A Step-by-Step Guide to Legitimate Paid Surveys

Updated on July 27, 2020

Woman using laptop next to legitimate online survey websites text

When you’re looking for a way to earn extra income, survey sites often stand out as one of the most convenient options. After all, what better way to make some extra income than to answer a few questions on the web?

Of course, though there are reliable and genuine survey sites out there, it’s important to note that not all of the online survey companies you find are going to be as valuable as others. When you start looking for ways to earn cash online, you need to make sure that you’re keeping two main things in mind: how much your survey sites can pay, and how good their reputation is.

The good news? You don’t have to put your money or your personal information at risk to track down the best survey sites. We’ve done the hard work for you by examining some of the leading options on the market today based on their ability to pay, their legitimacy, and more.

Which Paid Survey Sites are Legitimate?

Before we start introducing you to our top picks for leading survey sites, let’s start simple. It’s essential to outline some of the ways that you might be able to separate reputable companies from those that are trying to scam vulnerable people out of their hard-earned money.

The first thing that we recommend looking at is reputation. Most of the best online survey sites are the ones that you can easily read about online. You can find plenty of genuine testimonials from customers who have already earned PayPal credits, gift cards, and money using the service before in our main survey reviews section.

If you can’t find anyone online talking about the paid online surveys that you want to take from a particular company, you’re probably better off looking into companies you can find information on; the last thing you want to do is sign up for a company that isn’t reputable and that you’ll have difficulty in collecting your earnings from down the road. Other things to keep in mind include:

  • The best survey sites don’t cost you any money: Reputable paid online surveys will not ask you to pay any cash to sign up. There are some sites out there that try to convince you to sign up by promising you a bigger payout in exchange for a monthly or one-time fee. However, the bonus “prizes” that you can sometimes get from these websites are never worth the price. We never recommend using any survey club or survey companies that ask for your money upfront.
  • The best online surveys are realistic: Remember that most things that seem too good to be true usually are. While you can earn money online with paid survey sites, you shouldn’t expect to earn hundreds of dollars just by answering a couple of questions. If a company promises to give you a huge Amazon gift card or cash payout immediately, it’s worth questioning whether they’re legitimate at all.
  • Certifications and regulations: Usually, if you visit paid survey sites online, you’ll be able to find some information about how they’re regulated. Look for trust stickers and certificates from market research associations (such as the insights association) on the survey companies that you’re thinking of working with.
  • Ensure you can easily find contact information and an about us page: What credible business wouldn’t share this information with you? If you can’t find out much about the provider of the surveys you’re interested in participating in, move on and find another site that clearly discloses this information.

Let’s take a look at some of the best survey sites for earning bonus money in 2020:

1. Branded Surveys

Branded Surveys website

A popular and legitimate site for earning extra money is Branded Surveys. With a constant stream of surveys available, a huge variety of rewards to choose from and different ways of earning survey bonuses, Branded Surveys is a solid choice.

How Branded Surveys Works: For every online survey or research study you complete, you will earn points which are redeemable for a wide variety of rewards. New members of Branded receive a free $1 account bonus upon signing up.

Ways to Earn: Complete paid surveys via Branded in order to earn points. Most surveys take about 10 minutes to complete and you can earn up to 300 points per survey. Earn bonus points by completing quick daily polls and through bonuses awarded through Branded Elite; earn up to 19% of your survey earnings as bonuses if you qualify for Gold badge status.

Payout Options: Branded Surveys offers many different payment options. Choose a PayPal payment, a cash payment to your bank account, a pre-paid credit card, or one of dozens of gift cards.

Branded Surveys Key points:

  • 100 points = $1.00
  • Redeem your points for cash (paid via PayPal or bank transfer) or choose one of many gift cards
  • Complete surveys regularly and earn badges that will give you bonus points.
  • Free $1 joining bonus

2. PointClub

PointClub website

Another reputable survey site that can help you earn extra cash is PointClub. Millions of survey takers use their highly interactive platform to earn rewards and the surveys on offer are fun, engaging and professional.

How PointClub Works: For every online survey or research study you complete, you will earn points which are redeemable for a wide variety of rewards. New members of PointClub will receive a free $5 account credit upon signing up and completing a short profiler.

Ways to Earn: Complete surveys on your phone or computer to earn points. Earn additional points through daily giveaways, special offers, referring friends, survey streak bonuses, as well as by receiving free points if you happen to disqualify from a survey.

Payout Options: PointClub offers its members the opportunity to earn money for completing surveys. Get paid via PayPal, or choose a gift card from over 80 different store options (including Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, etc.)

