I've been completing online paid surveys for a number of years, and if it isn't already obvious, – I’m a massive fan of online surveys. I've been lucky enough to receive consistent offers which seem to get better with time.
There are always new sites popping up and more opportunities than ever to earn some decent money from online surveys, but I think it’s important to remember that success is about chasing the right goal.
Long-term success depends on how consistent you are with your surveys, how many sites you are signed up to, and how frequently you complete surveys.
Read our complete guide to online paid surveys to learn how to maximize your earnings and have fun!
Table of Contents
How To Avoid A Survey Scam Site
Ask someone who completes online surveys regularly what their main worry is and chances are it involves being scammed. This is a legitimate fear. The internet is a big place and there are plenty of scams out there – some that many of us are already familiar with due to personal experience.
Unfortunately, any method that claims to allow you to make money online attracts these types of scammers. This makes it difficult to believe that there are legitimate sites out there willing to pay you – but fear not. There are plenty of legitimate survey sites out there, and you can read about them here.
What is an online survey scam?
Much like your average survey site, scammers can use very real-looking surveys and claim to pay you for your time. This can make it hard to differentiate between legitimate sites and fake ones – the sites are often set up exactly the same as legitimate survey sites.
The major difference is that the information they gather isn't used to pay you, it's used against you. Scammers can be quite clever in their approach and can create complicated websites to make it seem as though it's a real site. The reason they target survey sites is because they know people trust them and actively seek them out to try and earn money.
You can avoid scams by taking some extra precautions. Taking steps to protect yourself online is even more important when you're trying to earn money.
Here's what you should look out for so that you can avoid getting caught in a survey scam.
Tip #1 Never pay to join a site
If a survey site is asking you to pay anything, this should ring major alarm bells. Legitimate paid survey sites should always be free to join, and they will always be the ones paying YOU.
Tip #2 Avoid email communication
This can be tricky when you are making money online, but it is best to avoid replying to email communication from survey sites – especially when they ask you to confirm certain confidential information via email.
Tip #3 Don't believe get-rich-quick claims
Making money with paid surveys can bring you a decent amount of pocket money, but you're not going to get rich or make it a full time job. Don't believe these claims and be weary of any site that makes them.
Tip #4 Research sites before you join
If the site isn't listed here, then I can't guarantee it's safe to use. If you're going to join a survey site, read other peoples' reviews online. Several sites that may give you clues are Trustpilot and Productreview.com.au, which we both use in our research and reviews.
Also, check if there are any sites named similar to the site you're looking to join – this can be a sneaky way for scammers to trick you into thinking you've stumbled upon the real site.
Check industry memberships – Most credible research organizations hold membership to an industry body that oversees the research industry in their jurisdiction.
The industry body will typically require researchers to comply with a code of practice around how they conduct their research, how they manage data collection, and how they interact with survey respondents. These industry bodies vary by country. Key industry bodies that cover companies we write about are listed below:
|Industry Body Country||Country|
|The Research Society||Australia|
|Canadian Research and Insights Council||Canada|
|UK Research Integrity Office||United Kingdom|
|American Association for Public Opinion Research||United States|
Tip #5 Be aware of the questions you're answering
Unless you've specifically requested something, there are some things that survey sites simply won't ask you via email including:
- your password
- your credit card number
- answers to your secret questions
However, some sites may ask for identification at redemption time, which may include a drivers license. This is usually due to scammers from other countries pretending to be Australian.
Before You Join
- Create yourself a new email account specifically for surveys – you do not want all the survey daily emails flooding your normal email account. Also, use a unique password for surveys only. Gmail is easy.
- Create yourself a PayPal account if you don't already have one – this is by far the most popular ‘cash' payment methodology.
- Decide how much time you want to dedicate on a daily or weekly basis and set your expected returns expectations to that.
- Decide what sort of surveys you think you'd like to do – your time, age, access to transport, lifestyle situation and demographics may all factor into this decision. Starting at our main surveys page might be a good point and then consider:
- What device will you use – all surveys will work on a desktop, but some are just as good, if not better as apps on Google Android or Apple iOS. These may suit students and commuters.
Choosing The Best Paid Online Survey Sites
Once you've made some quick decisions, and got your email address sorted, it's time to sit down and join some sites. Obviously, you'll want to only join legit sites, which is all that we endeavor to list on this site.
At the minimum, we suggest joining 3 x survey sites and 2 x GPT sites for starters. This will help you get a feel for the frequency of surveys, and how long they take, and not bury you in email.
It can be tempting to discount any survey site that doesn’t offer the option of cash. Obviously, cash is the most fluid and most relevant thing for most people to receive – but you aren’t always in control of what you can earn and you can miss out on some great offers by not being flexible.
Also, have a look at the payment redemption threshold. Some sites pay low and have a high threshold meaning that it will take you ages to withdraw your first reward. You'll want to divide the redemption threshold by the number of surveys it will take to reach it ie.
A $20 threshold with surveys that average $1 a piece will require you to answer 20 surveys
A $10 threshold with surveys that average $2 a piece will only require you to answer 5 surveys.
And then there is one site that pays very well and offers cash direct debit payments – Octopus Group.
