How to Get Paid to Take Surveys

Your friends and family may not always want to know your opinion, but brands are willing to pay cash for your input. Survey sites offer everyone the opportunity to connect with market research firms and earn cash for taking surveys. And while you can’t expect to buy a private island with the rewards you earn from taking paid surveys, you can rack up some extra cash in your free time. Completing surveys can be a fun way to fill a few minutes of downtime, whether you’re relaxing on the couch or waiting in line at the grocery store. Here’s how to get paid to take online surveys, so you can reach your financial goals a little faster. 

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Can you really get paid to take online surveys?

It may seem too good to be true, but you can earn legitimate cash from taking online surveys that are relevant to your interests. That’s because companies around the world use market research to make strategic decisions about their products and services. Market research is the process of collecting information from potential customers to find out if a new service or product is likely to be profitable. One of the ways companies conduct market research is through paid online survey sites. 

You spend money regularly, whether it’s buying a cup of coffee or signing up for a streaming service, and brands are constantly competing for your attention. Competing online surveys gives you a chance to share your input about what products and services are important to you. In doing so, you’re directly influencing which products and services will be available to you. You’re shaping the future of consumer goods — and getting a kickback in the process. 

How do paid survey sites work?

Online survey sites like Swagbucks give everyday people a platform they can use to take online surveys on their own time. Market research companies pay survey sites for valued opinions from their users, and a good chunk of the pay gets passed on to users. 

Typically, you’ll need to create an account with a paid survey site to get started. You’ll then answer some questions that will help the survey site identify which surveys are relevant to you. For example, you’ll probably need to provide your age and gender to get the most relevant paid surveys. From there, you can access a variety of surveys that vary in length and scope. They may range from a couple minutes to an hour long. You might be asked to provide feedback about specific brands, advertising strategies, or new products in development. Each survey comes with screening questions as well, and if you don’t qualify, you may not have the opportunity to earn money from that survey. 

Every survey site is different in terms of how you get paid, but the best survey sites give you options. For example, with Swagbucks, you earn points (called SB) for various online activities, including paid surveys. 100 SB are equal to $1. Once you have at least 100 SB, you can redeem them for free gift cards to major retailers like Amazon and Target or an electronic deposit to your PayPal account. 

What survey sites are legit?

There are several legitimate survey sites out there, but you have to keep your eyes open for scams as well. When evaluating a survey website, be sure to look for the following signs of a legitimate company:

  • The site does not require upfront payment to join: Some scam survey sites charge membership fees. They collect your money without giving you any legitimate ways to earn rewards. 
  • The site discloses how much you will be paid for each survey: If a survey website is vague about how much you can earn, it’s probably not going to be worth your while to join. Top survey sites will let you know how much you can earn before you take new surveys. 
  • The site has reviews from real users on third-party sites like Trustpilot, Google, and the Better Business Bureau: Check trustworthy websites and look for mostly positive reviews. Some complaints or negative reviews are normal. Scam sites may post fake reviews on their website that appear overwhelmingly positive. 
  • The site has an active social media presence: If you can find the site on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s more likely to be a legitimate opportunity. 
  • The site’s Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions are clearly displayed: If the survey company doesn’t post any disclosures, that’s a red flag. 

If you find a site that asks you to pay for an account, it is definitely a scam. Other companies may be legitimate, but not reputable — they may not pay as much as others, may provide a bad user experience, or may have other nefarious business practices. The following are legitimate survey companies you can rely on to earn real rewards. It’s not a complete list, but these are generally considered to be the best survey sites to start with. 

Survey SiteEstimated Pay Minimum to RedeemPrize Options
Swagbucks$0.25 to $10 for 5-30 minutes$1Gift cards, charitable contributions, or PayPal cash, Visa prepaid cards, prepaid Mastercards
InboxDollars$0.50 to $5 for 3-25 minutes$15Check, PayPal cash, Visa prepaid cards, gift cards
MyPointsUp to $50 per survey (most pay much less)$5Gift cards, PayPal cash
Pinecone Research$3 per survey$3Bank transfer, prepaid cards, gift cards
Survey Junkie$0.50 to $3.00 per survey$5PayPal, bank transfer, gift cards
Branded Surveys$0.50 and up$5Gift cards or PayPal
OneOpinion$0.10 to $2.50 per survey$25Visa cards, gift cards, PayPal
Opinion Outpost$0.50 to $5 per survey$10PayPal or gift cards
Estimated pay per survey: how different survey sites compare. Swagbucks, InboxDollars, MyPoints, Pinecone Research, Survey Junkie, Branded Surveys, OneOpinion, Opinion Outpost.

