How to Get Paid to Take Online Surveys

By Christina Majaski on 13 March 2009 9 comments
Photo: ktsimage

Is it really possible to make money for online surveys? Yes. There are lots of reputable marketing companies that run valuable research for major brand companies, and that compensate you for your time. But there are also a lot of copycat and scam companies that try to blend in with legitimate ones. With hundreds, possibly thousands of "Get Paid To" (GPT) sites around, how can you tell the difference?

We scoured the web to find reviews and articles written by real people with real experience. Here are the top tips and top sites that people have found success with.

In this article:

First, some basics if you want to make money taking online surveys.

What does a survey company do?

Survey companies are hired by other companies to prepare paid surveys for new products or television ads before they share them with the masses. Depending on the survey company, in a typical day you could watch a movie preview, read about a new cereal, share your opinions about cell phones, or watch a video about current affairs.

How much will I make?

Survey companies pay in a variety of ways. Some will give you points for each survey that you complete that may be redeemed for cash, merchandise, or entries into giveaways. Some companies will pay you directly when you have reached a pre-set amount of banked money. Still others only give you chances to enter giveaways. Knowing ahead of time what each company offers will help you to make an informed decision on which ones to sign up with. An added bonus to participating in surveys is that many times companies want you to try their new products, so you will receive free items in the mail to test and give your feedback on. In recent months I have tested shoes, gum, deodorant, toilet paper, make-up, perfume, frozen food, and dog food.

How much time will this take?

That really depends on you. Some people sign up with over 40 survey companies — all of which will email when a survey is available. Certain companies send multiple surveys a day while others might send you one monthly. Many of the companies will tell you ahead of time how long they estimate it will take to complete the survey. Most surveys do not take long to complete, and typically, the more time you invest in taking surveys, the more rewards you’ll receive.

How do I get started?

We’ve included a list of survey companies. Most will ask you to fill out a demographic profile so that they can send you surveys that you qualify for. If you don’t smoke, there is no reason to send you a survey about cigarettes. Keep in mind that there will still be many surveys that you will not qualify for.

Many people that sign up never take the time to fill out the profile, which limits the offers you’ll receive, if any. So make sure you take the time to complete any information the survey company asks you for.

Top 10 Best Paid Survey Sites

These sites are characterized by high payouts, an easy redemption process, and real user reviews. They consistently make the top lists of experienced survey takers.

InboxDollars is a popular service and mainly has paid offers as well as compensation for reading emails. They have daily paid surveys for a small compensation. You can redeem once you've reached $30.

Swagbucks is a well-known program with members earning close to a combined 100 million dollars in gift cards and cash. Members can earn points called "Swag Bucks" by watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, and completing offers. It's the only site where members can earn $25 a month doing nothing more than using their mobile apps to watch videos.

Survey Junkie is a popular survey site that pays on a points system. You can convert the points you earn to cash with 1,000 points being equal $10. You will earn 100 - 200 points for most surveys and can cash out via PayPal when you earn $10.

LifePoints members can earn cash or entries into sweepstakes for completing surveys. They are one of the few truly global panels with members worldwide. Members also have access to daily giveaways and raffles.

PineCone Research usually pays $3 per survey (it used to be $5) and the payment can be made via PayPal or check. There's no need to redeem points or save up. You must find a banner ad in order to get access to their registration page. You can usually find one at MyPoints gives you points to click on advertisements, read email, shop, play games, search, sign up for offers, and take surveys. Points are redeemable as gift cards and they have a wide range of merchants to get gift cards from.

i-Say offers points or sweepstake entries for completing surveys. Once you have 50 points ($5) in your account, you can redeem them for merchandise or gift certificates from retailers like Amazon.

Nielsen offers rewards for downloading their software and browsing the internet as you would. They collect anonymous data about how you use the internet. They do not collect any identifying information, including website content, user IDs, or passwords. Sign up with your computer and receive a $5 bonus.

PermissionResearch has more than 2 million members worldwide. Members fill out surveys and download software that monitors Internet browsing and purchase activity.

