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Surveys For Money: The Best Paid Survey Sites

List of the Best Survey Sites
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Taking online surveys is a good way to make extra money in your spare time, but it can be hard to figure out which sites and apps are legit and worth your while.

For this article, we researched dozens of companies that offer surveys for money to find the best options.

At the end of the article, you’ll also find some tips for maximizing your survey earnings and avoiding scams, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about paid surveys.

The Best Survey Websites

The best survey sites offer a good balance of four different factors.

  1. They pay you a reasonable rate for your time.
  2. They have a low minimum withdrawal amount.
  3. They have a large inventory of surveys available to take.
  4. They have good pre-screening and a low disqualification rate.

These are the factors we took into account (along with user ratings) when compiling our list of the best overall options. 

#1. Swagbucks

The premier online rewards sites. Swagbucks has paid out over $600 million and offers multiple ways to make money, along with some of the best-paying surveys in the industry.

Minimum payment:No minimum, but most rewards start at $3.
Payment optionsPayPal and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:$5 when you use this link to sign up and earn $25 within the first six months of membership.
Time to credit:Instant.
Time to receiveThree to five business days.

Our quick review: Swagbucks has a huge inventory of surveys, and they can be sorted by payout and time required to complete. This sorting feature lets you focus on the most valuable surveys and skip the ones that aren’t worth your time.

It’s also a versatile site. You can make money by completing offers, watching videos and playing games. In fact, we found over 20 different ways to make money on the platform.

There’s no minimum withdrawal amount, but most of the cashout options start at $3. The site also offers a wide range of payment options, including PayPal transfers and dozens of major retailer gift cards.

To learn more about the site, check out our in-depth Swagbucks review and sign-up here.

Swagbucks ($10 Bonus)
Put cash back in your wallet

Put cash back in your wallet

Get paid to shop online, watch videos, take surveys and play games with this all-in-one rewards site. Redeem your points for gift cards and PayPal cash starting at just $3.

#2. Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie is one of the oldest and most well-known online survey sites. It has an easy-to-use interface and consistently earns positive reviews from users. The site offers case studies, focus groups, phone interviews (if you opt in) and product testing opportunities.

Minimum payment:$5
Payment optionsPayPal, bank transfers and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Instant.
Time to receiveOne to four business days. Bank transfers take the longest. Expect shorter withdrawal times for PayPal and gift cards.

Our quick review: With over 5 million members, Survey Junkie is one of the largest survey sites. After you sign up, make sure to complete as many of the demographic surveys as you can. These are important for pre-screening, as Survey Junkie uses the data you provide to match you with surveys you’re qualified for.

Learn more about how the site works in our Survey Junkie review and sign up here.

Get Paid to Take Surveys
Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie

One of the most well-known and highest-rated online survey sites, Survey Junkie lets you redeem your points for gift cards or PayPal cash starting at just $5.

#3. User Interviews

A platform for one-on-one market research interviews and online focus groups. Based on our testing, User Interviews is the best-paying platform on this list by a wide margin. However, it requires significantly greater time commitment than traditional survey sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.

Minimum payment:None.
Payment optionsGift cards (no cash payment options).
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Upon completion.
Time to receiveWe received payment within three days of completion, on average.

Our quick review: Instead of answering survey questions, you’ll provide feedback on products, apps, websites and more, usually via video chat. When we tested the platform, we complete eight studies and earned $360 for 4 hours and 51 minutes of work. Including the time it took us to search for and apply to studies, our final pay-per-hour was $55.

Despite this strong earning potential, we’ve ranked User Interviews at #3 on this list because most studies take between 30 and 60 minutes, and they have to be conducted during normal business hours. This means the platform isn’t a great fit for people with limited scheduling flexibility.

Learn more about how the site works in our User Interviews review and sign up here.

#4. Rakuten Insight

Operated by the same company that runs the popular Rakuten cash-back shopping portal, Rakuten Insight offers quick surveys with very high pay rates. The only downside is the low number of surveys available, which limits your overall earning potential.

Minimum payment:$5.
Payment optionsPayPal cash or Amazon gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Instant.
Time to receivePayments are issued automatically, on a weekly basis, to users who have accumulated at least $5 in their account.

