By: Stacy Garrels & Matthew Woodward
Updated: March 8, 2022
There are lots of ways that you can make money while still in your PJ's. No need to shuffle out the door. With a smartphone, you can make money from your couch, a coffee shop, or anywhere you can connect to the Internet.
You can get paid to give your opinions. You have them; companies want them. There are plenty of great paid survey sites like InboxDollars, MyPoints, and Swagbucks where you can get paid to give your solicited opinions. (And you can even "gently" suggest your opinionated family members join too.)
In your free time, while binge-watching TV from your couch or hanging out with your friends, you can make a little bit of extra money by sharing what you think about products, services, sports, and other current events. Different market research companies will have varying reward payouts. Still, generally, you can earn cash or Paypal rewards, gift cards to Amazon, Target, iTunes, Walmart, and other retailers, prepaid Visa cards, and other prizes and sweepstakes rewards.
Let's take a look at some of the best survey sites where you can get paid for having opinions. If you've ever shared your mind with friends and family or on social sharing apps, you're already great at it. The best survey sites allow you to make money online through questionnaires and focus groups.
With online survey sites, you're also helping companies create better products and services. By product testing, answering short surveys, and taking polls, you can shape the brands you care about.
Not every survey club is legit. If a survey site promises you thousands of dollars or that you can quit your day job, run away. Legit paid surveys are a great side hustle to make extra cash, not a regular income source. But they are still a great side hustle for survey takers to get free Amazon gift cards, cash, and other rewards.
There truly is a market where your voice can be heard. This article is a definitive survey taking guide. It lays out everything that you need to know about taking surveys and when and how you can get expect to get paid.
Here's a look at the best legit survey sites of 2021 so you.
Information This Article Covers:
There are genuinely many legitimate survey sites out there. Swagbucks, MyPoints, InboxDollars, OneOpinion, Prize Rebel, LifePoints, Ipsos, i-Say, Toluna, MySurvey, Vindale Research, Survey Junkie, and more.
For this article, I'm focusing on the survey sites that I have most tried, tested, and proven out. The best paid surveys are the ones that pay. I'll share with you paid online survey sites where I have earned actual rewards. I've cashed out Google gift cards, Apple gift cards, Safeway gift cards, and checks (in the mail). I'll share how you earn on these survey websites and how you cash out. We'll look at some legitimate survey sites and evaluate how much you can make and how long it takes to earn, and whether or not they offer a signup bonus.
We'll take an in-depth look at these 12 survey sites:
All of these survey sites and market research companies are legitimate money-earning opportunities. You can voice your opinions in online surveys, make money, and get your reward cashout.
With surveys for money, Amazon gift cards and PayPal cash are the most popular reward options. But you can also opt to complete paid surveys for a check in the mail, prepaid Visa or Mastercard, or other free gift cards to popular stores.
And if you want to max your earnings, you can sign up for all of them. After reading the overview of these survey companies, read the next section to read up on making money right away by taking surveys.
You cannot get rich taking surveys, but you can absolutely make an extra $500 to $2,500 with fairly minimal effort.
Disclosure: I have spent a lot of time playing with various online survey panels, phone surveys, rewards sites, and shopping apps over the last 10 years. That's what eventually led to my current job at Prodege, where I work in digital media. If there's a hack for making money online, I want to try it. From flipping thrift store finds to extreme couponing to online surveys, I love a great side hustle. I've banked a few thousand dollars doing surveys. I've shared these sites and apps with my friends and family who either a) say it doesn't work or b) don't understand how they work.
And that's why I've written this piece. To break down the in's and out's of how to earn. We want to help consumers and members earn money taking surveys. Market research firms make money when authentic surveys are taken and completed. We want survey-takers to have a good experience and to understand the process. When consumers don't complete a survey or bail on a survey site, everyone loses out. And as a professional part-time hustler (I hope), it kills me when survey takers leave money on the table by missing out on little things like clicking a button or checking off a box on a list.
My rundowns on Swagbucks and InboxDollars are more through because I'm the most familiar with those survey companies. But from a survey insider to you, here's the scoop on how to earn money on the best survey sites.
