You have probably seen the advertisements for paid survey sites in various corners of the Internet. These ads make pretty big promises:
Get paid to take surveys!
Earn big money in your spare time!
No money to join!
It’s easy to have a cynical reaction to such promises. There are a lot of scams out there. But the following five paid survey sites are on the up-and-up and can offer you a tidy little side hustle. Here’s what you need to know:
How Paid Survey Sites Work
Survey sites start by asking you for your personal and demographic information. You can trust that credible sites (such as the ones listed here) will not disclose this information to any other party. This information is used to choose participants for surveys.
Generally, the sites will offer several types of surveys and trial offers. Free surveys are completely free for you to take part in, and you receive compensation for your time. Offers, on the other hand, might cost you a small fee to take, but you receive payment for taking part. The offers are generally for subscription services, so it is up to you to cancel the subscription before the trial period is over.
Not all survey takers will qualify for every survey. For many surveys, you will have to answer several preliminary questions to determine if you qualify. If you are screened out, most survey sites will not pay you for that time.
When you have earned money through the survey site, you will receive your earnings as a gift card, Paypal cash, or a check, depending upon the site. Most sites have a payout minimum that you must meet before you receive your money.
In terms of surveys, Swagbucks continually works to bring in higher paying and better surveys for their users and they distinguish themselves with a very low cash-out minimum of just $3. You can also engage in any of their other earning platforms to reach that threshold. Other ways to earn include shopping online with partner retailers, watching videos, playing games, referring friends and more.
Read our Swagbucks review to learn more about the benefits and how to get started.
Harris Poll Online
Taking surveys with Harris Poll Online earns you HIpoints—generally between 75 and 150 points per survey. You can redeem your points for gift cards only (there are no cash payouts), and you need 1,250 HIpoints for each $10 gift card you redeem.
Harris Poll has a relatively high rate of screen-outs for potential survey takers, but if you screen out of any particular survey, the site awards you 15 points and an entry into their quarterly $10,000 sweepstakes, so your time is not completely wasted. In fact, if you are disqualified quickly, you might find that being screened out and earning 15 points is a better deal than actually completing a survey.
Harris Poll Online only emails participants three to four surveys per month, so it is up to you to check out potential surveys on the site to really earn money from them.
Though you can take surveys with CashCrate, this site is not a survey site first and foremost. The surveys offered on the site are from CashCrate’s partnership with another company. That means your earnings through surveys are lower on CashCrate than they can be elsewhere.
Instead, you are going to get the best bang for your buck through the offers on this site. There are free offers on CashCrate, as well as trial offers. The trial offers are often also initially free, although they do require a credit card in order to sign up. Provided you set a Google reminder to cancel the trial before your credit card is charged, you can earn free money with these offers.
CashCrate also provides users with referral cash. For every person you refer, you receive 20% of whatever they make, plus 10% of anything that people they refer make.
The payout minimum is $20 and arrives via paper checks. You can read our review of CashCrate to learn more.
Opinion Outpost is remarkable for having a high qualification percentage for survey takers, meaning you will waste less time on surveys that you end up being screened out of. In addition, if you end up being screened out of a survey with Opinion Outpost, the site enters you into a quarterly drawing for $10,000.
Opinion Outpost will email survey takers about two surveys a day, providing you with the number of points you will receive and the time it will take to complete each survey. These surveys tend to be geared toward your demographic, so you are less likely to be disqualified from them.
Each point you earn with this site is worth $0.10, meaning 200 points = $20. There is only a 100-point minimum ($10) for cash out, which you receive via PayPal instantly. You can also earn MileagePlus Award miles with Opinion Outpost.
PCH Online Surveys
PCH stands for Publisher’s Clearing House, although your earnings are not dispatched in the form of a giant check. The points you accumulate with PCH go towards e-certificates for places like Overstock, Amazon, and Papa Johns.
One warning – check the amount of points needed in the webshop for a certificate, as they are for set amounts. I’m a dummy, redeemed for $20, when the certificates are typically $10, $25, $50 and up.
Unlike CashCrate which automatically sends you the check monthly, you have to actively go to the PCH Online Surveys site to request payout.
Survey Junkie is one of the biggest names in the online survey business with over 5 million members. Unlike other survey sites on this list, Survey Junkie acts as a kind of middleman between users and the market research companies looking for survey participants. Once you join (for free!), you provide the site with an email address where you will receive invitations to take surveys.
Unfortunately, according to some reviews, you will also receive many email solicitations and other spammy contacts in addition to the surveys. According to Survey Junkie spokesperson Thomas Ensch, “We do NOT sell any of our users’ first party data to anybody.” As far as I can tell, the additional emails that some reviewers have complained about are the kinds of trial offers you will receive from many survey sites. An easy way to handle this issue is to create a dedicated email account for your Survey Junkie correspondence.
Each survey you take earns you between 15-60 points, and you will even earn 2-3 points when you screen out of a survey. The payout minimum is $10, or 1000 points, and you are paid via PayPal.
Earning money by taking online surveys is not going to be anyone’s path to riches. However, if you are willing to put in the hour it takes to fill out the initial profile surveys, the time spent on answering survey questions in your spare time is well worth it.