I’ve always been one to look for additional ways to earn a few extra bucks.
A few years ago, my journey took me to online surveys as a way to make extra money.
It all came about when a friend of mine was working as a survey taker for Pinecone Research.
He mentioned they were expanding and needed more survey takers and wanted to know if I would be interested.
After learning how it worked, I said yes and started to earn $5 per survey.
Amazed that I could take online surveys for money, I set out to join other survey sites.
In all I joined 25 sites and learned a lot.
Most of the sites were junk.
Some were legit.
In the end, I came away with a handful of paid survey sites to make some extra cash from.
And today I share this information with you.
I’ll save you the time of hunting down sites and finding legit survey sites to join.
I’ll also answer your top questions about online surveys and tricks for how to earn the most money possible.
With that said, here are the best survey sites I use to make extra cash.
Best Survey Sites You Need To Use
Top 11 Online Surveys That Pay You
Swagbucks is a fun rewards program that offers a lot of ways to make money.
But this isn’t why they are ranked first.
They are ranked first because they are a survey aggregator.
This means they pull surveys from around the web and offer them in one place, saving you time.
Another reason I love them is because they pay well.
Often they will run bonuses as well, helping you to earn more money faster.
Finally, they have a great app.
You download the free app and you can take surveys on the go.
It’s simple to use and is one of the best survey apps to make money.
How Swagbucks works
You earn points, called SB, for every survey you complete.
One SB is equal to $0.01, meaning you need 2,500 for a $25 gift card.
Most range between 50 and 250 SB and they list the estimated time it will take you to complete.
Payment is in the form of gift cards or cash via PayPal.
As great as the cash option is, I favor gift cards as they are usually on sale, making the SB I’ve earned more valuable.
Bottom Line: Hands down the best option out there to make money taking surveys.
Add in the various other ways you can earn SB and you should easily be earning gift cards or cash every month.
New users get a $5 when joining!
#2. Prize Rebel
Prize Rebel is similar to Swagbucks.
Not only does it offer paid surveys, but you can also earn points by watching videos, completing offers and tasks, and more.
The surveys they offer are plentiful as they too are a survey aggregator.
As of this writing they partner with 8 companies to offer users the most surveys possible.
Prize Rebel has been around since 2007 and has over 9 million members and paid out over $19 million dollars as of this writing.
How Prize Rebel works
You sign up using your email address or Facebook account.
From there you have access to surveys, offers and videos to start earning points.
Prize Rebel recommends focusing on surveys since this is where you can make the most money over time.
And they make it easy to find them by using categories.
You will see surveys based on marketing company, longest time to complete, highest payout and more.
Payouts are based on the length of the survey and you can cash out your points at any time.
The ratio for points to cash is 1 point equals $0.01. So to earn a $5 Amazon gift card, you need 500 points.
Bottom Line: With so many surveys to complete, you will never be left without one to take.
Add in various other things you can do to earn, Prize Rebel should be at the top of your list.
#3. My Points
My Points has been around for a while, since 1996 in fact, and have been paying out rewards since day one.
They are similar to Swagbucks in that they offer many ways for you to earn points, not just by taking surveys.
Because of this, they are a good choice for anyone not 100% convinced surveys are their ticket.
By choosing a site like My Points or Swagbucks, you aren’t wasting your time since you can accumulate points in other ways.
How My Points works
You sign up and create your free account.
From there you have access to start earning.
When it comes to surveys, they pay out points based on length.
The point to dollar conversion is 1 point is equal to $0.006 cent.
Not ideal, but the ease in which you earn makes them a solid consideration.
As for your redemption options, you can choose to redeem points in 3 ways:
- Gift cards
- Travel miles
Bottom Line: With the many different ways of earning points, My Points is a solid choice, especially for anyone looking for various ways to make money.
If this is you, then Swagbucks or My Points are ideal choices since you can get points many different ways.
#4. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is a great option simply because of the volume you can take.
On any given day, there are between 5-10 surveys for me to complete.
Just like with the other options above it, Survey Junkie pays in the form of points. Here, 1 point equals $0.01.
Once you earn 1,000 you can cash out for $10. If you opt for a gift card, the cash out limit is a little lower.
How Survey Junkie works
You create a free account and follow the instructions for completing your profile and watching the tutorial.
