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So, let’s admit it. The internet is full of money-making schemes. Promises to earn 6-figure salaries from your kitchen or earn hundreds of dollars taking surveys. While its true, taking surveys will not make you rich, there are some legitimate panels out there.
In this InboxDollars review, I will cover all the details on how the panel works and earnings expectations to help you decide if it's worth joining.
Is InboxDollars Legit?
InboxDollars is an online survey site, but you probably won’t make hundreds of dollars with them. And they’re upfront about it. Their FAQ’s and blog articles (which give beneficial step-by-step tips for earning with them) suggest you can make an extra $20-$60 a month on the side.
A point they hammer home is you won’t get rich taking surveys. You won’t qualify for all of them. But you can earn, and you do get paid.
And in addition to surveys, there are plenty of other on-site activities you can complete to earn: watching videos, playing games, scanning barcodes, printing coupons, and more.
You won’t earn a ton. Most activities pay 2-cents to $5. But it’s money for things you’re already doing. If you’re already answering polls or watching cat videos and playing Klondike Solitaire, get paid for it.
While these payouts may not sound appealing to everyone, I am super impressed with their integrity. InboxDollars is transparent with how much you can earn, how to earn, and even the earning amounts.
Unlike other loyalty reward and survey sites that pay you in points and weird site-specific currency, InboxDollars always pays you in dollars and cents. If an activity only pays 11-cents, they won’t try and hide that fact by promising you 1,600 “gold coins” instead.
So as you might have guessed, yes, InboxDollars is definitely legit. Yes, you can make money with them. But it might not be for everyone. You can read my full InboxDollars review and final thoughts.
Getting Started – Signing Up for InboxDollars
Initially, I’ll admit. I was a little confused (and somewhat overwhelmed) by the signup process.
You can become a member by signing up with your email address. Okay, that’s easy. Select a password and confirm, no problem. Then you’re barraged with survey questions. How old are you? What’s your race? Are you Hispanic? Do you have diabetes? What’s your occupation? And so on. The questions can get repetitive.
Some of the questions I answered, and some I marked none of your business (or “Prefer not to answer”.) It took me about 4 minutes to complete, and I earned my first 50-cents.
These initial survey questions build your profile so they can help match you with surveys and earning activities. Still, it does seem overwhelming to have to answer so many questions before getting a peek behind the curtain.
After answering those questions, I was prompted to confirm my email address, and then I could start earning. To verify my email, I had to go to my inbox and look for the InboxDollars welcome confirmation email and click on it to confirm it. And confirming it pays $5, score!
There’s a To-Do list to help you get started and a navigation bar at the top highlighting different ways to earn. The design layout is super dated and a bit cluttered, but overall, I actually liked my site experience. There were plenty of surveys and activities to complete. The bottom line is if you are looking for a way to make extra money online, InboxDollars is definitely worth your time.
Founded in 2000 by Minnesota native, Daren Cotter, InBoxDollars is an online rewards company that pays cash to members for completing online activities like taking surveys, couponing, shopping, and playing games.
After years of domestic and international expansion (SendEarnings in 2005, InboxPounds in 2012, and Daily Rewards in 2014), InboxDollars was acquired by Prodege, LLC. Prodege owns several well-known consumer rewards sites, including MyPoints, Swagbucks, and ShopAtHome. If you are concerned about joining InBoxDollars, you can take comfort in that Prodege has an A- Rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Like other reputable survey sites, InboxDollars is free to join. They pay you for engaging in targeted activities so that their retailer and brand partners can get additional exposure and your feedback and opinions.
How do I create my InboxDollars profile so I can start earning cash?
- First, go to the InboxDollars site and fill out the three signup fields.
- Select “Sign Me Up!”
- Confirm your first email address.
- When you open the initial email from InboxDollars and click “Activate Now!” it will direct you to InboxDollars and guide you through the initial profile survey previously mentioned.