Swagbucks is the best survey site, in my opinion. I have had positive experiences as a survey taker over the past couple of years and made around $800. Swagbucks typically pays within 24-48 hours. The first payment can take longer because Swagbucks will need to verify your account details. Cash funds get directly deposited into your Paypal account. Gift cards are delivered to you as electronic vouchers over email. You can enter the voucher codes online to redeem or store the voucher in your preferred digital wallet.
100 SB equals one dollar. On Swagbucks, as with any legitimate survey site, you need to qualify for and complete the survey to get the associated payout reward.
Swagbucks is very user friendly because there are lots of little ways to earn. 1 SB here, a few SB there. It all adds up. I recommend Swagbucks as a first stop.
And I know a few people who use Swagbucks to top up their bank account for the holidays or tackle a bit of debt. Not bad for answering a few questions from the sidelines at your kid's soccer game, right?
InboxDollars is one of the largest online survey sites out there. For over 20 years, it's connected consumer with relevant paid surveys.
InboxDollars has a good blend of surveys available, lots of other ways to earn (like watching videos or reading emails) and full earning transparency. You earn dollars and cents for each completed survey, not points or virtual currency.
As with Swagbucks (and all other survey websites), you do need to qualify for the surveys, and there is a survey pre-screener you need to complete to make you are part of the target audience. I've made over $2,500 taking surveys on InboxDollars.
I've earned the most from InboxDollars over the years. Surveys and market research are the backbones of the site. Consistency is key. At first, my goal was to attempt X number of surveys per day, just attempt. Then it was to complete 2 per day. And now, my goal is to earn $1.00 per day.
Best known for its shopping offers (earn points when you shop your favorite stores), MyPoints offers a ton of survey earning opportunities. Most surveys pay 30 to 500 points, but you will find surveys that pay even more. Redeem your points for free gift cards to Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and other popular merchants. They also offer prepaid Visa gift cards as a payment option. The point to dollar ratio can fluctuate, but generally, it's 175 points = $1.
MyPoints has its roots as a shopping deals website. So it has a fantastic selection of ways to earn points through shopping deals: cashback (or point back) shopping to thousands of merchants, promo codes, discount codes, printable coupons, visiting featured sites, booking discounted travel, and more.
If you've ever purchased anything online or will ever purchase anything online in the future, it's worth joining MyPoints. You'll get a free $10 signup bonus for joining. To get the bonus, you just need to spend $20 or more at any featured retailer on MyPoints (there are over 2,000), and your account will get credited 1,750 points that you can redeem for a free $10 gift card to the retailer of your choice.
Pinecone is one of the higher paying survey sites. Most surveys pay 300 points ($3). Pinecone is more selective about its membership base, and there can be fewer surveys available. Additionally, Pinecone Research offers only survey-earning opportunities.
It takes longer to complete Pinecone Research surveys, but they're often for more well-known brands and companies, and you get a relatively high payout ($3) for each survey you complete. Typically you can join Pinecone Research by invite-only, but we have an affiliate invite link we can share with you to join.
If you do not get accepted right away, do not try to join again immediately (same day) or lie about your profile. This can get you blacklisted. It's better to wait a couple of weeks and try back again. Market research opportunities and demographic needs are always changing. And once you're in, you're in.
The appeal with SurveySavvy is you only need to be 13 to join, and you can cash out after you've earned at least $1. But, none of the surveys pay $1. They all pay a lot less than the other sites.
There are other ways to earn, though; by connecting your smartphone, desktop or laptop, and tablet device, you can make $5 per device each month. (You need to remain an active member though and interact with SurveySavvy site or SurveySavvy Connect.)
Payment is made by check in USD, so it takes a little longer to cashout and gets your rewards. There is no option to receive funds electronically via PayPal, gift card, or other vouchers.
Although surveys don't pay as much as with other sites, you can get $10 a month just by connecting 2 Internet devices. $15 a month if you connect 3 devices. You are giving up some privacy (Survey Savvy is doing to research to better understand consumer behavior online), but it's not really that different from using Chrome or Bing to search the Internet.
