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Swagbucks is a cash-back rebate app that combines features from all my favorite savings apps. Seriously, from taking surveys to getting points for my in-store purchases, Swagbucks helps me save money from my couch or while I’m out and about.
To show you how to use Swagbucks the right way, I’ve written up this guide and broken it up into two sections:
- Getting started with the Swagbucks app
- Learning how to earn through Swagbucks
Here’s everything you need to know to get saving fast.
Getting started with the Swagbucks app:
1. Create a Swagbucks profile and get five points.
To get started, you need to download the Swagbucks app and create an account using your primary email address. Once you do, Swagbucks will send you an email to confirm your email address. Once you click the link to confirm, you’ll automatically get five points, which are called “SB.”
2. Exchange your SB for gift cards at major retailers.
SB points are worth $0.01 apiece (100 SB = $1) and can be cashed in for gift cards at your favorite stores, like Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks. Prices for gift cards vary (check the Swagbucks rewards store for the latest deals), but you’ll usually need a minimum of 1500 SB to cash out (I saw a $15 Amazon gift card going for 1500 SB).
3. Or, exchange your SB for cash back from PayPal.
Like other rebate apps (such as Checkout51), Swagbucks gives you the option to cash out through PayPal if you’d like. But, it’s a process. You have to purchase a PayPal cash card through the SB Shop first, which you can then load onto your PayPal account. You’ll see the amount in your PayPal balance a few days later.
While this is well and good, you can’t just cash out your total point value at any given time. You can only cash out the amounts available for PayPal cash cards in the Swabucks rewards store. Last I checked, I saw PayPal cards ranging from $25 – $250.
4. Get a $10 Welcome Bonus when you sign up online, but it’s kind of a pain to redeem.
I’m not sure if sign-up bonuses are always available, but I got a “free” $10 Welcome Bonus when I signed up on Swagbucks.com, not the app.
Getting the $10 bonus (or 1,000 SB), however, requires you to activate the bonus in your account, then spend $25 at a vendor featured in the Swagbucks Shop (more on shopping through Swagbucks in the next section). Your purchase must earn you a minimum of 25 SB, and you have to make the purchase within 30 days of registering to claim your $10 bonus.
It’s not a terrible way to earn $10 off a future purchase, but it’s pretty involved if you’re new to this sort of thing.
How to earn through Swagbucks:
5. Earn easy points just for completing your profile.
On the app’s homepage (the little house icon at the bottom), you’ll see a “To-Do List” with different tasks for earning SB. You can complete items on the list every day to earn SB, but you’ll notice some low-hanging fruit if you’re new to the app, like:
- Complete your first survey and earn 100 SB
- Answer Today’s Poll for daily SB
- Enroll in the Daily Goal and automatically get 3 SB (literally just tap the offer — you’ll get SB)
6. Complete Daily and Total Goals to stack up points faster.
Enrolling in the Daily Goal is easy; completing it isn’t. Tap on “Daily Goal Enrollment” in your To Do List.
Each day, you’ll notice a Daily Goal meter at the top of the app displaying how much SB you’ve earned and how much you need to complete it. If you’re starting out, 30 SB is your goal. As you keep earning, the app will set new goals for you based on your earning behavior (you’ll also notice a daily countdown timer showing how much time you have to complete a goal).
If you complete daily goals, you get a winning streak. Winning streaks contribute to your “Total Goal,” which gives you a big bonus at the end of the month depending on how many streaks you get. Below are the streak “badges” you can earn and their SB bonuses:
- 7-Day star – 25 SB bonus ($0.25)
- 14-Day Fanatic – 100 SB bonus ($1)
- 21-Day Triumph – 200 SB ($2)
- Monthly Master – 300 SB bonus ($3)
It’s a nice way to gamify the process and provides an easy means for regular Swagbucks users to stack SB on top of their purchases, so why not take advantage of it?
7. Shop online through Swagbucks to earn SB on select purchases.
Swagbucks partners with merchants like Walmart and Amazon. If you shop through the Swagbucks app or online, you can earn SB for select purchases through those vendors. But it doesn’t work the other way around.
Here’s how it works:
- Go to the Swagbucks Shop to see all their partner merchants.
- Under each store, you’ll notice a percentage-based cash-back amount, like up to 2% cash back (earn up to 2 SB per $1).
- Click the store you want and look at the “Special Terms” (for example, clicking on Walmart shows you eligible departments for cash back, like Baby or Beauty).
- Click “Shop Now” and you’ll be redirected to the vendor’s website.
Once you check out and pay, any cash back you earn will show up in your SB balance within seven days of your purchase.
PRO TIP: Download the SwagButton browser extension if you prefer to shop on your computer. The extension will notify you of any SB cash-back opportunities if you visit a SB partner site while shopping, so you can shop through the Swagbucks site and get the cash back.
8. Turn Swagbucks into a cashback app with the Magic Receipts feature.
Swagbucks also works like a typical cashback app. You get SB for items like “milk,” “eggs,” or “bananas” when you add items to your shopping list and submit your receipt to the Swagbucks app. Some items are only eligible for SB at certain stores, but others you can buy anywhere.
- Visit the “Shop” section of your Swagbucks app from the bottom menu.
- Tap and add items to your list before you shop.
- Purchase the qualifying products from any store (unless a specific store is listed under the item’s “Conditions”).
- Then snap a pic of your receipt and upload it to Swagbucks.
You can earn up to 200 SB just for buying milk from any store!
9. Refer your friends and earn 10% of their SB, for life.
All you gotta do is invite your friends with a unique sign-up link. If they click and sign up, you get 10% of their total SB earnings forever! That doesn’t mean they earn 10% less. You just get an additional 10% of their total. You’ll also get a 300 SB bonus when your referral earns 300 SB in their first month with Swagbucks.
10. Answer surveys (or just attempt a few a day) to get more SB.
If you’re new to the app, you can take a “Get Started” survey, which takes about three minutes and earns you 100 SB. From here, you can take more surveys. Swagbucks will indicate how long each survey may take, and how much SB you’ll earn after completing each survey.
The catch is that some surveys will disqualify you based on your answers, so you can’t complete them. That’s why Swagbucks will compensate you if you attempt but don’t complete certain surveys.
Earning money from surveys can be tedious and a bit redundant, so be sure to knock these out while you’re binging Netflix, and don’t sweat it if you get disqualified.
11. Earn SB for discovering offers from Swagbucks partners.
Swagbucks calls this “Discovering,” but it’s really a way to get you to sign up for subscriptions from their partners. If you’re shopping for a service Swagbucks has listed (like Starz, Harry’s Shave, or Blue Apron), then it’s a win-win: You’ll get anywhere from 500 SB – 15,000 SB on average.
12. Watch mobile and online advertisements or read articles to earn SB.
Swagbucks will pay you to sit through digital commercials or read Yahoo News articles. It’s spammy at worst, and informative at best. I really didn’t mind. I could skim articles while watching TV, or sit through a commercial on mute for 30 seconds.
13. Use the Swagbucks search bar to earn SB.
So, the very first time you search on Swagbucks‘ in-app or online search bar, you’ll get one SB. That’s just a way to suck you into the service. What Swagbucks has done is created their very own micro search engine, which they use to collect information about how you shop.
They encourage you to type in queries as if you’re using Google, but the goal is to nudge Google out and get their hands on your data.