Updated June 29, 2020

Online Surveys: How to Get Paid for Taking Surveys

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Online surveys are a legit way to make extra cash. Find out which ones pay the most. Plus, get the pros and cons of each site.

© CreditDonkey

Sometimes, there's nothing better than kicking back to watch your favorite TV show.

But what if you could make your free time work a little harder?

Online surveys are great way to pass some time and get paid doing it. You won't be rolling in money, but it's a fun and flexible way to fund your coffee habit.

As with all things on the internet, there are some scams out there. Stick to the end to learn about red flags and how to avoid them.

Here are the best survey sites that will really pay you:

Plus: Don't miss 10 essential tips for smart survey-taking at the end, including one little-known red flag to watch out for.

© CreditDonkey

Businesses want to know what you like so they can attract potential customers like you. That's why you can get paid to take surveys.

You won't be able to quit your day job. But you can save a good rainy-day fund over time. Check out these top 14 sites to make a little extra money.

🏆 Most Income Opportunities - Swagbucks

screenshot of swagbucks

Of all the survey sites reviewed here, Swagbucks offers the most opportunities to make money. You can earn points by watching videos, taking surveys, using their own browser extension, just for signing up ($5).

Swagbucks also wins for trust factor. They're owned by Prodege LLC, an internet research company that also owns MyPoints, ShopAtHome, and InboxDollars.

They're BBB accredited with an A+ rating, have 14 years in the business, and have paid out over $405M in rewards to their 13 million members.

Swagbucks is available in the U.S., most of Asia and Europe, and some parts of Africa; you must be 13+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, cash-back program, grocery coupons, "Swagbucks Search" (their own pay-to-search engine), points for watching videos
  • What You'll Earn: $0.40-$2 per survey (40-200 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $3 (300 points)
  • Payment Method: PayPal or gift cards
  • Rewards Processing Time: 10-14 days

Common Complaints:

  • Missing payments
  • Issues with redeeming points

What do I do if I'm missing payments from a survey site?
If you have proof that you've completed multiple surveys and are due payment, contact the corporate office of the company. You can also post a complaint on the company's BBB page, where they often have company reps responding directly to customers. To prevent it from happening again, always take screenshots of your completed surveys as a record.

Surveys are inherently mobile-friendly, but out of all the sites with their own mobile apps, this next pick was our favorite.

Best Mobile App - Survey Junkie

Screenshot of Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie is one of the biggest names in online surveys, with over 10 million active members and 9 years in the business.

Survey Junkie uses your profile info to find pre-vetted surveys that you qualify for. They'll even award you points for surveys that disqualify you, meaning your time is better spent. Plus, their mobile app makes it easy to earn points on the go.

In terms of trustworthiness, Survey Junkie is BBB accredited with a "B" rating, which is more than a lot of online survey sites can say.

Survey Junkie is available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia; you must be 13+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, affiliate program, mobile app, focus groups and product testing (usually for high-performing members)
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$3 per survey (50-300 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $10 (1,000 points)
  • Payment Method: PayPal (available everywhere), gift cards and direct bank deposit (in the U.S.)
  • Reward Processing Time: 3-4 days

Common Complaints:

  • Some accounts closed unexpectedly
  • Fewer surveys available
  • Missing payments

Why was my survey site account closed?
Unfortunately, the answer is simply "it depends." Start by checking the site's Terms of Service to make sure you weren't violating any of their terms. One common thing people get deactivated for is trying to watch videos and take surveys at the same time on two different devices. So don't do that.

Highest Earnings per Survey - InboxDollars

Screenshot of InboxDollars

Owned by research giant Prodege Inc., InboxDollars has been paying cash for surveys for nearly 20 years. You can earn money by playing games, reading emails, taking surveys, and just signing up ($5).

Like Survey Junkie, Survey Club, and others, InboxDollars is a "survey aggregator", meaning they find you surveys from third party sites. They also offer more quick, "starter" tasks to build up your cash balance sooner.

InboxDollars is BBB accredited with an "A" rating and have paid $60M to their 17 million active members.

To join InboxDollars, you must be 18+ and located in the U.S.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, cash-back program, and points for playing games and reading emails
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$5 per survey (InboxDollars does not use a points system)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $30
  • Payment Method: Check, Visa cash card
  • Rewards Processing Time: Up to 14 days (or 7 days for Gold members)

Common Complaints:

  • Low earnings per hour
  • Easy to get disqualified from surveys

Most Surveys - LifePoints

screenshot of lifepoints

Of all the survey sites reviewed here, LifePoints had the highest number of available surveys. Just keep in mind that you won't qualify for every single one.

