Having extra spending money every month can really make a difference, but since no one’s going to hand you money for nothing, how about getting money for doing almost nothing?
There are market research companies that allow you to earn cash for doing something as simple as answering surveys. Others just want you to share information about what items you typically buy. National Consumer Panel (NCP) is a market research company that claims it’ll pay you to do both.
But is this claim for real?
In this NCP review, we’ll verify if it's legit by looking into how you can make money on it, how to join, and if the platform can be trusted.
Let’s start by looking into what NCP is.
About the National Consumer Panel
National Consumer Panel (NCP) is a US-based market research company that specializes in collecting consumer data. Brands use such data to tailor their products/services to be more appealing to consumers. They also use it to develop more effective marketing strategies.
IRi and Nielsen partnered to form NCP in 1987, but back then, it was known as Nielsen Homescan. The name wasn’t changed to National Consumer Panel until 2008.
NCP headquarters is in Syosset, NY, where it has gathered shopping information and opinions from millions of Americans over the years. These opinions have gone on to shape the face and operations of major US manufacturers and retailers.
A lot of established market research companies get this data by giving out paid surveys, but NCP really digs deep into a consumer's life way beyond the mouse clicks involved in online surveys. When you become an NCP member, the company will collect data from you by providing you with a handheld device. You will use the device to scan the barcodes of products you’ve purchased or have at home. The purpose is to gather information on what NCP members prefer buying and using.
You get paid for this, but you will see in our National Consumer Center review that this is not the only way to earn rewards as an NCP member. You can participate in paid online surveys, product testing, and more.
However, note that you can only become an NCP member if you live in the US or Canada. If you live in either of these countries, you’ll have to take a survey before you can become a member.
Through the survey, you’ll provide information about yourself and your family, such as your name, number, and age of household members, zip code, medical history, household income, and more. You need to provide accurate information, if not, NCP will not be able to determine what demographic you fall under.
Your demographic information determines if you can become an NCP panelist. If your demographic isn’t among those brands need consumer insights from, you will not qualify to be a member.
Even if you do qualify, slots are limited. Meaning you might not be accepted as a member until there’s a slot opening.
It can take two weeks or more to get the good news. Once you’re accepted, you’ll receive an email notifying you. Not long after, you’ll receive your NCP handheld barcode scanner in the mail. NCP covers the cost of delivering the device.
Thanks to advancements in technology, you can scan barcodes with your smartphone if you don’t receive a barcode scanner or don’t want to use one. All you need to do is download the iOS or Android NCP mobile app to use the app’s scanner.
If for any reason a barcode doesn’t scan, you can enter the code manually into the NCP device or app. The more barcodes you scan, the more points you earn, and the more rewards you can redeem. Your points can be redeemed as gift cards, prizes, and more.
The data accumulated on the scanner has to be sent to Nielsen once a week. You’ll do this by plugging the device via USB to your computer. From the computer, you can upload the data to Nielsen. If using the mobile app, this isn’t necessary.
As an NCP member, you’ll also get to answer follow-up surveys. These surveys are used to verify your satisfaction with the products you’ve purchased and collect general information. You get points for these surveys, but how many points you get will depend on the survey’s length.
You may also receive other surveys that gather information on how much you spend shopping, where you like shopping, your preferred shopping method, and more. You get points for participating in these surveys as well.
Simply put, NCP rewards you for letting them know what and how you buy, and how you feel about the products. In exchange for this information, you’ll receive points, which you can redeem as gift cards or prizes, but is this arrangement worth the effort?
Our National Consumer Center reviews answers this question by looking into how the NCP platform works.
How Does the Site Work?
Joining the NCP can be a hassle. This is because qualifying to become a member requires that you and your household possess certain requirements. Aside from this, membership slots are limited, which makes getting in highly competitive.
Don’t give up yet, though. By the end of this NCP review, you might find that becoming an NCP member is worth the trouble.
On the NCP website, you’ll have to provide information regarding your age, sex, job, and more. The platform uses all this information to determine if your household falls within the demographics it is interested in for market research.
If your information checks all the right boxes, NCP will email you an invite to become a member. Once you become a member, you can earn points by scanning barcodes of the item you buy, either with NCP’s barcode scanner or the NCP mobile app on your smartphone. Both are free, so no worries, but can you actually make money from joining the platform?
Our NCP review has the answer!
For each product you scan, you get points and qualify for NCP’s quarterly sweepstakes. The sweepstake offers a $20,000 prize to the winner. While winning the sweepstakes is a long shot, it is the only way you can earn cash as an NCP member.
