Paid surveys have been “a thing” for decades. Long before Uber and Uber Eats. Or blitzy Bingo games. Or apps that paid cryptocurrency to work out in the middle of the night – while sitting in ice-cold bath water wearing citrus color Spanx. (Joking. There are apps that pay you cryptocurrency for working out, but the ice-cold bath water and citrus Spanx are optional.)
The point is long before these new apps (and gimmicky apps), surveys have been a reliable way to make extra cash. Online survey sites, like Nielsen or InboxDollars, have been around for decades. Over the years, they’ve added new ways to earn, rolled out mobile-friendly sites, and created smartphone apps for users. But paid surveys are still a popular and legit side hustle.
Wondering how paid surveys work? Let’s dig in. This post will cover how paid surveys work – and the best apps and sites for online surveys to make extra cash and free gift cards.
Do Paid Surveys Really Pay?
Yes, paid surveys on legit paid survey sites really do pay. Legit survey sites are a realistic way to earn an extra $100 to $250 a month, if not more. Per survey, you can find paid surveys worth $0.25 to $5 or even more.
A legit survey site will have reviews from members in the app store and on review sites like SiteJabber or TrustPilot. You should also be able to find them covered on finance blogs and news sites. Swagbucks, for example, has been featured in US News & World Report, Good Morning America, Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other media outlets.
Most paid surveys will pay $0.50 to $5.00 and take 5 minutes to 45 minutes to complete. Some paid online surveys can pay only a couple of cents (i.e. a one-question daily poll), and some may pay $20 or more.
What is the Best Paid Survey Site?
The best paid survey sites, based on earning potential, are ranked as follows:
- Survey Junkie
- Opinion Outpost
- Branded Surveys
- Pinecone Research
Swagbucks earns top marks for offering high-quality paid surveys and the highest variety of other fun ways to earn like daily polls, live trivia games, cash back shopping (rebates), focus groups, searching the web, sweepstakes, and other fun activities. Swagbucks also features a high number of offers (i.e. fintech apps) where you earn rewards worth $5 to $150 just for signing up.
InboxDollars, MyPoints, and Survey Junkie are also at the top of the list. InboxDollars and MyPoints feature online surveys and other site earning activities too, primarily cash back shopping, coupons, and rewards for scanning receipts. Survey Junkie has a singular focus on surveys. While it lacks variety, it does have a clean, easy-to-navigate dashboard.
The remaining paid survey sites (Opinion Outpost, Branded Surveys, Pinecone Research, Toluna, LifePoints, and Upromise) are all decent sites. But they offer fewer surveys and fewer ways to earn compared to the top four survey sites we’ve reviewed.
Worth noting, Pinecone Research is an invitation-only survey site. The surveys pay a decent amount ($3.00 each) but there are not always surveys available. Some months, you may only earn $0.
Also, Upromise has a different flavor to it. Upromise is a rewards money site similar to Swagbucks or InboxDollars. But instead of earning rewards for PayPal cash or free Amazon gift cards, you’re earning money for your child’s college. Each month, earnings automatically get transferred to your linked college savings fund.
Do Surveys Really Pay $350?
No, online surveys do not really pay $350, and if you see that amount advertised it is a scam.
Most surveys pay under $5.00 and many pay under $1.00. An ad or website promising $350 per survey is pretty much clickbait.
Of course, if you searched hard enough you could find studies or focus groups that really did pay $350 or much more. But these are likely tied to universities or medical centers in your neighborhood and these studies do not have to rely on spammy ads to recruit participants.
While legit surveys do not pay $350 per survey, you can earn $350 or more by completing multiple surveys on legitimate survey sites.
On the popular survey site Swagbucks, there are Diamond-level members who have earned more than $20,000 by completing surveys.
The more surveys you take, the more money you can earn. Survey takers who make the most money put in the most time and the most hustle.
How Many Swagbucks is $1?
Every 100 SB that you earn on Swagbucks is equal to $1.00. SB is the virtual or rewards currency that you earn on Swagbucks.