Vindale Research is one of the oldest survey sites available. It pays out anywhere from $1 to $5. You can also do product evaluations which take more time but earn more money. Reviews pay from $5 to $75.

40+ More Paid Survey Sites with Good Reviews

These are sites that have good, decent or mixed reviews, but not enough reviews were found in general to make a good judgment call. If there are any complaints about these, it's that they have low per survey payouts, not enough surveys, or high payout minimums, but they're still a pretty safe bet if you're looking for more legitimate sites to sign up with. Some don't have specific reviews linked, but have made it to at least a few top lists (that are linked to on the sidebar).

20/20 Research primarily conduct discussions (focus groups, bulletin board discussions, and individual interviews). Offline focus groups take place in Memphis, Miami and Charlotte. Online and telephone interviews are also available.

American Consumer Opinion offers cash payment from $4 to $50, proportional to the length of time it would take the average person to complete the survey.

Amplitude Research (AmpUpNow) registers users for several panels -- Panelspeak Consumer & Technology Panel and B2B Survey Panel. The Consumer Panels pay a minimum of a $2.00 Target GiftCard, whereas the minimum payout for the Technology panel is a $10 Target GiftCard.

Baker Street Solutions offers Amazon gift certificates for completing online surveys, but their product testing opportunities pay $25-$40 cash.

Brand Institute runs a lot of surveys often related to drugs and health products. It may be hard to qualify and there aren't many surveys, but compensation is higher than most. Surveys usually take 15-30 minutes and often offer compensation anywhere from $2.00-$100.00, depending on the project.

BuzzBack provides sweepstakes, gift certificates and cash for studies. Cash surveys pay $1 to $10.

Cash Crate is a popular paid offer site (with a few surveys) with a minimum $20 payout threshold. They have both "free" offers -- signing up for offers that doesn't cost you money upfront, as well as offers that cost you an upfront payment, but presumably you are paid more to sign up.

Clear Voice Surveys sends out surveys regularly, and pay from $1 - $20. If you don't quality for a survey, you still get $0.25. You are paid via a Payoneer debit card or gift certificates at Amazon or restaurants.

ClickIQ (now a part of MySoapBox.com) compensates with point credits that are redeemable for cash. Sweepstakes entries are used as well and from time to time study sponsors may offer an alternate reward. Points can be redeemed when you reach 2500 points ($25).

CreationsRewards offer a variety of ways to earn money: visiting sites, reading emails, signing up for offers, and taking surveys.

CVS Advisor sends online surveys about CVS products and services. As compensation, you are given ExtraBucks, which you can spend at CVS stores. You must be a part of their CVS ExtraCare program to join the panel.

Daily Survey Panel promises abundant surveys, fast and low minimum payouts, and points that never expire. Points are redeemable for PayPal credit or gift cards to a variety of merchants.

Data Intelligence offers points that can be redeemed for a variety of products, including gift cards. There are mixed reviews on this site as there are complaints that their points system is confusing and difficult to redeem in a reasonable amount of time.

Dollar Surveys offers surveys as well as offers, and from the mixed reviews, it's a grab bag of good and bad ones. You much have a PayPal account in order to receive payouts.

E-Poll generally gives 500 to 3000 points per survey completed. You can redeem gift cards at various stores: Amazon, Home Depot, etc. It takes 3500 points for a $5 gift card, 6750 for a $10 card, on up to 17,250 for a $30 one. They give points even when you don't qualify for surveys.

E-Rewards earn gift certificates to retail outlets and online stores for completing surveys. In order to join, you must sign up with one of their sponsors to receive an invitation to join.

EarningStation allows you to earn money and rewards for doing things like taking surveys, shopping online, and watching videos. You earn points that you can redeem through PayPal and for gift cards with popular retailers.

Esearch pays $2 to $10 via PayPal for completing surveys.

Executive Advisory Board is for business professionals and owners. They have higher payouts (ranging from a minimum of $10 U.S. to $300 U.S. or more, depending on the length of the online survey). Also, just for being a member, you are entered each month in a drawing for $250 in cash prizes.