Throughout this process, you earn points.
By the time you are ready to take a survey, you have 135 points in the span of 10 minutes.
Next, you start taking surveys.
In my first 30 minutes I earned close to 600 points.
Bottom Line: I love the fact that you earn points just for setting up your account. And this makes sense for Survey Junkie to do this.
The more complete your profile, the better matches they find for their surveys, which helps them to keep their costs down.
#5. Toluna Influencers
Toluna Influencers aims to do what American Consumer Opinion does, making survey taking as interesting as possible.
They have a large number of surveys available for you to complete and allow you to pick and choose, which is different than most others on this list.
How Toluna Influencers works
You begin by creating your free account and then are given profile questionnaires to complete.
Unlike with the other options listed on this review, Toluna rewards you for completing these questionnaires with cash.
Once you finish your profile, you enter the Toluna survey center.
Instead of the typical logging onto the site to see surveys or getting them emailed to you, Toluna has you access the survey center on its site and categorizes them for you.
You can choose from various categories like:
The ratio for points to cash is 3,000 points equals $1. This is significantly higher than most.
But it is like this because Toluna pays you to complete the questionnaires.
As a result of the higher payouts, the reward requirements are much higher too.
This is something to keep in mind as you can’t simply compare survey sites solely on the points to cash ratio.
Bottom Line: This is another option worth looking into, especially if you are interested in having more control over what surveys you are taking.
The only downside is the low conversion rate of points to cash, but the fact that they pay you to complete profile questionnaires is a bonus.
Forthright is the best under the radar choice out there.
While you hear a lot about other survey companies, you don’t hear much about Forthright.
And yet Forthright is arguably one of the best survey sites out there.
You earn cash for every one you complete and easily earn high loyalty bonuses as well.
How Forthright works
Just sign up with your email address and Forthright will email or text you daily.
Every survey they offer is valued between $1 – $3 and you can cash out your earnings after every one. There is no minimums balances you need to reach.
And after every 3 you take, you earn a loyalty bonus of $2! This bonus applies even if you are rejected from a survey.
Bottom Line: While Forthright does offer the same volume as other companies do, they offer other benefits that make them stand out.
At the top of the list are instant payouts, high value surveys, and loyalty bonuses.
#7. Opinion Outpost
Opinion Outpost offers a good number of surveys for you to take, but you first need to get through the account set up process.
This process is what turns a number of people off.
But if you get through it, you will be rewarded with some high paying surveys.
Payment is in the form of points, and 1 point is equal to $0.01. When you have 1,000 points, you can cash out your earnings.
How Opinion Outpost works
You start off by signing up and then verifying your email address.
You don’t get access to the site until you do this.
Once your email is confirmed, you will answer a detailed profile questionnaire that takes around 10 minutes to complete.
This is what trips most people up.
It feels like an endless stream of questions.
After you complete it, you will be emailed surveys, usually between 5-10 a day.
Here is the other difference with Opinion Outpost.
Before you can take any of the them, you have to a short qualification questionnaire every time.
If you qualify, you take the survey and rewarded with points. If you don’t qualify, you are entered into a sweepstakes.
Bottom Line: Opinion Outpost isn’t my first choice for survey taking. But it is a legit one that pays well.
You just have to be able to qualify for them first.
The trick I use is to complete all my other surveys first and if I have time, I start completing the ones from Opinion Outpost.
Doing it this way ensures I made money for my time and any survey I complete with Opinion Outpost is a bonus.
#8. Springboard America
Springboard America stands out from the rest by making its surveys interesting to complete by making them more interactive.
With most suveys, you are just checking boxes and occasionally typing a sentence or two.
With Springboard America, you do these as well, but you also drag and drop, pull down menus, etc.
And users agree it is one of the better options too.
In fact, Springboard America paid out over $67,000 to users for the month of July 2019.
How Springboard America works
As with the others, you first create your free account and then proceed to complete your profile so you are matched with surveys.
Once you are done this, you sit back and wait.
Most users will get their first survey quickly, but this one tends to earn you a sweepstakes entry.
After you complete it, you probably will get a survey about your technology use that pays cash.
Overall, the payment varies between points and sweepstakes entries.
When it comes to getting paid, you do need to have a balance of $50 before they will send you your money.
