Tulip, Tulips, Tulip Fields, Red, Orange BackgroundCredit: http://pixabay.com/en/tulips-tulip-field-fields-orange-2546/

Everyone likes to make a little extra money on the side. Taking online surveys from the comfort of your own home is a good way to do this - all you need is a PC, internet connection and in some cases, a PayPal account. Although this won't make you rich, it can help to offset that occasional restaurant dinner or cup of coffee in the mornings!

1. GlobalTestMarket Taking Online Surveys for Cash - Which SitesCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tick-green.png

GlobalTestMarket is my favourite survey site. Surveys are rather frequent and chances of qualifying are relatively high.

Every survey earns an average of 35 points (USD$1.75) and accumulation of 1000 points earns you a cheque for USD$50. Even when you don't qualify for a survey, 5 points is added to your account. which is pretty generous compared to other sites that don't give any reward at all.

GlobalTestMarket also has prize draws known as "Sweepstakes" which is subject to country eligibility - quite a few are on the list e.g. U.S., Canada, China, Japan, Taiwan, Russia etc.

The site is very user friendly and I've never had a glitch with the system. Points are always accredited upon completion of a survey and you do not have to log in to take surveys, which is  convenient.

Note that unless you're living in the United States,  your cheque will take around six weeks to arrive in the mail, and there is no other mode of payment.

2. iPoll, formerly known as Surveyhead Taking Online Surveys for Cash - Which SitesCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tick-green.png

Another established site, iPoll gives out $5 sign up bonuses and pays people to update their profile for the first time.

However, survey invites are nowhere as frequent as GlobalTestMarket, you don't get any points for not qualifying and survey window periods tend to be shorter, which is a bummer when you're busy and can't take surveys as quickly.

All in all, however, this is a nice site for online surveys. Payment is via Paypal and a minimum of USD$30 is required for payout.

3. AIP Online Surveys Taking Online Surveys for Cash - Which SitesCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tick-green.png

AIP Online Surveys was formed by AIP Corporation and is represented by a Japanese.

Survey points are earned in the form of EPoints, whereby 15 EPoints = 1 dollar. The rewards are in the form of shopping vouchers or movie passes - one point I don't find as attractive as cash, as I can get these from the points earned on my credit card.

The minimum needed for vouchers is 150 EPoints and each survey earns you around 30 points are so. 1 point is awarded after not being able to qualify.

The AIP survey website is user friendly and you can even adjust the font size.

4. iPanelonline Taking Online Surveys for Cash - Which SitesCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tick-green.png

iPanelonline is another site I like - survey invites are frequent. Although you don't always qualify, they have many to choose from at a single time.

iPanel Payment is via PayPal. One great thing about their payment is that you don't need to accumulate much to redeem cash. $5 is the minimum payout and this can be achieved after around three or four surveys. You get a few points even if you don't qualify, which is nice (although they are not as generous as GlobalTestMarket).

Their website used to be a little buggy to use. However, after the recent revamp, it is much better. They've also changed the rules slightly to give people points just for logging in. Don't expect professional English from this site, however.

One unique point about ipanelonline is their referral system. Every member gets a unique inviter link so that people can sign up and you earn points for that too. Here is my link if you would like to sign up for free. I get around 120 points which is $1.20 and this is a one-off bonus- everything you earn from there on is all yours. For the record, your unique referral link can be used on social media sites such as Facebook, which might be more effective than the usual email invite system as the latter might get mistaken for spam.

5. Surveys Paid Taking Online Surveys for CashCredit: http://pixabay.com/en/red-sign-icon-food-symbol-cross-24018/

Please beware of this site! The creator of the video (below) had paid good money for a membership to this site only to be disappointed, and has kindly shared his experience to warn others not to do the same.

The first warning sign is that their website looks more like a sales page than an actual site. Secondly, the rewards are too good to be true. $500 a week from online surveys? Come on. Thirdly (and this should be the biggest warning sign of all), you need to pay in order to become a member.

What's more, upon signing up, there are no surveys at all but a list of panels which you have to re-register at again, in order to access actual surveys - the sites listed don't even require payment! And you don't have to pay to be referred to them - they have registered websites and a good network at that.

So, beware of sites like this one that do not promote not market research. Instead, people might get scammed via a get-rich-quick scheme.

What to look for in a survey company

The most important thing to look for in an online survey company is whether it's a division of a market research company.  These market research companies are contracted by corporations and businesses to conduct online research and are FREE to sign up for. You should never pay to take surveys for market research. Also, look out for sites where the payouts are too good to be true. As I mentioned, this is not a way to get rich and not everyone has the patience to sit through surveys regularly. Having said that, the above sites (No. 1-4) are worthy options.

p.s. IB only allows two self-serving links, which is why I only managed to include links for iPoll and iPanelonline. I would have linked GlobalTestMarket, but IB also does not allow self-serving links in the first or second paragraph of the articles. I think iPoll is the next best option to GTM, followed by iPanelonline, which is why I have included links to these two sites (above).