You can cash out your first prize once you reach at least 110 SB in earnings or $1.10. After that, you need to reach at least 300 SB or $3.00 in earnings.
This is quite significant. With many paid online survey sites and rewards apps you cannot cash out until you reach at least $20 to $30, or more, in earnings.
With a $3 payout minimum, it’s easy to reach payout and cash out your earnings on Swagbucks.
You can cash out your SB for PayPal cash, a check in the mail, gift cards, or even crypto. As of March 2022, Swagbucks has offered Bitcoin rewards.
Many other survey sites do not have the same flexibility and only pay gift cards.
How Can I Make 100 Dollars a Day?
In addition to completing surveys, there are a number of things that you can do to make 100 dollars a day. Here are 20 ways to make 100 dollars a day.
- Answer surveys on multiple paid survey sites. You can join several paid survey sites if you’d like, and earn money for taking surveys on each one.
- Wrap your car in advertising. Wrap your car in advertising (the process is safe for your car’s paint and body) and earn up to $400 a month. Check out FreeCarMedia.com, Carvertise.com, StickerRide.com, or Wrapify.com.
- Sell your plasma. Make up to $1,000 for the first month of your plasma donation with new donor signup bonuses. Check out BioLifePlasm.com or CSLplasma.com.
- Sell your crafts or craft supplies on Etsy. If you’re crafty, sell your wares on Etsy. Or you can sell craft kits on Etsy too. Assemble the supplies and patterns for people and sell away.
- Sign up for the top free offers on Swagbucks and bank $500. You can’t make 100 dollars a day every day, but if you complete the top offers, you can earn well above $100 in a short period of time.
- Become a mystery shopper. Sign up to be a mystery shopper on MarketForce.com, SecretShopper.com, SSAnet.com, or intelli-shop.com.
- Walk your neighbor’s dog. Check out the Wag! app. Get paid to walk (and cuddle with) dogs.
- Pet sit from your house. Pet-sit for homeowners from your home or theirs. This could be a midday check-in on their dog or boarding their pet in your home while the owner goes out of town. Wag! and Rover are two apps to check out if you’re interested.
- Make an explainer video for YouTube. There are DIY videos and explainer videos for everything on YouTube, from how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to how to put a stamp on a letter. Create a video (you can use your smartphone) to explain how it’s done, and put it on your YouTube channel. Monetize with affiliate links, in-video ads, and sponsors.
- Drop off dinner for your neighbors. Deliver food with UberEats, DoorDash, or another service. You can cash pick the deliveries you want to pick up – and before you pick up a delivery you’ll know how much that particular delivery will pay. And you can cash out multiple times a day.
- Pick up freelance writing work. Pick up freelance writing projects online. You can find freelance writing gigs on Upwork, Fiverr, or by reaching out to local businesses.
- Test new websites and apps. Find work testing new websites and apps on UserLytics.com or UserTesting.com. You’ll test landing pages and apps to see how they work (or don’t work) and share your feedback.
- Start a WordPress blog. You can make money with blogging. WordPress is a free blogging platform (there are premium features and premium versions that cost money) that is intuitive and easy to use. Other similar blog writer platforms to consider are Wix, Squarespace, or Medium.
- Start an Instagram blog. You can blog on Instagram. Lead with a photo or visual image you create – it can be as simple as words on a letterboard or text on a graphical background. Then in the caption you can write a blog or micro-blog. Within the character limits, you can create a blog entry of up to roughly 550 words.
- Clean out your closet. Declutter your closets and make some money. Sell clothing in consignment stores like Once Upon A Child, TurnStyle, and Plato’s Closet. Or sell online on eBay, Poshmark, or Mercari.
- Get paid to listen to music. SlicethePie will pay you to listen to music and leave reviews.
- Give someone a lift to the grocery store. If you’re already driving anyway, why not earn a little cash by giving someone a lift? Sign up to drive for Uber or Lyft. You can pick and choose the routes (and passengers) you want to pick up. If you’re heading out to run errands, look for passengers who need a ride that is on your route.
