By: Stacy Garrels | Updated July 28, 2022

Do online surveys really pay you?

Yes, online surveys really do pay. When you complete them on legitimate online survey sites, you’ll get paid rewards for sharing your honest opinions with brands and companies. 

Rewards can include Amazon gift cards, Walmart gift cards, and other free gift cards, PayPal, cash, or prepaid credit cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo.  

With most online surveys, you can complete them in an app or on mobile web. This makes it easy to make money during your spare time from your Android or iPhone device. You can get some cash back for things you’re already doing online.  

Where can I take paid online surveys for money?

There are a number of places where you can take surveys or give consumer feedback in order to make money. 

Market research companies will gather feedback from focus groups (in person or online), telephone surveys, and survey opportunities that you’ll find on online survey sites. 

Stacy at Swagbucks explains how paid online surveys work.

How do paid online surveys work?

Paid surveys work by paying you for giving your honest feedback to market research and survey companies. 

You may be asked to do product testing and give feedback, or to answer questions about new products, a side hustle you’ve tried in the past, pet food, or new flavors of potato chips. Market research companies want consumer opinions about everything! 

With paid online survey sites, you’ll be told up front what the survey topic is and how much it will pay you if you qualify for it and answer all of the survey questions. Typically, you’ll need to reach a minimum threshold (anywhere from a few dollars to $50) before you can request payment. And it can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks for your payout reward to process. 

You don’t get paid seconds after completing a paid survey, but you will definitely get paid. It’s a fun part-time side hustle to make a little extra cash. 

How much money can you make completing surveys?

  • Per Survey: You can typically make $0.25 to $3.00 per online survey.
  • Per Month: $50 to $250 a month is a reasonable figure that you could earn for taking surveys. To reach the upper end, you would need to answer surveys everyday and dedicate 1-2 hours each time. Survey takers who reach this figure usually complete survey while doing other things, like watching TV or at their child’s sports game.
  • Per Year: $1,000 to $4,000 a year is realistic if you complete surveys daily. Since you can take surveys while you’re watching TV, on an airplane, or anywhere you have your smartphone and the Internet, it’s not hard to do survey every day. You’d have to earn $2.74 to reach $1,000. Put in the time taking surveys and it is doable.

You get out what you put in

On Swagbucks, there are members who earn more than $10,000 a year taking branded surveys and completing other site activities like playing trivia and answering daily polls. There’s also the potential to make no money from doing surveys if you sign up for a survey site and just forget about it. You get out of paid online surveys what you put into them.

Where does the money come from for the paid survey site to pay me?

The money comes from two main sources:

  • Market research companies
  • Advertisers

Market Research Companies

Market research companies work with brands (like Nike or Kellogg) and ad agencies to do market research. They want to know what consumers think of their products and services. What colors and flavors will they buy? What price are they willing to pay?

They create surveys for consumers to give their opinions, but they don’t have survey takers. That’s why a market research firm will partner with a survey site like Swagbucks. Swagbucks has hundreds of thousands of survey takers: its site members.

For every completed survey, the survey site gets paid. And legitimate survey companies, like Swagbucks, will share a portion of the earnings with you for completing the survey. Usually it’s about 50:50. Everyone wins.

  1. The market research company gathers data from surveys.
  2. Swagbucks gets paid for connecting survey takers to surveys.
  3. You get paid for completing the survey.


Advertisers are another way that survey sites earn money to pay consumers for completing online paid surveys. That’s why you’ll see banner ads and sponsored products throughout the survey website.

How do you get paid for surveys?

How you get paid for surveys can vary from company to company, but you will generally get paid in points or rewards currency that you can redeem for gift cards, cash, and prizes. 

  1. Take the survey.
  2. Earn the reward. (Usually it is cash, points, or virtual currency.)
  3. Cash out your earnings for a gift card or PayPal or other reward being offered.

Swagbucks, for examples, rewards you with its own prize currency called SB. On MyPoints, survey takers are paid in points. And unlike most survey websites, on InboxDollars survey takers earn dollars, not virtual currency or points.

Usually, you’ll have a few payout options. Popular payout options include Paypal cash, free gift cards, a prepaid Visa card or Mastercard, or a check payment. 