They're available in over 40 countries, making it a great option for international survey takers.

Like most survey sites, joining is free. Unlike most sites, LifePoints gives you 10 points each time you update your profile.

LifePoints is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and 37 other countries; you must be 16+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid "diary" entries (really!), mini-polls, product testing, tiered rewards program, mobile app
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$1 per survey (LifePoints has been inconsistent about their points-to-dollar exchange rate)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $5
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards
  • Rewards Processing Time: Up to 10 days

Your points on LifePoints expire three years from the date you earned them or upon 12 months of no account activity.

Common Complaints:

  • Points expire
  • Vague about points-to-dollar exchange rate
  • No referral program
  • Poor customer service

A 20-minute Sam's Club line is a perfect opportunity to squeeze in a quick survey. But you don't have to stop earning just because you reach the cash register. Next up, learn how to get rewarded for shopping at your favorite stores.

Best Sign-Up Bonus - MyPoints

Screenshot of Mypoints

In addition to their high-earning surveys, MyPoints' cash-back program is a great way to stack your earnings (up to 40% back from stores like Target, Old Navy, and more). We'll be honest—even high-end credit cards rarely pay that much.

With over $230M paid out to date and 10 million active members, MyPoints also offers an impressive $10 welcome bonus to get you up and running.

MyPoints is available in the U.S. and Canada; you must be 13+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, cash-back program, mobile app discounts and coupons, and points for playing video games, watching videos, and book travel accommodations
  • What You'll Earn: $0.36-$2.85 per survey (50-400 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $10
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, and even travel miles
  • Rewards Processing Time: 4-5 days

Common Complaints:

  • Poor customer service
  • Some income opportunities not worth the time

Best Survey Site Referral Programs
PrizeRebel: Earn 20-30% of what your referrals earn
Swagbucks: 10% of what your referrals earn
InboxDollars: 10% of what your referrals earn
MyPoints: Earn 25 points for each successful referral

Chances are your friends like easy money, too. Don't miss the site below for the best referral program to maximize your earnings.

Best Referral Program - Vindale Research

screenshot of Vindale Research

If you're like us, you've wondered why so many survey sites use a points system. No one wants to spend time calculating the exchange rate just to see what they're earning.

Luckily, Vindale Research displays your current earnings in simple cash.

While their average earnings per survey are on the higher side, it can take a while to reach their $50 cash-out minimum. But for every friend you get to sign up, you earn $5, which can add up fast with a big friend group.

Vindale Research is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, reward codes, access to third-party panels
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$2 per survey (Vindale does not use a points system)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $50
  • Payment Method: PayPal or mailed check
  • Rewards Processing Time: Payments are made on a bi-weekly basis

Common Complaints:

  • Takes a while to earn $50 for cash-out
  • Sends a lot of emails

So you've reaped the referral rewards, but when you're having password issues or have a payment question, who you gonna call? Customer service. Find out which site has the best track record for support of any in this article.

Best Customer Service - QuickRewards

Without the hassle of a points system, QuickRewards doles out plain cash for surveys, visiting websites, watching videos, and playing games. With no points to keep track of, it's much easier to know what you're earning.

QuickRewards also has a positive track record for customer service, with many users saying they were able to speak with actual people instead of automated system.

QuickRewards is available in the U.S. and Canada; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, cash-back program, points for using their search engine, watching videos, and playing games
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$1 per survey
  • Cash-out Minimum: $10
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards
  • Rewards Processing Time: 72 hours for PayPal, 1 week for gift cards

Common Complaints:

  • Site errors while completing surveys
  • Poor customer service

QuickRewards also feature a "QuickPoints" system (100 QuickPoints = $0.01) on top of the cash you earn. These are redeemable for extra rewards like prize drawings.

When there's no time to lose, find out why the site below is your best bet for quick cash.

No Minimum Payout - Pinecone Research

screenshot of pinecone research

Ever had one of your favorite TV shows canceled right after a juicy cliffhanger? You can partly blame Nielsen Holdings for that, the long-standing company that measures TV ratings.

Nielsen isn't just in the business of helping cancel good TV shows; they also own Pinecone Research. Pinecone itself has an "F" rating from the BBB, mostly for complaints on everything from deleted accounts to poor customer service.

Another downside? Surveys are invite-only. And while they award higher earnings, surveys are the only income opportunity they offer.

Pinecone Research is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys
  • What You'll Earn: Minimum $3 per survey
  • Cash-out Minimum: $3
  • Payment Method: PayPal, check, Visa cash card
  • Rewards Processing Time: 3-5 days

Common Complaints:

  • Little info available on website security
  • Customer service only available via mail

If you're looking for a survey site with more contests and games (i.e., income opportunities), don't miss the site below.

