If you have some spare time and are looking for ways to make a little extra money, you could try filling out surveys for money. With survey companies paying out millions of dollars to users each year, it’s a legitimate way to earn an income online.
Or is it? There’s a natural skepticism whenever this topic is brought up in personal finance circles, and for good reason. For starters, far too many people have been burned by the claims of ‘scammy’ survey sites in the past, walking away with nothing more than a whole lot of wasted time. And, let’s face it, you’re never going to get rich filling out online surveys. Forget rich, you’re going to struggle just to get to minimum wage.
So why even bother? Survey sites are definitely not for everyone, yet they remain very popular. If you stick to the most reputable ones, there is money to be made. We’re not talking rent-erasing money, but it might cover the cost of your monthly Netflix subscription, or subsidize your coffee habit, which for some people is worth the effort.
In this article, I’ve selected what I think are the best online survey companies out there today. Most have been around for several years and have established a fairly solid reputation. Some are better than others, without a doubt. Before we dive in, here are a few tips on ways to maximize your online survey earnings.
How to earn more with online surveys
As I already mentioned, if you’re looking to make money with only one survey site, you’ll likely be disappointed. Most sites pay very little per survey, often less than $1, while the sites that claim to pay more, say $5 per survey, tend to send very few surveys your way. Still, if you’re willing to put in the time, there are things you can do to maximize your earnings.
Sign up on more sites – It only makes sense, but by signing up for more sites, you’ll increase your potential earnings by increasing the number of surveys you qualify for.
Opt for the higher paying activities – In addition to taking surveys, many of these sites will reward you for other activities, such as searching the web, watching videos, or participating in focus groups (rare). Simple tasks pay less than more detailed ones. Pay attention to the higher paying activities, and stick with those.
Register for sweepstakes – Many survey websites provide an option to use your points to register in sweepstakes, where the prizes can be as much as $500, or $1000. While there is no guarantee you will win, consider taking the chance with some of your points, to improve your odds of a better payout.
Top Feature: Quick payment via PayPal
Typical Earnings: $1 – $3 per survey
Survey Junkie has been around since 2013 and is one of my favorites. They reward users with points for completing surveys, which are then converted to dollars. Surveys are worth between 50 and 450 points each, with 100 points equalling $1. Earnings can be paid out via PayPal or in the form of e-gift cards. Unlike many companies on this list, Survey Junkie sticks to what they know best, surveys. There are no rewards for shopping online, browsing the internet, or watching videos. You can cash out as soon as your earnings reach $10, which is a nice feature, and payments via PayPal are processed within 24 hours, which is very quick when compared to many of its competitors.
Top Feature: More options to earn money
Typical Earnings: $1 per survey
Swagbucks is more than just surveys, rewarding users for shopping online, searching the web, playing games, and more. Survey earnings can be very minimal, less than $1 per, but you have no shortage of options to make money. Like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks users are compensated in the form of cash via PayPal, and gift cards. A nice feature is the ability to redeem gift cards for as little as $3, while the minimum PayPal cash payout is $25. To help you get paid sooner, Swagbucks offers a $5 sign-up bonus.
Top Feature: Offer payment via check
Typical Earnings: minimum $3 per survey
Pinecone Research is another long-standing survey company that rewards you with points for completing surveys. They pay well for surveys, at a minimum of $3 each. The catch is that because they are searching for a specific demographic at different times, they operate on an invite-only basis so the number of survey opportunities is limited. Still, it’s worth signing up as a way of padding diversifying your survey income. Pinecone is run by Nielsen, the same organization that measures television viewership ratings.
Top Feature: $5 bonus after completing 5 surveys
Typical Earnings: $.30-$.50 per survey
MyPoints is owned by Prodege, the same company that owns Swagbucks. They’re similar in that you can earn points a number of ways, including online shopping, watching videos, and playing games. They offer plenty of survey opportunities, but the earnings per survey tend to be very low. You do get a $5 bonus after completing your first 5 surveys, however. Payment options include PayPal cash and gift cards.
Top Feature: $5 sign up bonus
Typical Earnings: $.50 – $5 per survey
Inbox Dollars pays cash for completing a variety of activities online: answering surveys, fulfilling offers, watching videos, playing games etc. While you can earn up to $5 when you complete a survey, the average payout is much lower than that. A positive is that they have a large number of surveys to choose from, so if you have the time, you can increase your earnings that way. Before you complete a survey, or an activity, Inbox Dollars will let you know how much you’ll be paid. That way, you can decide if it’s worth your time. You can receive payment via gift cards, PayPal cash, or a check in the mail. The minimum payout amount is $30.
Top Feature: Convert points to travel credits
Typical Earnings: $.30 – $3 per survey
When you complete surveys with Opinion Outpost, you’ll earn points that can be converted in a number of ways. In addition to receiving PayPal cash or gift cards, you can turn your earnings into travel credits, by joining the MileagePlus program. As with most survey companies, you’ll be required to fill out a questionnaire when you register so that Opinion Outpost can collect your demographic information and make sure you’re legit. According to their website, survey topics are varied, and include anything from electronics and medicine, to sports and politics, even your eating habits.
Top Feature: Sweepstakes entries
Typical Earnings: No cash payout, sweepstakes entries
VIP Voice works a bit differently than the other survey companies on this list. You earn points for completing surveys, but they can’t be converted into cash or gift cards. Instead, points can be used to enter sweepstakes or online auctions on sites like Bidland and Sweepland. The problem with this is that there is no guarantee that you’ll be compensated for the time you spend completing surveys. If you don’t mind the idea of taking your chances with sweepstakes, then there are plenty of surveys you can fill out with VIPVoice. Upon signing up, you are entered into their registration sweepstakes, for a chance to win $1000.
Top Feature: 10 LifePoints at sign up
Typical Earnings: $.50 – $1 per survey
With LifePoints, you can convert points for PayPal cash once you reach a minimum $20 payout. The downside is that the amount you earn per survey is fairly low, usually less than $1. They do claim to have paid more than $20 million out to members in the past year alone, however. Survey invites are sent out via email, and the number you receive each month will vary based on the type of data being collected, and your suitability to complete the survey. While LifePoints lacks the optionality of a Survey Junkie or Swagbucks, it works well if you’re looking for a basic survey site.
Top Feature: $1 sign up bonus
Typical Earnings: $1 – $5 per survey
Vindale Research doesn’t incorporate a point system, meaning that your earnings are expressed as a dollar value only. This way, you always know what you’ve earned, at a glance. Payment is via PayPal, but you will need a minimum of $50 before you can cash out. Of note, Vindale offers other earning opportunities that pay more than surveys. For example, you may be able to write product reviews, which pay as much as $75 each. Of course, these opportunities don’t come along very often.
Top Feature: Offers a bonus loyalty program
Typical Earnings: $.40 – $.60 per survey
Prize Rebel has been around for more than 10 years, during which they’ve paid out over $19 million to their members. With Prize Rebel, signing up is easy, as they only require your name and email address to open a free account. They will gather more of your personal demographic information when you complete your first survey, but you’ll earn points for doing so. What makes prize Rebel standout is their loyalty bonus program, which rewards members based on the number of surveys they complete. You can earn a bonus of up to 3% on your earnings, not to mention a 3% discount when you redeem your prize (Diamond level). 500 points equal to $5, and earnings can be redeemed for PayPal cash, gift cards, or Dwolla cash.
Top Feature: Variety of earnings options
Typical Earnings: Up to $5 per survey
With Survey Club, you can earn up to $5 per survey, although the vast majority will be much lower than that. They also give users the opportunity to participate in focus groups, some of which pay handsomely, up to $200 per hour. Survey Club doesn’t actually host surveys, rather they steer towards surveys on other websites. What makes Survey Club standout from their competition is the ways in which you can earn. Not only can you be paid in cash or gift cards, you can also make charitable contributions, receive a prepaid debit card, and enter draws and sweepstakes. The minimum earnings required to cash out is $25.
Harris Poll Online
Top Feature: $10,000 sweepstakes entry with every completed survey
Typical Earnings: $1 per survey
With Harris Poll Online, you earn points for completing surveys, which can be redeemed for purchases at a number of leading websites. Their screening process is quite detailed, as they lead you through a series of demographics questions. To complete surveys, you must log in to the Harris website, surveys aren’t sent via email. At an average of around $1 per survey, the earn rate is modest, but the more you visit their site and take surveys, the more money you’ll make. I do like the fact that they enter you into a draw for a $10,000 sweepstakes every time you complete a survey, and they also allow you to make charitable donations with your earnings.
Top Feature: Lightning fast sign up process
Typical Earnings: Up to $5 per survey
The sign-up process with OneOpinion is very quick, which allows you to start earning without a lot of effort. Their surveys pay as much as $5 each, but typical earnings are lower than that. Users earn points that can be exchanged for gift cards (there is no PayPal option with OneOpinion). You’ll need to accumulate $25 worth of points before you can redeem, and 1,000 points have a value of $1.
Top Feature: Low minimum payout
Typical Earnings: Up to $1 per survey
iSay by Ipsos is similar to most other survey sites in that you earn points that can be converted to PayPal cash or used to redeem gift cards. The payout per survey is very low, but Ipsos does have a unique point multiplier, that rewards users’ loyalty with bonus points after they reach a certain number of surveys. After completing 5 surveys, for example, you’ll receive 25 bonus points. One thing I like about iSay, is that they have a low minimum payout. You only need 500 points ($5 value) before you can redeem for PayPal cash. With iSay, 100 points have a value of $1.
Top Feature: Targeted surveys based on area of expertise
Typical Earnings: Not available
The sign-up process with ProOpinion is quite detailed. That’s because their mandate is to select surveys that align closely to your individual expertise. When you complete surveys, you earn points that can be redeemed in one of four ways: PayPal cash, Amazon gift cards, Apple store & iTunes gift cards, and charitable donations via The American Red Cross. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information on the Pro Opinion website regarding the points you earn, and how much they’re worth. Other sites are more transparent. The data collected is used in articles and other content found on the Pro Opinion website. The information provided is geared towards helping business professionals learn and grow.
The benefits of completing online surveys
There you have it, my list of top paid survey sites for 2021. If you’ve read through these mini-reviews and are interested in getting paid to take surveys, my recommendation would be to start with Survey Junkie and Swagbucks and go from there. If you need more motivation, there’s another reason filling out online surveys may be beneficial.
On the homepage of the Survey Junkie website, is the caption, “Share your opinion to help brands deliver better products and services”. Personally, I like the idea of having a voice, of being able to influence the direction a company takes with its products and services, even if it’s in a very small way.