Bottom Line: While it is annoying that some surveys are sweepstakes entries and not cash and they have a high payout limit, the site it worth it in my opinion.
This is because most of the ones I take are worth $1 or more whereas most others have a bunch of surveys that earn you less than $1.
Add in the fun user experience of taking a survey and you have a winner.
Click here to open your free Springboard America account!
#9. Inbox Dollars
Inbox Dollars makes it easy to get started and take surveys, but the ones they offer pay much less than the other options listed here.
But they offer other fun ways to earn points that you redeem for cash and gift cards.
How Inbox Dollars works
Create your free account, answer some basic questions and watch a tutorial and you are set to take surveys.
As I mentioned, the surveys don’t pay well, but the site offers other ways to earn money.
For example, you can earn money playing games and watching videos.
Another downside is getting your money.
You need a $30 balance before you cash out and Inbox Dollars takes $3 of that as a processing fee.
Bottom Line: If you are interested in earning money for doing various things online, then Inbox Dollars is an option.
Just be prepared for it to take a little time to earn enough money to cash out.
And when you do cash out, payment can take up to 30 days.
Luckily, I found that after my first payment, my next payment happened in a matter of days and they even waived the $3 processing fee for me.
At the end of the day, this is a decent option, but I would lean more towards Swagbucks first.
#10. American Consumer Opinion
American Consumer Opinion is hands down one of the most reputable survey sites out there.
- In business since 1986
- 7 million members
- Paid out over $30 million in rewards
- Users have completed over 20 million surveys
As a result, it is an option to consider.
How American Consumer Opinion works
You create your free account and verify your email address.
The next step is to complete your profile questionnaire so they can match you with appropriate surveys.
Once this is complete, you wait for them to email you surveys to take.
Rewards are based on a point system, with 1 point equal to $0.01.
Survey rewards vary between 5 points up to 50 points. Most fall in the 50-200 point range.
When it comes to cashing your earnings, you need to have a $10 balance before you are paid.
Bottom Line: This is one of the most reputable survey companies out there and the surveys they send you are interesting to complete.
Add in a decent earning rate and you have a winner.
#11. Pinecone Research
Pinecone Research was the first survey site I ever joined. When I started, I was making $5 per survey, but now they offer $3.
All they offer is surveys and they have been around for a long time, so they are one of the best survey sites out there.
How Pinecone Research works
Unlike with other sites, you can’t simply join this one.
You need a current member to refer you or apply when you see a recruiting advertisement online.
Even then, there is no guarantee they will accept you.
If you do get in, you will be emailed surveys to take. Usually they send 1-2 per month.
In addition to this, they will send you profile questionnaires to answer as well. You don’t get paid for answering these, though you are entered into a sweepstakes.
Bottom Line: You aren’t going to get rich, or anywhere close to it with Pinecone.
I averaged close to $125 a year when I was with them. But I was doing it because I enjoyed it, not because of the money.
The one thing I really enjoyed was they randomly selected you to test out the product you were reviewing.
A few times a year I would be sent an item and try it out for a week. Then I would take a follow up survey which I was paid for.
Most times I even got to keep the product.
How The Paid Online Surveys Sites Are Ranked
As I mentioned earlier, I am basing the best online survey sites on my personal experience.
The factors that I am taking into account to rank them are the following:
#1. Is the survey site legitimate?
The site has to have a proven track record of not only offering paid surveys to take, but also a history of actually making payments.
Note that when you do a search for any of the sites I list below, you are going to find people with negative comments and reviews.
This shouldn’t eliminate any site immediately.
I say this because most negative reviews have one of two things in common.
- The reviewer thought they could get rich quick taking surveys and are mad that this isn’t the case.
- The reviewer tried to trick the survey company with false answers and got banned.
I’ll talk about these more throughout this post, but it is something to keep in mind when you do any research on your own.
This isn’t to say you should ignore all negative reviews. But you should try to understand where the reviewer is coming from.
Most times the negative review is simply because of wrong expectations or trying to find an easy way to complete the survey.
#2. Is there good opportunity to earn money?
A paid online survey site can be excellent, but if they only send you 1 or 2 a month, is it one of the best?
This is especially true when compared to other good sites that offer 5 or more a day.
While I rank them based on this, you need to take the time to understand how much money you want to make too.