FGI Research conducts research for manufacturers, universities, public opinion firms, media companies, advertising agencies, and service providers. Completed surveys are compensated via cash payment (PayPal only) or entries into their drawings.

Focus Forward offers cash surveys as well as online and offline focus groups.. You need a minimum of $10 in your account to request a check.

Focus Pointe Global coordinates focus groups (online, phone, offline) and pays cash for your time.

Global Test Market will reward you with MarketPoints for every online survey you complete. You'll receive money for every online survey you take, even if it turns out you are ineligible to complete the survey. One MarketPoint is equal 5 cents. Once you reach 1,000 MarketPoints, you can redeem your balance for $50 U.S. dollars.

Greenfield (now Toluna) is an old and well established company with many surveys and compensation range from sweepstake entries to cash. It has long been a respected paid survey site, but recent changes have spurred some more negative reviews.

Harris Poll Online is a well-known as a political polling organization that awards you for taking market research surveys. It also offers points for participating in focus groups. You can redeem your points for rewards and gift cards, and sometimes cash.

Harvard Business School Research hosts psychology and social studies. Compensation range from $5 to $25 (gift cards) for online studies (more if you're a local resident).

HCD Surveys has many current events and political surveys. Surveys are often short and interesting, and usually pay $1.00 - $5.00. Payment is given in the form of points (100 points per dollar) and can be redeemed when you have earned 1000 points.

Mindfield offers surveys worth $1-$5, with a minimum amount of $5 for payout. If you don't qualify for a survey, you will be entered into a monthly contest for cash and/or prizes.

MyOpinionNow gives reward points that can be redeemed for cash and/or gifts. Each 2000 points earned has a cash equivalence of $20, and this is the minimum amount required to begin redeeming your accumulated reward points.

Opinion Outpost (Pro Opinion) gives Opinion Points for each completed survey that are redeemable for cash. 10 Opinion Points = $1.00. Points are redeemable when you reach 50 points ($5). Opinion Outpost’s average survey pays $3 to $10.

OpinionWorld Business sends business related surveys and gives SurveyPoints for participating, which can be redeemed for products or gift cards. 3000 points will get you gift cards worth $25.

QuickRewards pay for you to shop, take surveys, sign up for offers, read emails, visit websites, and play games. What's great is that you can choose between these options when you sign up. If you're not interested in the offers, just choose surveys and you won't get sent emails for offers. The customer service is top notch as well. A pretty good place for anybody wanting to test the waters of offers and other types of paid-to-do options.

Research Participants Institute conducts research projects that pay you to review presentations and provide your reactions and opinions. They have both online as well as in-person projects, including online jurors opportunities. Projects range in length between 15 minutes to 2 hours. You are paid at the end of the month.

SendEarnings is a sister site of InboxDollars, run by the same company. Like InboxDollars, it's mainly a paid offer site, but includes daily surveys for a small compensation. It also pays for clicking on ads in emails.

Socratic Forum offers surveys about e-commerce, technology, software, and business products and services. You can request a check in $5 increments.

Springboard America gives you points when you answer surveys with your desktop computer or smart phone. You can redeem your points for gift cards with popular retailers. Right now, you can enter to win $1,000 just for signing up.

Stanford GSB Behavioral Lab provides an opportunity for individuals to participate in online research being conducted by Stanford faculty members and graduate students. Most studies take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. In general, studies pay between $5 and $15 (as Amazon gift cards) depending on the length of the study. In addition to paying studies, participants can also take part in non-paying drawing studies, in which their participation enters them into a drawing for one or two larger Amazon.com gift certificates.

Survey Savvy pays cash for every survey you qualify and complete, and there is no minimum requirement to request payment.

Survey Spot offers instant games and/or sweepstakes entries as well as cash rewards ranging from $3-$10 for completed surveys.

Toluna (formerly Your2Cents) pays $1 to $5 for completed surveys. If you end up not qualifying for a survey, you'll still get a sweepstakes entry and/or a small cash reward. You can request a check once you have accumluated $10 in your account.