PointClub Key points:

  • 100 points = $1.00
  • Daily point giveaways on social media
  • Redeem your points for PayPal cash, or choose from over 80 gift card options
  • Take fun, highly engaging and fun surveys using the PointClub platform
  • Free $5 joining bonus

3. Swagbucks

Swagbucks website

Another of the most popular sites on the market when you’re looking for easy e-poll surveys and quick ways to earn, is Swagbucks. Like Inbox dollars, it’s easy enough to find a Swagbucks review online from a wide range of different leading companies, and most people are aware of Swagbucks too. This brand has been around for quite a while, offering surveys for cash to people who need a little extra earning potential.

How SwagBucks Works: Every time you fill out a Swagbucks survey, you get points that you can redeem for Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash, and more. What’s more, similar to other survey sites that are leading the charge these days, Swagbucks comes with a free $5 bonus when you sign up.

Ways to Earn: You can start earning as soon as you like, using your spare time for things like watching videos and playing games that earn you money. There are multiple fun ways to earn besides filling out surveys, although we find the survey panel for Swagbucks very convenient and easy to use. The site even allows you to earn cashback on shopping, and frequently posts promotional offers on their site, making it easy to find different ways of racking up rewards.

Payout Options: Swagbucks is one of the many survey websites online today that allow you to earn money by earning points. You can convert the points from various online activities into PayPal payouts and a huge variety of gift cards.

Swagbucks Key points:

  • 100 SBs equal roughly $1.00
  • You will need at least 160 SBs or $1 for an Amazon gift card
  • Redeem your SBs for PayPal cash or gift cards to Amazon, Target, and many, many others.
  • Free $5 joining bonus

4. PrizeRebel

Prizerebel website

PrizeRebel might not be as well-known as a site like Swagbucks when it comes to online surveys that pay, but it’s one of the most appealing options in the market. If you’re looking to complete surveys for money, then PrizeRebel is a good choice. Operating for more than a decade, the company has paid out millions of dollars for paid surveys.

How PrizeRebel Works: What makes PrizeRebel special is that aside from giving you money whenever you answer questions from market research companies, the site also gives you other ways to earn cash online. For instance, you can take part in Facebook giveaways that offer great prizes to winners or earn money by interacting with popular polls that change regularly on the website in addition to watching videos, doing micro tasks, and even entering in free codes!

Ways to Earn: With daily challenges to complete, raffles and more, PrizeRebel is one of the more unique survey companies on the market, with plenty of payout options for participants to enjoy. Rewards are processed almost instantly, depending what user level status you’ve attained.

Payout options: Once you’ve earned a minimum of $2, you can get an Amazon gift card from Prize Rebel. You can also redeem points for tons of other gift cards and PayPal cash if you have at least $5 in rewards.

PrizeRebel Key points:

  • 100 points = $1.00
  • Reward options include gift cards and PayPal
  • Achieve gold status (which is pretty easy to do) for immediate payments!
  • Open internationally

5. Pinecone Research

Pinecone research website

If you’ve looked into paid survey sites before, then you’ve probably seen a lot designed for certain kinds of research. Options like Pinecone Research offer money to a global test market that is willing to give their opinion in search for cash.

How Pinecone Research Works:Like other legit paid survey companies, Pinecone research is focused heavily surveys, but also on opportunities such as product testing. However, unlike other paid online surveys, you have to be part of a very exclusive club if you want to earn money online with Pinecone. This company restricts membership, and they as their survey takers to apply to get involved.

You need an invite to get started, but it’s easy enough to find one online if you know where to look. Hint: SurveyPolice offers working Pinecone sign up links!

Ways to Earn: If you’re looking for a survey club with a high payout, Pinecone research is a great option, because it pays at least $3 per survey. Additionally, you can get an option to test products, as well as completing surveys for money too. Unlike alternatives such as Survey Junkie and Swagbucks, Pinecone research also only allows you to fill out surveys that you’ve been pre-approved for.

Payout options: Like Swagbucks, with Pinecone research, you earn points which you can redeem for a variety of cash options, gift cards, and even some physical merchandise too.

Pinecone Research Key points:

  • Earn at least $3 per survey
  • Take surveys and participate in product testing
  • Get paid by check, PayPal, gift cards, or with merchandise
  • Invitation-only (see above for special link to join)

6. Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie website

Survey Junkie is like Swagbucks in that it’s one of the better-known and more reputable online survey sites on the market today. The Survey company started way back in 2005, which gives them over 15 years of experience surveying millions of customers around the world. The great thing about this company is that not only is it legitimate, but it makes it incredibly easy to create some extra earnings in your spare time too. You might not be able to make a part-time job out of the time you spend on a Survey club like Survey Junkie, but you should be able to get an extra Amazon gift cards and a bit of bonus income from time to time.

