Our Top 10 Legit Paid Survey Sites Reviewed
- Our Top 10 Legit Paid Survey Sites Reviewed
- How To Make Money Taking Surveys Online
- Other Ways to Make Money on Paid Survey Websites
- How To Spot a Scam
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.
In the middle of all of this is a new breed of research corporation that relies on you – the survey taker – to determine this information. For your time? Many survey companies will pay you to take surveys for money or for other cash alternatives like gift cards or physical prizes and rewards. It depends upon the company as to whether they'll offer money or other offers and special deals.
This is where it can all go downhill quickly. In the pressure to make as many pennies out of a nickel, a lot of research corporations will not just sell your answers but the data associated with it. Details that you provide when taking paid surveys such as your name, address, age range can all be attached together quickly to fulfill a lot of larger companies' requests for information (RFI).
Let's break down the top 10 best survey sites online and see how they stack up against one another.
We recommend joining all of the sites listed below to maximize your earnings, because some survey companies offer only a limited amount of surveys each month.
Rating Scheme for Our Survey Reviews
We'll use four basic measurements in a scale of 1 to 5 – where 1 is probably ill advised and 5 is a great experience.
Convenience – From start to finish, how convenient is each company's site?
Accessibility – Is it a site that can be accessed on mobile as well as a standard browser? Does it require a lot of superfluous logins and duplicated information or do they do a decent enough job filling that in for you?
Return on Time – Is it an hour of your life for $2.00 or truly a fifteen minute survey? We find out if the Return on Time (similar to Return on Investment) pans out. Surely, some will be better than others for not wasting yours. Basically, we've evaluated not only how much you actually get paid to take surveys but also how long it takes to earn that cash
Privacy – How much personal information do you need to give to complete a litany of surveys and start making actual money? We'll determine that and rate appropriately. We'll also subtract points if we find out they use that personal information to send an unsolicited wave of junk our way.
One of the most well known online marketing and survey research companies, Swagbucks has risen to a new level of popularity through social media. Getting surveys and completing tasks is but a few of the ways to earn “swagbucks” which then equate to either cash or prizes.
One of the most refreshing things about Swagbucks is their commitment to keeping it all above the belt. Whereas a lot of the shadier survey companies won't be up front with how they distribute or take advantage of your information, Swagbucks let's you know exactly where it's going to be sent.
Not to mention a great setup, minimalist design, and timely customer service, Swagbucks has definitely become one of the crowd favorites.
Convenience: 5.0/5.0 – Seamless and fast setup and a great selection of paid surveys and evaluations.
Accessibility: 5.0/5.0 – They even have their own app for Android and Apple platforms.
Return on Time: 4.5/5.0 – Upfront and decent payout system.
Overall Grade: A+
Easily one of the most reputable survey companies on the market, Vindale Research has made a big name for themselves. Accessible for a first time user and not too cluttered with needless offers and unintentional subscriptions – this is honestly one of the best survey companies to make a few extra bucks with.
And a few extra bucks it truly is. One of the little known things about many of these survey companies is while you will be paid for your time, the amount of time needed to get that money may not always be worth it.
Convenience: 4.5/5.0 – Very intuitive and easy layout.
Accessibility: 4.5/5.0 – Supported on multiple OS, browsers, and platforms
Return on Time: 2.0/5.0 – Surveys can take way longer than advertised.
Privacy: 3.0/5.0 – They do a decent job of not just handing out your information to everyone. So far, we haven't received too many unsolicited offers or unwanted phone calls/mail.
Overall Grade: B+
Keep it simple, right? Nobody wants a convoluted sign-up process with a difficult way to differentiate between paying surveys and junk offers. This is where My Survey gets it right. Light on the graphics and minimalist design and heavy on the details where it matters – rewards.
This site succeeds where many other fail in simply letting the survey taker know exactly what's going to pay out the best and soonest. The problem? The higher end surveys run out surprisingly quickly so you have to stay really on top of new offers.
