When you participate in online surveys or reviews, you can typically earn $1 to $75. Some paid surveys may have a focus group component that can pay even more. The reason that online paid survey sites are able to pay you is because the participating companies need your opinions about their products and services. By doing this online, they can reach more people with a variety of demographic variations.

There are several types of online surveys.

Prescreeners and Qualifiers

Most paid survey sites will require that you complete a prescreening or qualifier survey to determine if you meet the criteria that the companies need. This will typically be questions about your age, sex, zip code, income, etc. From here you may be asked specific questions regarding the survey topic.

Sweepstake Entry Surveys

In exchange for completing a paid survey, you may be entered into a sweepstake drawing. Some sites will automatically enter you into their drawing just for completing the prescreening or qualifying part of a survey. This is like an extra thank you for attempting the survey.

Cash Surveys

For cash surveys, you will typically be told the amount to expect for compensation. Depending on the payment policies of the site, you will receive payment by check and/or PayPal. Most sites will provide payment in US dollars. You will often see the phrase 'instant cash' or 'instant payment.' Review the policies of each site to determine when you should expect your payment. An instant payment might just mean that you can process your request and they will review your request fairly quickly. It could still take 24 hours to a month to receive your payment. Don't let this discourage you, however, because if you are consistent with completing surveys, you will have several payments coming through each month through multiple sites.

Gift Card Surveys

In exchange for completing a paid survey, you can pick a gift card from a store that is partnered with the survey site. Amazon gift cards are the most popular one offered. Some gift cards are actual physical gift cards that will be mailed to you while others are virtual gift cards.

Point Surveys

In exchange for taking a paid survey, you will receive points. The site will state that you can redeem a specified amount of points in exchange for a prize, gift card, or payment.

Product Evaluation Surveys

You can receive free products to try. You will usually need to complete an initial survey to make sure you are eligible to participate in the evaluation. After trying the product, you will have another follow up survey to complete.

Other Surveys

You can also participate in online chats and focus groups. It's not as common to have a request to speak with someone by phone, but some surveys will pay you for your time talking to them directly.

What Next?

The first step to completing paid surveys online is to find a reliable source of online survey sites. Always use your best judgment when seeking out survey sites to join. Look for the BBB logo and take the extra step of verifying that they are listed with BBB. Research reviews about the site to see if there are problems with customer service, payment, availability of surveys, or technical issues. You may find it helpful to follow a few survey site blogs.

If you are uncomfortable with providing your personal contact information, you may want to consider setting up a post office box and alternative phone number. There are some sites that offer online telephone numbers. You will need to setup a separate email account so that you can keep your survey emails separate from other emails. If a site asks for a Tax ID number or SS#, don't provide it. In most cases, you will only need to file taxes on your earnings if you earn $600+ dollars. If the site requires it regardless of your earnings, remember that there are many other sites you can use instead.

Survey tips and strategies:

  • Setup your email account to organize your incoming emails by subject. This will allow you to organize your surveys by company name.
  • The highest paying surveys will be completed by other members the fastest. Complete these first.
  • Complete surveys in order of payout and length of time that will be needed to complete them.
  • Don't allow yourself to get burned out. Take breaks and rest your wrists and eyes.
  • If the site offers referral bonuses, promote your referral links to get extra money. Referral Tips
  • Check that your accounts don't have expirations on earnings or points. Some may require that you log in periodically to show that you are still an active user.
  • Keep accurate records of your payment requests and check that you accounts are reflecting your survey rewards.