How much do online survey sites really pay?



Most online survey sites pay different amounts depending on the length and scope of the survey. But average earnings are typically a few dollars per hour or less. For example, with Swagbucks, you can earn anywhere from $0.25 to $5 for surveys ranging in length from 5 to 45 minutes. You may also be offered follow-up opportunities to earn even more. And if you’re asked to provide video or audio feedback, you can earn anywhere from $2 to $20 per survey.

You can expect to earn about $1 to $5 per day with Swagbucks if you’re committed to taking several surveys in your free time. Most members earn between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars per year, but some members have earned over $20,000 with Swagbucks. You’ll also get a $10 bonus when you join, which helps to kick start your earnings. 

Taking online surveys can’t replace a full-time job, and it won’t make you rich. But most people have a little downtime throughout their day that can be put to good use completing surveys. Imagine what you would do with an extra $100 every month — would you spend it on date night, buy a new pair of kicks, or save up for a vacation? 

What’s the best money making app? 

Everyone has different needs and preferences, and there is no single app that will be best for every individual. But in general, the best money making apps offer a variety of opportunities to earn and a variety of ways to redeem rewards. For example, Swagbucks isn’t just a paid survey site — you can also earn money by shopping online, searching the web, and playing games you’ll actually enjoy. This array of options means you’ll never get bored or run out of earning opportunities. With many other survey sites, the availability of surveys is limited, which effectively puts a cap on your earning potential. 

It’s okay to sign up for multiple sites as well. Many companies pay similar rewards, but offer different opportunities. Taking paid online surveys from a few of the most popular survey sites will give you a wider range of activities to choose from so you can rack up the cash faster. 

What pays more, Swagbucks or Survey Junkie?

Swagbucks and Survey Junkie both use points systems to reward survey takers for completed surveys. Each point is worth one cent. The payout per survey varies, but both sites offer the opportunity to redeem your rewards for cash. The difference is that Swagbucks offers more opportunities to earn, more redemption options, and a lower redemption threshold. You have to earn $5 before you can cash out your rewards with Survey Junkie, while Swagbucks lets you redeem as few as 100 points, or $1. There’s a reason why Swagbucks is the largest free rewards community in the world. 

Are paid surveys worth the time?

Are paid surveys worth the time?

Even the best paid survey sites have an average payout that is far less than the federal minimum wage. That said, legitimate companies offer paid survey opportunities that you can complete on your own time. For this reason, popular online survey sites make a great side hustle, even if they won’t make you rich. Furthermore, some companies pay you for activities you’d do anyway. For example, Swagbucks members earn points when they shop online as well as when they answer surveys. 

How to make the most of paid online survey sites

Collect the sign-up bonus

Many survey sites, including Swagbucks, offer a bonus just for creating an account. Once you find a few survey sites that meet your needs, sign up and earn your bonus. 

Refer your friends

Some paid online survey sites have referral programs that allow you to earn extra points. For example, Swagbucks gives you $3 for each friend you refer. Plus, you’ll get 10% of their earnings as long as you are both members. 

Login every day

Checking your account every day ensures you won’t miss any opportunities to earn. And establishing a habit helps hold you accountable. 

Make a commitment

Set a goal for a chunk of time to spend or number of surveys to complete each day. This will help you stay motivated. 

Take advantage of all the features

Make sure to try out all of the features the survey site provides. For example, you’ll want to make Swagbucks your default search engine so you can earn cash as you browse. You can also get cash back for dining out and even filling your prescriptions. 

Download the app

Survey websites like Swagbucks often provide exclusive in-app opportunities. Plus, the Swagbucks app is highly-rated and much more convenient for late night Swagbucks sessions. 

The bottom line on taking online surveys for money

While it may be tempting to quit your job, camp out on your couch, and complete surveys all day, paid survey sites can’t replace full-time employment. However, they can provide you with some pocket change each day, and they don’t require much effort. Most surveys only take a few minutes to complete. Waiting to pick up your kids from school? Take a survey. Want to start your day with something fun? Watch a quick video and earn points. Shopping online for deals? Might as well earn some cash while you’re at it. Over time, these moments can add up to extra money in your pocket. Whether you spend it right away or chuck it in a savings account is up to you — you earned it! 

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