How Survey Junkie Works: The average survey from Survey Junkie pays around $1 to $3 which is very similar to most survey sites. The only downside is that you can’t take as many surveys as you like every day. You need to wait for surveys to become available, which is a common gripe with a lot of online earning options that offer surveys.

Still, if you’re looking for an easy way to earn some money completing online surveys, then Survey Junkie can help with that.

Payout Options: You can get your payouts from Survey Junkie in the form of gift cards or cash. Every 100 points earned in paid surveys equals around a $1 in cash.

Survey Junkie Key points:

  • Cash out your rewards with just $10 worth of surveys
  • Earn free points if you get disqualified from a survey
  • Most surveys pay between $1-$3
  • Cash out your earnings for a PayPal payment or a gift card

7. Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost website

Another excellent website offering Amazon gift card payments, extra cash, and other bonus rewards to a global test market is Opinion Outpost. One way to confirm that Opinion Outpost is legitimate, is that many of the surveys they conduct are for government organizations.

How Opinion Outpost Works: Compared to other paid survey sites that pay cash, Opinion Outpost has one of the lowest thresholds required to get a payout. You can start taking your money out of your account as soon as you’ve filled out five surveys. Unlike some other online surveys offered by companies like Survey Savvy and Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost also screens the people who fill out their polls. This means you’re more likely to get surveys that are actually tailored to your interests.

Opinion Outpost also has the benefit of paying very quickly. This means that if you need to reap the rewards of your paid surveys quickly, you don’t have to wait as long as you would with other companies like Mypoints and similar options. Some customers can get their payout in the same day!

While it’s possible to be disqualified from a survey on this website, you are often entered into prize draws if you can’t fill out a poll one day, which gives you another way to earn.

Payout Options: Opinion Outpost gives you the option to get your payout in the form of gift cards for popular websites, money sent straight to your PayPal and bank account, and more. You can also enter prize draws.

Opinion Outpost Key points:

  • Receive an Amazon gift card with just $5 worth of earnings
  • Get paid to your PayPal account with $10 in your account
  • Gift cards are issued almost immediately after requesting them
  • Most surveys take between 10-15 minutes to complete

Can You Make a Living Off of Surveys?

Ultimately, there are a lot of great paid survey options out there for people who want to earn extra income on top of their traditional job. However, we probably wouldn’t recommend giving up any other sources of income that you might have to focus exclusively on paid surveys.

You can earn a decent amount of extra cash from some survey companies, particularly if you’re willing to sign up for several different survey sites at once. However, the chances are that you’ll just end up with a few Amazon gift cards and extra payouts each month, rather than a huge wage to share with your family.

If you want to make the most money from online surveys, we recommend doing your research and finding out not only which surveys pay the most, but also which can give you your money fastest, even if it is in the form of gift cards that you can spend online. The quicker you can get spending, the easier it is to reap the rewards of your extra work.

Another great way to improve the amount you can earn online, is to sign up for several different paid surveys at the same time. There’s nothing to stop you from creating an account with all of the survey sites that we’ve discussed above. Although you might want to create a separate email address just for your surveys, so that you don’t get overwhelmed with messages to your standard inbox.

Signing up to use multiple survey sites at once means that when you can’t get a paid survey from Swagbucks or Survey Junkie, you can still find other ways to earn elsewhere. This way, you can make a few extra dollars every day, rather than just waiting around for your favourite survey site to send you an email. Many survey fans are signed for more than 10 different sites at a time.

How Much Money Can You Make Doing Online Surveys?

The highest paying surveys online can give you an excellent source of extra income when you need a little extra money to put aside for things like Christmas spending, birthday gifts, or virtually anything else you might want to save up for. They’re not going to replace a second job as an extra source of income, and they’re probably not going to be as lucrative as a part-time job. However, unlike a part-time job, you don’t have to put a lot of effort into making money with online surveys and there are no barriers to applying.

There are plenty of survey sites available today that can give you plenty of easy ways to make money, from getting cash payouts on PayPal, to getting credit straight to your bank account. You can even earn gift cards and rewards just by shopping online or playing certain games.

This means that if you’re looking for a quick and simple way to make an extra income without exhausting yourself, online surveys could be just the thing. Just remember to check the companies out that you’re thinking of earning cash with. There are plenty of reviews and testimonials to guide you online, as well as trust symbols to check on websites to ensure that you don’t get into any trouble.