Our quick review: We tested Rakuten Insight for a month, earning an average pay-per-hour of $9.62. That makes the platform one of the best-paying survey sites we’ve tested by a fairly wide margin. Plus, the site offers quick and easy surveys that are usually five to 10 questions about your habits and preferences and take just one or two minutes to complete.

However, we found the number of surveys available to be quite small compared to other platforms. In 30 days of testing, we were invited to just 18 surveys and completed only 13 of them.

So while the pay rate is great, you’ll need to use the site consistently over time to earn enough money to make it worth your while.

To learn more about the site, check out our in-depth Rakuten Insight review and sign-up here.

#5. InboxDollars

Offers some of the highest paying surveys you can find, with many worth $1 to $3 upon completion.

Minimum payment:$30 for the first withdrawal, then $10 for future withdrawals.
Payment optionsPayPal, paper checks, virtual gift cards and prepaid Visa cards.
Sign-up bonus:$5
Time to credit:Between 15 minutes and three weeks.
Time to receiveThree business days for PayPal and three to five business days for virtual gift cards. Paper checks are mailed once per week.

Our quick review: InboxDollars pays you for completing simple tasks like filling out surveys, watching videos, playing games and reading emails. The site has paid out over $60 million in rewards and the per-survey pay rate is high compared to other platforms.

But there are a couple of notable drawbacks to the site.

First, the inventory of surveys is limited. You’re only shown 10 surveys at a time, and there’s no way to dismiss them or search for others if you don’t like their payout for the estimated time required. And second, InboxDollars has an unusually high minimum withdrawal amount of $30.

Still, as we discuss in our in-depth InboxDollars review, we think the high payout rates make this a good choice for dedicated survey takers who don’t need to withdraw their earnings immediately.

Sign up for InboxDollars here.

#6. Prolific

Offers long-form surveys and focus groups submitted by academics and other researchers that pay a minimum of $6.50 per hour.

Minimum payment:£5 (about $7 USD).
Payment optionsPayPal.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Up to 21 days.
Time to receivePayments are issued weekly on Thursdays and Fridays. Once you’ve received three payments, you’ll get paid instantly.

Our quick review: Prolific is a relatively new, UK-based research firm that primarily works with researchers at academic institutions (although it does also work with many for-profit brands). As a result, the company’s surveys tend to be substantive and interesting.

Participants earn a minimum of $6.50 per hour for their work, although some research opportunities may pay more. Earnings are accumulated in cash and payments are issued via PayPal.

Click here to sign up for Prolific.

#7. SurveyMonkey Rewards

A mobile app from the company behind one of the world’s most well-known market research platforms.

Minimum payment:$5.
Payment optionsAmazon gift cards or charity donations.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Instantly.
Time to receiveInstantly.

Our quick review: During the testing period for our SurveyMonkey Rewards review, we earned $13.56 per hour — one of the best pay rates out of all the survey sites we’ve tested. The app features short surveys (typically five minutes or less), an easy-to-use interface and a low minimum cash-out amount of $5.

The only factor preventing SurveyMonkey Rewards from ranking higher on this list is the relatively low number of surveys available. You can only take the surveys you’re invited to — unlike some sites, there’s no dashboard with surveys to choose from — and we only received a couple of invitations (sent via push notification) per week.

As a result, hitting the $5 minimum for withdrawal still took a few weeks of use, despite the high per-hour pay rate. Once we did cross that threshold, the payout process was fast and easy — though you should be aware that you’re required to give the company your phone number for identity verification purposes.

Download SurveyMonkey Rewards.

#8. Ipsos I-Say

Has a top-notch mobile app for both iOS and Android devices and offers over 93,000 cash-out options.

Minimum payment:$2 for charity donations and $5 for gift cards or physical merchandise.
Payment optionsPayPal, prepaid Visa cards, virtual gift cards, physical merchandise and charity donations.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Instantly to a few days, depending on the survey’s terms. 
Time to receiveInstantly for digital rewards, three to four weeks for PayPal transfers, and varied shipment times for physical merchandise.

Our quick review: I-Say’s pay-per-survey runs about average, but its outstanding mobile app — which boasts a clean, intuitive and glitch-free user interface — helps you find and complete surveys quickly.

The platform also has a huge inventory of surveys (although some users note a relatively high disqualification rate). Plus, there’s a loyalty program that rewards you with extra points for consistent usage. 

Aside from surveys, I-Say is most well-known for its product testing program. If you quality, they’ll ship you free products so that you can complete targeted surveys about whether or not you liked what you received. 

In addition to the usual cash-out options, I-Say has a massive points redemption store with over 93,000 items, where you’ll find everything from gift cards to leather couches. 

The shop is largely for show. Many of the items cost so many points (e.g., 867,000 points for a pair of diamond stud earrings) that no one will ever be able to cash-out for them.

But at the lower end of the price spectrum, it does give you an unusually wide range of redemption options, such as phone cases and charging cables in the 1,000 to 2,000 point range. These items are often offered at a discount to their retail price.

Sign up for Ipsos i-Say.

#9. Branded Surveys

Paid survey site with a modern interface that instantly credits earnings to your account.

Minimum payment:$5
Payment optionsPayPal, bank deposits, virtual gift cards and charitable donations
Sign-up bonus:50 cents.
Time to credit:Instant.
Time to receiveOne to three business days.

Our quick review: Branded Surveys is an aggregator that pulls in surveys from third-party research firms. As a result, the platform has a huge inventory of surveys, which means there’s almost always surveys available — something that’s not always the case on other sites. 

You’ll see how much each survey is worth, along with the estimated time to complete, before choosing to start a survey. Upon completion, the credit is instantly applied to your account balance. You can cash-out as soon as you hit the $5 minimum, which we reached after 2 hours and 18 minutes of testing.

Learn more about our test in our Branded Surveys review.

At the same time, there are three potential downsides to keep in mind about the site: 

  1. The disqualification rate is very high. We had two testers attempt more than 100 surveys combined, and both had disqualification rates of over 80%.
  2. Branded Surveys sends about one survey notification via email every 45 minutes, and each one we tried to complete had already reached its participant cap — even when we clicked the link the second it appeared in our inbox. 
  3. Because the site is an aggregator, you take the surveys on third-party sites that are not always optimized for mobile devices.

Despite these facts, we still hit the minimum for cash-out faster than on many other platforms. And our gift cards were delivered just two days after requesting withdrawal.

Sign up for Branded Surveys.

#10. MyPoints

MyPoints always has a long list of surveys to choose from, and the pay (which averages about $3 per hour based on estimated time to completion) is above average.

Minimum payment:No minimum, but most redemption options start at $3.
Payment optionsPayPal, virtual gift cards and United MileagePlus frequent flyer points.
Sign-up bonus:$5 when you sign up using this link and complete five surveys
Time to credit:Instantly.
Time to receiveUp to five business days for PayPal. MyPoints does not specify a timeline for the other payment options.

Our quick review: MyPoints is an online rewards site that lets you make money by taking surveys, completing offers, playing games, printing/using coupons and more. It’s a long-running and well-known platform, and the combination of multiple ways to earn plus no minimum withdrawal amount means it’s easy to get paid within a few days of signing up. 

But not every earning opportunity on the site is worth your time. While MyPoints’ surveys are some of the best-paying around, other activities — like watching videos and searching — pay pennies per hour. So if you sign up, be strategic about which tasks you choose to complete. 

You can learn more about how to get the most out of the site in our MyPoints review, and you can sign up here.

#11. Survey Savvy

A well-known market research company with a low minimum cash-out and high-paying surveys, but a long payment window.

Minimum payment:$1
Payment optionsPaper checks.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Between four and 12 weeks.
Time to receiveBetween four and 12 weeks.

Our quick review: Survey Savvy offers some of the highest-paying market research opportunities of the options on this list — if you qualify, and if you’re willing to install SavvyConnect, their data collection app.

Installing SavvyConnect will earn you $5 per month, per device (with a maximum of three devices per household). This is passive income; you just have to allow the app to collect your browsing and internet usage data. 

SavvyConnect sends that data back to the company, where it’s anonymized and turned into market research. However, the company also uses that data to match you up with surveys and “projects” (multi-stage surveys and focus groups), which are much more lucrative than the regular surveys you’ll find on the site. 

SavvyConnect users report that “Partner Surveys” typically pay $1 to $3 each, and “Projects” can pay as much as $250 for participation (although the average is lower). 

You’re not required to install SavvyConnect to use Survey Savvy, but it’s the best way to leverage this platform.

Sign up for Survey Savvy and SavvyConnect.