- Assemble an IKEA dresser. If you’ve got a knack for assembling IKEA furniture (and other odds and ends), then you could make some extra money. Look for gigs or look for services on TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, Steady, or Jobble.
- Get paid to work out. There are a number of apps that will pay you to work out, including Sweatcoin, HealthyWage, Walgreens Balance Rewards, and MapMyFitness.
Does PayPal Do Surveys for Money?
PayPal is one of the most popular rewards for taking paid online surveys. Most online survey sites offer PayPal. Other common rewards include Amazon gift cards, prepaid Visa cards, or free gift cards for other popular retailers.
PayPal is popular among survey takers because it’s like getting paid cash. It’s free and secure to create a PayPal account, and then you can link it to your online bank. But the survey site does not have access to your bank account, giving you that layer of protection.
Does a Legitimate Survey Site Need My Driver’s License Number?
No, legitimate survey sites don’t need your driver’s license number – that screams of scam survey sites. Legitimate survey companies don’t need your driver’s license or bank info. They should have means of paying you (check, PayPal, gift cards) that don’t require your bank account information.
Legitimate survey sites, like Survey Junkie or Swagbucks, may be required to send you a 1099- form if your earnings reach a certain threshold. Most consumers taking online surveys are never required to complete a 1099-form. And this form does not ask you for your driver’s license number.
Are Paid Surveys Safe?
Yes, paid surveys are a safe way to make money online. Swagbucks, for example, has paid its members over $680 million in free gift cards for taking surveys and completing other fun online activities.
The question about online paid surveys being safe is a bit like asking if the Internet is safe, or if cars are safe.
There are scam survey sites that do exist. These sites promise ridiculous amounts of money (i.e. $350 for a 10 minute survey) and display glowing testimonials of people who claim you can get rich quick. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a survey site promising $350 per survey, that’s like a used car dealership advertising a low-mileage, newer model Ford for only $500. It just sounds fake and you know there’s a hidden catch.
How Do I Know the Online Survey Site is Safe and Legit?
A safe and legit online survey site has a mix of good reviews and critical reviews you can read, advertises realistic earning amounts (like $0.25 to $5.00 per survey), and has working customer support that can assist you with questions.
Here are some hallmarks of legitimate survey sites offering legitimate online surveys.
- Realistic earning amounts are advertised. Most online surveys will pay around $0.25 to $5.00 per survey. The highest paying surveys may pay more, but those opportunities are less common and the survey company is upfront in disclosing this. If a paid survey site promises you can get rich or earn a full-time living from market research surveys, this is a scam.
- You can read actual user reviews. Specifically, you can read actual user reviews on third-party sites like Google Play, iTunes, TrustPilot, and SiteJabber.
- There is a mix of good and bad reviews. All glowing reviews are a sign of a scam. Obviously, you want to complete surveys on a survey app that has a great review score overall. However, there will always be unhappy users who leave critical remarks and low scores. If a survey company has only fantastic reviews, be very skeptical.
- You can read reviews that are several months (or even several years) old. Survey scam sites don’t last long before they get shut down. Users realize they aren’t getting paid and move on. A scam site can pay “fake” several dozen glowing reviews or more, but check the time and date stamp. If all the reviews came in over a 2-day window and there are no reviews older than last month, that’s a big red flag.
- There is media coverage of that survey site in legitimate news outlets, finance blogs, and other credible sources. Swagbucks, for example, has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and Refinery29.
- There is social media presence. Legitimate survey sites usually have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels. Because they are real companies that want to listen to and interact with their members in an online community. Scam survey sites often don’t have any social media accounts. Or if they do, they’re quite sloppy. It may be a Facebook page that has almost no followers. Or, an Instagram page that has thousands of followers (suspiciously) but the page went up only a few weeks ago.