Treasure Trooper is another popular and highly rated paid offer site with a variety of activities that will earn cash.

U30 Group runs a variety of panels for top corporations in the U.S. Most of the opportunities are for product testing, but the surveys that they do have available have high payouts if you qualify (between $5 to $15).

UCLA ABLab runs studies to provide insights into people’s behavior in business and social settings. When you receive an invitation to participate in a study, you will receive instructions for signing up for the study. The study may take place on the UCLA campus or online (i.e., online surveys you can do at your own computer). Studies typically pay $10 to $20 per hour. You will be paid in cash, via your BRUIN card, via PayPal, or in gift certificates or products for each study.

Valued Opinions offers rewards in the form of gift cards from major retailers like Amazon. You must be invited or find an advertising link to join. For each survey you complete, you will receive a reward, typically between $2 and $5 and up to $50 for specialist surveys. Once your account reaches $20 you will be able to redeem your gift card reward.

Viewpoint Forum is a reputable survey site that only accepts new members via current member referrals. You can search for some active forums that have open requests for membership.

Yale eLab conducts research that examines consumer behavior through simple online surveys. You are entered into the lottery for a prize once you have completed the whole study. The odds typically vary from 1/60 to 1/100 and the prizes vary from $25-50 in the form of an Amazon gift certificate. You will see the information on probability of winning and prize before you start any of our studies.

10 Safe and Profitable Tips for Making Money Taking Surveys

#1. Don't pay to work. A legitimate research company will never ask you to pay in order to access their surveys. Some sites are actually "membership clubs" that require a fee in order to get their directory of survey companies. They might claim that their directory is only filled with the best survey sites. But their directory often consists of the most spammy and lowest incentive companies. Just start slow -- sign up for the most reputable ones (listed below) and add more as you go. You don't need to pay someone else to do that for you.

#2. Sign up for research companies, not directories. Some sites make their money through referral fees. They'll get your information and sign you up with hundreds of other survey companies who pay for new users. These might be hard to spot at first because they don't require a fee like the membership clubs mentioned above. Look for the "about us" section and see whether the company actually conducts research on behalf of real clients. Look out for language like "we send you surveys from top survey companies."

#3. Protect your privacy. Legitimate research companies will protect your privacy, so a quick and dirty way to verify if a survey company is on the up and up is to read their private policy terms. Do they "share" your information with their "partners"?

#4. Watch out for paid offer sites. Many sites present themselves as paid survey sites but are really paid offer sites. These sites make money by getting people to sign up for offers, click on advertisements, and provide their email addresses. You can spot these by their super long list of "offers" that you have to go through in order to complete the survey or redeem your prize. They might offer you something like $20 to sign up for a service that costs $5.99/month (presumably you'll cancel after the first month). They might also pay you to read emails and click on the advertisements. Know that your information is most definitely being sold, and it's not something they can hide very well in their private policy terms.

Paid offers aren't necessarily scams. They're doable, just like paid surveys, but it takes a real savvy and dedicated user to sort through all the fine print, keep detailed records, and not mind personal information being sold to the highest bidder.

#5. Watch out for spyware. Some sites require that you download a program so they can monitor your web behavior. Some people are fine with this. Just know that there are plenty of companies that don't require this so if it makes you uncomfortable, skip it and try another site. If you do decide to register, don't use that computer for any online activity that has sensitive information.

#6. Fill out your profile. Now that you know the difference between sites that sell your information versus sites that don't, make sure to fill out your profile on the legitimate paid survey sites. You won't get sent surveys unless you match their profile, so not filling them out will just disqualify you from the beginning. Sometimes you still need to go through a screener survey in order to qualify for the longer survey. Some sites will give you a small compensation even if you don't qualify.

