Post-recession, a lot of workers started looking for ways to earn extra cash. While most side gigs won’t supplant the steady cashflow of a regular job, they can pad a paycheck that hasn’t seen a significant boost in a few years. Paid surveys are often mentioned as one way to earn a few extra dollars fast. But are paid surveys a legitimate way to make money – or are they scams? The answer is that it depends on the survey and the company you are taking them for.
Amanda Page had serious student debt—$48,000, to be exact. She was working as an adjunct professor at a couple of different colleges, trying to piece together a full time teaching career, and she wasn’t making enough to tackle what she owed. So she started supplementing her income with side hustles like freelance writing, working as a temporary receptionist, and grading math exams online. As she dove into debt and frugality blogs, she came across a new gig: taking paid surveys online.
There are also many questionable "middleman" third-party paid survey sites that hype easy money for participating in online marketing research from home. Here, the old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Further, it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of competition among these companies for your participation – which means potential for exaggeration, at the very least, if not outright scams.
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One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
To save time and money, many companies are turning to online market research. Surveys, in particular, can easily be conducted online or over e-mail. The cost of a 200-person, e-mail survey is $2,500 to $5,000. To get the same number of responses from a snail mail survey would cost between $5,000 and $7,000, and phone surveys can run as high as $15,000 [source; Yahoo! Small Business].
All of the surveys from RAND Health Care are public documents, available without charge. Please provide an appropriate citation when using these products. In some cases, the materials themselves include specific instructions for citation. Some materials listed are not available from RAND Health Care. Those links will take you to other websites, where you will find instructions for use. There are no further permissions necessary.
If longevity is a sign of quality, and let’s face it in the world of business it usually is, then there’s no doubt about Zoombucks deserving to be inside out 2018 paid survey sites top 20. This company has been carrying out paid survey panels since 1946, so just think how many consumers they’ve helped since then. Things have changed since the forties, so you won’t have to sit in a draughty hall, you can answer all the surveys over the internet. There’s lots of surveys to choose from as well, and they promise quick pay outs.
One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
A few paid survey sites do pay relatively well in cash. However, many sites hype hypothetical, best-case scenarios that can't possibly apply to each and every consumer for each and every hour of participation. In the real world, the likelihood that you'll often earn the higher of the hyped amounts is slim. Most online paid surveys simply don't pay much, and you must be invited to complete them. To be invited, you must fit targeted demographics. That alone limits your earnings right off the bat, as you can't possibly fit every demographic.

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I have a very serious question I have been a member of InboxDollars for over 2 years they send me emails that say here’s a survey for you and they waste 10 minutes of my time going through it to tell me that I don’t qualify I wrote them and said I gave you all my demographic information please do not send me this and waste my time but they consistently do that.

“I participated in an in-home product trial study. A coffee machine company sent me one of the coffee makers along with about 200 coffee pods. I received $7 for completing 3 short surveys. Plus, after the study, the company said I could keep the coffee maker. So, I got like 4 mos of coffee for everyone in my household, a free coffee maker and $7!” - David W.
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