There are a ton of paid survey sites out there. Many of them look like they were made in 1990 and shady as all get out.
How do you know if a company is legitimate or a scam? How do avoid the ones that keep asking you qualification questions, that look like survey questions, and DQ you? It's hard.
You have to dig a little deeper and here at Wallet Hacks, we love digging. We dug deeper when we showed how market research and advance cashiers check scams work. We dug deeper when we learned how survey sites scam you by asking you to “pay to join” them.
So we're going to dig into five survey sites that are legit. They will pay you (they've paid me and countless others), they're backed by major market research corporations you'll recognize, and they don't play games.
SurveyJunkie [BEST OPTION]
SurveyJunkie is the online survey arm of ActiveMeasure, formerly named Blue Media Ventures, and has an A+ by the Better Business Bureau. They are a survey company that only does surveys – no points for answering emails, watching videos, or fulfilling offers you have to cancel.
They offer all kinds of market research surveys from those you complete in a few minutes online to those that involve a journal, a phone call, or testing out a product. You get to choose what you're interested in so if you want a phone survey, you can take a phone survey (if you qualify).
They have a huge supply of surveys at any one time and they will pay you even if you do not qualify for a survey. There is a points system but it translates directly to cash, 100 points is worth $1 and you can cash out at $10. You can get cash via PayPal or opt for an e-GiftCard.
Swagbucks – $5 bonus
Swagbucks is probably one of the well-known reward sites today. Born out of an era of paid-to-surf sites and cashback portals, Swagbucks is different in that they have nearly every single way to earn money interacting on the internet.
You can get cashback through their shopping portal, you earn points for searching the web (Yahoo search), answering surveys, watching videos, playing games, printing coupons, fulfilling offers, installing their toolbar/extensions – you name it.
Surveys are just a small piece of the puzzle. The best part about the surveys is that the qualification questions are typically short, there to confirm you're not breezing through it, and you can still earn points if you don't qualify. You will not answer 30 questions and then get denied, with zero to show for it. As of May 2017, they've paid out $191.5 million. They give out 7,000 free gift cards every single day.
Run by Prodege LLC, Swagbucks is a sister company to some other familiar names, like MyPoints. Prodege has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been in business since 2005, so they are not a fly by night company. (read our Swagbucks review)
Did I mention they give you a $5 bonus from the start?
Pinecone Research is one of the oldest market research companies out there. I remember back in the day when I'd get checks in the mail inviting me to surveys – nothing beats getting paid before you do the work!
Pinecone Research is run by Nielsen, the same rating agency you often hear being mentioned when discussing television ratings, and they will give you points for completing market research surveys. The surveys can be about movies, TV shows, music, sports, recreation, etc. The types of surveys are quite varied, based on who they are working with.
InboxDollars is a “competitor” to Swagbucks but you can sign up for both! The biggest difference is that with InboxDollars you earn cash directly – no need to wonder how many points turn into what. (we say competitor in quotes because they recently merged!)
You can earn cash by shopping online, watching videos, answering surveys, fulfilling offers, and clicking on links in emails (you don't have to sign up for anything, but you earn more if you do). They tell you how much you earn per task and then pay you that amount. (here is a more detailed review of InboxDollars)
You won't get rich doing these things but it's legitimate and you'll get paid in the end. For example, you get a penny for each email you click. You get a penny for a video stream. You can earn dollars for fulfilling offers but those aren't nearly as quick as reading an email. They are upfront in what you get paid so you can decide if it's worth it.
InboxDollars is run by CotterWeb Enterprises, which has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and they've been at this since 2012.
Branded Surveys, formerly Mintvine, is a San Diego-based market research company that lets you earn points for filling out surveys. When you reach 1,000 points ($10), you can request a payout through their PayPal, bPay (direct deposit), as well as gift cards and philanthropic donations. They have a daily poll (5 points) plus the ability to invite friends, which nets you 50 points they sign up and actively use the platform.
Once you sign up, there are a few extended profile “surveys” you can take that are just a few minutes and net you 50 points each. It's a way to reward you for filling out more demographic information. If you're looking for another survey platform, this one is worth a look.
MyPoints has been around for two decades. For years, they operated solely as a cashback portal and were one of the biggest in the industry. If you shopped at stores through their portal, you earned points. Those points could be converted into gift cards.
While they started as a cashback portal, they've added so many new ways to earn since being acquired by Prodege (which makes them sisters with Swagbucks):
For a limited time, you can get a $5 bonus when you take $5 surveys.
Best of luck!