#7. Find out how you're paid. Some pay in cash. Some give points that get converted to cash. Others pay with gift cards, products, and sweepstake entries. Before you take a survey or accept a product review, know how you'll be compensated. Also, after you've done a few surveys for a company, check your account to make sure you're being properly credited and how long you'll have to wait to redeem your points for cash or product. Watch out for any redemption deadlines (some points might expire before you've accrued enough to cash out), and make sure that the gift cards they offer are valuable to you if the company doesn't offer cash.

#8. Be active. Some survey sites send you more surveys if you are more active. They might even send you surveys with higher payouts. Check your account and make sure your profiles are updated so you're getting the most relevant surveys. Also, some sites require a certain amount of activity in order to keep your account active, which means keeping any non-redeemed earnings valid.

#9. Keep records. The only way to decide whether a survey site works for you is to keep records on your earnings and time spent. Some survey sites will provide a higher ROI. If you sign up with a bunch of sites and take any survey that falls into your inbox, you may get discouraged by the spammy, low paying sites and not notice the quality ones that actually make you money.

#10. Have a dedicated email, mailing address, and credit card. Expect a lot of spam, both in your email inbox and real mailbox. And if you're going to try out the paid offers route, definitely make sure to have a separate credit card that you can monitor for identity theft and unauthorized charges. You might also consider doing all your paid survey/offers on a dedicated computer that doesn't have access to sensitive files or online information.

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Guest's picture

Epic list! I'm going to have to try some of these out (and I thought I knew every paid survey site out there!).

Guest's picture
Mikel

Great post,

I think people have to start searching for broad keywords like “paid surveys” for example.That way they only will find a lot of sites, that are paid.Try better searches like:

“surveys with free registration”
for example…

You will find more results on Google that way …

Guest's picture

OMG Lynn this list of survey sites is amazing, I have to say that I have to join a few on your list. I thought I had joined all that I could already. Thank you.

Guest's picture
Satrap

This is a huge list Lynn. I have been participating in online surveys for years. In fact I have created a site where I do share my experience with some of these panels. But there are sites on your list that I haven't even heard of some of them.

Guest's picture
rezze

Hey,- no matter how old you are, this is a very good website for everyone who want to earn money quickly without going outside. I love this site which give very simple and interesting survey for every age group . I have earned many points and won amazon gift card , which operates across the world and gives you access to millions of products!. and they are very friendly with panelists .you got 500 points free for joining.

Guest's picture

very good

Guest's picture
Asad

There are many ways to make extra money in your free time, but there are very few that are as easy as filling out a couple surveys. A few hundred dollars a day can easily be earned just with the click of the mouse because your opinion counts.

Paid survey companies work with major corporations to organize and provide opinions from everyday consumers. As a result of your valuable feedback, you can earn quick money. Some questions are multiple choice, while others may require some writing. Either way, it is entirely possible with the right survey program to earn and extra $200 a day.

This is not difficult work. If you have a job with a computer, you can quickly complete a few surveys during your lunch break. If you don't mind having a laptop in front of you while you unwind and watch TV at night, filling out a survey or two can be done between commercials.

Pay ranges from anywhere to $5 - $50 a survey, which is typically determined on the length of time it takes you to complete the questionnaire. Once you get bored with those, there are options to get paid to watch movie trailers, and some times you can have a little fun by getting paid to test drive cars.

As long as you are at least 18 years old, anyone can start making money by filling out surveys right away. It's a great way to put extra cash in your pocket and cover basic living expenses. After all, who wouldn't want a couple hundred dollars a day just for giving their opinion?

See if you qualify to join the highest paying surveys program available. Only a limited number of people will be accepted to work with the biggest brand names that pay top dollar. Get your chance to earn hundreds of dollars with paid survey review.

Guest's picture
Sonia

One more is missing iwadi.net. It is present in several countries (some of panels use geolocation so you will not be able to use them outside your country) so I can make some extra money while on business trips, while waiting on the airports.

Guest's picture
Matt C

The problem is many survey sites out there pay too little or do not surveys available frequently enough. The survey websites that have paid offers and referral systems tend to be unsuccessful and generally do not pay fairly. I hope people don't expect to make hundreds a day but enough to at least be considered supplemental income.