Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel Review: Scam or Legit Way To Earn Rewards?

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There are numerous ways to earn rewards from home. Many of these opportunities are based online, but some are pretty unique. Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel is one option that stands out from others.

This program rewards you for scanning your grocery items each week. The goal is to collect data about purchases, products, and more.

There is a lot of info to consider before joining this program. That’s why I’ve put together this in-depth Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel review. You’ll learn about pros and cons, available rewards, how the process works, and more. Read on to see if Nielsen HomeScan is right for you.

Table of Contents

What Is Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel?

If you’re familiar with the name Nielsen, you may have heard of Nielsen television ratings. Nielsen ratings are a system used to gauge audience size and other info about television viewing. TV viewers could earn money by providing feedback.

This popular system started in 1950, and they’ve expanded since then. Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel is their modern program. It’s also referred to as National Consumer Program because it’s a joint venture between Nielsen and IRi. These are two major consumer data collection companies.

Panelists are hired to scan the barcodes of products they buy. They send this info to Nielsen to help build consumer data. The scanning is done with either a scanner provided by the company or via a smartphone app. Visit the How It Works page to learn a bit more. I’ll also provide plenty of detail below.

Nielsen HomeScan Consumer panelists accumulate points for scanning items they buy. These points are exchanged for various rewards. You’ll learn more about the rewards system below – potential prizes, how long it takes to earn them, and more. Panelists are also entered into sweepstakes for additional rewards.

Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel Pros & Cons

First, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons. These are collected from panel users ranging from about 2009 to 2017. I found most of this feedback in the comment sections of Nielsen HomeScan review posts. Other sources include forum threads and “earn money online” websites.

From what I read, the program has essentially stayed the same throughout the years. The user feedback from 2009 is pretty much the same as it is now. The only major change was an upgrade to the scanning equipment. Here are the most popular pros and cons I found:

  • The program is easy to understand and use.
  • The program is free to join.
  • The scanner is shipped to you for free.
  • Your opinions and purchases are used for helpful market research.
  • You can easily quit the program if you want or need to.
  • The company pays for shipping and returning the scanner.
  • Some users report good experiences with customer service.
  • You can earn extra points and rewards in various ways.
  • You only have to scan purchased items once per week.
  • You don’t get paid in cash; you receive rewards, prizes and sweepstakes entries.
  • It can take a long time to accumulate enough points for rewards.
  • Some users report poor experience with customer service.
  • The rewards can be hit or miss.
  • The amount of effort isn’t worth it for some former panelists.
  • For some people, scanning items takes several hours.
  • You may be placed on a waiting list for weeks or months before you get accepted.

Overall, I noticed two things when compiling these lists. First, some of the pros and cons are very subjective. For example, there are some who enjoy their customer service and others who don’t. And some people may be perfectly fine with rewards versus cash payment.

I also noticed the balance of pros and cons is about 50/50. To me, this is actually a good thing. It gives you a realistic look at what to expect. The feedback didn’t seem dishonest or embellished. It’s not a perfect program, but it’s not all bad either.

To me, it seems that Nielsen HomeScan is totally legit but not a good fit for everyone. There’s still a lot more to learn about this opportunity though. Keep reading so you can decide if it’s right for you. You’ll also see my final verdict on whether I think Nielsen HomeScan is a scam or legit.

Nielsen HomeScan Eligibility Requirements

nielsen homescan review

Any adult in the U.S. can sign up for Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel. However, the panel is not always available in every area. The FAQ Section says this is because the company targets certain demographics in specific areas.

It’s likely that they met their goal in your area if signup isn’t available for you.They do go on to state that they may re-open registration in your area. So if you’re interested in joining, check back occasionally. Below you’ll see the simple steps to sign up for Nielsen HomeScan.

How To Join Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel

Joining the Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel is pretty straightforward. Just follow these steps:

  1. Visit their signup page and enter some basic info about yourself. On this page, you’ll enter your name, age, location, and contact information. If registration is open in your area, you’ll be moved on to the next step.
  2. Answer a few questions about technology in your home. This helps Nielsen figure out what type of scanner you’ll use. Some people have the option to scan via their smartphone.
  3. Wait for an approval e-mail. According to the Nielsen HomeScan FAQ, most users get approved within a month. But they also say some people get picked immediately and others are put on a waitlist.

From what I read, you may be on a waitlist for a few weeks or months. This 100% depends on the current needs of Nielsen HomeScan. So don’t be put off if you aren’t chosen right away. You may receive an e-mail later on.

How To Earn Points/Rewards With Nielsen HomeScan

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the fun part – how to earn rewards. The main way to earn rewards is through scanning products you purchased.