However, you can earn other rewards with the points you accumulate as an NCP member. Unfortunately, these points can’t be redeemed as cash, which is a bummer, but they can be redeemed as gift cards from major retailers, like iTunes, Amazon, Visa, and more. You can also redeem your points as prizes, like TVs, iPads, kitchenware, home appliances, and more.
The gift cards and/or prizes you can get will depend on how many points you have in your NCP account. The more points you have, the higher the value of the rewards you can get. 1,000 points equals $1.
You’ll earn between 20 and 50 points for every purchased item’s barcode you scan, and for each NCP survey you complete, you’ll get between 500 and 2,000 points, depending on the length of the survey.
You can’t redeem your points until you have at least 8,000 points in your account. It can take a long time to accumulate these points, which will test your patience as much as it did mine. Of course, the reward from the gift catalog can be worth the wait.
After exchanging your points for your preferred reward, it can take up to four weeks for your prize to reach your address, which means more waiting. But unlike other paid survey platforms, NCP understands that earning via its activities requires patience. NCP provides for this by ensuring that your NCP points don’t expire.
Since your NCP points can’t expire, I recommend saving up your points until you have enough to get the pricier items in NCP’s gift catalog. NCP also rewards its members with discounts on a variety of products and services. For instance, you can get major discounts on your AT&T service, and from major US retailers.
So, while NCP doesn’t reward its members with cash, it does offer some valuable prizes that can improve the quality of your life. This leaves us with the question of whether the platform can be trusted to deliver on its reward promises.
Our NCP reviews answer this question by looking into if the National Consumer Panel is legit.
Is the Site Legit?
There are just way too many indicators that NCP is nothing but legit.
The company has been around for decades and is backed by two major US market research companies (Nielsen and IRi) that have been around for even longer. NCP is also listed on BBB (Better Business Bureau), where it has an A+ rating.
The company has a good track record among its US and Canadian members when it comes to delivering earned rewards, and its website is scam-free. You also don’t have to worry about spam when you provide your email address.
To earn rewards after joining the platform, all you have to do is keep purchasing the products you normally buy, scan their barcodes, and send the data to NCP. You can also earn rewards by taking surveys and participating in product testing.
In fact, for some of the product testing activities, not only will you get a reward, but you may also get to keep the product you tested.
Once you have 8,000 points in your NCP account, you can cash it out as a gift card, prize, or entry into the $20,000 quarterly sweepstakes.
Due to its strict demographic requirements and limited membership slots, joining NCP is the hardest part. You've got more or less the same odds for getting in as one of those by-invitation-only platforms, like Nicequest. Once you scale that fence, though, the platform opens up as an easy way to earn rewards from the comfort of your home.
It’s just a shame that you can only get cash rewards from NCP by winning its sweepstakes. However, as long as you don’t mind getting gift cards and products as rewards, there’s a lot to profit from being an NCP member.
Based on our National Consumer Panel reviews, here are some noteworthy pros about the site.
- As long as you are qualified to be a member and there are open membership slots, signing up to be an NCP panelist is easy.
- Membership is free.
- NCP is backed by two highly reputable market research companies (Nielsen and IRi).
- You can earn rewards for doing things you normally do – buying your regular groceries. The only extra thing you need to do is scan their barcodes.
- The NCP barcode scanner is free and will be delivered to you for free. The NCP mobile app, which works just like the scanner, is also free.
- There is a wide variety of gift cards and rewards to choose from when redeeming points.
The following cons are based on member complaints and our National Consumer Panel reviews:
- You can’t become an NCP member unless you live in the US or Canada.
- It takes a lot of effort to earn a significant number of points
- The high payout threshold of 8,000 points makes the disadvantage above harder to bear.
- Because there’s no referral program, earning passive income on the platform isn’t possible.
- Qualifying for membership is difficult due to the strict demographic requirements and limited availability of openings.
- You can’t redeem rewards as cash, only as gift cards and prizes.
As you can see from our NCP review, the National Consumer Panel is a safe and legit way to earn gift cards and win prizes, but not make extra money. You can only make money being a member of the platform if you win the sweepstakes, or if you have a way to sell the gift cards you earn.
So, if you’re looking for a serious way to earn extra money to boost your income, the NCP platform might not be for you. If you don’t mind patiently accumulating points and redeeming them as gift cards, you can consider giving NCP a try.
Just remember that your chances of qualifying for membership are slim.