- You will also receive a $5 signup bonus when you activate your account. However, you must reach $30 in earnings before you can cash out.
- Within about 8 minutes of signing up, I had signed up, activated my account, and completed the initial profile surveys to earn my first $5.50.
How Do I Take Surveys and Do Other Activities to Earn Money?
After you have completed the profile survey, you can select Take Another Survey. Here, you will be asked to complete two short surveys regarding your household and interests. Afterward, you’ll bank another 20-cents.
Hint: click on the InboxDollars logo at any time to return to the homepage. From there, you can see the navigation bar with different ways to earn and select the activity, like videos or coupons that interest you.
After completing your first survey, go through the list of activities on the right-hand side of the homepage.
There’s a wide range of ways to earn cash with InboxDollars:
- Playing Games
- Printing and Redeeming Coupons
- Cashback Shopping
- Discovering New Offers
- Taking Surveys
- Searching the Web
- TV Channel
- Redeeming #WinIt Promotional Codes
- Other Ways to Earn
On the coupons page, you can find hundreds of free grocery coupons. They’re pretty much the same ones you get in the Sunday newspaper, however, on InboxDollars you can just print out the ones you like.
You’ll earn 1-cent for each coupon you print, up to 25-cents per day (or $91.25 a year). And that’s just for printing them, which is pretty sweet.
And when you redeem them in-store, you’ll earn an additional 10-cents for each coupon you redeem.
While your account gets credited for printing coupons on the next business day, crediting for redeeming a coupon in-store takes much longer — several days or more.
With shopping, you earn a percentage of cashback for every dollar you spend. Stores pay InboxDollars a commission, and they share it with you. Not a bad deal for the shopping you were already going to do.
To try out the shopping channel, I used it a few ways.
I made a $34.10 purchase on Walmart.com that I picked up at my local Walmart in-store. And I also made two Target online purchases. One of the purchases I picked up-in store (at a special desk, no waiting in line at the regular customer service counter), and the other purchase I had delivered to me as a regular in-the-mail package via FedEx. (Shipping was free since I spent over $35.)
For these three purchases, I made $ 4.78. Not a ton of money, but there’s nothing wrong with making five bucks for just doing your regular shopping.
Unfortunately, cashback bonuses for Target and Walmart aren’t very much (like around 1% to 2% of total purchase), and they exclude a lot of items like LEGOS, Bose, iPhones, etc. But they do have other shopping offers that pay quite a bit, like up to 10% for home improvement stores or 4% for Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
The feature cashback percentages will vary, and you’ll probably get the best deals around major shopping days.
Also, it took about 30 days for the funds to credit my account. Within a business day of my shopping visits, I could see the “pending” amount. So I knew InboxDollars was aware of my shopping activity, and that payment was coming, but it took a little while to get there.
On the offers page, there are some excellent offers for earning cash that are featured. I think it’s definitely worth checking out, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Some offers are completely free. You can earn the listed amount for free with no strings attached. These brands and retailers want you to discover their products and services. You can make a few cents to a few dollars for filling out a form, answering a poll, installing an app, or downloading an eBook.
For other offers, there’s a “catch.” Brands are offering you a special deal or discounted rate just to try them. You’ll find plenty of offers for free starter trials (but you usually have to sign up with a credit card, so be cautious), BOGO’s, or special sales or discounts. Additionally, you’ll also be generally offered a small cash bonus (of a couple of dollars to $20 or more) to nudge you further to check it out.
Make sure to read the fine print, and remember, it’s never a good idea to spend money to save money. The “paying” offers are only a good deal if it’s a product or service you were genuinely interested in anyway.
Earning with surveys is one of the top reasons people sign up for InboxDollars.
At any given time, there might be 2 to 20 surveys available that you could qualify for. Available surveys are always changing; new ones are uploaded to that site throughout the day.
