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.
Joining isn’t as straightforward as merely signing up, because you need an invite. However it’s not as tough as it sounds, as there are plenty of links doing the rounds online if you look hard enough, and Pinecone also advertises on websites, so you might get lucky by keeping an eye on banner adverts. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be vetted to see if you qualify – based on whatever demographics their clients want at that point – and if so, the fun begins!
As well as using your laptop, you can fill in MySurvey forms on the move by using their app available for both Apple and Android phones. This is perfect because surveys should really be about filling time, rather than dedicating particular time to them, so being able to pass time in queues or while commuting and simultaneously make money is very appealing.
While it might be hard to believe at first, American Consumer Opinion will pay you real, actual money to share your opinions and complete online surveys. Once you join their online opinion panel, you’ll be asked to offer opinions on new products you have tried, test out new advertising campaigns, and tell companies what you think of their marketing techniques and slogans.
Although it might seemed biased to put forth this assertion, the proof is truly in the pudding. Whereas virtually every other way you can earn money online will require some level of skill, more time or the like, paid online surveys consistently offer consumers an opportunity for completely autonomous and consistent participation. This means that there are no contracts, fillers or complexities to navigate, just simple, unadulterated activities that put extra cash in your pockets. 
One of the most popular sites, and rightfully so, Swagbucks offers traditional surveys as well as a range of additional ways to make cash. Filling out surveys for money will reward you with points called Swagbucks which can be cashed out through PayPal, or redeemed as gift cards for shops including Amazon.com. As a sweetener, they’ll even give you $5 just for signing up.
Free to join, the site runs a range of special offers, including awarding prizes at random, giving you daily targets to hit for which you receive bonus points, and posting deals on their social media feeds. They have a great new app and a strong referral scheme. However, like everything, it’s not perfect – it can start to suck up a lot of your time. Swagbucks runs on the premise of incentivising day to day internet use to make both you and them money, so it is worth being aware of this so it doesn’t end up seeping into too much of your life!
After joining a survey site, you provide some personal and demographic information, which legitimate survey sites will keep private. That information will be used in choosing participants to take surveys on certain goods and services. If you get selected to take part in a survey, you will be notified through mail to take a short survey to see if your profile suits that survey. When you are deemed qualified, you will be requested to take a longer survey.
MyPoints. This site offered 75 survey opportunities, the most of any site we tested. But it also had the lowest success rate, 9.33%, and a low average hourly pay rate. Plus, the reasons for survey disqualifications often were unclear. On one occasion, we were disqualified after being asked to write the word “Purple.” (Yes, we spelled it correctly.) See our full MyPoints review.

“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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