Best Paid Online Surveys to Earn Extra Cash

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Do you wonder if those advertisements for paid online surveys are true? The internet is littered with advertisements for paid survey opportunities. These ads promise big rewards and incentives, but many just trap you into an endless loop of popups and offers.

There are many legitimate paid online survey apps to earn money. In fact, many are owned by well-known brands like Nielson. And there are smaller companies that focus on small niches.

Paid online surveys are offered by marketing companies that pay you to complete surveys. These survey companies are paid by clients to find the ideal customers for marketing research. In return, you earn money or points for every successfully completed survey.

Can you make real money with paid surveys?

A few months ago, I wanted to see if I could really make money with paid online surveys. I’ve done paid surveys in the past, but this time I wanted to see how much I could earn over the weekend. My plan was to download each app and complete my profile to qualify for surveys. Three of the apps gave a signup bonus which was nice.

In my experiment, I used the following apps (and indicated the money I made):

One thing to keep in mind, you earn the most from your initial signup and by referring family or friends. And there are minimum requirements to withdraw the amount for cash or redeem for gift cards. I opted for Paypal for the apps that allowed it. I then used the money to invest in fractional shares. My goal was to have this money work for me since I spent so much time earning it.

Best Paid Surveys Apps

Top Survey SitesSignup BonusPayments
InboxDollars$5Paypal or gift card
Survey JunkieNonePaypal or gift card
Opinion OutpostNonePaypal or gift card
Pinecone ResearchNoneBank Transfer or gift card
Drop5,000 points ($5)Giftcards

My Paid Online Survey Experiement Results

To be honest, it was a lot of tedious work and way too many hours. There were moments it felt like a waste of time because I would spend minutes completing a survey only to be alerted I didn’t qualify. The apps need to do a better job of letting users know the questionnaire isn’t the survey. Doing paid surveys is not a passive way of making money. It’s an active income stream.

Now, some apps performed better than others. My first choice is InboxDollars because of the plethora of ways to earn money. You can earn taking surveys, watching videos, reading email, and scanning receipts along with big bonuses for trying out services or downloading apps. The second best was Swagbucks due to the various ways to earn as well. Coming in third was Pinecone Research as uniquely different from the rest and each product survey paid $3. Coming in on number four was Dabbl which had the best app experience for surveys. The final two apps (Opinion Outpost and Survey Junkie) are included because they are legitimate surveys. But I couldn’t deal with the interface and the number of times I was denied a survey after answering the qualifiers.

How Do You Make Money With Online Surveys?

Choose one of the legitimate companies I’ve shared. You’ll be asked to signup with your full name, email, and other personal information such as your birthdate but never your Social Security Number.

The next step is verifying your email address so check your spam or promotions tab if you haven’t received it. Before you can start earning, you’ll be asked to complete your profile. This information is needed to qualify you for relevant surveys.

During the profile creation stage, you’ll be asked a series of questions that can be quite long and repetitive. It’s to ensure you’re reading the questions and answering truthfully.

How Paid Online Surveys Works

It’s simple to start making money with online surveys. Follow these steps:

  1. Find a legitimate company.

    Sign up for a company like InboxDollars or Swagbucks or any of the ones I listed above.

  2. Create your profile.

    A separate profile is needed for each company and this takes some time to complete. Be accurate with your personal information and eep honest with your answers. This helps you get the right survey offers.

  3. Get your surveys.

    You’ll get access to many surveys at once. Set up alerts when they are available. Remember surveys require a pre-qualification questionnaire. It may seem like you’re completing a survey but are simply being qualified.

  4. Take the survey.

    Once you’re selected complete the survey entirely. Surveys can be quick to multiple choices or require a few sentence responses.

  5. Participate in offers.

    Some survey companies offer rewards for downloading apps or using partner services. These often can be the fastest way to earn cash.

  6. Earn rewards.

    With each completed survey you’ll earn points or pennies. Once you’ve reached the minimum threshold you can request to transfer the money into your checking account, Paypal, or request a gift card.

Where to Find Legitimate Paid Online Surveys?

With legitimate online survey sites, they want honest answers from real people. It doesn’t benefit them to have robots or fake personas. With too many phony responders, they’ll lose their marketing clients.

Legitimate survey apps require some personal information to ensure the accuracy of responses, but will not ask you to pay to access surveys. Remember, these survey companies make their money from their clients, not survey takers. Avoid paying anyone or any company to take surveys.

Find more paid online survey opportunities in the marketplace.

6 Steps to Maximize Your Earnings Potential

1. Join as many legitimate online survey companies

This may mean applying with a number of survey providers. Once you’ve signed up with these companies, keep in mind you may not qualify for every survey they offer.

2. Complete your profile

The survey company’s platform will determine your eligibility for specific survey opportunities. Update your profile as needed.

3. Read the questions and be honest with your answers

Before you take a paid survey, you will be answering qualifier questionnaires to determine eligibility.

4. Be patient

Sometimes you’ll spend a good amount of time on the questionnaires only to find you’re not qualified for that specific survey. It can be frustrating because you won’t earn points for prescreening questionnaires. Some apps will place you in a weekly or monthly drawing. But all apps will offer you additional survey opportunities.

5. Continue to log in

The systems are getting to know you, so they can match you with the right surveys. It will get frustrating to answer the same questions over again, but it’s just their way of ensuring consistency of your answers and determining which surveys you qualify for.

6. Claim your rewards

Depending on the minimum threshold for payments, you can request payment via bank transfer, Paypal, or redeem points for gift cards. I believe it’s best practice to claim your reward as soon as you meet the minimum. Don’t bank the points because I’ve heard horror stories where people lost access to their accounts.

Earn money with paid online surveys

Taking paid online surveys or providing your opinion on new products can be an interesting way to earn money. Especially for anyone who enjoys sharing their interests and giving feedback about products. But keep in mind you won’t be raking in the dough and may spend way more time than you’d like. With that said, it is certainly a legitimate way to earn extra cash.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you tried any of these apps? What apps do you recommend?


  1. Jason, I've also spent a ton of time messing around with surveys - and by and large they don't make a lot of sense in terms of money received for time spent. There are a couple of exceptions: 1Q and Google Opinion Rewards. 1Q pays 25 cents per question and Google Opinion rewards pays about 10 cents per question. I like and use both. The only thing is, there aren't very many questions, so you won't be able to scale it into any kind of serious side hustle.
  2. I'm always looking for ways to make money online, and this list of paid survey sites is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!

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