Other Survey Features
Survey companies also offer all sorts of incentives, such as joining bonuses, loyalty programs and referral schemes. These can be nice little earners, particularly if you have a network of friends and family that may be interested in surveys too.
Privacy And Terms
If you value your privacy intensely, you might only want to complete surveys on Australian-owned and operated sites due to data and privacy laws being familiar or stronger than in some other countries.
Tip: You do not have to join with either your exact name or exact date of birth – I recommend a slight variation on both. ie you could use ‘Bob' instead of Robert and change your DOB to the beginning or end of the month. Just remember the details!
If a site has poor or very short terms and conditions, give it a miss. Also, look at what country the company is based in and how big it is – it can well be that offering surveys is secondary to gathering your data.
During Sign Up
Generally signing up to surveys is pretty easy and fast. The most important thing to complete is the profile questionnaires.
- take you time
- be honest
- don't answer medical questions if you feel uncomfortable
- answering salary questions accurately is important as household income is a big determinant of survey offers
If you need to create a secret question – ensure it is not one you use anywhere but surveys.
Survey Taking Tips
Ensure you have visibility of your email and any sms/mobile numbers that you have used in survey sign up processes.
Tip #1 Be Honest – Some survey companies can cross-match your responses and if you're not honest your account will be suspended or terminated and your earnings forfeited.
Conducting surveys is actually an expensive business – and you don’t want to waste the company's time. Any survey you complete where you simply tick a random answer in every criterion will quickly show.
Tip #2 Take Your Time – Surveys can detect when you're rushing through answers.
Taking surveys takes your time – and this is what you are really being paid for as the cost of completing each survey for you is time. Therefore you should do your best to set aside time for survey offers that do arise. By dedicating a bit of time, you'll be able to give better answers and perhaps even finish faster than the estimated time!
Tip #3 Complete Responses – Some surveys will require you to write responses. Ensure you write coherent and complete sentences else you may be black-marked for quality responses.
Tip #4 Jump on Surveys ASAP – Many high-paying surveys have a quota of respondents and will fill fast, so it goes without saying that you'll want to login and answer the survey as soon as you receive a notification.
Tip #5 Login Regularly – Make a habit of logging in every day to your favourite survey companies over your morning coffee or on public transport
Tip #6 Screenouts Are Inevitable – Annoying as they are, you will be screened out of surveys if you don't fit the survey demographics. Many surveys offer a token payment for your time.
Tip #8 Patience – Legitimate survey sites will NEVER claim to be a way for you to get rich quickly. In fact, if you read through the FAQ of a survey site very often they will let you know that it would be wrong to do paid surveys online just to expect this to happen. You simply HAVE to be flexible if you want to earn money with surveys, and you have to be patient. Survey sites can take time to build up offers for you.
It is important to keep your profile maintained on each site you join. This can ensure you access new types of surveys as your lifestyle changes.
It also signals that you are an active and worthwhile participant, which may open up invites for other activities such as focus groups and interviews.
How Much Can You REALLY Earn With Paid Surveys?
In my experience of speaking with people who take online surveys, people often fall into one camp or the other.
- They love online surveys and can appreciate the rewards they receive
- They see online surveys as a scam
Obviously, this creates a huge amount of bias making it different to see exactly how much money it is possible to make money from online paid surveys – or if indeed it is impossible to make money.
That's why it’s important to not only go into completing surveys with an open mind – but a clear mind. I’ve mentioned before that surveys are NOT a way to get rich quickly. You will never be able to replace your day job (at the moment, anyway). However, they ARE useful for making some extra cash.
What one person considers worthwhile cash for their time may not be worth it for another. Those who can appreciate the opportunity to make some extra cash will be the most successful.
As you can probably tell, I fall into the first camp that I mentioned above. I recognize that you can make money from online surveys – and I do – but I also recognize that this isn’t always consistent and I don't really expect it to be. Having said this, sometimes the pay is fantastic, but I'd be lying if I said this was the case all the time.
The problem with online surveys is that you aren’t in full control. If you don’t receive an offer to complete a survey then you won't be making money, regardless of how much the survey site pays.
While the income from online surveys is not always consistent, I am a member of many sites that I always make something. Here's my general income from online surveys…
A slow week
On a slow week, I could receive around 15 – 20 surveys from the various sites I'm signed up to. How much I earn depends on the survey lengths and the sites that are offered. I can usually make around $50 cash – but remember that this isn't the only way to earn money with survey sites.
Certain survey sites offer added incentives if you pick one of their preferred vouchers/gift cards and on these weeks this option stands out for me.
A good week
I probably have one good week a month – and in these weeks I can receive so many survey offers that often I can’t complete them all. This allows me to earn up to $300 on average, however, I have had some fantastic periods of high-paid surveys where I was lucky enough to earn more.
Now of course this doesn't allow me to quit my day job, but I'm realistic and that's not the reason I do online surveys anyway.
Is it worth it?
In my opinion, the pay is definitely worth it. For a few hours of my time, I can be $100-$300 richer by the end of the week. The surveys are often fun and I have begun to look forward to completing them!
I think most people would agree that a few hundred dollars at the end of the month would be a nice bonus indeed.
Read how to make more cash with paid surveys here.