Do you dream about making money online at any time of the day while you relax by the pool or watch TV?
In this article, I review InboxDollars to find out how much money you can make, whether it’s worth your time, how InboxDollars pays its workers and whether it’s more of a money saver than a money maker.
Table of Contents
- What Is InboxDollars?
- How InboxDollars Works
- InboxDollars Review: How Much Money Can You Make?
- How InboxDollars Pays: Gift Cards, PayPal
- InboxDollars Review: My Experience With Surveys
- Ways To Make Money Using InboxDollars
- Is InboxDollars Worth Your Time?
- InboxDollars Pros
- InboxDollars Cons
What Is InboxDollars?
Darren Cotter founded InboxDollars in 2000. The company acquired Send Earnings in 2005. It also launched InboxPounds (U.K.) and DailyRewards (Canada) before selling to Prodege LLC in 2019.
I recently reviewed Swagbucks, and you’ll see a lot of similarities between it and InboxDollars. It’s a gamified affiliate site that allows users to earn or save small amounts of money by filling out surveys, watching videos, signing up for email offers and shopping.
It’s well-documented that InboxDollars is legit as an option to make money online. InboxDollars pays its users.
But based on the hourly pay rate I earned while researching InboxDollars review, it can hardly be considered a part-time job replacement or even a side gig. And in some cases, it’s more of a tool to save money than to make money.
How InboxDollars Works
If you’re at least 18 years old, live in the United States and have an email address, you can sign up for InboxDollars for free.
Unlike Swagbucks, which is based on points, InboxDollars works in dollars and cents. You can earn money in several ways. Completing surveys and saving money on purchases by activating “featured offers” are the most prominent.
InboxDollars lets you redeem that money for gift cards or cash sent to you via PayPal.
InboxDollars Review: How Much Money Can You Make With InboxDollars?
I spent 11 hours on the InboxDollars website during a three-day period. During that 11 hours, I earned $11.94 — or $1.09 an hour.
That’s with the immediate $5 sign-up bonus I got factored in. I also earned a quick 50 cents by filling out an initial survey. From reading other reviews, that seems to be the standard experience. So if you take out those bonuses, I earned about 61 cents an hour.
I found that the options that InboxDollars provides to earn or save money are a near carbon copy of Swagbucks, as Prodege owns and operates both brands.
I spent most of my time answering surveys or signing up for email offers. I spot-checked a few of the other ways to earn money to make sure they worked the same way.
Each person’s results will vary. It seems possible to earn at least a little more money than I did. You’d need to participate in what’s essentially a grocery shopping rewards program. You can also get cash back on certain online purchases and by signing up for services such as banking via InboxDollars.
I spent the equivalent of nearly one-and-a-half business days actively trying to make money online with InboxDollars. I earned less than $12 in the process — including the $5 sign-up bonus.
How InboxDollars Pays: Gift Cards, PayPal
InboxDollars offers two primary ways to redeem the money you’ve earned. You can request a transfer to your PayPal account, or you can claim a gift card from one of 42 companies.
You need to make at least $15 to be eligible for any sort of payment. Considering how much time it took me to make less than $12, that’s a significant ask.
Only 10 of the 41 companies with available gift cards have a $15 option; they include Walmart, Target, Starbucks and Amazon. Other gift card denominations available are $30, $40, $50, $100, $250 and $500.
Your first and last name and the email address you used to sign up for InboxDollars must be the same as the information associated with your PayPal account if you want cash instead of a gift card.
InboxDollars says “rewards may take up to three business days” to process.
InboxDollars Review: My Experience With Surveys
InboxDollars aggregates surveys from a number of third-party sites.
The good news: There’s a huge volume of surveys available to take every day. The bad news: You’ll need to fill in your age, gender, income, ZIP code and home state so often that the mere request may eventually force you to clench your jaw.
I attempted to respond to 50 different surveys and qualified for only 18. So my success rate was 36%. That’s very similar to my results with Swagbucks (32%).
This may have been coincidental. But I did appreciate that I failed out of InboxDollars surveys relatively quickly. There’s nothing more disheartening than answering 15 tedious survey questions only to get a message that you don’t qualify to complete the process (and thus make money).
I appreciate that InboxDollars lists the compensation offered in U.S. dollars, right next to every available survey. Often its competitors use some sort of brand points that you have to convert to dollars and cents.
Out of the 18 InboxDollars surveys I completed, only three of them paid more than 25 cents. I earned a combined $2.25 from those three, an average of 75 cents each.
Ways To Make Money Using InboxDollars
InboxDollars gives you at least 11 options to earn or save money.
1. Answer Surveys
If you can will yourself to continue despite the frequent disqualifications, 25-cent payouts and the necessity to repeatedly fill out basic demographic information, you can grind your way to some pocket change.
It may be feasible to answer these surveys if you have time to kill and nothing better to do. But it seems unrealistic to treat this as a job.
2. Sign Up for Services
During my research for this InboxDollars review, the company was offering $250 to anyone who created a new account and set up direct deposit with Chime. It also offered $65 to anyone willing to become a DoorDash driver.
This is found money if you’re already planning to do these things. So it’s not a bad idea to check the InboxDollars offers. However, this doesn’t scale to any reliable, money-making process.
3. Cash Back for Shopping
When I reviewed InboxDollars, it offered 1.5% cash back at Walmart, 1% cash back at Best Buy and up to 4% cash back at Home Depot, among many other offers.
4. Coupons for Shopping
The offers I noticed included $1 off when you buy two Kellogg’s cereal boxes and 50 cents off when you buy two jars of Ragu pasta sauce.
5. Magic Receipts (Shopping Rewards)
With Magic Receipts, you preload items that you’re going to buy onto a shopping list on the InboxDollars site. Then you scan your receipt once you buy those items in a store to get cash back.
The offers I saw included $1 each for any brand of eggs, any loaf of bread and any jug or carton of milk.
6. Watch or Read Content
This seems like a double arbitrage play.
In other words, a news company — mostly Yahoo!, from what I can tell — is paying InboxDollars to send traffic to its posts. In an ad-based media model, Yahoo! is getting paid a certain amount of money for each user who views those advertisements.
InboxDollars is outsourcing that task to you. So Yahoo! is giving InboxDollars some portion of its ad revenue, and InboxDollars is giving you some portion of that.
It’s no wonder that you have to view content for about five minutes to earn a single cent.
7. Paid Email
InboxDollars gives you an on-site “email inbox.” It stuffs this inbox with offers every day. In theory, you can earn a few cents for every offer (read: ad) that you click through and read.
I had some difficulty with this option. Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t.
8. Play Arcade Games
Win prizes and earn a small amount of money by playing “arcade” games such as solitaire. This appears to be a way for InboxDollars to serve you ads and pay you a small slice of the revenue it gets from those ads.
9. Refer Friends
InboxDollars says you can earn a $1 cash bonus for every qualified referral you send its way. In addition, you’ll get 30% of that person’s lifetime earnings.
10. Scratch & Win
There’s a horizontal bar at the top of the InboxDollars website that says, “Scratch & Win.” You can fill in the bar by attempting surveys, answering poll questions and otherwise being active on the site.
There are three tiers of scratch cards you can uncover. These cards look like lottery scratch-off tickets, much like the ones you’d find at a gas station. The first tier pays the least. So you can defer your chance at a scratch-off ticket and wait until you reach a higher tier.
You’ll probably earn just a few cents for each scratch-off card you redeem.
11. Gamification Bonuses
InboxDollars offers a number of gamified bonus opportunities. There’s a bingo card that allows you to fill your card by completing tasks. You can set daily earnings goals and earn a small amount for meeting those goals. There are some bonus multipliers if you combine multiple offers. InboxDollars also sets up to-do lists, and completing all the items on a list can earn you some extra cash.
Is InboxDollars Worth Your Time?
I don’t see any possible way that InboxDollars can be considered a part-time job or side hustle. Making $2 per hour seems like a huge challenge. And it seems quite possible to make less than $1 per hour.
It’s nice to have the option to make money online anytime, anywhere with no boss and no schedule. But I bet I could make more money by walking a few busy parking lots and picking up loose change.
If you like the idea of hammering out some surveys while you’re killing time, go for it. Grabbing a gift card or two per month can be a nice way to get a jump on Christmas or birthday presents.
It also seems worth experimenting with InboxDollars if you shop for your family’s groceries or if you’re signing up for a major service such as an online bank or robo-advisor. But you can probably consider those money-saving instead of money-making opportunities.
Don’t expect InboxDollars to provide a reliable source of income.
Here are some of the best aspects of InboxDollars:
- Lots of options to earn money. The pay per hour may be criminally low. But there’s a “choose your own adventure” feel to InboxDollars. There’s no shortage of options to test and explore.
- Established history of payouts. InboxDollars is 21 years old. No one questions whether it pays out. The company also offers a nice gift card catalogue if you want to get your compensation that way.
- High volume of surveys. In my experience, you’ll most likely get tired of answering surveys long before you run out of survey options on the InboxDollars website. It aggregates surveys from several third-party companies.
- Almost total flexibility. Want to work for less than 15 minutes? You can do that. Want to work by the pool at night on a weekend? You can do that. Tired of taking surveys and want to watch content instead? Knock yourself out.
- Good shopping companion. On the surface, at least, InboxDollars seems like a nice companion for shoppers. You can get some nice cash back offers. If you’re signing up for a service, you can earn a small bonus by doing so through InboxDollars. And its “Magic Receipts” option offers decent rewards for grocery shopping.
Here are some of the worst aspects of InboxDollars:
- Relatively high minimum to cash out. A few InboxDollars competitors let you cash out after earning much less than $15. The Swagbucks minimum is $1, for example.
- High rate of survey disqualifications. Be prepared to deal with rejection early and often. You should expect to fail out of more than half of the surveys you attempt.
- Some brutal options to earn money. Make money by watching or reading content from legitimate websites. That sounds like a nice marketing pitch. In reality, I made two cents for sitting on nine different Yahoo! links for at least 30 seconds each.
- Incessant email and browser notifications. I silently celebrated when all of the InboxDollars emails went straight to my junk folder. The site fired emails my way early and often. I also got a lot of pop-up browser notifications about new surveys in the bottom right corner of my screen.
- Opportunity cost. Even if you’re earning small amounts of money with InboxDollars, you’re spending time on it. That’s time that you could probably be putting to better use economically or socially.
InboxDollars is a legit site that pays its users real money in the form of cash or gift cards. Just don’t expect to make more than a few dollars a day even if you’re spending significant time on the site.
You can probably find some useful cash back offers and grocery rewards as well as incentives to sign up for specific services. So if you’re a shopper, it’s worth browsing the deals you can get through InboxDollars. (There are a lot of similar “shopping companion” options to check out, including Ibotta.)
As far as making money online, there are options that offer better pay, less hassle and that avoid filling your life with even more advertisements.