a search engine that pays you in the form of ”swag bucks” for using it.  There are plenty of other ways to obtain swag bucks too, like taking surveys, playing games, and cutting coupons, but it’s a search engine at heart.  So, the draw is that you register and use their search engine instead of Yahoo or Google and they reward you with swag bucks that can be redeemed for gift cards and merchandise.  There’s no cost.  Just download their search engine toolbar and get going.

Sounds pretty good, right?  That’s what I thought, so recently I gave in and decided to check it out.  I wanted to see what all the fuss is about.  So, a couple months ago I did just that and started my journey to becoming a swag buck millionaire.  Here’s what I found.


Is Swagbucks worth the time?


It depends.




Wait…you wanted more than that?  Oh, ok.  Here’s what I mean by that.

There are two types of Swagbucks users.  There’s the responsible user who simply uses it as a search engine when necessary, plays a few games like Fyoozd or Crazy Taxi here and there, and reaps the reward of a free Amazon gift card occasionally for their efforts – or lack thereof.  For these people, I think Swagbucks is a fantastic program.  I recently did just that and received $10 of free Amazon gift cards in about 2 months time.  $5 a month isn’t going to allow me to retire early or anything, but I haven’t done anything extra to earn it.  It was truly free.  My life has gone on like normal, and Swagbucks has rewarded me with free money.  I love when that happens.


However, there’s another Swagbucks user that seems to be popping up left and right.  It’s the swag bucks chaser – the person who completes tasks, plays games, and takes surveys solely for the purpose of obtaining more swag bucks.  This person is simply wasting their time.  Let me explain.

The best deal as far as I can tell when redeeming swag bucks is the $5 Amazon gift card.  It costs 450 swag bucks, which is much less than most of the other types of gift cards.  Plus, you can buy anything on Amazon, making it much more versatile than the swagbucks guitar key chain/bottle opener that is currently on sale for the same price.  (By the way, for some reason the larger denominations of Amazon gift cards are actually more expensive per dollar than the $5 version, so don’t save up for the $50 card)

Anyway, a $5 gift card that costs 450 swag bucks means that each swag buck is essentially worth 1.11 pennies.  Let’s call it $.01 for convenience’s sake.  There are MANY ways to earn swag bucks, but most of the simple and free tasks earn you between 1 and 15 buckaroos – or $0.01 to $0.15.  While that is a great reward for doing nothing out of the ordinary, it’s certainly not worth actively seeking out more swag bucks.


The real question is…How much is your time worth?

For example, let’s say I decide to take a survey in order to earn more swag bucks.  I just checked out my options and the worst option in terms of reward also happens to be the shortest survey.  It is a 10 minute survey that will net me 10 swag bucks.  That means I’ll be earning 1 penny per minute – or 60 cents per hour.  Are you happy with that wage?  If so, I’m sure your boss would love to pay you in swag bucks instead.  The best option that I had available was a survey that would end up paying me $3 per hour.  If you’re really bored, I suppose that’s one way to go, but I still feel like my time is worth more than that.

The same principal should be used when seeking swag bucks in any other fashion.  If you’re actually seeking out how to earn more swag bucks, do the math before you continue.  There’s a really excellent chance that you’re better off looking for a part-time job or another, more creative solution.  The marketing brilliance of programs like Swagbucks is that they pay us in points, swag bucks, or other objects that are vague, yet make us feel accomplished when we receive them.  What sounds better?  “I’ll give you a nickel if you complete this survey”, or “I’ll give you 5 swag bucks?”


The final verdict of my Swagbucks review


I know it sounds like I’m dumping on Swagbucks, but I’m not.  I plan on sticking with it.  I’m simply trying to point out the fact that you shouldn’t quit your job to play games and take surveys all day.  Going out of your way to earn swag bucks doesn’t make financial sense, but the program itself, when used responsibly, is actually pretty great.  Like I said, my wife and I have earned about $10 in real Amazon gift cards and are close to getting another one.  How?  By simply using their search engine in place of Google or Yahoo.  The quality of the searches is decent, I don’t feel like I’ve missed much, and we get rewarded fairly regularly when searching.  7 – 20 swag bucks ($0.07 – $0.20) seems to be the usual haul for a handful of searches.  Not bad.