Convenience: 5.0/5.0 – From sign-up to actual first survey offer, this site is somewhat streamlined. And with payouts in either cash rewards or gift cards, it's not bad.
Accessibility: 4.0/5.0 – Can only be accessed through a standard internet browser. The website acts really poorly when viewed through an Android tablet.
Return on Time: 4.5/5.0 – Fairly decent in terms of getting a good return on time invested.
Privacy: 4.5/5.0 – Also par for the course in terms of requiring consent prior to disclosing personal information. For most product and service surveys, they will scrub out any personal information you provided in sign-up.
Overall Grade: A
Recently targeted by third party scammers pretending to be them, Pinecone Research is one of the largest online survey and marketing research firms out there. However, is it a victim of its own success in the market?
And, while we're on the topic – Reward Points. Unlike Vindale Research which pays in cash usually via PayPal, Pinecone pays for each product evaluation in “Reward Points”. What are Reward Points? Can you buy something with them? In many cases – that's the point.
See, once your time is invested in these product evaluations, Pinecone – not you – gets to decide what that's worth when it comes time to cash out. Ultimately, Pinecone Research WILL let you cash out your earnings at the end of it all.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy. In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion. After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along. More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously. When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
Convenience: 4.0/5.0 – Overall, pretty convenient from start to finish. The sign up process is time intensive but once that's out of the way, it's pretty smooth sailing.
Accessibility: 4.0/5.0 – Most browsers and platforms accepted. Some issues reported on Linux Redhat.
Return on Time: 2.5/5.0 – Product evaluations can take between 15 to 20 minutes and pay out surprisingly little. For most products, it comes out to be around $8-10/hour.
Privacy: 3.0/5.0 – For the survey industry, Pinecone Research shows some surprising amount of scruples.
Overall Grade: B
InboxDollars provides surveys and paid email opportunities that pay in actual cash.
You also have opportunities to make money buying products and services, although the amount of time and money spent buying these products takes you pretty close to break even.
Unlike some of the other sites, with Inbox Dollar, you essentially sign up to take advantage of whatever Inbox Dollar makes from their advertisers. They will send you emails which they get paid per receipt of you reading them or clicking a link. In turn, they give you a cut. Not to ruin your day but it's a rather small cut. The links that end up paying out the most usually have some stipulations attached – such as signing up for a service. This can end up being a lot more hassle than its worth and we recommend you pay VERY close attention to the stipulations.
Convenience: 4.5/5.0 – Simple sign up process. Interface design is a little basic, but pretty easy to navigate the site and sign up and take surveys.
Accessibility: 5.0/5.0 – Available through nearly any platform and operating system (desktop, mobile, mobile app).
Return on Time: 3.5/5.0 – We give a middle of the road grade for Return on Time because it can turn into an almost passive form of income if done properly. It won't, however, ever become a big cash prize sort of place. Numerous complaints about not qualifying for surveys after getting part way through the survey.
Privacy: 2.0/5.0 – Par for the course in terms of soliciting your information to third parties and tracking you with cookies, they make few if any promises of what they will do with that information once it reaches their paws.
Overall Grade: C
Global Test Market is a decent standard of what you're getting yourself involved in. Their practices are not any more or less shady or reputable than almost any online venue – survey or otherwise. Just like Facebook, when you identify yourself accurately with Global Test Market, you can expect them to use that information in any way possible to make a penny. The great news is they inform you and ask for consent first.
The concept of data mining and profiting off that data mining isn't anything new. And while some companies engage in some rather disreputable practices to do this, Global Test Market seems to be doing just fine with the whole “consent to disclose” thing. More importantly, in some cases this may help you as some companies will offer to do more specialized product testing once they've identified you as their target demographic.
Convenience: 3.5/5.0 – Nothing unique. Cookie laden site that will make AdBlock Plus want to cringe.
Accessibility: 3.0/5.0 – Somewhat streamlined process. Starting off it can be hard to identify what's a good survey and what's an offer for a superfluous product or service.
