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 X 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
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.
I’ve personally cashed over over $1,000 in rewards from Swagbucks.
You can answer surveys and polls daily, which take a maximum 10 minutes to complete. The coolest things 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, vouchers or used to join Swagbucks-run contests.
TO JOIN: Create an account (and be awarded with $5 for signing up), fill-up your profile, then explore what Swagbucks has to offer.
If you’re looking for the most trustworthy and well-established survey sites around, this should top your list.
Vindale Research has been around forever, and it pays members in cash straight after each survey. No need to convert points into cash, since this New York-based company will deposit your earnings into your PayPal or other bank accounts.
TO JOIN: Create an account today, as some surveys pay up to $100 each.
The downside to Vindale Research is that it matches you with surveys based on your traits interests, which mean there is no guarantee you’d be chosen for a particular survey.
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 company 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.
Opinion Outpost rounds out this list by keeping things simple.
I’ve been recommending them since I first started this site way back in 2007, 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.
10 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 see which ones feel like they’re worth joining.
- American Consumer Opinion
- VIP Voice
- Global Survey Group
- Springboard America
- Panda Research
That wraps up my list of approved survey companies, but keep reading to learn how to maximize your earnings.
5 Truths to Paid Online Surveys
The following questions are probably the most-asked questions about online surveys…and 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.
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 do surveys take?
The time you need to complete a survey varies completely.
Some 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.
Can anyone qualify to take surveys?
Generally, the best survey sites are welcome to 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).
How do you get paid?
Depending on the survey site you chose to join, you can either be paid by:
- Cash – Straight to your PayPal or other 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 and 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 headache 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. Keep payout thresholds low
Back in the early 2000’s, 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.
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.
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 much higher paying alternatives for similar lines of work.