You can make easy money taking online surveys, but they typically don’t pay more than a few bucks an hour, way less than you’d get with a part-time job paying minimum wage. Still, as a diversion, it pays better than scrolling through Twitter, especially if you’re stuck waiting somewhere like the airport or DMV.
How do paid online surveys work?
Information about your buying habits is a valuable commodity, so to better understand consumer behavior, companies rely on market research to make decisions based on focus groups, product testing, and surveys. To save time and money, some market research companies will pay consumers to do surveys online. Most use a rewards points system that can be redeemed for cash, or more commonly, gift card from companies like Amazon or Starbucks.
The downsides to paid online surveys
Aside from the low pay, the biggest trade-off with paid online surveys is that you’re selling personal information. So, you have to be comfortable sharing a lot of personal data, including your email, age, gender, race, and annual income.
Unfortunately, this information can also disqualify you from a survey— sometimes abruptly while you’re doing one—as market research companies might only be interested in hearing from specific demographics. This can be frustrating, as some surveys take 15-20 minutes to complete. These surveys also result in a lot of spam in your inbox, so you’ll want to set up a new, separate email account before you get started.
Where to get started with paid online surveys
Unfortunately, there are a lot of phony surveys run by scammers looking to steal your personal information, so you’ll want to stick to legitimate sites. The personal finance site DollarSprout has a good overview of some of the best, most trustworthy survey sites that you can start with here.
Most sites offer around 50 cents for a completed survey, but keep an eye out for survey sites that can offer $1-$5, like Branded Surveys, Pinecone Research, KashKick or Valued Opinions. Some of these sites offer sign-up bonuses, too, either in points or cash. InboxDollars offers $5 for signing up (although you can only redeem it once you’ve earned $30), while new Swagbucks members can claim a $10 signup bonus after spending at least $25 at one of the site’s featured retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart.