How InboxDollars Works and How You Can Earn Real Cash
If an overly clogged email account has ever led you to wonder, “If I had a dollar for every message answered…,” then you can stop right there. It’s possible. InboxDollars is an online rewards club that pays members cash for performing specific online and mobile activities.
When you read an email, take a market research survey, play an online game, watch a video, or do any number of small online activities — you earn money.
Is this true? Or too good to be true? Read on as we go through the entire InboxDollars site and online process to find out.
How Does InboxDollars Work?
InboxDollars is essentially an intermediary between you and the brands or advertisers that want to reach you. They operate according to a four-step process:
1. Brands pay them for customer input.
2. They recruit members.
3. Members do online activities such as completing surveys, watching videos and TV, redeeming free food and grocery coupons, shopping online, etc.
4. Members earn real money (not points).
Sounds simple enough, right? Brands want to reach real consumers, and you, as a consumer, want to get real cash.
What Brands Work With InboxDollars?
The company has partnered with notable brands across many different industries, including Netflix, Target, H&R Block, Walmart, and Publishers Clearing House, as featured on their homepage.
For their partners, InboxDollars offers an abundance of active users — 2 million in the US and UK, according to their latest media kit — who are always online, love looking for deals, and have already agreed to engage with their ads for cash.
Brands can reach these users in a number of ways. They can opt for email campaigns, banner ad placements, cross promotions on social media, or a presence on the InboxDollars mobile app. Probably most appealing to brands is that all these efforts can be targeted. Whether their product would be perfect for a 30-year-old father of two or a 50-year-old woman who loves a good sale, brands can easily reach their desired demographic thanks to the site’s member segmentation.
Plus, with the ability to keep track of every click, view, and sign-up, brands only pay when they get results.
How Do You Sign Up?
To participate, you have to first sign up as a member on the site (inboxdollars.com). Not only is this extremely easy, you’ll get paid $5 just for doing it.
The sign-up box is one of the first things you see on the homepage. Simply enter your email address, create a password, and then click the confirmation link in your first email (what the company calls PaidEmail). Already, you’ll get your first $5 as an official member.
What Online Activities Do I Have to Do?
Logged-in members will see a “My List” box on the upper right side of the site. This list contains all the activities you can do to start earning cash.
This includes a basic profile survey about things like marital status, education, race, income, children, etc. Personal information, yes. But it’s used just for profiling purposes. It allows you to receive surveys and other earning opportunities that are relevant to you, so you should answer as accurately as possible. This starting survey takes about 10 minutes and earns you another 50 cents.
Next, you can watch the app’s short how-to video, and earn another five cents. (Don’t worry, you’re just getting started and these cents will add up!)
Other activities might include watching TV, reading an email, taking a survey, and liking InboxDollars on Facebook. Not only do you get paid for completing each item on the list, you get an additional 50 cents for completing the entire first list (which takes just a few minutes, really).
There are six general activities to earn money:
1. Get paid to read emails.
InboxDollars sends you PaidEmails based on participation. Members who actively participate receive up to three PaidEmails per day, while members who aren’t active may not receive any. (Note: Since most advertisers are marketed towards the U.S., members in other countries may not receive regular PaidEmails.)
These emails usually include an offer for the advertised product or service — some may even be opportunities to earn additional money. Whether or not you choose to accept these extra opportunities doesn’t matter. As long as you confirm that you have read the PaidEmail, your account will be credited.
2. Take paid online surveys.
Paid online surveys are provided and managed by the brand advertisers themselves. Since a survey is usually intended for a target market, a member has to first qualify to take it. (For example, a young mother may be asked her opinion about nursery items or baby food.)
Once you qualify, completing these surveys is relatively quick, easy, and even kind of fun. They usually take from three to 25 minutes and can pay from 50 cents to $5. Some may even pay $10 or more, depending on the demographic profile.
3. Watch videos.
Even a 15-second video can be too long sometimes. If something doesn’t catch your attention immediately, it’s all too easy to click the next button or simply close the window. Brands and advertisers, however, need you to view their videos. Whether it’s a movie trailer, new product feature, or cooking demo, advertisers will pay for a captive audience. And InboxDollars, in turn, will pay you.
4. Get rewarded for playing games.
If you’re already playing games online, why not get rewarded for it? InboxDollars offers over 30 of its own free games (e.g., Monkey Bubble Shooter, Giant Hamster Run, Candy Jam, Klondike Solitaire) where you can earn Scratch & Win tickets for different cash amounts. If you’re a more serious gamer, you can also join GSN Games for an 18% cashback on every dollar spent on GSN Games.