#12. LifePoints

Owned by Kantar, one of the world’s largest market research and consumer data analytics firms. Offers paid surveys, consumer diaries and product testing.

Minimum payment:$5
Payment optionsPayPal and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:10 points (about 10 cents).
Time to credit:Instantly.
Time to receiveUp to 10 business days.

Our quick review: LifePoints has a best-in-class website that works well on both computers and smartphones. Finding surveys is easy, and completing them is a smooth and mostly glitch-free process.

How much money you can make on the site depends on your demographic profile. LifePoints doesn’t have as big an inventory of surveys as some other platforms, and the lack of available surveys was a serious downside in our testing. 

At the same time, it’s one of the few platforms that offer product testing and consumer diaries in addition to traditional surveys. If you happen to qualify for these opportunities, they can be very lucrative. 

Learn more about the pros and cons in our LifePoints review, and sign up here.

#13. Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research pays a flat rate of $3 per survey, which typically take 10 to 20 minutes to complete.

Minimum payment:$3 for cash rewards, sometimes less for physical items.
Payment optionsPayPal, bank transfers, virtual gift cards, prepaid Mastercards, magazine subscriptions and physical items.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Instantly.
Time to receiveRewards are sent within three to five business days.

Our quick review: Pinecone’s flat rate of $3 per survey is one of the best in the business on a per-hour basis. Their surveys have an estimated time-to-complete of 10 to 20 minutes, which equates to between $9 and $18 per hour. Plus, they have one of the widest selections of payment options, including physical items ranging from electronics to sports equipment. When we reviewed the site for this article, there were more than 12,000 reward options available. 

Unfortunately, Pinecone has relatively strict demographic requirements. That means you may not qualify for many surveys, depending on your age, education, race or other personal profile factors. Most users receive no more than one or two survey opportunities per week, while others only receive them every once in a while. 

But if you happen to be in one of the company’s target demographics, it’s hard to find a better option.

Sign up for Pinecone Research.

#14. YouGov

A public opinion and data company with more than 6 million members worldwide.

Minimum payment:$15
Payment optionsBank transfers and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:2,000 points (about $2).
Time to credit:Instantly.
Time to receiveWithin seven days.

Our quick review: Like most survey sites, YouGov conducts consumer market research on things like people’s shopping habits and product preferences. But the company is unique among the options on this list in that it also conducts research and polling for government agencies and political campaigns.

That means that as a YouGov member, you’ll have the chance to share your opinion about politics and current events, knowing that those opinions may actually make a difference in the direction of public policy.

The big downside to YouGov is that its supply of surveys is inconsistent. That fact, combined with the site’s relatively high minimum cash-out threshold of $15, means you’ll need to be a dedicated user to earn enough to actually make a withdrawal.

Fortunately, your YouGov points never expire.

Most surveys take between five and 10 minutes, and earn you 1,000 points. Learn more in our in-depth YouGov review and sign up here.

#15. Paid Viewpoint

Has short surveys and fast payouts, but you have to use the site for an extended period to qualify for the best offers.

Minimum payment:$15
Payment optionsPayPal and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:Same day (often within minutes).
Time to receiveUp to 72 hours for PayPal, sometimes faster for gift cards.

Our quick review: There are two keys to making money with Paid Viewpoint: consistent usage and a willingness to provide extensive demographic data, both of which contribute to your “TraitScore” — a numeric figure that’s used to match members with surveys. Members with higher TraitScores get more survey invitations, and the surveys they’re offered tend to pay better. 

Unfortunately, it can take a long time to build up your TraitScore. Many members report that they don’t start seeing consistent survey offers until at least a year of site usage. During that time, you may only receive one or two surveys per week — which will be nowhere near enough to cash out. 

But if you’re able to reach the point where you’re getting a regular stream of offers, they’re worth your while: PaidViewpoint’s surveys are quick (usually no more than 10 to 20 short questions) and pay above average. Plus, there are no disqualifications: you’re only offered surveys that you definitely qualify for.

Join Paid Viewpoint.

#16. Rewards by Foursquare

A location-based survey app. You can earn points passively, but only if you allow the app to collect your location history.

Minimum payment:$1
Payment optionsVirtual gift cards and sweepstakes entries.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:The company does not provide this data.
Time to receiveUp to two weeks (although many reviews say it takes longer).