Return on Time: 2.0/5.0 – This site CAN pay top dollar. When it's good, it's good. Most times it isn't.
Overall Grade: C
Now known as Survey Spree, this conglomerate of survey and marketing research claims to pay out up to $5 per survey. Sounds good but survey taker beware – some conditions are not explicitly listed out on their website and while signing up for SurveySpree will mean sharing your information with third parties, there's no lack of shuffling of responsibilities when it comes time to hand out prizes.
In terms of rewards, they offer a decent return ratio on rewards points to dollars. Obviously, depending on legality for different nations and places, they can't pay out directly in cash. At least it appears this is an easy site to regularly earn some extra money on the side.
Accessibility: 2.0/5.0 – Doesn't perform well on Android tablet or iPad. Not even recommended on smartphones.
Return on Time: 2.0/5.0 – For the most part, the payouts are great when they're available. SurveySpree suffers from a glut of underachieving survey prizes and a few really good ones.
Privacy: 2.5/5.0 – We'd love to say Opinion Place (Survey Spree) is par for the course of being what we expect from this industry however they get a half point deducted for the sheer number of third party, unaccountable sites we had to go through to complete many of the surveys for cash.
Overall Grade: C–
How much is your opinion worth? If it's through Toluna, roughly $1.50 per survey. Of course, it would be awesome if they said that right up front but 90,000 reward points to get a $30 PayPal e-certificate should be the rough equivalent.
Where Toluna gets it right is in terms of accessibility. They spared no expense designing apps for both the Android and Apple mobile devices. Why this is actually a great thing is it means pretty much if you have an internet connection and free time – you can be earning points towards money.
Did we say rewards points? Yep. That's because of odd taxation laws. So they can legally gift rewards points redeemable in prizes but would have more of a hassle just paying in money.
Convenience: 4.0/5.0 – Signing up is relatively quick and easy, although you are required to fill out several forms before account registration is complete
Accessibility: 5.0/5.0 – Specialized apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices, as long as there is an internet connection, Toluna can be accessed.
Return on Time: 2.0/5.0 – It takes a LOT of surveys to get to the first increment of PayPal e-certificates – the truest sign of what it's all worth.
Privacy: 2.5/5.0 – They do a reasonable job of informing you, the survey taker, of implicitly how much information they plan on getting, storing, and distributing.
Overall Grade: C-
There's been a lot of talk that the Opinion Outpost is too good to be true. Plenty of people sign up to take surveys for cash with the hopes it will equate to decent winnings. Opinion Outpost does a decent enough job trying to provide just that.
In terms of what they do that the competition doesn't? Arguably nothing. They're reliable and accessible – that's where they make their points. And the rewards systems they have worked out isn't bad at all.
Convenience: 3.5/5.0 – Relatively simple sign-up process and rewards center information is intuitively set out.
Accessibility: 3.0/5.0 – Not very mobile friendly but passable in Android's Firefox.
Return on Time: 3.5/5.0 – If you're flexible in how you want to be paid, this site actually has one of the better reward programs out there.
Privacy: 3.0/5.0 – They let you know before they sell your information. Cookies, though, are easy to ditch.
Overall Grade: C
If you're looking to make money by completing surveys online – this site will not be very helpful for you. Like the previous sites, they will take, retain, and sell your information to anyone that waves a dollar in their faces. UNLIKE previous sites reviewed, they hide their consent for that information. It's buried. So not only do you make silly reward points that don't translate to cash but every third party service and product solicitor has your personal information.
Convenience: 1.5/5.0 – Relatively easy sign-up process but every click takes us to a third party site.
Accessibility: 2.0/5.0 – Accessible through all OS and browser configurations. Does not function very well on tablet or smartphone.
Return on Time: 1.5/5.0 – If earning up thousands of rewards points over the equivalent time of working a second job to save up for a vacation to a far away all-expenses included resort – this is a great site. Otherwise, please do not.
Privacy: 1.0/5.0 – Where other social marketing research firms may be compared to a slightly creepy guy hitting on you a little too much, VIP Voice is the one who gets pushy about it.