On Survey Junkie, members can earn points for taking surveys or for having their digital activity monitored online in a program called SJ Pulse.
When you participate in SJ Pulse, Survey Junkie will track the ads you see, websites you visit, online shopping, and other digital behaviors. The data is anonymized. Survey Junkie is doing market research and building a broader picture of online consumer behaviors. You earn points as you search the web and go about your daily digital activities, but exact payouts are unclear.
You can cash out once you've reached $10 or more in earnings via PayPal or a gift card to a retailer of your choice.
YouGov is a British based market research company. Survey taking opportunities are open to residents of the US or UK who are 14 and older. You get a $1.00 signup bonus. You earn points for taking surveys, and 1 point = 1/2 a cent. You can cash out once you've reached 5,000 points ($25). Points can be redeemed for cash deposits to PayPal, gift cards to your favorite retailers and restaurants, or mobile credits.
Earn points you can redeem for Amazon gift cards, Visa cards, or Paypal rewards. Reach 1,000 points minimum (or $10.00) to cash out. Branded Surveys typically process payments within 15 days after the end of the month.
While it feels a tad annoying, OneOpinion is a legit company. I think it's a lot of personal information to give out to see what's behind the curtain.
After you've given that info to Chatbot Emily, you receive a message stating they will review your details and email you if you are accepted. The notification says it takes 3-5 days, but it can take less time in my experience. It can even come through the same day. This is just a security control measure.
Once accepted, invitations to take surveys are emailed to you. Or you can log onto OneOpinion and check out the available surveys in your dashboard. Earn points for completing surveys. Every 1,000 points = $1.00. After you reach at least 25,000 points (or $25), you can redeem your points for rewards like an Amazon gift card, Paypal, prepaid Visa card, or gift card to another popular retailer. OneOpinion does not pay cash.
Similar to InboxDollars, Vindale Research is transparent with how much money you earn for each survey. Survey takers are paid in dollars and cents, not points. Once you reach at least $50 in earnings, you can cash out via Paypal.
Fifty dollars can seem like a high figure to hit, but Vindale Research does occasionally offer longer, more complex surveys that can pay up to $75. These will generally require more time commitment (over multiple days) and require more in-depth knowledge or expertise.
Earn points for taking surveys. Redeem your points for Amazon gift cards, prepaid Visa cards, or Paypal. 100 points = $10. You can also earn points for testing products, watching adverts, and completing "real-world missions" in your neighborhood, like checking into stores or scanning products.
Earn points for taking surveys. You can redeem them for payment via PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin, game codes, or gift cards to popular retailers. 100 points = $1.00 on PrizeRebel.
Toluna is a market research company based in France. Earn points for taking surveys. Once you're reached 30,000 in points ($10), you can cash out for prizes that include sweepstakes tickets, getaway vacations, electronics, and other merchandise, gift cards and vouchers, or cash.
You can also earn for participating in Topics, Polls, Thumbs it, and Battles. These are ways of participating in the Toluna community and creating discussion, and sharing feedback around products and ideas.
Toluna is intriguing because it offers more unique ways to earn rewards and some actual physical prizes. For points to dollars conversion on Toluna, it's 3,000 points = $1.00.
Because the legit online survey sites really pay. If you ever waste time online or on your smartphone, why not get paid for it?
If you've ever through news headlines, Bored Panda or Reddit, or social media feeds, you're probably a good fit for it. Answer questions, make money.
You won't get rich. In fact, you might only make $0.55 while doing a survey from your phone, while watching the game on TV, or waiting for your friend to show up at the restaurant. But $0.55 every time you do that, it adds up.
You get paid $0 for scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, or answering social quizzes about which Disney villain you are. Why not answer those same types of questions and make actual money. And at the same time, you're helping brands you care about create better products and services for you and your family.
I have friends who are "always broke" who do online surveys and find it a godsend for extra money to fill up the gas tank or buy groceries. And I have friends who don't need the extra money. They do online surveys as a way to make extra cash when they've got spare time to fill.