- There is functioning customer support. Typically, survey sites have chat support and email support. A scam site may commonly advertise they have customer support and list a toll-free number. But try calling that number. Talk to a chat agent. Try emailing customer support.
Can I Make a Living Doing Online Surveys?
No, you cannot make a living doing online surveys. Market research companies don’t have enough surveys to make this possible. But it is possible to make $50 to $200 a month, or more, taking online surveys. Thousands of people make money online every month by completing surveys.
Let’s take a look at how paid survey sites work.
- Market research companies work with brands and companies to do market research and get consumer feedback. They help brands and companies create thoughtful surveys to get the information they need to make better products and services.
- Then, the market research firm needs survey participants. So they partner with survey companies because they have thousands of willing survey participants – their site members.
- As a survey site member, you can look for paid survey opportunities that match your interests and background. You can see how much the survey will pay and how long it may take you to complete that survey.
- When you complete a survey, the survey site gets paid. They share a portion of the earnings (usually around 50%) with you for completing the survey.
So a brand needs to do research and find a market research company. The market research company needs survey takers, so they work with survey sites like InboxDollars or Survey Junkie. The survey site needs members who want to take surveys for money, so they look for users like you.
How Much Money Can You Make Doing Surveys Online?
Most paid survey opportunities pay $0.25 to $5.00 per survey. Monthly, you can make about $50 to $200 a month taking paid surveys. If you want to make $50 to $200 a month or more taking surveys, you would need to complete a handful of surveys per day and invest at least a couple of hours per day of your time. This is why many people take surveys while they are watching Netflix.
Because just taking surveys can get boring, the best survey sites offer other ways for you to earn money online.
Many survey sites offer these other ways to earn points or rewards:
- Cash back shopping: earn cash back rebates when you shop online at participating stores.
- Reading emails: earn rewards for reading emails (sponsored content). On InboxDollars, for example, you earn virtual scratch-off tickets for reading emails. Rewards range from 1-cent to $100.
- Scanning receipts: get paid for scanning grocery store or supermarket receipts.
- Sign-up bonuses: get paid for trying new apps or services.
- Playing games: get paid for playing new apps and mobile games. This can range from a few cents for just installing a game to $100 or more for reaching a certain level of the game within a set period of time.
- Searching the web: some survey and rewards sites will pay you for searching the web. Generally, the search results are powered by Yahoo or a similar top-tier search engine. They want you to complete the searches on their site so they can show you ads. Since Google doesn’t pay you anything for searching the web, this is a great way to earn extra money from a survey club.
Can You Do Surveys and Get Paid Instantly?
With a legit survey company, you can take online surveys and be credited within a couple of minutes per less. But to actually withdraw the funds you have earned, that could take 1-5 business days or more.
Here’s the general flow or timeline from when you take online surveys for money to when you get paid.
- Take a survey.
- Your account will be credited for the completed survey.
- Request payout in your account settings.
- Select your survey payment method from the available options.
- The survey company verifies your account details.
- Your payment gets processed (in batches with other payments being issued).
- Payment is sent to you – by electronic means or in the mail – depending on the method you selected.
The survey company is required to verify your account details to make sure you are a real person with a real email address and a real physical address. This eliminates fraud, like bots in foreign countries or the same person creating multiple accounts.
Keep in mind that you need to reach the minimum survey payout amount before you can request payment. On Swagbucks, you need to reach $3.00 in earnings. On Harris Poll Online or Valued Opinions, you need to reach $10. Most survey websites require that you reach at least $10 to $25 in earnings.
In a best-case scenario, you could complete a handful of relevant surveys today on your computer or mobile device. Or as many surveys as you need to reach the minimum payout amount. Then request payment today. Depending on the survey payment method (i.e. check in the mail vs PayPal), you could have your funds within 48 hours.
If you need funds even sooner, there are other ways to earn cash and get paid the same day like Uber, UberEats, DoorDash, or Lyft. Keep in mind however that it takes a few days or more to sign up and become a registered gig worker for any of these services.
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