Fastest Payout - PrizeRebel

One of the most annoying things about online surveys is how long it takes to get paid. Why should it take 2 weeks for the payment to go through?

PrizeRebel is one of the few websites that pays instantly. Plus, they offer a wide variety of income opportunities (surveys, contests, games, and more).

They'll even award you 10 points just for signing up.

PrizeRebel is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia; you must be 18+ to join, or 16-17 with parental permission.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, tiered loyalty program, contests and games, and points for watching videos, searching the internet, and purchasing from PrizeRebel retail partners
  • What You'll Earn: $0.40-$0.60 per survey (40-60 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $5
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, Dwolla cash
  • Rewards Processing Time: Instant-24 hours

Common Complaints:

  • Surveys only available in English
  • Lots of emails

Fast payout is music to a survey-taker's ears. Fast sign-up isn't too bad, either. Combine PrizeRebel with this next site and you'll have the best of both worlds.

Fastest Sign-Up - American Consumer Opinion

screenshot of national consumer opinion

Not the patient type? Neither are we. Of all the sites on our list, American Consumer Opinion is the quickest to get you up and running. In just 2 minutes, you can enter your basic information and start taking surveys.

With 41 years of business under their belt (obviously predating the internet), American Consumer Opinion has paid out $30M paid out to their 7 million active members.

American Consumer Opinion is available worldwide; you must be 14+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, product testing, affiliate program
  • What You'll Earn: $0.05-$0.50 per survey (5-50 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $10
  • Payment Method: PayPal, Hyperwallet, check, sweepstakes entries
  • Rewards Processing Time: 1-2 weeks for PayPal; 8-12 weeks for Hyperwallet and check

Common Complaints:

  • Fewer surveys available
  • Accounts deleted before payment received
  • Slow payment processing

Online Survey Sites That Pay Airline Miles
MyPoints
Opinion Miles Club
E-Rewards
Branded Surveys

Easiest to Use - Survey Club

Survey aggregators are great for giving you more surveys to choose from. But what's the point if you have to sort through dozens of surveys that you don't even qualify for?

Survey Club wins major points for their filtering feature that combs through all available surveys to find only the ones you qualify for.

With 11 years in the business and 16 million active members, Survey Club is a good option for those who are especially short on time.

Survey Club is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia; you must be 13+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, focus groups
  • What You'll Earn: $0.10-$5 per survey
  • Cash-out Minimum: $25
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, prepaid debit cards, checks, sweepstakes entries,
  • Rewards Processing Time: 3-4 weeks

Common Complaints:

  • Slow payout time
  • Takes a long time to reach the cash-out minimum

We all appreciate a site that isn't bogged down by 404 errors and clumsy navigation. But it really comes down to how much cash ends up in your pocket. With higher earnings and quicker surveys, find out which site earns you more per hour.

Higher Earnings per Hour - Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost is a smaller site (only 350,000 active members), but don't count them out just yet. Plus, that could mean fewer people are competing for your survey spots.

With 11 years in business, they offer a user-friendly interface and a quick payout time (as little as 24 hours).

Opinion Outpost is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Italy, Spain, and Germany; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, email offers
  • What You'll Earn: $0.03-$3 per survey (3-30 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $10 for PayPal, $5 for gift cards
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, MileagePlus travel credits
  • Rewards Processing Time: 1-3 days

Common Complaints:

  • Fewer income opportunities
  • Little info about website security

How to Qualify for More Online Surveys
  1. Fill out your profile completely and keep it up to date (more identifiers = more surveys you can qualify for)
  2. Check frequently for new surveys (less time for the respondent pool to be filled)
  3. Sign up with multiple sites (more chances to qualify)
  4. Take your time filling out each survey (the site knows how long it should take and values well-thought-out responses)
  5. Be mindful of your VPNs or ad blockers (some sites block the usage of these programs)

If you're going to go all-in on any survey site, this next one is your best bet. See how they reward your loyalty with gradually increasing bonuses.

Best Loyalty Program - Ipsos i-Say Panel

i-Say is a survey site with 3 million active members, and their parent company Ipsos has been in business for over 30 years. While they're not technically BBB accredited, they do have an A+ rating from the BBB.

They offer plenty of surveys to choose from, including a substantial loyalty program that every user is automatically qualified for. The more surveys you take, the higher your bonuses get.