Our quick review: Rewards by Foursquare is operated by the same company that runs the once-popular “check-in” app that had us all competing to become the “mayor” of our favorite spots. Although Foursquare is less widely used these days, the company is still around as a purveyor of various location-based data services and technologies.

Formerly called Panel App, Rewards by Foursquare users can earn points in three different ways: 

  • By opting into location sharing. You earn points passively just for letting Rewards have access to your GPS (and other location) data. 
  • By answering location-based surveys, which are offered up based on the places you visit. 
  • By referring friends. 

In theory, this makes Rewards by Foursquare one of the few semi-passive earning opportunities on this list. And as the app’s solid review scores demonstrate, many users have a positive experience with it.

At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re providing your entire location history. In other words, you’re allowing the app to see every single location you visit, 100% of the time.

That said, our testing suggests that you can earn a $25 gift card with about a year of usage (although many members note that the point cost of those gift cards regularly increases, making them harder and harder to obtain). That’s a long time to wait, but not a bad return given the minimal amount of effort required — as long as you’re comfortable sharing your location data.

Learn more in our Rewards by Foursquare review.

#17. Survey Club

A research recruitment and survey platform that connects users with both quick surveys and more rigorous research studies (like clinical trials). 

Minimum payment:$25 from SurveyClub; third parties using the platform have their own payment terms and can set a different payout threshold.
Payment optionsAmazon gift cards when completing SurveyClub surveys; third-party research may pay in cash, gift cards or via other methods.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:The company does not provide this data.
Time to receiveThe company does not provide this data.

Our quick review: SurveyClub has two aspects. First, they provide users with their own market research surveys. The money you earn for taking these surveys is redeemable for Amazon gift cards. 

Second, the site uses the demographic profile data you provide to connect with you with third-party research studies, including focus groups, academic studies and clinical trials. These research opportunities are not coordinated by SurveyClub, and you’ll get paid according to the third party’s terms and conditions. 

These types of studies tend to pay more than regular surveys, but they also take more time. Plus, the lack of a central payment dashboard makes it harder to track your activity (and thus to make sure you get paid). 

At the same time, this represents some of the strongest earning opportunity on this list.

Sign up for Survey Club.

#18. Toluna

Toluna offers slightly better-than-average pay rates, a large inventory of surveys and a low ($10) minimum cash-out. 

Minimum payment:$10
Payment optionsTransfers to your PayPal account, paper checks and virtual gift cards.
Sign-up bonus:500 points (about 18 cents).
Time to credit:20 minutes to several days.
Time to receiveUp to three weeks.

Our quick review: We tested Toluna for five hours, attempting 50 surveys and completing 20. Our earnings came out to $3.43 per hour, which is slightly above average among survey sites that primarily offer short-form questionnaires (10 minutes or less to complete).

One of the big downsides we encountered was a 64% disqualification rate. Additionally, Toluna is a survey aggregator, which means you’ll take surveys in many different formats — not all of which are equally user-friendly or optimized for a mobile screen.

Still, the large inventory of surveys and relatively good pay make the site worth looking into.

Sign up for Toluna.

#19. Google Opinion Rewards

A dedicated, surveys-only app with a super clean user interface. Offers short surveys that always pay between 10 cents and $1, and has a hassle-free cash-out policy.

Minimum payment:$2 for PayPal cash, no minimum for Google Play credit.
Payment optionsTransfers for your PayPal account or Google Play credit.
Sign-up bonus:None.
Time to credit:As soon as upon survey completion, although some credits may take “up to a few days” to appear.
Time to receivePayPal payments are automatically issued when your balance reaches $2. You can cash-out for Google Play credit at any time.

Our quick review: Google Opinion Rewards is an ideal option if you want to take surveys on your mobile device. The app is simple and easy to use, and sends you push notifications whenever new surveys are available. (You can opt out of these notifications).

The surveys tend to be very short — Google says they usually take 20 seconds or less to complete — which makes this a great choice if you’re looking for a way to make a little bit of money in your random moments of spare time. 

The big downside to Google Opinion Rewards — and the reason why it ranks last on this list — is that surveys are few and far between. In the two months we tested the app, we were only offered two surveys worth a total of 24 cents.

At the same time, completing those two surveys took less than a minute.

Download the app for iPhone or Android, or learn more in our Google Opinion Rewards review.

