How to earn money with MyPoints

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If you plan to make money by taking online surveys, one of the biggest challenges you may face is being disqualified. As with other websites where users take surveys for money, users of MyPoints often are deemed ineligible because of their backgrounds, and if you can’t complete many surveys, you can’t earn many rewards. That was my experience with MyPoints, which I tested over the course of five days.

Here’s what else you need to know about MyPoints before signing up:

What it’s like

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The website’s dashboard generally is user-friendly, sporting an uncluttered and easy-to-use interface. It clearly spells out how many points you’ll earn for a given survey and provides an accurate estimate of how long it will take to complete. If a survey is marked with a star, that usually means it will be closing soon, according to Angela Valley, senior vice president of marketing for MyPoints.

Since the site is primarily an aggregator, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the dashboard and the actual surveys. For example, it wasn’t always clear whether I was taking a survey or a “pre-survey” that’s used for qualification purposes. I’d start answering questions and suddenly get a message that the partner site hadn’t found a survey I qualified for. I was allowed to continue answering questions — which often were repeated — until I found a survey that fit my profile. (I gave up after nine rounds of that on the first day.)

The Payout

For the most part, you get 5-30 points for visiting websites that pay MyPoints an advertising fee. Many of them come by e-mail (BonusMail), so I would recommend either adding a special filter that automatically moves emails from MyPoints to a separate folder, or using a separate free e-mail for this program. You often get bonus points for signing up for e-mail newsletters or registering as a member, so having a separate e-mail would be best in that regard.

You can also earn points by taking surveys, playing flash games, using specific grocery coupons, using their Search toolbar, shopping through their online mall portal, and other activities. I primarily just stick to the e-mails, and run through them in batches when I’m waiting for some process to run.

The payoff

After spending nearly an hour a day for five days on MyPoints, I earned 758 points (including 30 points for answering profile questions when creating my account). The company doesn’t spell out the details of point values on its site, but according to Valley, “members can redeem for as little as 700 points for a $5 gift card.”

If you want cash, however, you’ll need at least 3,970 points, which yields a PayPal payment of $25. That means each point is a worth a little over half a cent. Based on that, I made an average of $1.01 cents per hour, excluding points earned for answering the profile questions. Your rate per hour may differ from mine, so you’ll have to decide if that is the best use of your time.

Points can also be redeemed for travel miles on a United MileagePlus account (the minimum is 6,900 points for 2,500 miles). You can also redeem points in the form of gift cards, but the point values will vary. For example, I found a $3 eBay gift card for 480 points (that’s about the same value per point as the PayPal cash option) and a slightly better deal for a $5 gift card to Barnes & Noble for 700 points.

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