For example, if you just want to earn $20 a month, then 1 or 2 surveys a day is enough for you.
But if you want to earn $100 or more, you need a site that is going to give you a lot of surveys to complete.
#3. Do they pay a fair wage?
While many legit survey sites pay, not all pay a fair wage.
Now, your definition and my definition of a fair wage may differ.
For me, I like to take into account how long it takes me to complete a survey and then multiply the pay in to an hourly wage.
For example, let’s say it takes me 5 minutes to complete a survey and it pays me $1.25.
My hourly income for this is $15.00 (60 minutes divided by 5 minutes gets you 12, meaning I could complete 12 surveys in a hour. Then I multiply 12 by the payment of $1.25).
To me, this is a fair wage.
I try to stick with surveys that pay close to $1.00 or more and only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
While this is a rough guideline, I usually do the math to make sure it works out for me financially.
#4. Do they offer any extras?
While not all survey companies offer other ways to make additional income, some do.
I like this option as it allows me to diversify my income stream.
For example, if there aren’t any surveys to take one day, or I’ve taken all of the available ones, I can still do other things to earn additional money.
Note that this isn’t a huge factor since again, most sites don’t offer this. But it is a nice bonus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the questions I get asked most about paid online surveys.
I add to this section as more questions get asked by my readers.
Can you make money taking online surveys?
Taking surveys for money is one of the easiest side hustles you can do.
You can make anywhere from a few dollars up to $100 or more every month by taking surveys.
The amount you earn is dependent on the number you complete.
What kind of questions will I answer?
The questions you will be asked to answer varies by survey.
Overall, the goal of a survey is to get the feelings and opinion of consumers on specific products.
The questions you are asked are mostly in the form of multiple choice and sometimes a short answer question is thrown in.
For example, Proctor & Gamble might be coming out with a new laundry detergent.
You will be asked questions about how appealing the packaging is, how persuasive the ad copy is, etc.
How do paid surveys work?
Companies are always performing market research to offer the best products to consumers.
Because of this, they need consumers feedback.
They could do this themselves with in person focus groups but the cost would be prohibitive.
This is where survey websites come into play.
Companies hire the survey site to complete product testing and report back with the findings.
The marketing company will instruct who it wants to take the survey and the survey company will make it available to that demographic.
Going back to my example about laundry detergent, Proctor & Gamble might target adult females between the ages of 35-55 for this market research.
If you fit into this demo, you will see the survey assuming you joined the survey company that offers it.
Once the company hires the survey company to conduct the research, the survey company then pays you, for taking part.
How do online surveys pay you?
There are a handful of ways you get paid when taking online surveys.
In most cases, your payment will be in the form of:
- Sweepstakes Entries
Obviously, cash is king and this is the easiest form of payment.
Usually taking surveys for cash is paid to you via PayPal after you earn a certain amount.
For example, most sites hold your earnings until you have $10 earned. Others wait until you have earned $30.
Still others pay cash instantly.
Most have the waiting period to limit costs and fees on their end.
The next way you can get paid is with points.
There are a decent number of survey sites that pay this way.
You redeem your points for gift cards, prizes, or for cash via PayPal.
When dealing with a one that has you earn points, it is important you understand the conversion of points to dollars.
This will help you pick the most valuable surveys for your time.
Also look into the gift card options. Many times sites will offer sales on gift cards, allowing your points to go further.
Lastly, there are sweepstakes entries.
I tend to stay away from surveys that offer this form of payment only because the odds of winning are so slim.
If I am spending 30 minutes of my time taking surveys, I want to be compensated for it.
I don’t want to have a small chance of getting compensated.
Full disclosure, in the past I was part of a site that paid me entries into a $500 monthly drawing when I updated my profile information.
I had to update it twice a month and it took me around 10 minutes each time.
I did this for about 3 years, so 72 times and I never won the sweepstakes.
How much do online surveys pay?
The first thing you need to know is that you aren’t going to make a living by taking online paid surveys.
If you want to make $2,000 a month, you better look at other options because it is not going to happen with surveys.
Most survey companies pay between $0.50 and $2.00 per survey depending on its length.
There are exceptions to this where I’ve earned up to $10 for a survey as well as a handful in the $5 range.
But most are between $0.50 and $2.00.