The following tips will help you earn as much as you can in as little time (and with as little effort) as possible.

Tip #1: Use a Separate Email Address

The first thing you should do before signing up for any survey website is create a separate email address specifically for the purpose of taking surveys. Simply put, you don’t want your regular inbox bombarded by the offers you’ll receive, as some sites send surveys every few minutes. 

Tip #2: Complete Every Profile/Demographic Survey You’re Offered

The highest paying online surveys are those that target specific demographic niches, so it’s important to answer every profile questionnaire you’re offered.

This is usually the first thing you’ll be prompted to do when you join a survey platform, and most users know they need to provide basic details like their household size, age and income level. 

However, most survey sites will continue prompting you to provide additional demographic information over time. And while these may not be the surveys that pay the most (often, they pay very little), they can help you unlock those more lucrative niche studies.

Plus, a survey company may use this information for pre-screening purposes — which means you’ll have a lower disqualification rate and waste less time trying to complete surveys you’re not qualified for.

Tip #3: Go Fast But Answer Correctly

To maximize your time when taking paid online surveys, you obviously have to work quickly. But you also have to answer your surveys honestly and in a way that makes sense.

Market research companies are smart, and they have a vested interest in making sure they’re getting real data to share with their customers (i.e., the brands that pay them for insights into consumer behavior and preferences). 

So they build quality control checks into their surveys to ensure that you’re paying attention and answering honestly. Examples of this are asking the same question in two different ways to see if you contradict yourself, and asking questions that require you to select a specific option or “none of the above.” 

If you don’t take the time to actually read the survey instructions and the question details, you might disqualify yourself from not only that particular survey, but from the platform as a whole. And on top of that, many survey sites use these QC checks to grade your performance, doling out the best surveys to the users with the highest scores.

How Survey Companies Make Money And Why They Pay You For Your Opinions

Brands are constantly looking for ways to improve their products. The better those products are, the more demand there will be for them. And the more they sell, the more money they make. So they’re willing to go to great lengths to create a product people love.

Surveys have long been a great way to get information from people. Companies use surveys to gauge all sorts of data, from how frequently products are used to how a consumer was first introduced to a product.

The data you provide in your survey is a great way for companies to get an ordinary shopper’s take on their product. And you’re providing an important service; the information you’re giving may ultimately lead to a better product for consumers.

To get this data, brands turn to websites like these survey sites. And the survey sites know that not many, if any, of their visitors will want to fill out surveys out of the goodness of their hearts. We’re all too busy for that!

So to entice you into sharing your opinion, they know they have to pony up some incentives. So they split a share of the money they’re receiving from these brands.

It’s a good deal for everyone involved. The company gets the much-needed information about their brand. The survey website makes money, and you do too.

How to Stay Away From Survey Site Scams

To avoid survey site scams, stick with companies that have good user ratings. But equally important is looking for companies with a lot of ratings. Don’t be fooled by a site that might have a few misleading reviews.

Beyond that, here are some tips: 

  • Never pay to join a site. Legit survey sites are always 100% free to use.
  • Ask yourself whether there’s evidence of people getting paid for their time — such as thousands of positive App Store reviews. There are many survey sites that aren’t scams per se, but which make it next to impossible to earn enough money to cash out. These sites benefit from collecting your data with no intention of ever paying you.
  • Avoid spending the points you earn on sweepstakes entries. Your chances of winning are astronomically low, so in most cases you end up working for free. 
What are the highest paying survey sites?

There are two ways to think about this question: the sites that pay the most on a per-hour basis, and the sites that have the most overall earning potential. And it’s important to understand that these sites don’t always overlap.

For example, many of the best paying survey sites on a per-hour basis have a high minimum payout. So even if the average payout per survey is high, it’ll take you longer (and require more work) to get cash into your bank account.

On the other hand, many sites with a lower average payout also have lower minimum withdrawals. So while you may be making less on a per-hour basis, you’ll get that cash faster. And depending on how dedicated you are as a survey taker, that may mean the difference between getting paid and giving up before you’re able to cash out. 

With that in mind, here are our picks for the highest paying survey sites: 

Best per-hour rate: Pinecone Research ($9-$18) and Prolific ($6.50+). Unfortunately, these two platforms offer a relatively limited supply of surveys.

