You’ve seen the ads for survey companies all over the place. InboxDollars seems to be one that pops up a lot. It sounds like a really good gig- you sit on the couch all day answering surveys and making easy money by doing easy things like taking surveys, watching video ads, redeeming coupons, playing online games, searching the web, and shopping online. It sounds a little too good to be legit. We decided to try it out and review it. Or more to the point, I asked my wife to try it out. And she kindly obliged. She signed up with the intent to stick with it until she was able to see some money in the bank so we could give as complete a review as possible.
Starting Out Hot… But Not For Long
When you start off with InboxDollars, you get a few big wins. My research expert (wife) started off with a $5 signup bonus, and a few surveys got her to $10 before we knew it. At first, we were pleasantly surprised. Not outrageously lucrative, but not pennies per hour either.
These quick earnings didn’t last long. After the first chunk of surveys, she started getting surveys with fairly long pre-survey qualifying questions (which were basically a survey unto themselves). Virtually every one of these would determine that she was not eligible to take the actual survey, and when she was eligible, the survey would yield a few pennies. Sure, they’d give you ‘spins’ on a roulette-style wheel, theoretically giving you a chance to win various prizes. But it soon became apparent that their spinner wasn’t as random as it appeared to be. Again, at first it would spit out periodic wins, but before long, it would only give out entries to a sweepstakes (virtually worthless). At this point, we would have cashed out and delivered a review, except that InboxDollars has a $30 threshold for payment.
Slow Slog Forward
After a month or so of not qualifying for any surveys, she gave up on even attempting any. I’m surprised she even stuck it out that long! But what about the other things that InboxDollars claims you can do to earn money? She could refer friends (they’d have to be active users), but this would be downright cruel. She could sign up for offers, such as book clubs and other memberships, but this would involve spending more money than she’d be earning.
In short, she was left with a bunch of bad options. She decided the least time consuming way to reach that $30 threshold was opening emails from InboxDollars, yielding a few pennies at a time. She also did watch a few ads on their app, although this was very time consuming for a small payout. She kept this up for another 6 months until she finally had enough to cash out!
No Straightforward Payment
Surprise, surprise, there was nothing easy about cashing out. In the first place, InboxDollars takes a ‘processing fee’ out of your payment, regardless of how you get paid. Secondly, they wait several weeks to process your payment, during which time you need to keep using InboxDollars, lest they declare your account inactive and cancel your payment (I found several accounts of this happening). However, if you jump through all their hoops, they do pay (most) of your earnings. Finally, after 239 days of participating in InboxDollars, we got $27.38 in Starbucks gift cards.
Technically InboxDollars is Legit, But There’s a Lot Better Out There
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call InboxDollars an outright scam, but it sure comes close. Technically they are legit, following every letter of the law. However, they definitely lead you on with some easy bait and then make it very very difficult to reach the cash out threshold (without spending money elsewhere).
The bottom line is that if you’re looking for ways to make a little extra cash, there are many many better ways to do it than using Inbox Dollars. For example, I mentioned several months ago that I was letting Google do a little market research on me. This is strictly passive income and has so far worked with no catches (I’ve already cashed out $25, and will be cashing out another $25 next week). Or for a little more effort, you can make a decent side income with any of these 99 side hustles. You’ll notice that some survey companies even make the list- just not InboxDollars.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.