Overall Grade: D-
How To Make Money Taking Surveys Online
It's pretty easy to get paid to take surveys, especially if you're already comfortable using a computer and web browser. It all starts with signing up for free accounts at legitimate survey websites.
After joining a survey site, you provide some personal and demographic information, which legitimate survey sites will keep private. That information will be used in choosing participants to take surveys on certain goods and services. If you get selected to take part in a survey, you will be notified through mail to take a short survey to see if your profile suits that survey. When you are deemed qualified, you will be requested to take a longer survey.
Rewards vary based on the survey type and the company conducting the survey. You may get paid online through PayPal or a Visa gift card, or get free products so that you can try them and provide feedback. To get the best out of online surveys, it is recommended you join several websites (10 to 20) so as to give you sufficient invitations daily at the best time frame. Regularly check your email and be honest while giving your opinion. Don’t give up if you don’t get selected for a survey after the first screening process, as it will take a while before you get selected based on your demographic.
Something very important to note before signing up at any site claiming to pay you cash to take surveys is that all legitimate sites offering online surveys that pay do not charge registration fees – they are free to join. Some sites may even offer you bonus as you sign in, to show you they are happy you have become a part of their team and helping them increase their revenue.
In summary, if you’re really serious about making money taking surveys, here are some dos and don’ts:
- Have a dedicated email address specifically for surveys to avoid having your email address flooded. Create an email specifically for survey taking – you don’t want requests crowding your personal inbox, so stay organized.
- Spend your gift vouchers immediately so they don’t become invalid.
- Check your emails regularly so you can get paid for surveys in your inbox. Always log in as soon as you're able because surveys close when enough people have participated.
- Refer a friend. Most survey sites will reward you when you bring a new person to join.
- Set aside time everyday for survey taking.
- Sign up for multiple reputable sites to increase number of requests for which you qualify.
- Don't let cash pile up in your survey accounts; withdraw immediately when you reach the minimum threshold because there’s no protection if a site closes.
- Don't expect to get instantly rich from taking surveys. You can make decent money taking paid surveys online but you're not going to be able to quit your day job.
- Don't pay any registration fee. All legit paid survey sites are free to sign up. If you're being charged to participate, it's probably a scam.
Other Ways to Make Money on Paid Survey Websites
In addition to filling out online surveys for money, you can get rewarded for other actions, too. Some of the best paid survey sites are ones that offer lots of ways to make money other than survey taking! The most popular websites maintain their following not only by offering various types of incentives but also by providing plenty of different and engaging ways for members to earn money. The purpose of these offers is to turn you into a loyal and active member of their community.
So, what are the different rewards and ways of earning on survey sites? Here are some of the most common:
Cashback shopping: Who doesn’t love getting cash back? It's a great incentive for shopping because it feels like you're being paid to do so. It's usually best to use the offers only when you were already intending to buy the product. If you love saving money at discount stores or at places that offer cash back, there are a lot of survey sites out there that will open a lot more offers to you. Survey sites can offer cash back because they're paid a portion of the profit for referring you.
This is commonly known as affiliate marketing, and it is definitely a very profitable win-win situation that benefits both the websites and the survey participant.
Referral program: Referral programs are a common aspect of thousands of websites as they are a great way to get new registered members. As you may already know, some of the biggest e-commerce giants as well as other companies offer rewards and bonuses to users for referring their website to their friends and family. All you have to do is subscribe to their referral program and share a link to your friends.
When they join the website through clicking that link, you’ll be rewarded either with a fixed sum or a percentage of your friend's earnings so that every time they fill out surveys for money, you get part of that money. Referrals are a great way to incentivize users to become more active members and to promote the site to others.
Searching the web: Some survey websites like Swagbucks offer rewards when you download and use their search engine. Essentially you're being paid for the ads you see when browsing the web. While this isn't usually the highest paying option, you can make some extra cash doing something you probably already spend hours on.