Even if you’re only getting $5 per month on average, that’s $5 more than you currently get for using a search engine.  Not to mention, with Christmas coming up soon, every little bit helps, right?

If you’re not currently a Swagbucks user and are interested in checking it out, simply register here, download the search toolbar to make it easier, and use it as you usually would any other search engine.  If you decide you’re not getting the results you were hoping for on a particular search, try one of the old standards instead.  There’s no law against switching back and forth as needed.  However, I’ve been very happy with everything so far.  I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.


What’s been your experience with Swagbucks?

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Top image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

joyce October 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

i get three points per day by doing the noso and daily poll. i get points sometimes when searching. i’m a laid-back swagbucks user. at this point i’m only in it for the $5 amazon cards. and i’m also curious if your clickable link above (to sign up) is a referral link to your account, meaning you get swagbucks for those who sign up under you.


Chris Tecmire October 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Yes, joyce. The link is an affiliate link, meaning if someone signs up for Swagbucks through that link, I would get a kickback for creating the link. As I’ve stated before, I do use affiliate links, but only for products/services that I believe in and use myself.


Lebron James October 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

I don’t know about swagbucks but I do have a great deal of swag-attitude


Sarah October 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I use Swagbucks once a day and average 15 points a day.

I search until I am awarded points, vote in the daily poll, and click through the no obligation special offers (NOSO). Occasionally I’m awarded 20+ points by searching, but mostly it ranges between 7-10 points. I chose not to download the toolbar as it requested access to my desktop and I found that unusual…

I used to try my hand at the survey list but found that you have to take about 5-10 minutes just to qualify for each survey, and if you don’t qualify they give you one Swagbuck for your time. Totally not worth it!

But, every month since I’ve been using Swagbucks (about seven months now) I’ve scored one $5 Amazon gift card, and I’ve even scored an extra one by completing an offer that I actually wanted!

Overall I think it’s an awesome program, but not one that anyone should get crazy with!


Monica October 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thank you for your take on this. Makes sense.


Dinah October 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I have been using Swagbucks for over a year. I just do the searches. I use them to get a $5 Amazon gift card every 4 to 6 weeks. Right now I have about $25 worth saved up for Christmas presents.


Chris Tecmire October 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Good thinking Dinah :)


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Pam February 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I use swagbucks almost daily. I had over $500.00 in Amazon credit for Christmas this past year, I now have a $55.00 credit (early Feb) and I don’t do any games or surveys. They take too much time. I run the swagbucks app in the morning while I get ready for work. You earn 50/day and they run through on their own you do have to hit an X once in awhile but I can do that while I’m doing other things (FYI play Comedy Time they run through fast). I also play through TV (videos) while I’m getting ready for work, doing laundry, making dinner, cleaning house or watching TV. It’s as easy as hitting a button when the meter moves. Tool bar 1 + NOSO 2 + Poll 1 (this takes maybe 2 mintues/day) and 2 searches about 20 sb’s. I also shop and earn occasionally but ebates (rebate site are usually better) when shopping. I also print the coupons which I want to use anyway, I use about 15-20 coupons a month or 150-200 swagbucks. Also get a few referals and you earn from their searches up to 1000. You also get bonus swagbucks for making you goal which is usually between 80-100/day. That is easy to hit and if you make it for a month you get around 550/month…that’s more than a $5.00 Amazon card. Bottom line, you can do this while multitasking so you can’t really look at a per hour rate. I never sit and do only swagbucks.


Annony March 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm

If you make too much money Swagbucks will find a way to deactivate your account. Beware!


Laura March 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Great post. I had to quit totally when I realized it was becoming an addiction. I went cold turkey.


Chris Tecmire March 23, 2013 at 7:48 am

I don’t blame you. I had to quit the games cold turkey…not because of the swagbucks, but just because they were a great time waster :)


Bev Worlock June 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I gave up on swagbucks, – I never qualified for the surveys and to be frank the site seemed to be there to promote a load of **ap online games. I thought it bit demeaning to sit an watch videos for 1pence a time. My time is more valuable than that – there are other survey sites that provide me with more interesting surveys and value their clients. That said I have seen forums where people get loads of swag bucks so I was probably doing something wrong. I thought it was a complete nonsense to get paid for searches – this was very hit an miss and the search engine was poor and slowed my laptop down. Good riddance swagbucks…


d January 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I was wondering if you would mind sending any helpful information my way on the sites you have found. I have never done anything like this, not very knowledgeable about computers/technology but I am interested in trying to learn more.