I am always fiddling around on my phone. Especially when I spend hours at a time sitting on the couch with a new baby. In the 3 months since his birth, I've banked $ 450 (about $5 a day). Instead of playing Candy Crush (old-school, but I am still so addicted), I just decided to spend that time on survey sites instead. I've used that survey money on a Dyson cordless vacuum (dream vacuum), and Christmas presents for the kids.
If you ever waste time, ever watch online videos, ever play games, or shop online, then there's no reason not to make money on an online survey site. You just need an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Paid online surveys cover a number of topics. The sky is the limit. Common topics often include:
You can easily make an extra $50-$150 per month if you use these survey sites and strategies in this article. Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Mashable, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times have all written articles covering survey taking as a legit way to make extra cash.
I've made over $5,000 over the past 6 years by doing survey sites and a couple of other shopping rewards apps.
It's not about adopting new habits in 2021. Instead, it's about making money for the things you're already doing. If you search the web, use a different search engine that will pay you instead of, or in addition to, Google. If you play games on your phone, play games in the InboxDollars app. If you shop online, visit a website through a Swagbucks shop page link to earn cashback. It's about just getting paid for things you're already doing, and you can try out other site making activities too.
Another way to look at it: you already waste time on your phone. Get paid to waste time on your phone. And if you join multiple survey sites, you can build your earnings even quicker.
Imagine what you might do with an extra $1,500 (or more) this year. Things on my family's list:
While you can't get rich from doing survey websites, online survey opportunities provide you with a steady way to add extra cash to your monthly budget. If the idea of earning a little extra money when you have spare time sounds appealing, find some more tips below on how to give it a go.
In your first 60 minutes on the paid survey site InboxDollars, you can earn $50. (Or easily a little bit more.)
There are plenty of other ways to earn: more surveys, more free offers, and free samples to sign up for, games, videos, and so on.
Keep in mind that it may take a couple of hours or a couple of days for the funds to post to your account for some of the activities. Even though you may be able to bank your first $50 quickly, it can take time for some of the earnings to credit to your account.
The $5 signup bonus and survey earnings do post right away, though. These funds post to your earnings dashboard within seconds.
So while you can quickly bank your first $50 (or more), it may take a couple of weeks before you can request payout and get your Paypal, check, Visa, or gift card reward.
And while you can legitimately earn $50+ going through this list, you will not be able to earn $50+ an hour consistently. For some items - the signup bonus, initial profile survey, and offers - you can only do them once. New surveys are continually added, and new offers too.
Remember to be honest when you sign up for free samples, freebies, and free offers, and when you take surveys too. This helps build an accurate member profile, so you can get matched with the best and most relevant surveys and earning opportunities. When you inconsistently answer questions repeatedly, you will see fewer surveys. (The system won't know who you are and how to match you up.) And your account can get flagged or even blacklisted.
Sit down and spend the next 60 minutes working through this list, and you can easily earn $50. If you're using your smartphone, it may take an additional 10-20 minutes. Thumb-typing can slow things down.
And if you need a spot of cash right now (or within a couple of days), check out Swagbucks.
You can earn $10 right now on Swagbucks. 100 SB is one dollar.
Completing all of these items on your list, you can earn $10 right now on Swagbucks. If you're a new member, it will take a couple of days longer to get your first payout. (Your account details and personal information need to be vetted.) But otherwise, after you cash out, you can usually receive your payment within a couple of days.
Depending on how many surveys you try out, getting to your first $10 right now on Swagbucks could take away from 20 minutes to a few hours.
There are lots of legit survey sites, and we've discussed many of them in detail and we've listed dozens more. But there may be news ones you come across. Hopefully, most are legit, but there are plenty of scam survey sites out there too. Let's talk about what to look out for so you don't fall victim to a survey con job.
These are 8 major red flags you should be looking out for when scoping out a survey site. You should be looking for signs that a survey site is legit.