This does seem easy but you should be cautious about downloading software to your computer from any site. Make sure that it's not a scam before you do so.
Playing games online: if you like playing games, why not turn the hobby into a moneymaking activity? There are tons of websites out there that reward their loyal fan base with points when the complete a game or play for a certain amount of time. These points can then be exchanged for real money. Sites are able to do this by sharing the profit they make from ads as an incentive for users to visit the site.
This can be a lucrative way to add some extra bucks to your account even though the amount is generally quite meager. This method is usually not worth your time unless you genuinely enjoy playing games.
Watching video ads: Video ads certainly aren't uncommon in the online world. While generally they're a hassle getting in the way of the content you want to watch, many paid survey sites have turned them into a way for members to make money. It's pretty easy to make a tab, set a playlist of paid ads going, mute it, and carry on with browsing the internet or taking surveys.
This is pretty clever, and easy way for you make some cash during the time you spend watching cat videos or increase your profits during the time you spend taking paid surveys.
How To Spot a Scam
You can always rely on us to give honest survey site reviews as well as advice on which companies not to trust. That said, if you you want get paid to take surveys without wasting your time on scams, it's important to know how to spot a scam for yourself.
Illegitimate companies and scammers have a simple objective. They're after your information in order to get your money. It's much more common for internet scammers to target hundreds of people for small sums rather than a single person for thousands. This is because demanding large sums for a product that is somewhat unclear is an obvious red flag to most.
When offered a grand promise for a seemingly small price, many more are likely to fall for it. Being human, the idea of paying very little for great return is incredibly enticing. This is the leading idea behind offers like “Earn $200 every day! Just $10 for access to our exclusive list of high paying surveys.” When entering the arena of paid online surveys, it's important to be wary of any offer like this that seems too good to be true.
If you're uncertain whether a company is legit or not, you can do a quick online search on the site you're interested in for reviews, rating, or customer experiences. This information can be very informative when checking out a new site.
You can also check for an ‘about' or ‘contact' page. Scammers will usually omit these. And at the least, you'll be able to learn more about the company you're getting involved with.
Scammers use a diverse variety of methods to allure and dupe unsuspecting victims. Some ads and offers look so real that even the most seasoned internet veterans can be tricked. However, many scams target people new to the market who may be more susceptible to “get rich quick” schemes because they're unaware of what you can reasonably make taking surveys. It is incredibly uncommon to be offered more than $10 to complete a 20 minute survey. Not that one offering that or more is definitely a scam, it's just important to be cautious. While some experienced and well credited survey takers receive legitimate offers paying that pay big money, if you're new to survey taking you should definitely steer clear of anyone offering you hundreds to complete a survey.
Avoiding scams online is pretty easy once you’ve become familiar with how false ads work and have developed realistic expectation about how much money you can make for the time you spend. On the surface, making money taking paid online surveys may seem like a long shot, but it certainly is possible and many people enjoy the benefits of taking part in them. So don’t be afraid! If you want to try it, read some of our reviews and sign up for the ones that look interesting to you!
How much do online surveys really pay?
You can generally earn anywhere from $0.50 to $25 or more per survey. In our experience, that typically equates to about $2-$8 hour, although people with more experience have been known to make more.
Which surveys pay the most?
Typically, survey companies will pay more for surveys from people in a very specific target demographic, or if the company is in a time crunch and needs more responses sooner.
Pro tip: If you want to make the most amount of money taking paid surveys, we recommend filling out your demographic profile after signing up and then take only the highest paying surveys each day and wait for new high-paying surveys to appear on a later day or week.
Which survey sites pay the most?
The survey sites with the best reviews on our site generally pay the most. A couple worth mentioning including Swagbucks, Ipsos i-Say, Vindale Research, MySurvey, Toluna, Pinecone Research, and many more.
Can you really get paid to take online surveys?
Yes, if you know how to spot legitimate paid survey sites and avoid the scams. You won't get rich doing it, but you can definitely make money taking surveys online. In fact, it's one of the easiest legit ways to make money online.