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!
Survey sites advertise that you can earn $5-$35 per survey (although a Student Loan Hero reporter found an average more in the range of $1-2 per hour). Paid online surveys are utterly ubiquitous—there are hundreds of sites that feature paid surveys. These surveys are typically run by marketing or research firms looking for consumer perspectives, and you could be asked questions covering just about everything under the sun.
To take surveys, you need to qualify. This means answering a battery of questions up front—before the paid portion of the survey. Page attempted a variety of side hustles to pay off her debt, and says that taking online surveys was the “least helpful” side hustle she tried, mostly because she simply couldn’t even get to the surveys themselves. “You can spend almost 10 minutes just trying to qualify for a survey, and then [get] declined,” she says. “It takes way too long to determine if you’re eligible to take the survey, just to make $5,” she says. Short of magically being the right demographic for every survey, you’re looking at getting turned away more often than not, and wasting time answering questions that don’t come with a pay off.
Rewards are paid out in cash and PayPal, but the catch of having short surveys is reflected in the pay, which can be miniscule per survey. As you need to earn $50 before you can withdraw anything, that’s a lot of low-paying surveys before you’ve made your money! Some people have complained online that once you get close to the withdrawal amount, the surveys dry up. One way around this is to refer a friend as you’ll receive a bonus when they sign up and you’ll hit your target to withdraw your funds. It’s a bit of a downside, but there are hundreds of very happy consumers who love the site, so it’s worth a shot, especially if you get fed up with the boring or repetitive nature of some of the quizzes elsewhere.
They include sites that seem to be their competitors because they earn referral fees when you buy memberships. A couple mentioned in scam forums even try to dupe you into buying the same list at other membership sites they own under different names. Naturally, these sites also have an incentive to exaggerate how much you'll earn from online paid surveys.
Renowned for its short and sweet surveys, OnePoll is a great site for dipping in and out of, without having to dedicate loads of time to. As one of the earliest survey sites to be set up, OnePoll certainly has longevity. Founded in the UK, it is open to US users and those further afield and runs polls for the press and leading brands. This means the content is more engaging than it can be elsewhere and you can find yourself answering questions about celebrities or gossip. Many users praise their surveys for being quick, and even better – fun! Topics are not as dry as they can be on other websites, and by keeping the surveys brief, OnePoll is less likely to leave you bored or frustrated.
The rewards for the MySurvey surveys are on par (or better than some) with most other sites. They offer $0.50 to $1.25 for every survey that you complete, with the shorter surveys only taking around 5 minutes to finish. When you want to cash out, you’ll have to accumulate $10, which is less than some of the other sites, and you’ll be able to get your money through a check, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or the more than 60 other gift card options. Sign up for a free mysurvey account HERE.
Allan Liwanag is a personal finance blogger who paid off at least $40K debt in 3 years by adopting simple and extreme saving techniques while ensuring his family's needs were taken care of. An analyst by day and dedicated blogger by night, he loves to share his thoughts - based on his research, personal knowledge, and experience - on topics related to family, life, and money. Allan lives with his family in Maryland, USA.
Amazon gift cards and PayPal are obviously popular choices, so naturally like most sites MySurvey had those. These guys did not stop there though. At the time of writing (I double checked) they also offer various sweepstakes, gift cards to restaurants, you can donate to charities like UNICEF through them, they have iTune gift cards, their very own merchandising products and also Starbucks, Walmart and Tango gift cards among many more options!
They used to be cash-only, but in 2013 they switched over to a points system. Panelists can share their opinions in surveys and complete other various offers in exchange for points. 100 points is equal to $1, and most of their surveys pay up to $3. Survey topics are diverse and cover a variety of different topics. Pinecone Research is unique in that they emphasize consumption related surveys more than other panels.
After you sign up, you’ll receive surveys on various topics and products via email. Once you complete these surveys and build up a stash of points, you can redeem them for cash via PayPal, purchases made through Amazon.com, or gift cards to various retailers. As an alternate suggestion, you can even redeem your rewards as a donation to the Red Cross.
In the middle of all of this is a new breed of research corporation that relies on you – the survey taker – to determine this information.  For your time?  Many survey companies will pay you to take surveys for money or for other cash alternatives like gift cards or physical prizes and rewards. It depends upon the company as to whether they'll offer money or other offers and special deals.
About that money: Survey companies typically don’t pay you for each and every survey—you have to meet a payout amount to earn your reward. Page says it took her months to reach the $30 payout on one survey site—time she could have easily spent on more lucrative side hustles. This presents a problem if you need money fast or if you decide to change course and try something else—you might end up answering tons of questions and never actually see that money.
Like American Consumer Opinion, Harris Poll Online offers cash incentives to people who are willing to log in regularly and complete online surveys and questionnaires. Once you join, you’ll begin earning rewards for each survey you take. Once you earn enough reward “points”, you can turn them in for purchases made on websites like Amazon, iTunes, Home Depot and Walmart. Conversely, you can also turn in your points for movies, books, and home goods ordered straight from the Harris Poll website. Plus, you’ll be entered into a $10,000 sweepstakes each time you complete a survey.
“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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