Are you interested in converting the spare 30 minutes you have a day into either extra cash or free products?
Do you have strong opinions you aren’t afraid to share?
Do you have a computer or a smartphone and good internet access?
If so, you may want to consider signing up for paid survey sites.
Online survey sites are generally run by companies interested in people’s opinions on anything from new products and services to what’s happening in the world of news and entertainment.
Some only focus on surveys, while others reward you for a variety of tasks related to their site, ranging from answering survey questions to watching videos to shopping online.
The rewards generally come in the form of points, which you can exchange for either cash or gift cards.
However, while there are plenty of survey sites around — and therefore plenty of opportunities to earn some money on the side — it’s important to find the ones that actually reward you for your time without compromising your privacy.
Some less-than-ethical sites will be more than happy to pass on your private information to third parties without your permission, which means you can sometimes get contacted by companies you’ve never provided your details to.
If you’re interested in keeping your private information private and making money with top paying sites, read on to find out how to avoid scams and identify legitimate survey sites.
We’ve also done the homework for you with our list of nine of the best survey sites around.
How Survey Sites Work
Generally, you’ll need to sign up (for free) to become a member of the survey site you choose.
At the very least, you’ll need to provide your name and email address.
Some survey sites will ask for other basic details such as your age, gender, marital status, family demographic, and even where you live.
All of this information will form part of your profile, which is then used to “match” you to relevant surveys.
In conducting surveys, market research companies usually have a very specific target audience in mind.
So if your profile matches what they’re looking for, you’ll receive an invitation to participate, although some sites will also allow you to log in to your account to view available surveys.
Whether you have a profile with the survey site or not, most survey questions will begin with a short screener to determine if you’re indeed the audience they’re looking for.
Screeners could ask anything from your interests, likes, and dislikes to how old your children are.
If you’re not screened out of the process, you can then go on to complete the survey, after which you’ll be rewarded with either a certain number of points or a specific amount of cash.
Usually, the longer the survey, the bigger the reward.
When you’ve accumulated a minimum amount of points or cash, you can exchange it for a gift card, often to a variety of popular retailers like Amazon or Walmart, or you can cash out in the form of a check or through your PayPal account.
How to Spot a Scam
While answering survey questions sounds like a simple enough thing to do to earn some extra cash, the sad reality is that the internet is awash with companies who can’t wait to get a hold of your personal details to spam or scam you.
If a paid survey site has any of the following, it should set off alarm bells for you:
- You’re required to provide your credit card details or pay a membership fee of some sort.
- It’s not clear how many points are needed to receive a cash out or gift card, or the goal posts shift constantly.
- They come with very bad reviews when you do a Google search.
9 of the Best Survey Sites to Make Money Online
Still interested in spending your free time earning some side money?
Here are nine of the best survey sites that are not only legitimate, but pay well.
One of the reasons for the popularity of Swagbucks is its versatility.
You don’t just earn cash from taking surveys.
You can also earn from other online activities such as watching videos, doing a web search, and purchasing items from online shops.
All of your activities are rewarded by a point system, also called “Swagbucks,” which can then be redeemed for either gift cards at popular retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, or for a cash payout through PayPal.
They also offer a sign up bonus that’s worth $10, which you can use if you spend at least $25 at a Swagbucks featured store.
2. Survey Junkie
With over 10 million members, you can be confident of their legitimacy when signing up with Survey Junkie.
Unlike Swagbucks, Survey Junkie is focused solely on online surveys — matching you to questionnaires based on your profile.
Market research companies conduct the surveys on behalf of major brands, seeking your opinions on new products and services.
You earn points when you complete surveys, which you can then exchange for e-gift cards or a cash out through PayPal.
3. Pinecone Research
Pinecone Research is one of the more exclusive survey companies in that you’ll either have to wait for your request to join to be approved or obtain an invite through one of their affiliate sites.
However, you don’t just take surveys with Pinecone, you also get to do testing on new products before they hit the market.
Depending on the project, you may even get to keep the product after trying it.
As with most other survey websites, you earn points for completing surveys, which you can redeem for cash or prizes, including a prepaid virtual Visa card.
4. Ipsos i-Say
Ipsos i-Say is part of a global consulting and market research company with a solid reputation not only for conducting surveys but also for other market research techniques, like in-person focus groups.
And it’s easy to make money fast from doing surveys with the company.
After setting up a free account with Ipsos, you can either log into your account to check for available surveys or wait for them to send you an email invite when a new survey is available.
The surveys seek your opinion on anything from global brands to entertainment, advertisements, and more.
The reward options are extensive with Ipsos, including Starbucks and Amazon gift cards, or you can request for cash to be transferred directly into your PayPal account.
They even run a sweepstakes, which you can enter for a chance to win tickets to live sports, music, comedy, or theater events.
5. Vindale Research
If you prefer to earn your rewards in cash and not points or free gift cards, you should consider opening a free account with Vindale Research.
They even offer a $1 bonus just for signing up.
The main drawback of Vindale is that you need a minimum of $50 to obtain a cashout, which may take a good amount of time (and surveys).
So if you’re looking to earn extra cash fast, this may not be the site for you.
6. Opinion Outpost
Another survey-only site that pays you to answer questions from “businesses, governments, public bodies, and similar organizations interested in the views and attitudes of the people who use their products and services.”
Opinion Outpost even donates $10,000 a month to the American Red Cross in honor of the time that people take to share their views — at no extra cost to Opinion Outpost members.
Points earned can be redeemed for PayPal cash or gift cards at stores, including iTunes and Amazon.
While you can access surveys via the Toluna website or through email invites, you’ll still have to answer some screening questions before qualifying.
It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete a survey, which can be done on your computer or via your Android or Apple smartphone.
They even reward you for creating polls and discussion topics on their site.
You’re rewarded in points, which you can exchange for cash, gift cards, or sweepstakes tickets for great new gadgets or getaways.
Points expire 12 months after they’re earned, so you’ll need to make sure to redeem them before they’re automatically deleted from your account.
The interesting thing about SurveyClub is that they’re not just an online survey site like most of the others mentioned earlier.
On top of answering surveys online, you could find yourself being invited to take part in location-specific market research, such as focus groups, product testing, clinical trials, and taste tests.
There’s even a “job board” where you can search and apply for the highest paying survey opportunities in your local area.
Because SurveyClub also works as a recruiter for other market research companies, you’ll not only earn money from doing surveys they send you (which you can cash out after accumulating at least $25), you’ll also receive direct cash incentives from taking part in on-location market research activities.
When you answer survey questions on YouGov, your opinions don’t just get shared with the companies that have commissioned them but may also be featured in the news as well.
YouGov will ask your opinion on anything from your favorite brands to breaking news to what you watch on TV.
Their data are actively quoted in both traditional news broadcasts and social media outlets, which they promise to email you if your opinion is featured.
Surveys can be done on a computer but are also cell phone-optimized or can be answered via their app.
As a survey taker, you’re rewarded in points that you can exchange for cash or gift cards to a variety of popular retailers, including Kmart, Macy’s, and Nike.
Start Earning Extra Money Taking Surveys
On the right sites, answering survey questions is a really simple way to earn some extra money.
Your best chance of achieving this is by dedicating a set amount of time each day (or week) to taking surveys.
While the reward from one survey may not seem like much, the points do add up, and you can find yourself with an easy source of extra income.