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Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and jump in. To find out if taking online surveys to earn cash is worth the effort, we asked some writers to test some programs.
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The results are not impressive: too much time spent for too little pay. Now, we’ll admit that this was in 2017, but a recent survey of App Store user reviews shows that things haven’t changed much. Nobody got rich – but surprisingly, few people complained about that.
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Earning money from taking surveys may not be a big deal. People may just give their opinions while they pass the time, with little reward as an added benefit.
In our search for the most popular iOS apps to get paid to take surveys, we found these apps to be in the lead:
All of them have over 100,000 reviews and a rating of 4 stars or better at the time of this writing.
While most reviews of the program admit that the payouts aren’t huge, many users seem to enjoy taking surveys while raking in some cash.
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In 2017, the three of us spent over 50 hours on paid surveys and our total earnings did not reach $90.
So, no, online surveys are not an efficient way for us to earn money. (Skip to the list or continue learning about our experience.
To be fair, taking paid surveys is easy and can certainly be done at home if you have an internet connection. The sites we test are free and require no training or skills. Depending on the website, surveys can be an easy – if boring – way to make some money, or a boring task that costs nothing.
Some sites pay more than others. We appreciate sites that disclose cash value for each survey and match us with related sites. We have a site that compensates us through a confusing point system and sends out surveys that we rarely qualify for.
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Please note that your demographics and other characteristics will largely determine your eligibility for the survey. The three of us surveyed in 2017 were single women in our 20s living in urban areas. Depending on the survey, we may or may not be ideal participants. Your profile may lead to different results than ours.
Below are our findings from trying to spend an hour a day for five days at each site. On some days, for some sites, there are not enough votes to fill the time. (We don’t count that time in our total browsing hours.)
We’ve listed these US sites based on the average hourly rates we earned in 2017, from highest to lowest.
This site is a survey aggregator with an effective screening process. The dashboard is informative and displays useful sections such as your activity and customer support forms. This site is above average in selecting the surveys we qualify for. As for the points awarded per survey, 500 or 1000 points may seem high at first, but when it turns into a real reward, you will get 50 cents or a dollar. Also, you can’t withdraw money until you reach 25,000 points, equal to $25. Read more in our OneOpinion review.
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This site is a smaller survey aggregator, but it stands out. The site has a clean and easy-to-use dashboard and offers high points for every survey you complete. The points system is simple and shows you exactly how much your points are worth in dollars right on the dashboard. But you need to reach 500 points before you can withdraw money. For more information, check out our Review Junkie review.
Some survey sites bombard users with information and opportunities – but not Opinion Posts. Its simple and intuitive website allows us to create surveys without thinking twice. As beginners, we also appreciate the site’s simple point system, which works out to 10 cents per point. Most importantly, we actually make money. We earn an average of $1.50/hour on Opinion Outpost and can review it on Amazon. See our Opinion Outpost review for more.
This website offers surveys only through Ipsos, the market research company that owns it. The site offers less surveys than aggregators, but you still use iSay for each survey, which makes the whole experience easier. Sometimes it displays the survey you have tried which is confusing. For more information, see the iSay review.
The site offers 75 survey opportunities, the most of any site we tested. But it also has the lowest success rate, 9.33 percent, and the lowest average hourly wage rate. Additionally, the reasons for survey disqualification are often unclear. At one point, we were disqualified after being asked to spell the word “purple.” (Yes, we spelled that right.) Check out our full MyPoints review.
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The site offers many survey opportunities, but disqualifications are frequent. Sometimes we get disqualified just for clicking a survey link. Swagbucks collects third-party reviews, so some of the sites it sends you are better than others. It takes a while to earn points, but the site’s extensive rewards marketplace has hundreds of options to choose from, including gift cards, sweepstakes, and PayPal payments. Check out our full Swagbucks review.
Unlike many other sites, Tolona allows users to choose the topic of their survey, such as electronics or travel, which makes it more interesting. However, this low-paying advantage does not make up for it. Converting points to cash, we earned just 71 cents an hour—one of the lowest rates of all the sites we tested. Our five hour points are not enough to use the cheapest gift card. Learn more in our Tolona review.
New users receive a $5 bonus after verifying their email address with InboxDollars. But that doesn’t offset the small amount of money we make per hour on surveys — 41 cents, the lowest of the 12 sites we tested. Sometimes, instead of sending a survey, the site directs us to an ad that requires our address, phone number and date of birth. Read our InboxDollars review.
Regardless of the site, the income from surveys is small compared to other business opportunities. For example, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and our hourly earnings range from 41 cents to $2.03 an hour. Most survey sites require a minimum score before we can use them for rewards. At many sites, we do not reach this minimum after five hours of work. (You may want to consider other hobbies that generate income.)
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In addition to our time, we also provide valuable personal information to these survey sites. We often disclose date of birth, zip code, income, health conditions, ethnicity, living arrangements and more. And after spending hours in question-and-answer mode, we rarely think to provide these details.
Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, said, “The biggest unknown risk is how data is used. You’re really putting yourself under the protection of the site and saying, “OK, I’m going to trust you to be a good steward of the information I’m giving you.”
Our data can be used for dubious studies or sold, for example, to health insurers, Velasquez said. Or it could be stolen, which is a risk for any website that stores personal data. Most of the information we provide seems innocuous—our shopping habits and travel plans, for example. But information like your date of birth can be used with other stolen data to identify you. So keep this in mind while answering the questions.
Even with the disadvantages of online surveys, some people may find surveys an attractive option. After all, there are no barriers to entry, and it can be done from anywhere with an internet connection.
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Don’t overshare Leave a survey if you’re asked for your Social Security number, bank account number or driver’s license number. Velasquez recommends being “intentional” about sharing other personal information with survey sites. Answering questions about TV commercials may be fine, but providing medical information may not be worth the risk.
Create an email address just for the survey site. Most survey sites send us several emails each day. Registering on this site with a separate email address will prevent survey offers from cluttering your primary inbox.
Install anti-malware software. We recommend this step if the survey site is redirecting you to a third-party spam client.
Rest We often experience long review sessions, with our faces glued to the computer screen
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