Mary Martinez July 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I used Swagbucks and I have to say its so slow. After struggling, I found another website similar and got right on. Luckily, I have over $600 and ihad no regrets at all. Just easy polls, answering question was all I had to do. Comparing both I was amazed of how much I made. Try it and good luck :D


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Josh July 25, 2013 at 7:25 am

So far, I like swagbucks, but I can see it becoming gradually more difficult earning easy, fast swagbucks without referrals as time goes by (I have been on it less than a month).

I can use Swagbucks while at work. Open a new tab in my browser and play the swag tv videos to get a few swag bucks while I multitask and do other tasks in other tabs. I also subscribe to a site that sends me texts when new swagcodes are available. I use Google Voice so the texts are free.

Signing up for special offers is the FASTEST way to get swagbucks if you are new (you will experience a diminishing return the amount of swagbucks attained on special offers once you have already completed the easy ones). Use to filter out all the spam you will be getting in your email from signing up for offers. Also, use Dashlane to auto fill forms so signing up for special offers is faster. Use a Google Voice number as well when signing for special offers that require a phone number, since this service makes it easy to block calls.

As far as surveys, fill out all the “profile surveys” because this helps swagbucks find surveys you will most likely qualify for. Additionally, the profile surveys give you some swagbucks.

Use their search engine when you wake up and before you go to bed. I have heard that it will give you swagbucks at most 3x a day. But definitely use it on Fridays because there is a chance it will payout more on Fridays (Mega Swag Bucks Day).

Doing the “to do list” stuff takes less than 5 minutes a day for easy swagbucks.

With regards to referrals, my strategy has been to take screen shots of the prizes I have won and to take screen shots of me purchasing items online ad proof that swagbucks is legit. Then, posting these screen shots on my facebook wall, I have convinced about 5 of my friends to join so far. I don’t have a blog (yet) but if I did….

Anyway I think it is important to educate your referrals on how to use the search engine to get swagbucks as this is how the “upline” gets swagbucks. Otherwise, what is the point of referrals who are netting you 0 swagbucks?! I would rather ask them for change so I can buy a soda. ;)


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Alissa September 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I kinda disagree with you, friend.
I have managed to obtain $75+ while using Swagbucks and I have only had this account since 7/31/13.

I complete the ‘activities’ which are listed under “Discover” at the top of the page. It says you can get 50 points for completing all of them but you can actually get more than this (from what I have found). At the same time, I will have videos playing (3 points for every 10 videos) and there is one particular “activity” listed on your main page – it’s a picture of a guy sitting at his laptop – if you complete this activity, you can get 2 points. I have not reached the maximum on this guy yet so I just keep going.

I don’t find that this is time wasted because, as a college student, I am constantly using my computer. While I am working on a paper, researching or watching Netflix (haha) I will have swagbucks up in the background. You can have multiple tabs open at once. I also work at call center which also requires that I sit at a computer for extensive periods of time and we often have a lot of downtime where no one is calling in – so I get paid a little extra with this awesome program :)


Alissa September 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I should also mention that I do utilize the free trials which is under “Discover” as well with the sub-link ‘special offers.’ I have signed up for Hulu and received 450 points which is $5 right there. As a consumer we have the ability to decide we dislike a product, so I cancel a few days into the free trial so I am not charged.


Chris Tecmire September 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Glad you’ve been enjoying it Alissa. If it’s just on in the background and doesn’t distract you from your studies or your work, it sounds like it might be helpful for you. I suppose it depends on everyone’s specific circumstances…doesn’t everything in life :) . However, for most of us who aren’t able to be on our computers all day, chasing Swagbucks can be a costly exercise.
Thanks for the comment Alissa!


