Paid online surveys attract many people since it’s an easy way to make money online.
Who wouldn’t want that?
I’ve resisted touting survey sites because, for the most part, I’ve felt that they waste too much time and effort.
Sure, you can make a few bucks here and there with a survey. You might even score an in-depth webcam-enabled interview that nets you $40 or $60.
However, getting decent-paying surveys is a crapshoot, and best not relied upon for a steady income.
Or is it?
I went through the hundreds of survey sites that are out there and found the 5 best paid online surveys you should consider joining.
Below are an additional 15 that, while they aren’t as good as my top 5, they are still worth joining to maximize your number of survey invites.
My 5 Best Paid Online Survey Sites
Opinion Outpost leads off this list by keeping things simple.
I’ve been recommending them since I first started this site way back in 2007, and their longevity is proof enough that they are as legit as they come.
Register an account, answer surveys, get paid in cash. They make the process as easy as possible and are committed to providing you with as many surveys as you qualify for.
If you’re after the highest paying online surveys, then look no further.
Survey Junkie is home to over 5 million members, and so far, no major complaints about lack of surveys or payment delays.
A survey can take around 10 minutes to complete.
You earn points after finishing a survey. You can then have it converted into cash via PayPal (or Amazon gift cards) once you reach the $10 payment threshold.
Generally, you can earn from $10-$15 an hour with Survey Junkie surveys.
TO JOIN: Create an account, fill in your profile, and wait for Survey Junkie to match you with their surveys.
You’ll be notified when surveys are available. Complete them, then earn points.
Swagbucks isn’t just a survey site. It provides dozens of ways to earn money by doing ordinary online activities, such as watching videos, playing games, online shopping, searching the web, and so on.
Swagbucks has been paying people around the world over $600 million in rewards and they’re not stopping anytime soon.
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I’ve personally cashed over $1,000 in rewards from Swagbucks.
You can answer surveys and polls daily, which take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete. The coolest thing about Swagbucks is that you can even receive consolation points if you don’t qualify for a particular survey.
Generally, you can earn around 30 to 150 Swagbucks per survey. That’s probably around $6.50 an hour. You can then have your Swagbucks converted into cash or vouchers, or you can use these to join Swagbucks-run contests.
TO JOIN: Create an account (and be awarded $5 for signing up), fill in your profile, then explore what Swagbucks has to offer.
Pinecone Research is probably my favorite paid online survey company in this group.
Surveys come in at a flat rate of $3 per survey and generally take around 10 minutes to fill out, making this the highest pay-per-hour survey site you can join.
Your first check will be issued on completion of your first survey.
On top of normal surveys, you may be sent new products in the mail to try out. You get to keep whatever they send on top of being paid to answer questions about it.
TO JOIN: Create an account here, confirm your email address, and fill out the demographic survey to immediately start making some money.
InboxDollars is another site that offers paid online surveys that pay you in cash instead of points.
From their website, InboxDollars has paid over $80 million in cash rewards to its members for answering surveys, as well as doing relatively simple tasks, such as watching videos, playing games, and shopping (through cashback).
TO JOIN: Sign up on their website (and get a $5 bonus just for signing up!). You’ll then have to answer a few simple demographic questions, such as your income, race, education, and other information that will help them match you with surveys you’re eligible for.
15 More Survey Companies to Join
The following companies are legit and are worth joining if you want to maximize the number of surveys you get each month. I’d suggest clicking through to all of them and seeing which ones feel like they’re worth joining.
- American Consumer Opinion
- Global Survey Group
- Maru Springboard America
- Panda Research
- Survey Voices
- Harris Poll Online
- Valued Opinions
- Branded Surveys
That wraps up my list of approved survey companies, but keep reading to learn how to maximize your earnings.
Frequently Asked Questions About Paid Online Surveys
The following questions are probably the most-asked questions about online surveys, and it’s worth going over the answers to these for good reason: they’re going to save you a lot of time.
How much can you really make taking surveys?
Yes, you can make some money.
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But most of the time, the amount is totally exaggerated.
- Yes, you can earn an extra $500 to $1000 a month answering online surveys, but this would take up all your time throughout the day (8 working hours or more).
- Yes, you can get paid just by joining online survey sites, but you can’t withdraw that signup bonus immediately. In most cases, you’ll need to earn your first $20 before requesting a payout.
- Yes, there’s no stopping you from joining all the survey sites you can find, but some just pay pennies.
Realistically, you can earn an average of $5–$10/hour for paid online surveys.
You could be picked for special $50-per-survey gigs, but this rarely occurs.
How long does answering surveys take?
The time you need to complete a survey varies completely.
Some surveys are as short as regular sign-up pages, while others are part of a full-blown study.
If you’re planning to do this on the side of a full-time job, or during downtime at school, then you’d probably just commit an hour or two for surveys.
Is everyone qualified to take surveys?
Generally, the best survey sites welcome individuals 16 years old and above.
Countries allowed to join vary, but they’re mostly available for everyone around the world. The problem lies in the payment method since some countries do not have PayPal options, while others cannot accept remittances.
Why do these survey sites pay you, anyway?
Brands, companies, and organizations will pay a premium just to know what and how their target audience thinks.
Opinions of survey takers such as yourself shape the products and services that these brands develop and how they are marketed.