With that said, don’t think you have to work endless hours to make money taking surveys.
You can easily earn $100 or more taking them.
You just have to dedicate time to taking them and use the tricks I talk about to earn the most money.
For me, I spend 30 minutes before bed taking surveys.
A friend of mine takes them on her train ride into the city on her way to work.
If you can find 30 minutes a day to commit to this side hustle, you will earn a decent amount of money.
Why is the pay so low?
You might wonder why you are only getting paid a few dollars to take a survey when the survey company is getting paid thousands to conduct them.
There are a few reasons for this:
- There are hundreds, possibly thousands of people taking the survey to get a valid sample.
- The survey company has to pay its workers to create the survey and analyze the results.
- The survey company has other overhead costs, such as electricity, trash, water, etc.
Because of these factors, you earn a small amount of money.
And you have to remember it is simple work. You aren’t going to get paid thousands of dollars for a few minutes worth of work.
Which paid survey sites are legitimate?
The survey sites I list in this post are legit.
I’ve been using some of them for many years, while others for a few months.
In each case, I complete surveys, earn points and have redeemed points for cash.
If you are looking at a site that isn’t listed here, be sure to do your homework first.
And if during the sign up process anything seems odd or concerning, stop and move along.
Here are some things you should and should not do when researching online survey site:
- Read online reviews. This helps you to get a better sense of others experience. Just remember to keep negative reviews in context as the user might be guilty of having poor expectations or scamming the site like I mentioned earlier.
- Never pay. If any survey site asks for you for money to join, skip it. There is no reason you should give money to take surveys. Never.
- Never give your credit card information. There is no reason a survey site would need your credit card information.
- Promotional items and ads. If you have to click through endless promotional products with the promise of getting to a paid survey, this should be a red flag.
- Use common sense. At the end of the day, all legit survey companies work essentially the same. You should have gotten an idea of this by reading through this post. So use common sense and notice if anything is drastically different. This could be a sign of a scam.
What are the top paying survey sites?
This is a loaded question to be honest.
Each site sets a rate based on how long the survey is, how many people they need to complete it, and the demographic of people they need.
As a result, no one can say that a certain site is the top paying survey site out there.
With that said, I have found all of the sites I list here to be competitive with each other in terms of pay.
This means that you can expect to earn the same amount per survey from any of the sites.
How can I find the highest paying online surveys?
The trick to finding these is to do a little math.
All legit survey sites will tell you the how much you will earn for taking the survey and how long it will take you to complete.
You just have to do some math using these numbers to get your answer.
For example, if you are offered a survey that pays 75 points and has an estimated completion time of 15 minutes, you take 75 and multiply by 4, since there are 4 fifteen minute periods in an hour.
The result is 300 points.
If another survey pays 225 points for 50 minutes of your time, you take 50 and divide by 60, getting you 0.83. Then you divide 225 by 0.83 to get 271 points.
By looking at each one at an hourly rate, you get a better idea as to which ones pay the highest.
If you didn’t do this, you could get lured into a high paying survey that takes a long time to complete and end up not earning as many points than if you took a lot of lower paying surveys that took a lot less time.
What are the best survey apps?
Many of these survey sites offer a mobile app, but not all of them.
While it isn’t a deal breaker if they don’t offer a mobile app, it makes taking survey away from home that much easier when they do.
In my opinion, the best survey apps are Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars simply because of the ease at which you can take surveys.
How To Make Money From Surveys | The Tricks I Use To Earn The Most
Since you know you can’t make a living by taking online surveys, your next question is how do you make the most money online?
Here are the tricks I use to earn the most money in my spare time.
In any given month, I typically earn between $200-$350 by using this strategy.
#1. Create A New Email Account
This is important because you are going to get tons of emails about new survey opportunities.
By having a separate email dedicated to surveys, you keep things better organized.
In fact, I take this one step further and create separate folders for each survey company and set up rules so that the emails get filtered to the right inbox.
This helps me to stay organized and not get overwhelmed by seeing hundreds of emails in my inbox. Here is a tutorial on how to do this.
#2. Sign Up For A Handful Of Survey Sites
Once you have your dedicated email ready to go, it is time to sign up for surveys.
Most people fail here by only choosing one site.
Here is why this is wrong.