The payout amount and estimated length of completion time are always clearly displayed; the survey topic is shown if available. (It depends on how the survey company provides the data.)
To see what surveys are available, you can login to their site and look at the surveys page. Additionally, you can receive paid survey email invitations via email. As a tip, the “best survey” to complete for you will always be clearly labeled. “Best survey” means there is a high likelihood you will qualify for that survey and earn the associated payout.
Most surveys will take 5-20 minutes to complete and pay $0.50 to $2.00.
So how much can you get paid each week for taking online surveys with InboxDollars?
It depends. It’s not a great answer, but it is an honest answer. There are some members who take a few surveys a day and cash out every few weeks or so at $30 – $50, sometimes much more.
Don’t expect to earn an hourly wage. Flipping burgers pays more. Even if you qualify for all of the higher-paying surveys, you’d be earning a few bucks an hour at most.
But you can definitely earn a few dollars a day from your PJ’s at home while watching TV or killing time on your phone. While InboxDollars will only show you surveys they think you could match, frustratingly, you will not qualify for every survey. You won’t be elegible for most surveys, but this is true of every online survey site or survey app.
Brands want to make sure that you match their desired criteria since many survey takers answer surveys very inconsistently, trying to qualify for as many as possible. And you can’t blame them; they are making multi-million dollar business decisions off of the survey data, and they want to make sure it’s accurate.
If you disqualify from a survey, you will be able to spin the prize wheel. You will either earn cash upfront, or progress towards a Scratch & Win that you can scratch to win a daily prize of up to $10, $25, or $100.
Most Scratch & Win cards pay 5-cents to 12-cents, but if you play often enough, most members will scratch a larger payout ranging from $2 to $20.
Search was what it sounds like: searching the web. As you search, a progress bar fills up, and you can earn progress towards a scratch-card or “Scratch & Win.” You scratch it to reveal cash prizes.
Search isn’t a super high-paying way to earn. I only made about $1.62 in a month. But it’s $1.62 more than Google is paying me. If you’re already searching the web, you might as well use their search engine.
There is an option to use it within the Chrome browser or to set it as your homepage so that you actually remember to use it. I didn’t try either of those options. I just tried it for a few weeks to see how it worked. But I’ll probably end up setting it up as my homepage so that I remember to use it. It’s an easy extra $20 bucks a year, and I can still use Google or other search engines I like. I just have to remember to use InboxDollars Search, too, so I can earn a little cash.
Using TV Channel was actually one I liked a lot even though it paid possibly the least.
Stream TV content from different categories (baked in with ads), earn scratch-cards, and scratch for prizes.
It’s labeled “TV Channel”, but there are no full episodes to watch. It’s light and fluffy content from a variety of different categories that you can watch in 20-second to 2-minute clips. I made about 19-cents a day with TV channel or $5.70 for a month. I actually did like the clips I watched. Think of it as getting paid, albeit in pennies, to watch short YouTube videos.
Special promo codes, called #WinIts, are a fun way to pad your earnings on InboxDollars. A few times a week, InboxDollars will share a #WinIt on one of their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).
It seems like they do #WinIts a few times a week, and prizes are cash (less than a dollar) or progress towards a Scratch & Win.
While I wish that the prize earnings were more, I like that there are lots of winners instead of just one or two. I’d rather get a small share of a big pot than nothing at all.
While #WinIts don’t pay that much, I did try them so it made my list of activities I tried in order to earn. While not a huge fan myself, they have a super cult following among members. They are obsessed with finding and redeeming #WinIts. Maybe it’s easier to get revved up after you’ve won one of the bigger prizes?
So I’ve covered all of the online activities that I completed to earn with InboxDollars.
There are other ways to earn with InboxDollars. I didn’t try them, so I can’t comment on them and give my opinion or recommendation, but they could be worth checking out.
- Separate from TV Channel, you can get paid to watch videos. When you watch a set of 2-3 videos, you can earn 1-2 cents. Most videos look like cooking, beauty, or sports content.
