Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

InboxDollars Review – Make Money With Paid Emails, Surveys & Games


  • thumbs-upEarn real cash, not points
  • thumbs-upGet $5 for signing up
  • thumbs-upMany ways to earn & save


  • thumbs-downPayouts may incur fees
  • thumbs-downOne-time offers only
  • thumbs-downStrict inactivity penalties

Could you use a few dollars of extra cash every week? InboxDollars might be the perfect solution for you to pad your bank account with additional income.

With InboxDollars, you can create a small but real stream of extra money by completing relatively simple tasks online, such as visiting survey sites or making purchases with retail partners.

To be clear, InboxDollars is not a scam. It’s a legitimate business with more than a decade of positive user feedback and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

However, it’s also not a get-rich-quick scheme. Think of it as a potentially profitable online side gig and a way to find discounts on purchases you’d make anyway, not as a replacement for your day job.

What Is InboxDollars?

InboxDollars began back in 2000 as a service that provided nominal cash payments – typically a few cents per email – to members who opened and read sponsored emails (called PaidEmails) from companies that partnered with InboxDollars.

If the partner companies allowed, users could earn additional payments, ranging from $0.10 to $25, for taking action requested in the email, such as clicking a link to the partner’s website and enrolling in a trial offer.

PaidEmails was wildly successful, attracting hundreds of retail partners and many thousands of email recipients, and it remains in place today. It has since been joined by a number of other initiatives, including:

  • Exclusive discount and online shopping cash-back offers from retail partners
  • Electronic coupons and payments for using them
  • Free and discounted online gameplay
  • Paid online surveys
  • Payments for viewing advertorial videos

Once you request your first payment from InboxDollars, you receive Gold Membership, which confers additional benefits such as faster payment and better incentives for certain activities.

Today, InboxDollars is part of the Prodege family of brands, which oversees some of the most popular paid survey and market research sites in North America. It’s similar to a number of other legit side hustle sites and apps, including Qmee, Zoombucks, and Swagbucks, which also offer rewards and cash payments for completing simple tasks online.

It’s free to join and use, and you get a $5 sign-up bonus as soon as you activate your account (though InboxDollars reserves the right to discontinue this promotion at any time).

Is InboxDollars Legit?

Yes, InboxDollars legit. It has been around in some form since 2000, making it one of the longest-running paid survey sites in existence. In a world filled with sketchy get-rich-quick schemes and outright scams, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Just don’t expect InboxDollars to make you rich. Most users make only a few dollars per month, and even the most diligent users are hard-pressed to pull down a lot more. An employee testimonial posted on the company’s blog suggests you can earn anywhere from $15 to $55 per month if you log in several times per week and complete the activities available to you at the time.

How InboxDollars Works

Signing up for InboxDollars is straightforward. You need to provide basic contact and location information, as many deals are country-specific, and create a username or password.

Because InboxDollars pays by mailed check or Visa Prepaid card only, no bank account or PayPal information is required. As soon as you create your account, the $5 opening bonus drops into your account.

Once your account is active, you can access the full range of InboxDollars’ discount and income opportunities and begin making money on the site.

As you complete income-generating tasks, InboxDollars deposits small credits into an escrow account tied to your user account. You can request a payment as soon as your account reaches $10.

Payments for non-Gold members typically take about three weeks to arrive in the mail, while payments for Gold members typically arrive one to two weeks after your request.

Limitations & Restrictions of InboxDollars

There are several important limitations that could affect your earnings with InboxDollars.

One-Time Use Restrictions on Some Offers

Some InboxDollars advertisers only let you take advantage of a given discount offer once. Other offers allow you to participate more than once. If you’ve already completed the offer and it’s subsequently discontinued for any reason, it’s removed from your list of available offers.

Processing Fee

Depending on your preferred payout method, your payout request may incur a processing fee. PayPal is generally cost-effective, but you may still incur a processing fee charged by PayPal.

Inactivity Penalties

InboxDollars requires that you either confirm receipt of a PaidEmail or enter your account and perform a task (such as completing a survey or using a coupon) at least once every 10 days.