Below are some more advanced tips so you can make the most of your time on survey sites. You want to go for the juiciest bits on survey sites to make the most money. That's why I, for example, don't play games featured on survey sites. If it's a game I like, sure, I'm all in. But otherwise, games can take a lot longer than surveys to earn money.
I recommend waiting until you get to a hefty amount, like $50, $100, or more, before you cash out. The reward will feel that much more satisfying, and you can do something significant with your payout. Getting a $3 reward right away might feel good, but it can't buy you anything super special.
And if you sign up for the best-paid survey sites, you can earn the most gift cards and cash for your time.
A nickel here, a dollar there, it all adds up. Earning $2.00 a day on a survey site isn't much. But over an entire year, that's $730. And now imagine you're doing two survey sites. That's $1,460 a year. And if you're doing three survey sites, that's $2,190 a year.
While you could do dozens of paid survey sites, I think that it becomes harder to manage. I think 2-3 is a good number, and if you have extra time, you could even go up to 4 or 5.
Belonging to multiple survey sites will increase your earnings and keep this side hustle fun. You could hit a lull with one survey site, where you are finding the surveys boring and tedious. Instead of giving up on that survey website altogether, you can just focus more energy on other sites (s) until the rut has passed. Also, different survey sites will offer different extra ways to earn. Swagbucks has a lot of coupons, promo codes, and cashback shopping offers. InboxDollars has a lot of social promos, daily trivia polls, videos, and games.
In addition to the money, you need variety. If you get bored, you'll burn out.
If MyPoints doesn't appeal to you today, check out YouGov or Pinecone Research. Also, there are times when survey sites are down for maintenance or technical issues. You'll want backups.
And if you decide to quit a paid survey site, don't leave money on the table. Figure out what the minimum is to cash out, get to that amount, cash-out, and then go. Don't walk away with $8 or $18 on the table.
Virtually all surveys on paid survey sites will have a screening process in place. Be patient. It's not a big deal and doesn't take that much time.
Brands are paying survey sites big bucks to get accurate market research data. They need to reach the right audience.
While a paid survey company like Toluna or Survey Junkie will have basic profile information about you that you've provided in a survey, they don't know everything about you.
If a market research company is looking for women age 25-44 (survey website knows this) who are interested in buying a new pair of boots for $50-$99 in the next 30 days, they'll need to ask some qualifying questions.
You'll answer a survey pre-screener to see if you're a good fit. The survey website will show this survey opportunity to its members' broad group: women age 25-44. But the survey website will have no idea if you're in the market for new boots soon, especially if you joined the survey site and completed your profile survey months ago.
Most pre-screeners take a couple of minutes to complete. Some can take a lot longer. It can be frustrating if you answer many pre-screener questions only not to qualify, but with most survey sites, you'll earn rewards just for applying. Swagbucks will give you SB, and on InboxDollars you will make progress towards a virtual ScratchCard (to win a cash prize worth up to $100).
In my experience, the longer the pre-screener, the juicier the reward.
The most important thing is, to be honest, and be consistent. If you answer surveys dishonestly, trying to qualify for as many as possible, that's a red flag. The survey matching algorithm will have no idea who you are or how to match you. If you say you're a young Hispanic mother in one survey, and in another, you say you're a 64-year-old male white retiree, this is a glaring discrepancy. These red flags add up. Over time, you'll be shown fewer survey opportunities (ones open to everyone because they don't know how to profile you). And eventually, you could be blacklisted from a survey website.
If you disqualify from a survey, it's not because you're not the right age, gender, occupation, or education level for that survey website. It's because you're not the demographic that one particular survey is looking for. That's all. Keep trying. The more survey opportunities you attempt, the more you'll complete, and the more you'll earn.
It probably sounds crazy. Everyone doing surveys wants to earn lots of money. The juicy $3.00 surveys look way better than the $0.40 surveys. Everyone knows that. And that's the problem: everyone knows that.
When "everyone" goes for the same survey, these surveys fill up quickly. This can be another reason you don't qualify. A survey may only have the budget for 500 respondents. If the survey gets 500 valid completions while you're registering for the survey, you're not going to be able to take it. And you'll be frustrated at the time you put in on the pre-screener.
