Looking to earn some extra money from home?
A common question I get asked when it comes to home income opportunities is about market research and online surveys. You can definitely make some money this way, but it might not be enough to reach your goals... depending on what those goals are.
Of course, the other common question is whether they are a scam. In this National Consumer Panel review I'll discuss that. I'll also explain who they are, what they do, and we'll go through the reviews to learn what you can expect if you join.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for National Consumer Panel. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is National Consumer Panel?
National Consumer Panel (NCP) is a market research company that pays users when they participate in online surveys, product testing, and barcode scanning.
As a way to earn extra income, online surveys and product testing are becoming more popular by the day, but not all of these market research companies are good...
With their affiliation to Nieslen Company and IRI, National Consumer Panel, headquartered in Syosset NY... is fortunately one of the more reputable ones.
How Does It Work?
NCP is unique. The way they research and establish shopping trends is primarily through barcode scanning.
If your household qualifies, they will provide you with a barcode scanner or a cell phone app, and pay you to scan your purchases.
It sounds simple enough, right?
When reading the National Consumer Panel reviews it becomes clear that it’s more time consuming than it sounds and may even require a change in your shopping habits to make it work.
For example… at my house we often plan our day to include groceries as our final task before returning home and cooking dinner. That means it’s usually a mad dash to unload the car, unpack our groceries and put them away while getting the kitchen and/or BBQ prepped for cooking.
Of course, by this time, it’s been a long day, and everyone just wants to sit down and eat. Scanning our day’s purchases won’t work with that kind of schedule.
Some people might choose to scan as they shop… but again, it’s time consuming. As you scan each item you must also record where it was purchased, and the price you paid.
The Registration Process
Unlike your typical marketing or online survey company, acceptance is not immediate. They are only looking for specific demographics to meet their requirements at any given time.
You will also have to answer what some might consider to be personal questions. In addition to your name and zip code, establishing a demographic profile can often include household income questions, number and age of family members, medical history, etc.
A lot can be learned when combining that information with your purchases. Sales and marketing opportunities targeted specifically at you for example... as well as more personal profiling such as health and spending habits.
It’s stated (and assumed) that the information gathered is anonymous.
We can also speculate that our cell phones today are tracking all of this information anyway… so National Consumer Panel may be the least of our concerns when it comes to privacy.
On the plus side… signing up is free.
Is National Consumer Panel A Scam?
If you’ve read this far, you’ll know it’s not a scam… but for those just scanning the headlines, or if you’ve been down this road before… it’s worth discussing.
Can you earn money with National Consumer Panel? Is it a scam? There are hundreds of reviews, but reading between the lines uncovers a frustration that many people have.
There are countless market research and online survey companies that really are scams and you can never be too careful. How do you know which ones you can trust?
Fortunately, National Consumer Panel is legit.
As mentioned above, they are a joint venture between Nielsen and IRI (formerly SymphonyIRI Group) which are both reputable companies.
They also have a strong social media presence with hundreds of thousands of follows, and many reviews… which is something you don’t typically see with scams.
Having said that… there are also many complaints, which I’ll get more into in a moment. Complaints though, are part of every business and certainly not an indication (despite what a few upset members may say) that National Consumer Panel is a scam.
Who Is National Consumer Panel For?
National Consumer Panel is definitely best for the organized person who wants to make a few extra bucks… but doesn’t necessarily need it.
There just isn’t a lot of money to be earned here, and if you need to adjust your lifestyle to make time for scanning and recording all of your purchases… it’s probably not worth it (unless changing your lifestyle and habits is something you’d like to do anyway).
Who Is It Not For?
If you’re looking for a more serious way to earn money from home, National Consumer Panel won’t be for you.
The problem is that market research (no matter how much, or how often you participate) provides zero-leverage… meaning you only get paid once for the work you do.
Making money at home today is all about the internet... and the internet is all about leverage.
It allows you to produce something once and earn income repeatedly from it. It’s the perfect tool for passive income… but things like barcode scanning and online surveys don’t work that way.
How Does National Consumer Panel Pay?
Payments are accumulated as points and can be exchanged for gifts cards from companies such as Amazon, iTunes, and Visa. You can also exchange points for retail vouchers and sweepstakes entries.
I couldn’t find any reliable information on how many points you earn for barcode scanning, other than it can take many months (some even claim years) before you can reach the minimum points balance required to cash out… which is 6000.
Aside from barcode scanning… their online surveys pay either 150 gift points, or if you choose… 50 gift points plus 2 sweepstakes entries.
Other benefits to members are 25% off qualifying AT&T wireless plans, which may or may not matter to you.
National Consumer Panel also provides product testing opportunities but there is so little information about it, and so few member reviews, that it wouldn’t be a significant reason to sign up.
National Consumer Panel Reviews and Complaints
Like the majority of online companies, NATIONAL CONSUMER PANEL gets some good reviews, and some not-so-good reviews. Fortunately, the good ones outnumber the bad.
Some of the positives ones mention…
- That barcode scanning can be a real eye-opener and help to change spending habits and keep on budget.
- Getting paid to scan is a good motivation to plan ahead and become more organized.
- It provides the sense that you have a voice and are providing valuable input into what consumers really want.
- People like getting rewarded for things they do anyway (I’m not sure how many people scan their purchases on a regular basis… but then, I’m not the most organized or budget conscious person so maybe I'm missing something).
As far as the complaints go…
- People report technical issues with the app and scanners.
- It takes a long time to accumulate points for small rewards (eg. $5 Amazon card).
- Bar code scanning is time consuming.
What I Like About National Consumer Panel
- If you’re a strict budgeter and organized, it might not take too much time out of your day… and if you’re not, it’s an opportunity to start.
- Earning money (rewards) on your own schedule is always nice.
- Affiliated with well-respected market research companies.
What I Don’t Like
- Getting accepted can be difficult.
- Time consuming for a small payout.
- No passive income potential.
Where Do You Go From Here?
In my opinion, making money with market research can be fun, but ultimately an unproductive use of time. Then again… not everyone is obsessed with maximizing time and productivity.
If you've struggled to make money online or from home, things like barcode scanning, product testing and surveys can be a fun way to get started. In addition to National Consumer Panels, you can also make some extra money is with surveyjunkie.com or you can also make money visiting websites, watching videos and searching the web with Inbox Dollars.
I wouldn’t recommend these sites for those looking to make a full-time income on their own, but there are worse things you can do with your time.
If more freedom and independence is what you want, a better option for those who feel trapped in a job is an online business where you have more control of your life and your income.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope my National Consumer Panel Review was helpful.