5. Cashback for online shopping.
Do you shop online? Do you like deals? The app sends you discounts, free samples, and cashback percentages off your total purchase. The exact amount depends on the retailer and products, but if you shop through the link provided on the site (or app), you can expect to get some of your money back from every purchase.
Note: Groupon has partnered with InboxDollars, and now offers 5% cashback for every item purchased. Credits usually take 5–7 days to reflect and purchases must be made through the InboxDollars website to apply.
6. Coupon cash rewards.
InboxDollars has a virtual library of coupons for groceries, home, beauty, and more. All you have to do is select and print the ones you want, redeem them at the store, and you’ll receive an additional 10 cents for each coupon you use. This is an easy way to save and earn in one go.
There are other ways for members to earn cash. You can get a spin on their Spin and Win Wheel, interact on social media using their WinIt code feature, surf on their search engine, or refer a friend (for $1 and 30% of their earnings). Keep checking the site for new activities and updates, and you’ll find yourself with more ways to earn a buck.
Examples of What You Can Earn
For some hard figures, here’s an idea of what a few simple activities can earn you:
- Sign up to receive a free MacDonald’s sample = $1.50
- Completing a 10-minute survey = 25 cents
- Download a free eBook of 100 Diabetic Friendly Recipes = 50 cents
- Sign up for Target Redcard = $3
- Try Uber Eats = $5
- Enter the $150K Home Makeover Sweepstakes = 50 cents
- Get free Tide laundry samples = $1
Swagbucks: An online rewards site that pays you for doing the things you’re already doing online: watching videos, surfing the web, playing games, and taking surveys. Swagbucks also offers a $5 sign-up bonus and rewards its members in swag bucks (naturally). One hundred swag bucks is equal to $1, and you can either redeem gift cards (once you reach 300 swag bucks) or cash out from Paypal (once you reach 2,500 swag bucks).
PrizeRebel: This site isn’t as extensive as others, as it specializes in online surveys and a few other activities. It operates on a point-based system (100 for $1) and easily allows you to cash out directly through online gift cards (Paypal, Amazon, eBay, for example).
Branded Surveys: Formerly MintVine, the company is now owned by marketing research firm Branded Research, Inc. Though it’s a very well-designed site, payouts tend to be a bit small (1,000 points equal $10). However, the site does try to compensate by offering focus groups, online shopping, or even giving points if one is unqualified to complete a survey.
How Does InboxDollars Get Paid?
InboxDollars has been in the game for quite a while. Founded in 2000 by Daren Cotter (during his second year of college, no less), the company has since acquired SendEarnings (2005), expanded to the UK with InboxPounds (2012), and then into Canada with DailyRewards (2014).
The business model, as well as the websites, for all these brands are pretty much the same across the globe. Every time a certain activity is completed — a finished survey, a redeemed coupon, a watched video — InboxDollars gets paid by its advertisers. In turn, its members receive a portion of this payment for their part in completing these activities.
How Do I Get Paid?
Members need to have a minimum earning of $30 in order to redeem cash. Once this amount is reached, you can simply log in, click “My Account,” and select “Request Payment.” You can select your preferred payment option — either through traditional check, Paypal, or InboxDollars ePayments (gift cards, Prepaid Visa Card, or donations).
All payment requests, unless otherwise noted, incur a $3 processing fee and are only transacted on Wednesdays. For non-Gold Members, this can take at least 10–16 days to process (and another two weeks to mail, if you requested a check). After your first payment, however, you automatically become a Gold Member and any payment requests will be processed the next Wednesday.
Tip: The best day to submit your request is before midnight on Sunday, 11:59pm CST, if you want the payment to be processed within 10 days.
All InboxDollars ePayments (powered by TANGO) will also incur a $3 fee but be processed the same day, by or before 3pm CST.
Is InboxDollars Legit or a Scam?
Read emails, watch videos, play games, and earn real money (not points). This sounds like the makings of a scam. But on the contrary, InboxDollars is a reputable online rewards club. Founded by Daren Cotter of CotterWeb Enterprises, Inc. in 2000, the company has since built a massive community of over 2 million members, paid out over $60 million in cash, and been included in Inc.’s Fastest Growing Private Companies list six times. Bonus points? It’s a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
You’ve Got Mail
While you’re probably not going to get rich using InboxDollars, you will get paid. The site offers so many activities — reading emails, shopping online, watching videos — that it’s hard to resist earning extra cash to do the little things you’re already doing online.