If you don’t, your account becomes inactive and you’re rendered temporarily unable to request a payout. You have six months from the day your account becomes inactive to request that your account be reinstated.

Once the account is reactivated, you have full access to any accrued funds and regain the ability to request a payment. However, if you fail to reinstate your account within six months, you permanently lose access to the account and forfeit all unpaid earnings.

Cash Value of Account

The money held in your InboxDollars account has no value until you clear the $10 threshold. If your account is permanently removed due to six months of inactivity, you forfeit all unpaid earnings.

Key Features of InboxDollars

InboxDollars offers many different ways to earn and save money. Highlights include coupons, discounts with digital and real-world retailers, surveys, and paid emails.


InboxDollars offers access to retail and grocery coupons from brands such as Scott, General Mills, and Pillsbury. Depending on the coupon and brand, you can either redeem these online or at a physical store. For every redeemed coupon, InboxDollars credits $0.10 to your account. You can also earn up to $0.25 per day just for printing coupons.

Discounts & Cash Back

Dozens of online and offline retailers offer ways to save money (generally, discounts and cash-back opportunities) through InboxDollars. Actual savings or cash-back earnings vary, but it’s possible to get up to 15% back on select purchases and even greater discounts at the point of sale.


InboxDollars partners with market research companies offering short surveys (generally not more than 15 minutes) with payouts ranging up to $10. You receive credit once the company receives and reviews your survey, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to one week.

Note that you can’t provide nonsensical answers in an effort to complete surveys as fast as possible. If the survey company notes inconsistencies in your responses or finds obvious signs you didn’t take the survey seriously, it throws out your answers and you don’t get paid.

In most cases, you can attempt the same survey multiple times per day, but survey credits are generally limited to one per survey.


InboxDollars’ original feature pays you to read up to three sponsored emails per day from InboxDollars’ retail partners. Payment is always $0.02 per email.

To acknowledge that you received and read the email – and to receive payment – click the acknowledgment link at the bottom of the message body. InboxDollars uses your answers to its General Profile Survey to make your emails more relevant to your interests.

Some PaidEmails come with additional earning opportunities that pay between $0.10 and $25 (subject to change). These might include enrolling in a free trial with a retail partner.


For every short video you view all the way through, you earn virtual scratch-offs that typically pay no more than $0.25 (but can pay $25 or more in rare cases). Some videos you can view once, while others permit unlimited viewing and earning.


InboxDollars offers access to dozens of online games through the GSN Games family. Though you can take advantage of free game trials (typically 30 days), you can’t earn rewards until you create and fund a WorldWinner account (an online gaming rewards account) through GSN.

You can earn up to 10% cash back on the total purchase of token packs and boosters, and certain GSN tournaments allow you to apply extra game winnings to your InboxDollars account.

Once you deposit real money into your InboxDollars Cash Games account, which connects to your WorldWinner account, you can earn a small kickback for each dollar you spend on weaponry, add-ons, points, or other game-related features.

Note that this is basically a discount on the cost of gameplay, not a way to earn income.

Pros & Cons

InboxDollars’ top advantages include earning real cash, an automatic sign-up bonus, and lots of ways to earn and save. Its downsides include possible payout fees, a mobile-unfriendly website, no charity donations, and strict inactivity penalties.


  • Earn real cash online
  • Automatic bonus just for signing up
  • Lots of ways to earn and save


  • Payouts may incur fees
  • Some limits on offer availability and earning potential
  • Strict inactivity penalties

Pros of InboxDollars

InboxDollars is a legitimate way to make money online.

  • You earn real cash. InboxDollars offers several ways to earn real cash, not wishy-washy points. You have plenty of cash-earning opportunities too: reading PaidEmails, redeeming coupons, completing surveys, referring friends, conducting targeted searches, and viewing advertorial videos. While payments for these tasks are typically quite small, they add up over time and can definitely supplement your income from your day job or other side gigs.
  • Automatic bonus for signing up. When you sign up, InboxDollars immediately credits $5 to your account. It’s one of the few online rewards or cash-back platforms that offer sign-up bonuses.
  • Lots of ways to earn and save. InboxDollars offers many different ways to save and make extra money, so whether you’re a big fan of online surveys or prefer to earn by reading emails, you can find a way to benefit from membership. Many competitors are much more narrowly focused on coupons or cash back.

