How to Get Paid to Take Surveys

How to Participate in Online Surveys Without Getting Scammed

On-line survey with mobile phone
••• JillKyle/E+/Getty Images

The paid survey process is fairly straightforward. You sign up with a paid survey site and complete a member profile. Then, they send you an e-mail any time they have a survey that matches your profile. A typical e-mail invitation will include an estimate of how long the survey will take to complete, specify how you'll be compensated for your time (if you qualify), and provide a link to the survey. Expect to spend 15-20 minutes per survey on average. 

Payment for Surveys

Payment for surveys can vary widely from site to site and from survey to survey. Expect to be compensated one of three ways: with cash (anywhere from $1 to $50 per survey), with points that can be redeemed for prizes, or with sweepstakes entries. In some instances, you may also be rewarded with new products to try.

Have a specific type of reward that you'd like to receive (Amazon gift cards, PayPal deposits, cash)? Use SurveyPolice's Pick-a-Perk tool to look up survey companies that offer the reward you're after. 

How to Avoid Survey Scams

While there are a lot of reputable survey sites on the web, there are also a lot of not-so-reputable sites. Avoid any survey site that:

  • Requires you to pay a membership fee
  • Guarantees you a set income
  • Does not make clear how you'll be rewarded for your participation
  • Asks for too much personal information – you shouldn't have to give out your Social Security Number, credit card number or your bank account information
  • Does not post a privacy policy
  • Sells member information to third parties

Where to Find Reputable Survey Companies

While a simple web search for "paid surveys" will turn up lots of opportunities, it won't necessarily turn up the most reputable opportunities. For that, it's best to trust the opinion of experienced survey-takers. Here's where to find them:

  • My Favorite Survey Sites- These are the survey sites that we use and recommend (they're open to U.S. residents). If you live in Canada, try these survey sites.
  • SurveyPolice- This website allows survey-takers to rate survey sites across a range of criterion: speed of payment, the reliability of website (doesn't crash during surveys), quality of customer service, recruiting practices, adherence to privacy standards, etc. It then uses this data to rank the sites and posts the top ten survey sites on its homepage. SurveyPolice also allows users to file complaints against survey sites and attempts to remedy them.
  • Volition- This widely-respected website provides a database of "the best" paid survey sites based on pay and other criteria.

Tips to Maximize Your Survey Earnings

  • Sign up for several survey sites to increase your chance of getting surveys.
  • Respond to survey invitations promptly – spaces are limited and usually fills up fast
  • Keep your profile up to date. It's used to determine which surveys you qualify for.