Alissa September 23, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Oh, I definitely agree. There are days I cannot be anywhere near a computer (art student – working in the studio) so I don’t bother because painting is much more important to me. BUT – if I do have a moment, I just automatically have it up. It’s all about balance.


Jacquelyn September 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I’ve heard if you had a good experience you may tell one person, if you had a bad experience you will tell seven. I had a bad experience. I spent hours a day on swagbucks. I did every survey I could, I did a ton of web searches, and I watched the max SBTV everyday, and then they deactivated my account right before they were supposed to pay out my rewards. I have read this has happened to a lot of people. They, like myself, were accused of scamming swagbucks. I followed all of the rules and in no way intended to scam or cheat, but after a couple of emails to swagbucks I was informed that I did something wrong, (they told me what it might have been, but not what I did. It was a form email). I had no chance to explain myself or prove to them that I was not cheating. I did try to reply and was told the matter was closed and that they would not respond to anything else that I wrote. I now warn people that it may work for some people, but don’t put in too much time or effort. They profited off of my work and all I got was accusations and form letters in return. Although I do still get their advertising emails cluttering up my inbox, even after being deactivated. (so they are still getting credit for me without giving anything in return.)


Trevor November 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I totally agree with your article. It is definitely worth it for the “responsible” user who is looking to get a gift card with minimal effort. I recently found that this new “imagoo” app is doing essentially the same thing, but it’s got an interesting social aspect to it. You vote on picture polls and watch an occasional ad. It’s about the same payout as Swagbucks–probably around a $1/dedicated hour.

It would be nice if someone could start paying a couple bucks/hour so we can retire on e-surveys :)


Cody December 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I tried swagbucks and in 3 days they deactivated by account all because I was using either an iphone, laptop computer, or my Nintendo wii u and they call those things third party’s. And if you use them they will deactivate your account. So is a SCAM!!!


LSJ December 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Sorry, but Swagbucks is a scam. I’ve been using it for a few months now on the recommendations from several friends and was a responsible user. I used the search engine, did the NOSOs, daily poll, and watched the occasional video and completed tasks. I went to cash out my swagbucks and guessed what happened? My password was suddenly no longer valid. I was 100% sure I had the right password but reset it anyway. I can log into the account but I cannot log in to view my gift cards. I’ve tried e-mailing and contacting management but it goes ignored. I’m usually such a smart person and cannot believe that I got taken for a ride like this. I did everything correctly, followed all the rules, and got scammed. I’ve had plenty of friends tell me about what a great experience they had on there, but I’m sorry, they are scamming you. They get you invest hours of time on their website over the course of time (I spent maybe 5-1o minutes a day on there) and doing their “tasks” (polling, videos, etc.) and then when it’s time to pay up they pull the rug out from under you.


Alyssa L. January 14, 2014 at 1:55 am

I’ve been a member of Swagbucks for 2 years, have earned and cashed out hundreds of dollars in Amazon gift cards, and never had this problem. It sounds like user error or a glitch unique to you, not a “scam.”


Oscar Raya January 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

^ ^
Thanks for the comment Mary! I like that website much better.


Jason March 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Terrible. They rob your time and get all their data still. Swagbucks is a total waste of time and effort.


chris April 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I find more than five bucks a month in change just by spending most of my time walking around outside (i live in a city).


ASHESH June 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I make 2 dollars a day on Swagbucks by mostly watching videos, you can earn $1.50 each day just watching videos, (I open a tab and minimize the page [ctrl -] to my fitting and do whatever I want while running the videos). You can also install the SBTV app and get 50cents a day by letting the vidoes autorun (US only). Other than that you could do much more thing but those will require concentration. Like tasks and Surveys.


tee June 18, 2014 at 12:27 am

in about the last 6 months of semi dedicated sb use…i have earned about 300.00 in paypal gift cards (which equal CASH). i definitely do not think it’s a scam BUT if you can make money in an easier fashion…swagbucks may not be for you. there are people on the site making easily 20.00 a day…because for whatever reason, they cannot work out of the home. i am a stay at home mom and so for me…i use the internet to try to supplement our income. i look at SB as me getting paid for my time folding clothes, watching my morning shows, cooking and cleaning. LOL (i just got paid .20 in the time it took me to read this blog and responses lol).


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