Cons of InboxDollars

InboxDollars has some notable disadvantages to consider before signing up.

  • Payouts may incur fees. Depending on your chosen payout method, cashing out your account could incur a fee that reduces your actual earnings. For instance, PayPal charges a small processing fee on each transaction. This can become costly if you have limited time and resources to devote to InboxDollars.
  • Website is not mobile-friendly. InboxDollars launched at the turn of the millennium, and the site looks like it hasn’t had a major redesign since the early 2010s. Indeed, for mobile users, it can be frustrating to spend a lot of time on the site. InboxDollars does have a mobile app, but downloading it takes time and it’s not super user-friendly.
  • You can only take advantage of discount offers once. InboxDollars doesn’t let you take advantage of the same exact discount, coupon, or PaidEmail offer twice. Once you click on the offer link and redeem, you’re barred from doing so again, regardless of how long the offer remains valid. That said, some broad types of offers, such as discounts on flower delivery or language tapes, tend to recur frequently, so you may just have to wait a few weeks to find a similar offer.
  • Some discount offers aren’t exclusive to InboxDollars. Since many of InboxDollars’ offers are similar to sales or discounts online retailers provide directly to their customers, you may save more by bypassing InboxDollars, navigating directly to each participating retailer’s website, and taking advantage of offers and discounts as often as you please. That’s especially true for discounts and coupons on things you’d buy regularly, such as food staples and household goods.
  • Strict inactivity penalties. If you go 10 calendar days without acknowledging a PaidEmail or using your InboxDollars account, your account becomes inactive and you lose the ability to request a payment. If you go an additional six months without requesting reinstatement, you permanently lose access to your account and any unpaid earnings. This policy is stricter than most of InboxDollars’ competitors.
  • No charity donations. The InboxDollars platform doesn’t allow you to donate your earnings to charity. While not everyone using online rewards and cash-back sites is interested in passing their earnings along to those in need, the lack of a charity option at InboxDollars is a big drawback if you’re serious about using your free time and energy to “pay it forward.”

How InboxDollars Stacks Up

InboxDollars is a Web 1.0 original — one of the first legitimate websites that paid users real money to interact with brands in the comfort of their homes.

It has come a long way since those early years and attracted many imitators in the process. Let’s see how it stacks up against another popular consumer app: Swagbucks.

Rewards CurrencyCashPoints
Redemption Minimum$10$1
Inactivity Timeout10 days12 months

Final Word

People and companies have been advertising digital get-rich-quick schemes since the dawn of the Internet. That’s not about to change. But there are also plenty of legitimate, legal ways to make money online — and sometimes a bona fide living — online.

You just have to know how to sort wild-eyed claims of instant riches and massive cash rewards from sustainable strategies. As in the real world, slow and steady usually wins the race.

With this in mind, InboxDollars clearly offers some value for realistic, clear-eyed folks who want to add a few extra bucks to their weekly bottom lines or save on purchases they’d make anyway.

You absolutely can earn money with InboxDollars. As long as you don’t expect your relationship with the platform to change your life overnight, you’ll probably do fine with it.


  • thumbs-upEarn real cash, not points
  • thumbs-upGet $5 for signing up
  • thumbs-upMany ways to earn & save


  • thumbs-downPayouts may incur fees
  • thumbs-downOne-time offers only
  • thumbs-downStrict inactivity penalties
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
Small Business

How to Start a Side Business or Hustle While Working a Full-Time Job

About one-third of American workers have at least one side gig. Balancing the demands of a side gig, freelancing operation, or startup business alongside your day job takes planning but can radically boost your income. Learn how to start a side business or side hustle while working a full-time job.

Read Now