Best overall earning potential: Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. These two sites pay slightly less per survey, but offer a combination of decent rates, a low minimum withdrawal and a large supply of surveys.

Are there any surveys that pay cash instantly?

There are three factors that determine how fast you can get paid from an online survey site: 

1. The minimum payment threshold, which ranges from $0 to $50 for the sites on this list. 

2. How quickly earnings are credited to your account balance after completing a survey, which ranges from instantly to 12 weeks for the sites on this list.

3. How long it takes for the survey company to process your withdrawal request and actually deliver your gift card or deposit the funds into your bank account. 

The only online survey site we’ve found that has no minimum, and offers both instant crediting and instant processing is SurveyTime. However, while this site does pay cash instantly, it didn’t make our list of the best survey sites because of its very low average payout and lack of consistent survey invitations.

Swagbucks does not pay instantly, because it takes about three days to receive your rewards after submitting a redemption request. But it’s our pick for the fastest paying survey site, because we think it’s the one that gives users the best chance of completing enough good-paying surveys to quickly earn a gift card or some extra cash. 

Most of Swagbucks’ redemption options start at $3 and there’s plenty of surveys to choose from, so you can easily earn enough points to request a gift card the same day you sign up.

How much do online survey companies pay per hour, on average?

There’s no easy answer to this question. It varies based on your demographics and what the survey companies want. With some surveys, you can earn a fair hourly wage. But with others, you can’t.

To help you figure out how much you can expect to earn with any particular survey, most sites give you an estimated “time to complete.” 

Let’s say the survey you’re about to fill out will give you 1,000 points and those points are worth $10. If the time listed says the survey should take 45 minutes, the survey is worth $13.33 an hour. Taking a minute to do this simple math can help you avoid surveys that aren’t worth spending time on.

What are the best apps for paid online surveys?

The two dedicated survey apps that rank highest on this list are Survey Junkie and Ipsos I-Say, which both offer quick surveys and an easy-to-use mobile interface. You can see more options in our dedicated article about the best survey apps.

One thing to note is that data collection is a two-way street when it comes to survey apps. On one hand, iPhone users benefit from Apple’s relatively strict privacy safeguards, and can see exactly what data an app monitors and/or harvests right from the app’s download screen. 

On the other hand, many of these apps (such as Foursquare’s Panel App) collect a much wider range of data than they’d be able to collect if you stuck to web surveys only — and specifically, location data based on your GPS positioning throughout the day. 

Do you have to pay to join a survey site?

The best paid survey sites will never charge you a fee to join. They’re making money from the companies you’re providing feedback for, so there isn’t a need for them to charge you too. If you’re asked to pay to join, it’s 100% a scam.

Stick to the free, legitimate survey companies recommended by reputable publications. 

Is taking online surveys for money safe?

We’ve carefully researched and vetted the survey sites on this list to make sure there are no scams and no time-wasters.

In general, taking online surveys for money is a safe way to generate some extra cash, although you do need to be aware that you’re providing data on things like your internet usage, shopping habits and consumer preferences. 

Most of the time, the data you provide is anonymized — meaning that it can’t be traced back to your real name or identity. However, sometimes market research companies sell your data to third-party advertising agencies, which use it to target ads to you based on the information you provide.

Do you need to pay taxes on the money you earn from online surveys?

Yes, when you make money online — whether from surveys or any other activity — that money is taxable income. As a general rule, survey sites do not report your earnings to the IRS, but you’re still legally required to report your earnings. 

Get Paid to Take Surveys: Closing Thoughts

In our view, the best paid survey sites are those that offer a combination of (1) multiple ways to earn, (2) a reasonable (or preferably, low) minimum payout threshold, and (3) a decent reward for your time on a per-hour basis.

While there are dozens upon dozens of online survey platforms — many of which are totally legit and even worth checking out — the options listed above are the ones that best fit that criteria.

Finally, as we’ve said countless times on this site, it bears repeating: answering surveys, and using money making apps in general, will never make you rich or serve as a meaningful source of income.

If you need to make money to pay your bills, save for your financial goals or get out of debt, you’re better off opting for a part-time online job or a side hustle.

But if you enjoy answering surveys and go into it with realistic expectations about the potential reward — perhaps a free Amazon gift card or a little bit of extra cash every month — they can be a great way to monetize your bits and pieces of downtime.

What to read next: How to get a free gift card fast.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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