If you’re looking for a new way to earn some extra cash or trying to find ways to make money from home — taking surveys can be a great solution to supplement your income. Online surveys are one of the best side hustles for anyone with a bit of extra time, especially because they don’t require any particular skill set, and can be done anywhere, on your own schedule.
Getting paid to take surveys might sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. Believe it or not, understanding the needs and interests of people like you is helpful for companies, and is 100% worth paying for. Here’s how it works: you’ll spend a few minutes answering questions, watching videos, or even just shopping — and then get paid for your time.
To help you get the most out of your time, we’ve put together a list of the best survey sites out there. Here's our ranking, and a few things to know to be successful and stay safe before you start answering surveys.
Best survey sites of January 2021
- Survey Junkie
- Branded Surveys
- Inbox Dollars
1. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie takes the top slot on our list for a few reasons. It’s easy to use and allows users to get paid to answer surveys on just about anything. Once you sign up, Survey Junkie will give you a few prompts to learn your areas of interest, then you can start getting paid right away.
Because anyone older than 13 can sign up, this is a great survey site for all ages of aspiring side hustlers. Another thing we love about it? Transparency. You’ll always know how much you’re getting paid (per survey) before starting one. That way, you can plan out your time to maximize your earnings.
Although other websites or apps might offer different ways to earn money beyond taking surveys, Survey Junkie specializes in one thing and it does it well. You can check out our Survey Junkie review for more details
2. Branded Surveys
Like most survey companies, Branded Surveys offers survey opportunities based on your interests, allowing you to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards or cash. Unlike some other companies, Branded Surveys has a fast payout time, which means you can expect to get paid in just one to three business days — making this a great choice for anyone who needs fast money.
Branded Survey also works with a lot of top research firms, and it provides other incentives that can help you earn money. For example, you can earn extra points by referring a friend, taking partner company surveys, or participating in one of its daily polls.
InboxDollars scores an A from the Better Business Bureau as well as a four-star rating from reviewers. One of the reasons we love InboxDollars is that it has so many ways to get paid. Although you can take surveys, you can also earn money for watching videos, reading emails, or even playing online games. The company also provides access to exclusive coupons and online deals, which allows you to save money on your everyday purchases. Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus just for signing up.
Because InboxDollars has both iOS and Android apps, it’s a great side hustle for people looking to make a bit of money while on the go, like on a lunch break or while waiting for your always-late friend to show up. You can check out our InboxDollars review for all the details.
Swagbucks doesn’t just have an A rating in our book, it also earned one with the BBB, and a lot of people rate this company highly. That might have something to do with the $10 welcome bonus, but it might also be the sheer number of ways it allows you to earn extra cash.
Online surveys, shopping, videos, games, emails, and even coupons are all available through Swagbucks and can either increase your earning potential or save you a bit of money. Earning opportunities are also available through its mobile app, so you can make money with Swagbucks from just about anywhere. Our Swagbucks review will fill you in on everything you need to know.
- Get a $5 bonus when you earn 2,500 Swagbucks in the first 60 days of opening your account
- Earn gift cards for surfing the web and taking fun surveys
- Over $200,000,000 paid out to members so far! That's 7,000 gift cards each day
- Earn free gift cards to your favorite stores - Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more
Kashkick is another good survey site that makes it even easier to earn cash for all the stuff you already do online, like watching videos, signing up for offers, and taking surveys. Unlike other survey sites, the company allows you to get paid (aka cash out) for as little as $5, which means you can access your earned cash easily and often. That’s the lowest cashout amount of any company on our list.
You must be at least 18 to get started with Kashkick, but the earning process is super easy. Much like the other sites we’ve mentioned, you’ll simply create an account and start signing up for surveys and other polls to start reaching your earning potential.
MyPoints ties with Swagbucks for offering the most generous welcome bonus of any of the companies on our list — you get $10 just for signing up. And not only do you get the opportunity to earn money for completing surveys, but the company also helps you snag deals at all your favorite retailers.
If you’re an avid online shopper in addition to being into surveys, this site might be the perfect way for you to earn some cash and score some savings. By going through the company’s portal (which has partnerships with over 1,900 retailers like Macy’s and Sephora) you can save money while online shopping and also earn points for every purchase you make. You can check out our MyPoints review for all the details.