Lower-paying surveys are low-hanging fruit.
These surveys are way less crowded or competitive to get into, and usually shorter in length and easier to qualify for. They are often looking for a broader audience segment (i.e. people who like music).
Surveys change all of the time. Some change by the minute. It's possible to see a dozen survey opportunities available at noon, and then only 1-2 just an hour later.
You just need to be consistent. Some days, you'll hit the jackpot. Other days you'll come up short. But keep checking back and keep trying.
Generally, I do surveys on my laptop. When I have a 10-minute lull at work or over my lunch break, I'll try to crank through a couple of surveys. But by sticking with just one device type, I'm missing out on a lot of surveys.
If your goal is "I need $100", a survey site can be a confusing and overwhelming place. When I log onto Swagbucks or InboxDollars, my goal is usually to make at least $1 to $2 during my time on-site.
Or when I was a much more active survey taker, I made a set list of things every day.
I don't regularly do games or other earning features, but those are other ways to earn too.
Completing a small list of activities everyday is manageable, easy, and fun. And when you do it daily, it becomes a habit. Some sites have additional bonuses for coming back every day. Doing all these things does add up. Pennies turn into dollars. And day after day, the figure is $1,231 for a year. My pace is closer to $730 a year (or $2 a day) right now, but the point is these daily tasks I was doing were easy and stress-free. And often, they were a nice 5-minute mental break.
Everyday at my office, I listen to all the available videos while loading reports, doing spreadsheets, and looking at email. I have earbuds in. I can't say I'm 100% focused, but I am listening and occasionally glancing over at the screen. I like the cooking and current event videos, and celebrity gossip is just a guilty pleasure. I mean, where else can you get paid to find out what Justin Bieber and Harry Styles are up to?
And the great thing is you can complete these tasks on other survey sites too. You can do this same set of activities on Swagbucks, Branded Surveys (formerly MintVine), MyPoints, InboxDollars, and Tada.
Survey sites Swagbucks, Branded Surveys, InboxDollars, MyPoints, and Tada all have shopping portals. This means survey sites partner with retailers who want more online web traffic. Survey companies send shoppers (you), and when you make a purchase the survey companies get a commission. And they share part of that commission with you in the form of cash back rebates.
You can make money from cash back rebates in the form of cash (like InboxDollars) or points or other virtual currency. Amounts vary, but typically cash back amounts range from 2% to 10%.
On Swagbucks, for example, there are over 2,000 different merchants in their shopping portal. Meaning you can earn cash back from shopping at any or all of those retailers. Some of the more popular cash back shopping stores include:
I made all of my holiday purchases online this year, and I'll admit it. And it only takes a second to see whether or not the survey site offers cash back for the retailer's website. And there are some items I bought online and then picked up in-store.
For example last month, I purchased a vacuum online at Best Buy and then picked it up in-store earned 800 SB (or $8.00) for visiting Best Buy from a survey site link.
I also employed this tactic when buying a baby shower gift at buybuyBABY just a few days ago. I'm getting 158 SB (or $1.58) for purchasing a registry gift that I would have bought anyway.
It only takes a second to check out the featured cash back stores. If you're going to make a purchase anyway, make some cash for doing it.
Here's a quick run-through or low-down.
There are many legit survey sites. You can join them and earn extra money, but it's not a full-time job. You'll need to qualify for and complete the surveys, and reach the minimum cashout amount.
Most survey sites pay you in points or virtual currency that you can redeem for cash, Paypal, or gift cards.
And if you're like me, you'll become a survey addict after you get your first payment. It's a total rush. And it feels like *free money* or *prize money*. And it's not just surveys that you'll get hooked on. It's all the other fun ways you can earn on survey sites.
If you're consistent, you can make a tidy sum each year. Survey taking sites are a great side hustle for when you want to kill time or fidget on your phone while watching TV.
In addition to taking paid online surveys, there are lots of other ways to make money online. There are lots of great gigs and apps that pay cash. Check out these other great reads to get you started.
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