- Learn & Earn or daily trivia poll. Every day you answer a trivia question, and you earn progress towards a Scratch & Win ticket.
- Inviting friends. Their referral program is a bit more generous than th other ones I’ve seen. When a friend accepts your invite and creates an account, you get $1 and then you get 30% of all their earnings.
- Lots of random promos. For example, selfie contests or captioning social media posts. Most pay $5 to $20, not a ton. But they seem to have a lot of contests where they reward lots and lots of winners.
- Scanning product barcodes. If you access the site via mobile web, or within their app, you can earn for scanning barcodes of different supermarket items when you are in a participating store.
How do I get paid?
Once you’ve reached at least $10 in earnings, you can cash out.
Above the top navigation bar, you can view your total current balance of earnings. If it’s at $10 or more, you’ll be able to proceed with cashing out.
Payment options include check, an electronic gift card to one of dozens of online merchants, or PayPal.
Tips To Maximize Earnings
You can get notifications about new offers and ways to earn by email, the best way to check out the latest techniques to earn and the latest surveys are just by logging into their site. On site, the blog is a great go-to for finding help on maximizing your earnings. There are several blog articles with step-by-step instructions and screen grabs on how to build your earnings easily.
You can also scroll through the “What’s New” section on their homepage, or just check out your favorite earning channels from the top navigation bar.
Additionally, you can find PaidEmails in your email inbox or when logged into InboxDollars. This way, you know you’re never missing any emails.
The big key to earning is variety. Although surveys and offers are the highest paying ways to earn, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re completing lots of different activities to quickly build your earnings.
In a given month, you could make $7 for just printing coupons, $1 for watching TV Channel, $0.50 for reading PaidEmails, $1 for searching the web with InboxDollars search, $15 for surveys, and $10 for completing free offers.
And while the high-paying surveys with short completion times may look really attractive, don’t forget the lower-paying ones. Surveys that only pay $0.30 may not look as exciting, but it’s probably targeting a broader audience, and odds are probably better that you’ll be able to qualify for it and complete it.
Pros and Cons for InboxDollars
- Plenty of available surveys.
- There are lots of ways to earn with InboxDollars.
- New ways to earn are added regularly.
- You can earn from desktop or mobile website, or with Apple or Android app.
- Frequent email reminders when there are new earning opportunities.
- You can earn a $5 activation bonus just to get started (although you need to reach $30 to cash out).
- Flexible payment options.
- Transparency: you know upfront how much you are earning in dollars and cents–no hiding behind points.
- Reputable site in business for 10+ years. High ratings in Google and iTunes stores (4.4 of 5).
- Earning $35 a month (extra $420 a year) seems reasonable for using the site in your spare time.
InboxDollars Review Final Verdict – Is It Worth the Time?
- Takes up to 3 days for your payment to process; not instant.
- It can be frustrating when you disqualify from surveys, although you can spin the prize wheel for prizes.
- The site design is dated and confusing when you first sign up.
- TV Channel can be buggy. It crashed three or four times on me last month while I was watching the celeb channel and I had to refresh the page to re-set.
If making a few extra dollars in your spare time from your smartphone or PC is something that sounds appealing, then check it out. We all spend (waste) plenty of time fidgeting on our phones or surfing the web; InboxDollars provides a way to get paid for it.
It’s a good side hustle that can cover your Hulu subscription and coffee runs, and occasionally buy holiday gifts and put gas in the tank.
But if you’re needing a regular, guaranteed stream of extra dollars flowing in each month, you’d be better off getting off of the couch and getting a part-time job somewhere flipping burgers or walking dogs.
If making a few extra hundred dollars a year for your spare-time online activities sounds appealing, check it out. Even if InboxDollars isn’t your cup of tea, it’s definitely legit, and we think it’s savvy.
OUR VERDICT: It’s SAVVY