Each survey company works with different marketing companies to conduct research. Because of this, each company will have different surveys available for you to take.
By signing up with multiple survey companies, you increase the surveys available to take and thus, increase your income potential.
I recommend you pick between 3-5 of the options from the ones I listed above to join.
#3. Complete The Profile Questionnaire Completely
It can be annoying filling out some personal details and your interests, but this is critical.
The survey companies use this information to match you.
If you only complete half of the questionnaire, you are limiting the number of surveys you may qualify for.
Or, you will get sent more surveys because the company is unsure if you qualify. This will lead to you getting rejected more often because you really don’t qualify.
And here is a trick to make this process a little quicker.
Take advantage of form fillers.
Regardless if you use Chrome or Firefox, using a form filler will save you tons of time when signing up for survey sites.
This is because they are all going to ask you the same basic personal information.
By using a form filler and simply clicking a box instead of typing everything, you get to taking surveys and earning money that much faster.
Lastly, be sure to go back into your profile every few months and update it with any changes so you are qualifying for the most surveys possible.
#4. Pay Attention To The Format
Most sites structure their surveys in the same way.
So after a while, if you pay attention, you can save yourself time, which means you can complete surveys quicker.
For example, with one site, I know that the top answer will be “completely agree” and the bottom answer will be “completely disagree”.
By knowing the format of the surveys, you can go through them faster.
When I take a survey, I read the question and then scan the first response to make sure it is set up as usual and answer.
Doing this allows me to complete surveys in half the time. Many times I am done a 10 minute survey in 5 minutes.
This allows me to complete more surveys in 30 minutes than most others, resulting in more earnings.
#5. Be Honest
After reading the above, you might think I am not completely honest with my answers.
This is not true. I answer every question honestly and so should you. The trick above just saves me a lot of time.
And here is why you need to be honest when answering surveys. Many times they will ask the same question in the same survey, only in a different way.
If you answer the questions differently, it will throw up red flags.
When this happens, you will have your account reviewed and potentially banned.
This is why many people get mad and complain that they lost access to their account.
They weren’t honest in their answers. They just picked and chose random responses or just checked the same box regardless of the question.
If you want to consistently make money with online surveys, you need to be honest with your answers.
#6. Stay Focused
There are days that I spend much of my time answering the pre-qualification questions only to be declined for a survey.
This is frustrating.
And when it happens a lot in a given day, it becomes maddening.
But I stay focused.
I know that the next day there will be surveys I will qualify for and I will earn money by completing.
Remember to stay focused and keep at it.
And if you find you are consistently being declined, you may want to revisit your profile and make sure the information is up to date.
#7. Have A Strategy
Finally, you need to have a strategy.
Before you start, you need to answer these questions:
#1. How much money do I want to earn?
#2. Am I OK with getting paid in gift cards?
#3. Do I think I’ll enjoy taking surveys?
Answering these 3 questions first is critical as it will guide you to the best combination of survey sites.
And by joining the right survey sites and knowing how much you want to earn makes the entire process more enjoyable and rewarding.
These are the ones that allow you to take surveys and do other fun things and get paid to watch videos, surf the web and play games.
If you are more certain surveys are your ticket, then you sign up for Toluna, Survey Junkie, Prize Rebel, Forthright, and Swagbucks as these are the highest paying survey sites, which will allow you to maximize your income.
Additionally, you can do some other combination based on the details I provided above.
Just remember that you aren’t going to make $1,000’s a month taking surveys.
But you can earn $200-$300 by being strategic and following the tips I shared above.
And even if you don’t want to put in the work like me, you can still easily earn between $50-$100 a month.
Finally, take the time to consider taking surveys for gift cards.
I know we all want cash, but earning gift cards is just as good. When you earn gift cards, you can use them to pay for items you need without spending any money.
This is why it is critical to keep an eye out for when sites offer sales on gift cards. Not only will you earn a gift card, but you will have earned more points because of the lower price.
All of the sites I recommend offer gift cards as a redemption option. And all of them allow you to complete surveys for Amazon gift cards too.
At the end of the day, getting paid to take surveys online is a fun and easy side hustle.
Just know you aren’t going to cover your rent with the income you make every month.
But you could use the money to pay extra on your debt or use it help fund a vacation.
So if you are looking for an interesting way to earn some money on the side, look into surveys.