Some of the best paid survey sites are even offering crypto rewards now. On Swagbucks, for example, you can take paid surveys for Bitcoin. Cash out your earnings for a free crypto gift card voucher to get Bitcoin.

Minimum Amount to Cash Out

With all online survey sites, you do need to reach a minimum earning amount before you can cash out. (This is true of every rewards app though, survey or otherwise.)

Commonly, you need to reach $10 – $25 in order to cash out. On Swagbucks, you can cash out at $1 with an Amazon gift card. Swagbucks is by far the easiest survey site to earn rewards and cash out on. You could sign up for Swagbucks today and cash out the same day with a $1 reward.

Most survey takers generally try to build or hoard their earnings until they reach a higher amount, like $50 to $100.

Can I sign up to multiple survey sites?

Yes, as a survey taker you can sign up to take surveys on multiple survey sites. 

Survey takers who are the most successful at hustling in extra cash usually participate in a number of survey club sites. This will give you a higher number of surveys you can take and increase your earning potential. 

Additionally, the best survey sites offer attractive sign-up bonuses for joining. These sign-up bonuses can include extra cash, sweepstakes entries, or a free gift card. 

More Survey Sites, More Fun

Signing up for more than one online survey site can keep the experience fun. Since you’re doing surveys in your free time, it should feel fun.

From time to time, you may hit a wall taking paid online surveys on one particular site. Maybe the sites seems especially long or especially boring. Or, you’re only find surveys that pay under a dollar and you want to take the highest paying surveys out there.

If you’re taking online surveys on more than one site, you’ll be able to take the most surveys covering the most topics and maximize your earnings. Join multiple survey sites and you’ll make the most money online.

Which paid survey sites are legitimate?

There are a number of legitimate paid survey sites for you to make money. The following is a list of some well-known survey sites that pay survey takers cash for completing surveys. 

Many of these paid survey sites also offer other earning opportunities, including trivia, cash back shopping, playing games, and watching videos. 

Happy businesswoman using phone outdoors

How to find scams and fake survey sites?

While there are many legitimate paid survey sites, there are also scam survey sites out there as well. 

If you’re evaluating a site to see if it’s a legitimate survey site, there are some red flags to look out for: 

  • Earning claims that sound too good to be true. No one can make $50+ an hour doing online surveys, or hundreds of dollars per survey. It won’t replace a full-time job salary. At best, it’s a tidy side hustle to make extra cash. If the survey site is promising ridiculous amounts or claiming you can quit your regular job, run away quickly. 
  • Does the survey site have positive news coverage? Anyone can place images of news logos on their website. Do a Google search (selecting the filter to only get results from “news” sources. You’ll see that Swagbucks has been positively featured in New York Times and InboxDollars has been well reviewed in Forbes and Yahoo! Financial. For fraud sites, there won’t be any news mentions–unless it’s to warn you to steer clear. 
  • No clue who is running the site. On legitimate sites, there will be clear, in-focus photos of the company’s leaders and other team members. The homepage will link to a company bio page. You can find more information about these individuals in LinkedIn profiles and on other credible sites. 
  • You’re asked to provide your credit card or banking information. It should always be free to join a paid survey site. Only fake survey sites will want your money upfront. You should never have to provide your credit card or banking information to sign up. 
  • You’re asked for your driver’s license number or social security number. Legit survey sites do not need this information from you when you sign up.
  • No Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy. A legitimate site will link to their terms and conditions and privacy policy on the homepage. They’ll let you know exactly what data they collect, for what purposes, and how it’s stored. Additionally, they’ll indicate when these terms are updated and who you can reach out to in compliance with any questions or issues. Fake survey sites will not have this information, or if they do provide it, it will be a generic outline. If it does not contain a working email address for compliance, with the same domain as the survey site, that’s a red flag that it’s a fake site. 
  • All the reviews are glowing. Yes, good survey sites should have good reviews. But bad reviews don’t always mean that it’s a fake survey site. Generally, people only take the time to write a review after they’ve had a bad experience. If you google Target, for example, you’ll see it has a 2 of 5 star rating even though it is very much a legitimate retailer. With legitimate survey sites, you should see a mix of positive, negative, and neutral reviews. If all of the reviews are positive and glowing, they’re probably fake.  

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