What types of questions can you expect to be required to answer?
You can expect to be asked about your activities, interests, and hobbies.
You’ll also likely be asked about your spending habits and decisions; for instance, what makes it likely for you to choose a brand over another?
Essentially, expect questions that will help a brand develop new products or fine-tune existing ones.
How do you get paid?
Depending on the survey site you chose to join, you can either be paid through:
- Cash – Straight to your PayPal or a bank account
- Points – You can use these points to buy stuff from the survey site’s store, or convert into cash
- Gift cards – If you love shopping online and prefer to be paid with Amazon gift cards or other types of online gift cards, some survey sites provide this option.
- App store credits – Maybe you’re just answering surveys because you need extra cash for your games and apps. If this is the case, you can actually get paid with Google Play credits.
How to Make Paid Online Surveys Worth It
There are literally hundreds of survey sites around, but they’re not built equally.
If you decide to answer surveys for money right now, it’s important that you choose only the best and highest-paying online surveys.
Doing this saves you a lot of time and headaches that scammy survey sites may bring.
1. Calculate how much your time is worth.
The first thing you should do before taking any online surveys is to calculate the least amount of money you are willing to make per hour.
Typically, this is done by taking your current yearly compensation and dividing it by 2,080, which is 52 weeks per year multiplied by 40 hours per week.
Use this hourly rate to determine the value of your time.
If you are unemployed, don’t assume that your time is free.
2. Learn how much each survey is worth.
It’s easy to get sidetracked by a supposedly easy survey that takes just “minutes” to complete.
For example, a survey that claims to take 20 minutes to complete and pays $3 may not really end up making you the equivalent of $9/hour.
Because many surveys require a pre-qualifier survey, you may end up working 10 minutes on the pre-qualifier before you even get to the real survey. That drops your earnings significantly. And if you fail the pre-qualifier, you’ve just wasted 10 minutes of your time.
If you have a selection of surveys to choose from, choose those surveys that pay you at least $10/hour.
Also, it’s far better to spend more time and effort on surveys that promise to pay $50+ even if they do take more time to complete because, once you’re in, you’ll probably be webcam interviewed.
That may sound intimidating at first; however, webcam-enabled interviews are better because they last a shorter time and are more likely to send you a payout.
3. Download online survey mobile apps.
If an online survey site announces that it has a mobile app version of its platform, download it.
Online surveys are best performed when you are already wasting time standing in line at the store, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, etc.
They are usually not the best use of your time when you are sitting at home and could find many other (and better) ways to make money.
4. Choose survey sites with low payout thresholds.
Back in the early 2000s, a steady crop of survey sites popped up and promised large amounts of money to survey takers.
What they didn’t advertise was the fact that survey takers would not be able to cash out until they had reached $100+ thresholds. By the time such thresholds were reached, the sites had either disappeared or just didn’t have enough work for their survey takers.
Before you commit to working with any online survey site, read the site’s fine print about payout thresholds.
Alternately, if you’d rather collect gift cards, find out how much you need to spend to obtain those gift cards. You don’t want to be almost at your points goal for payout only to learn that your survey site shut down.
5. Don’t game the system.
Many survey takers try to fool survey sites by deliberately lying on pre-qualifying surveys and claiming to have tried product X, have children ages 2–4, etc.
While such lies may initially get you qualified for a higher number of paying surveys, eventually, your lies will catch up with you.
How does this happen?
Survey sites track survey takers and create profiles on them. Some survey sites work with other survey sites.
If your supplied information doesn’t match up across different platforms, or even across different surveys, you’ll eventually be found out and banned from these sites.
6. Use survey sites as a stepping stone.
Online surveys can lead to better-paying opportunities.
Oftentimes, survey companies collaborate with clients that want more direct feedback than just online answers.
Once you are recruited into a more “live” panel, your pay can jump from a few dollars per survey to $100 or even higher.
How to Know Which Paid Online Survey Sites to Avoid
The survey sites on our list are legit, but you’re probably going to want to search for new ones, especially when there is a lack of surveys on some of the sites you’re working with.
Here are some telltale signs that a survey site is not worth the time or effort.
When you do a search, it turns up nothing or mostly negative reviews. Survey sites that are trustworthy are talked about and even praised by their users. They also have proof that these survey sites indeed pay.
They ask for payment. A legitimate survey site will NEVER ask you to pay in exchange for surveys.
They ask for personal information. You should not be asked to provide your social security information, driver’s license information, or bank account information (if they’re not going to pay through your bank account).
Their websites look sketchy or outdated. If they can’t be bothered to update and maintain their website properly, they probably can’t be bothered to pay their members, either.
They continually disqualify you for surveys. Of course, there are surveys that you’re not going to be qualified to answer or to be paid out. But if it’s proving to be too difficult to even be qualified for surveys, it might be wise to just cut your losses and move on to another site.
The Bottom Line
Paid online survey sites can be a good way to supplement your income.
The caveat to this conclusion is that you should be aware of how much time you spend filling out those online surveys.
Valuable surveys should take up the majority of your time and energy.
Less valuable surveys are better off being filled out when you are bored and/or waiting for something else, such as a dental appointment.
All of those offer higher-paying alternatives for similar lines of work.
Which of these paid online survey sites have you encountered or signed up for? Can you share your experiences with them? Tell us in the comments!