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Making money online has been the promise of so many online survey sites and survey companies, and for a good reason, too. Everyone is looking for the best way to earn a little extra money in their spare time.
It would be nice if you could work from anywhere, be it your bed, a local cafe or a hotel on the other side of the world. And real survey sites allow you to do just that. Fill out online surveys in your free time from wherever you happen to be.
Panel Bucks is just another one of those online websites that promise a lot of extra cash to complete surveys. But is it worthwhile, or a waste of time? I’m writing this Panel Bucks review in an attempt to outline the pros and cons.
What is Panel Bucks?
For new users and potential members, the Panel Bucks website is a survey platform that offers members real cash and free gift cards in exchange for completing online surveys, participating in focus groups, or working as a mystery shopper.
The online surveys ask a wide range of consumer opinion-related questions. These questions could be about new products or demographic information to help a consumer goods company focus on serving a specific market niche.
Panel Bucks offers a variety of paid online surveys.
What’s in this for you?
These programs give you the task of visiting a website or trying out a product and then giving out your feedback. In return, you get paid either in cash or with rewards, like an Amazon gift card. Each survey program has different payout rates, payment methods, and payment thresholds.
The basic idea here is that the more different survey websites you join through Panel Bucks, the more paid surveys you have access to. And you usually have to participate in a lot of surveys to make this grind worthwhile.
It’s a great job for a stay at home parent or a college student. It probably has the greatest appeal for someone who might not have 8 continuous hours on a daily basis for a full-time job, but might have 15-20 minute increments throughout the day.
How does Panel Bucks work?
Panel Bucks collects and displays a list of survey websites, which you’ll find when you use your Panel Bucks login. Panel Bucks has vetted these companies to ensure that each of them is:
- A real market research company, and
- The survey company is operating a legitimate paid survey site
In other words, the benefit of Panel Bucks is that they do the legwork on these legit survey sites so you don’t have to.
Some of the best survey sites on this list include:
- Cash from Home
- Ipsos Panel
- Swagbucks Survey
- Survey Junkie
- Opinion Plus
- iSurvey World
- Pinecone Research
How to Join Panel Bucks?
The registration process is a fairly straightforward one. You’ll input your name and email address on the home screen. From there, you’ll be registered to receive survey emails as they come out from either Panel Bucks or another survey company.
However, the catch is Panelbucks is only available in 4 countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. It’s not surprising as a lot of market research companies will only conduct paid surveys in these countries.
After signing up, here’s where it gets tricky. The website turns into some sort of search engine in which every click earns them a commission from one of these third parties.
Panel Bucks Red Flags
One thing you’ll notice about Panel Bucks is that the website makes a lot of big claims. Some of these claims include:
- $150+ per hour for work at home opportunities
- $2 to $50 to test out new products
- $10 to $50 per hour as a mystery shopper
- $3 to $75 for online surveys
- $30 to $100 for participating in focus groups
Almost all of these seem to be too good to be true. And they are. Let’s break down a couple of these claims:
$150+ per hour for work at home opportunities
For full time work, this is a $300,000 salaried position. Seriously? Look deep inside. If you know you couldn’t qualify for a $300,000 per year job, why would anyone give you that kind of money to do any work part-time?
$3 to $75 for online surveys
Most surveys pay $1 to $2 each. And that’s for the best sites. Most sites will usually give you reward points, which you have to accumulate before you can cash out.
But $75 for a survey? Most of the time, when you see $75 for a survey, you’ll complete a lot of work, give the company a lot of personal information, just to find out that they closed the window right before you! What a coincidence!
Too bad you didn’t get the chance to earn that $75. Time to move on to the next survey. But the company still got your information. For free.
$30 to $100 for a focus group
Again, this is a lot of money. It might be true. Or it might be a waste of time.
Overall, Panel Bucks poses as a website with many advantages. I’ll try to breakdown how these alleged advantages work.
For starters, the list of actual survey sites is small, featuring only 10 websites or so. You can easily find more with a simple Google search. So for a survey aggregator, Panel Bucks doesn’t seem very impressive.
Secondly, and for the main problem, some of the sites it promotes aren’t even legitimate or useful. It promotes iSurvey World and Survey Club, both of which are other survey aggregators and not direct survey platforms.
Panel Bucks also seems to direct the users to a lot of phishing websites which are frequently blocked by antivirus software. That is if you’re lucky enough to have a good one. Therefore, instead of Panel Buck making the process easier, it just makes it longer and more cumbersome.
A $25 Signing Bonus
Wow, sounds unreal, right? Well, it’s because it is. Here’s the ruse. It’s not a signing bonus. It’s a signing bonus “opportunity.” If you’re a regular on this kind of website, you know this one word makes all the difference.
My doubts were later confirmed when I read the fine print at the end of the page.
It reads as follows:
“The $25.00 bonus opportunity can be awarded and paid by the survey/reward companies that are listed on our website. Some of the survey/reward companies offer a $5.00 bonus for joining their website. Each company has its own set of rules on how to earn and to receive payment of the bonus. We do not personally pay out our users/subscribers we simply provide you with these companies.”
User support and community
I haven’t personally contacted customer service. I have, however, read many reviews, all of which were boiling down to more or less the same point. Customer support doesn’t even get back to you.
As for their Facebook so-called “community” group, it’s, once more, just a promotional channel. It doesn’t offer any form of support or answer any questions.
Is Panel Bucks legit?
This is a difficult question to answer, because the website puts out a LOT of disclaimers. First of all, it does say that there is no guarantee you’ll ever earn any money. Second, Panel Bucks does provide the opportunity for people to find other survey platforms for free. You’re not charged any money for using Panel Bucks.
With that said, there is a lot of bait-and-switching, which makes you feel like you’re being taken advantage of. And when you’re using a website to refer you to other survey sites, you want to feel like you can trust those recommendations. And you really can’t. Not when you know that Panel Bucks is making money every time you go with one of their partner sites.
Panel Bucks isn’t directly a scam site. They won’t ask for your money or any more personal information than you’re comfortable putting into a survey. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Panel Buck is legit, either.
- Not really any good things about Panel Bucks.
- It might act as a good reference if you’re new to the online survey world.
- If you have good antivirus software, you might be introduced to decent surveys.
- Virtually everything.
- Overinflated claims bring lots of users in so they can get commissions. Then they do a bait and switch, leaving you feeling like you wasted a lot of time.
- User interface is not smooth, and there are a lot of spammy website links.
- You might put in a LOT of work, for not much money (or any money). Definitely not the easiest way to earn.
- You have to establish your own account at EACH referral website.
Wrapping Up Our Panel Bucks Review
This wasn’t a tough decision to reach. The cons greatly outweigh the pros, which makes me inclined to not recommend Panel Bucks.
However, if you go in with the right mindset, you can get some benefit out of the hassle. You can use it as a search engine from which you can cherry-pick survey platforms that look legit. But you’re probably better off finding these legit survey sites on your own by reading other reviews like this one.
Overall, Panel Bucks’ claims are unfounded, their promised pay is overly exaggerated, and their user-interface is subpar. I would steer clear of it if I were you.