How to succeed at taking surveys for a side hustle
Although taking surveys is pretty self-explanatory, maxing out your potential for success may not be. Here are a few of our best tips to help you get the most out of your survey side hustle:
- Create an email just for your survey sites. Having a separate email account for your surveys will not only help keep your personal inbox decluttered, but it will also keep all your survey-related emails in one place. There’s nothing worse than missing out on an exclusive deal, and with a separate inbox for survey stuff, you won’t have to.
- Install anti-malware software to be safe. Although these companies do their best to keep you and your data safe, stuff happens. If you plan on spending your time on these highly-trafficked sites, be sure to install some anti-malware software to keep your computer and personal data safe.
- Schedule time for survey taking. The best way to succeed at any side hustle is to have a schedule, and taking surveys is no different. Set a weekly goal of how many hours you’ll dedicate to surveys and then block that time in your calendar to make sure you achieve your goal.
- Evaluate your ROI. This one is especially important for all the survey sites also offering shopping incentives. Although saving money on your purchases is great, you should be checking in now and then to make sure that’s what you’re actually doing. In other words, be sure these sites are in fact saving you money rather than making you spend more. Take some time every month to evaluate your spending and make a list of things you actually need and plan on buying. That way you’ll know for sure the shopping incentives are helping rather than hurting your bank account.
- Get to know the ins and outs of each survey site. Each survey site works a little differently, which is why it helps to get to know them before ramping up your hours. Some sites might offer higher rates of pay depending on the cashout method you choose, whereas others might have regular promotions that allow you to increase your earnings significantly. By getting to know the ins and outs of these survey sites, you can better able to max out your earning potential.
In determining our ranking of the best surveys, we examined our partner companies and ranked them according to a series of weighted factors that we consider critical to the consumer. We did not evaluate all companies in the category.
FinanceBuzz ranking criteria include:
- BBB rating: Companies were scored higher for having a better BBB rating.
- Welcome bonus: Companies were scored higher if they offered new users a welcome bonus.
- Payment policies: We ranked companies based on the number of ways you can receive payment, the minimum amount required to cash out your earnings, and how long it takes to receive your earnings on average.
- Earning opportunities: If a company offered more ways to earn than just surveys, we ranked them higher.
- Points value: If a company’s points were worth less than 1 cent each, we ranked them lower.
FAQs about survey sites
Why do companies pay you to take surveys?
Companies pay you to take surveys because it’s one of the best ways for them to get the information they need to successfully sell their products. By understanding your needs and wants as a consumer, companies are better able to improve their product offerings and focus on selling the stuff people really want to buy.
Can you really make money taking surveys?
Although taking surveys is far from a get-rich-quick scheme, you can definitely earn a bit of pocket cash by taking them. The key is to set your expectations. If you’re wondering how to make $1,000 a day, surveys won’t be the answer. Rather than trying to save up for a new car, think of this easy extra income as a way to fuel your expensive coffee addiction or afford that extra streaming service you’ve been wanting.
Which survey sites pay the most?
It can be hard to determine what survey sites pay in general, and it’s even harder to determine which ones pay the best. In general, you can expect most points from these companies to be worth 1 cent each, which means 500 points equals $5, though this isn’t always the case.
How much you earn will depend a lot on the number of points-earning opportunities companies have going on at any given time. Sometimes a company may be focused on a certain demographic, and you might not have as many surveys available to take. This is why it’s important to learn as much as you can about what each company offers and whether there are any limits on your participation.
Are survey websites a scam?
Although we can confidently say that none of the survey companies on our list are a scam, that doesn’t mean others aren't. You should always be cautious when giving your information out to any website or service online. If a company seems fishy, don’t share your info. Consumer protection sites like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the BBB are great resources for checking the validity of any given company before using their products or services.
Taking surveys won’t make you rich, but it is a fun and easy side hustle. Although you could earn cash delivering groceries, surveys are a particularly great side hustle for introverts or for anyone with an internet connection and a little spare time.
Because all survey sites work differently, it’s worth taking the time to get to know each one before you decide which is the best fit for your side hustle goals. You might even decide to sign up for a few and really get serious about making extra money.