Today’s personal finance hack is about completing paid surveys to earn money.

You’ve probably come across numerous articles that claim you can get paid to take surveys online. Many people share testimonials of how they quickly earned “free money” from survey websites, or that it is the easiest way to make money while sitting at home. So the question is, ‘Do survey sites actually pay?’ Yes, they do.

There is certainly merit to these claims because people do use online survey sites to make a side income but despite sounding like an appealing way to earn some cash, there are a few things you should read up on.

How you can earn money through online surveys

The mechanism is pretty straightforward. Retailers are wiling to pay for detailed information about their customers so they can be served better, leading to more sales for the company. Traditionally, these companies would carry out surveys by visiting customers at shopping malls or at their homes, or form a focus group to get insights about consumer behavior.

Thanks to the ubiquity of the internet, these surveys can be conducted online, making the process more convenient and less expensive for retailers. In order to maximize the amount of information gathered, a small reward is handed out to each customer that shares their opinion about specific topics, brands, products, price points, designs, and so on.

For each survey that is completed, customers get points, which can be converted to cash or gift cards, and redeemed after a certain payment threshold, like $10 or $25.

How to sign up for surveys

The internet is cluttered with online survey sites and it can be tempting to sign up to all of them but the many of these will be scams, promising to pay for personal information but failing to pay the money when you earn enough points, or worse, sharing your information without your consent. In addition to this, some survey sites inundate your email account with spam, which is also not desirable. Follow these steps to sign up for the best survey sites:

  1. Thoroughly investigate each survey site you sign up for by reading a few online reviews,
  2. Create a separate email account for signing up to online surveys,
  3. Visit the online survey website and fill out the form,
  4. Wait for the confirmation email and get started!

How to qualify for online paid surveys

Once you’re a member of the online survey site, fill out your survey profile to make it easier for the survey site to match you with surveys you qualify for. In some cases, you will be given a set of preliminary questions to see if you fit the exact profile required by the retailer commissioning the survey. These questions usually pertain to your age, gender, location, income, educational background, interests and hobbies. Location-based restrictions are pretty common when it comes to online surveys because most retailers are looking for users in North America and Europe.

After your demographic has been matched to they survey requirement, you will be led through different questions on your phone or PC and upon completion, you will earn reward points that convert to money as a reward for sharing your thoughts and time.

In some cases, your request for filling out a survey may be declined if you do not match the profile that retailers are looking for. While that may be disappointing, sometimes you get a small reward for using your time.

It is important to fill out your personal details consistently at the qualification stage because survey sites may ban users who try to cheat the system to qualify for surveys by typing in false information.

How much can you earn through online surveys?

Many websites claim you can make hundreds of dollars just by taking a few surveys on a daily basis. Many advertisements share how easy it is to earn, say $1000 per month, just by sharing your opinion, all while sitting at home, and it does seem like the best way in the world to make a side income.

Let’s cut to the truth.

The earning potential of online surveys depends mostly on three things:

  • Your profile,
  • The survey site you have signed up to, and
  • The types of surveys your qualify for.

Simple questionnaires that you can quickly answer on your computer or via a survey app on your phone, are going to pay a few cents, or at best, a few dollars per completed survey. This is not a bad deal, if you have spare time, because you can usually earn anywhere between $0.5 to $3 per survey, giving about 10 minutes of your time. Surveys that take longer to complete, perhaps 30 minutes or so, pay more money. Some paid survey sites offer daily bonuses if you complete a minimum number of surveys per day, so that’s free money.

However, if the retailer is willing to invite you for taste testing, product testing or to be a part of a focus group, you can earn up to $75 per survey.

How will you get paid when you complete an online survey?

Some people may complete online surveys to fill immediate money needs but getting cash from survey sites as soon as you are done with the questionnaire is not possible. The reward policy of the survey company that you have signed up for will determine when you get your survey earnings and how it will be handed over to you.

Upon the completion of each paid survey, you will have earned several points, which equate to a certain amount in cash. Typically, 1 point is equal to 1 cent. When the cash you have earned through these surveys reaches the payment threshold, sometimes $10, sometimes $20, it can be redeemed via:

  • Money transfer to your bank account,
  • Gift certificates or other promotional items,
  • Donated to your favorite charity.

Trusted survey websites that are known for delivering on their promises. What surveys actually pay money. which paid survey sites are legitimate?

Which paid survey sites are legitimate?

Based on our on research, these paid survey sites are the most popular legitimate sites for earning quick money. This is not an exhaustive list but good enough to get you started, should you choose to sign up.

  • Swagbucks
  • Survey Junkee
  • Inbox Dollars
  • Pinecone Research
  • MyPoints

What kind of questions do online surveys ask?

This topics covered by online surveys cover a vast range, but some of the more common ones are opinions about consumer brands, entertainment choices, clothing preferences, taste in food, interest in home and travel, automobiles, spending habits, medical needs, interest in sports and financial goals. This is simply a short list of consumer interests that companies wish to gather market data about in order to perfect their own goals and strategies.

Online survey scams that you should watch out for

Unfortunately, there are many paid survey scams that people fall for. We’ve discussed them in detail in another article but here’s a quick list to get you acquainted with the risks.

  1. Hoax survey sites sell your data to third parties,
  2. Survey scammers do not pay your earnings as promised,
  3. You are asked to buy a list of paid surveys, which you can fill out for money,
  4. You are pressured into signing up to different paid survey websites that promise to pay well,
  5. You are required to pay an upfront fee simply for registering with the online survey provider.

Should you consider filling out online surveys to earn money?

You may still be wondering whether the payoff for answering questions in online surveys is good enough to bother with the hassle. Granted, this kind of income will not run your house or support your daily needs. In fact, if you see an advertisement offering an online survey job, it is a scam because there is no way to make that much money through paid surveys. However, if you live in the right geographic location and have spare time, filling out a few online surveys while you sip your coffee or have lunch, is not a bad way to earn a bit of extra money. Legitimate survey sites do not ask for any kind of upfront fees or investment, so you really don’t have much to lose apart from your time.