Ipsos also give you 5 points for every survey you don't qualify for. Looking for a site to really make it worth your while? Be sure to try out the site below.

i-Say is available in the U.S., U.K., and 85 other countries around the world; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, paid referrals, polls, sweepstakes, tiered loyalty program
  • What You'll Earn: $0.45-$2 per survey (45-200 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $15 for PayPal, $10 for Visa cash card, $5 for gift cards
  • Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, Visa cash card
  • Rewards Processing Time: 1-3 weeks

Common Complaints:

  • Slow payout time
  • Hard to qualify for surveys

Like markets, coffee shops, and prohibitively expensive activewear stores, survey sites reward your continued patronage with loyalty programs. Who knew? Find more tips for smart survey-taking at the end of this article.

Best Disqualification Points - OneOpinion

You could probably spend days searching every survey site to find the ones you qualify for. Luckily, OneOpinion helps you out by matching you with surveys from dozens of third-party survey sites.

While that potentially gives you more surveys to choose from, you won't qualify for them all. The good news? For your first five disqualifications, OneOpinion awards you 50 points each.

OneOpinion is available to the U.S. and U.K.; you must be 13+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, product testing, rewards program
  • What You'll Earn: $0.50-$1 per survey (500-1,000 points)
  • Cash-out Minimum: $25
  • Payment Method: PayPal, Visa gift cards
  • Rewards Processing Time: Instant, if you opt for a virtual gift card; 1-3 weeks for mailed gift card

Common Complaints:

  • High threshold for cash-out
  • No paid referrals

Survey Sites that Award Points Even if You Disqualify
OneOpinion (50 points, or $0.05)
Ipsos i-Say (5 points, or $0.05)
Survey Junkie (3 points, $0.03)

To be honest, not all of these sites are winners. Keep reading to find out which site might not be worth your time.

Panda Research

Before you sign up with Panda Research, there are specific complaints you should consider first. While their earnings tend to be higher than many sites, they can't actually guarantee payment for completed surveys (which might explain their dismal F rating from the BBB.)

Some have had a perfectly fine experience with Panda Research, so you can always check it out. But if you have trouble qualifying for surveys, don't miss the next site on our list.

Panda Research is available in the U.S.; you must be 18+ to join.

Earning Potential and Payout

  • Income Opportunities: Paid surveys, payment for reading emails
  • What You'll Earn: $0.45-$3 per survey
  • Cash-out Minimum: $50
  • Payment Method: PayPal
  • Rewards Processing Time: Payments are processed 2x monthly

Common Complaints:

  • No guaranteed payment for completed surveys
  • Slow payment processing
  • Poor customer service

If you're a teen looking to earn some extra cash online, don't miss our guide to online jobs that are perfect for teenagers.

10 Tips for Safer Survey-Taking

Any risks that come with online survey sites can easily be avoided with just a few smart tips. Remember, before joining any site, look carefully at the URL for subtle differences in name or spelling.

For example, the BBB discovered the imposter website "SurveyJunkies.co" that was intended to confuse and misdirect users of SurveyJunkie.com. Don't ignore these tips to survey safely.

  1. First and foremost: Do not use your primary email address to sign up with any website.

  2. Be careful with sites that aren't accredited or don't have a positive track record with the BBB.

  3. Don't use sites that ask for upfront payment.

  4. Avoid sites that suggest you can make a living from survey taking.

  5. Don't click on any links within an email before confirming the credibility of the sender.

  6. Legitimate sites should not pressure you to buy a paid membership.

  7. Be wary of "special" or "limited" offers, or anything that sounds too good to be true.

  8. Be sure to check a site's policy on points expiration (some expire after 1 year).

  9. Avoid sites that ask for too much personal information, like a Social Security Number or bank account info.

  10. Sites that are members of a marketing association, such as the Association for Consumer Research, are typically more credible.

What Experts Say

Making a living isn't always glamorous. Lots of people are afraid of getting stuck in unfulfilling jobs.

In an unpredictable job market, you don't have to go it alone. As part of our series on gig work and employment, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer some of readers' most pressing questions:

  • How can people keep their identities safe when signing up for online side jobs?
  • How do you find your purpose and do what you love?
  • Could gig work put an end to traditional employment?
  • What jobs are the happiest?
  • What will the future of work look like?

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

If you already have a steady source of income, taking online surveys is a great way to make the most of your free time. When choosing a site, be sure to consider:

  • How they pay out (gift card, PayPal, etc.)
  • The required cash-out minimum, and
  • Their overall reputation with other survey-takers

Finally, the best advice I can offer is to stick with it. Your earnings may take time to add up, but there are few easier ways to make money while watching TV or waiting for a dentist appointment.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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