But I also discovered that there are additional ways to earn points. Below I’ll provide info about each method available. I also recommend watching the how-to video on the signup page.

Earning Points Through Scanning Products
  1. Use the scanner to scan your purchases. You’ll either be shipped a handheld scanner by Nielsen or have access to their smartphone app. You scan every item you’ve purchased each week.
  2. Share your shopping data once per week. You’ll provide the data you’ve collected to Nielsen. This process is not detailed very well on their website. But there is a site for active Panelists. It seems that you’d provide your shopping data there.
  3. Once you’ve entered your data, you earn points. You earn points for each week that you’re an active participant. Nielsen HomeScan also mentions that the longer you’re a panelist, the more points you earn per week.

Again, this is the primary way you earn points. According to Nielsen, scanning items takes about one hour per week. Reviews vary on this – some people say it takes 1-2 hours, but others say it takes more. So it likely depends on how quickly you scan, enter data, and so on.

Participate In Surveys

On the Rewards page, Nielsen HomeScan says that surveys are an important part of being a panelist. To me, this statement makes it seem like you can anticipate surveys on a consistent basis. Your rewards for taking surveys are points, sweepstake entries, and random prizes.

Participate In Studies

Nielsen conducts studies that panelists are invited to participate in. The likelihood of invitations probably depends on if you meet the demographics for the study. The company says you get “additional rewards” for completing studies. So this may mean points, gift cards, sweepstake entries, or small prizes.

Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel Rewards

As mentioned above, the awards vary from small trinkets to major gifts. Below you’ll find a list of gifts that current and former panelists say they’ve received. But first, visit the NCP Online Rewards page. To sum up the page:

  • Rewards are listed in a gift catalog. They’re listed at different point levels, so you can either save up or get smaller rewards.
  • Gifts come in a wide range of point levels. You’ll see some of the diversity in the gift list below.
  • Some rewards pictured on this page include a coffee maker, sunglasses, tablet, and TV. This may not be 100% indicative of what’s always available, but it’s a good look at the overall variety.
  • When you regularly participate in the panel, you’re entered into Nielsen HomeScan sweepstakes. These are held weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
  • Sweepstakes prizes include points, gift cards, and cash. So technically it’s possible to earn cash through Nielsen, but only as a bonus.
  • Participating in surveys and studies will net you more rewards. Though it is not stated, it seems you’ll receive e-mail alerts when these are available.

So, let’s take a look at what some panelists have actually earned. This list is based on blog posts, comments on posts, forum threads, review sites, and more. I’ve compiled a diverse list of small and large rewards.

  • toys
  • misc. gift cards
  • KitchenAid mixer
  • iPod
  • $10 gift card (type not specified)
  • storage containers
  • $20 iTunes gift card
  • reusable shopping bag
  • picture frame
  • toaster
  • sandwich maker
  • blender
  • Nikon camera
  • video game system
  • jewelry
  • home and kitchen items (not specified)

From the looks of it, the rewards catalog has a lot to offer. Of course, you’ll need a significant amount of points for big-ticket items like cameras and video game systems. It’s up to you whether you’d like to save up or indulge in smaller gifts.

Nielsen HomeScan: Scam Or Legit?

The Nielsen HomeScan Consumer Panel is completely legitimate. Here are the main reasons I came to this conclusion:

  • Nielsen is a reputable company that’s done market research for decades.
  • The program has been in place for 27 years.
  • The purpose behind the program is transparent. You provide valuable consumer feedback, and you get rewarded for it.
  • There are no fees for joining or participating.
  • You can quit anytime you’d like without being penalized.

Having said that, I don’t think this opportunity suits everyone. If you’re looking to earn money, this program isn’t right for you. It’s also not the best fit if you want rewards quickly.

Point accumulation takes time. Understandably, many people prefer money, gift cards, or rewards that they can get as quickly as possible.

I think this program is best for people who can view it as a hobby. It’s also great for anyone who genuinely wants their consumer opinion heard. You just invest an hour a week into it, and you get points over time.

It may take awhile to get enough points for big rewards. If you’re comfortable with that, then you may be a perfect fit for the Nielsen HomeScan program.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read my Nielsen HomeScan review, I hope you’ve learned what you wanted to know. This opportunity is definitely different than other options. But if it interests you, sign up to get started.

There are hundreds of other ways to earn money, gift cards, and rewards. Check out the Make Money section to explore our reviews, tips, and more. For even more info, make sure you read the Money Making Apps and Best Survey Sites posts.

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