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How to Safely Make Money Online Doing Paid Surveys

Sarah is a pharmacist living in Queensland, Australia. In her free time, she enjoys writing about easy money-making practices.

Start a new hobby and start making extra money!

Start a new hobby and start making extra money!

Participating in Online Surveys

One of the simplest ways of making some extra "money" online is by joining survey panels and participating in surveys. These are often a fun way to spend some time, learn about new products, and get rewarded for your time. However, it is also a field that attracts a lot of scam artists and spammers. To get the most out of participating in online surveys, there are some basic principles you should follow.

Always keep in mind that participating in online surveys should only be considered as a source of extra income (rather than regular, reliable income). Participation in surveys should be a hobby, it is not a job. Any panel that says you can "earn" hundreds or thousands of dollars a month doing surveys is lying.

To increase your "earning" potential, sign up for a handful of panels to increase your chances of being selected to participate in surveys. There is no shortage of online survey panels available on the internet, but you must be able to identify a legitimate survey panel from a scam.

How to Identify Legitimate Survey Sites

Take note of the following tips to avoid being caught out by scam artists and spammers. Whilst there are plenty of fake survey sites on the internet, there are also lots of really good quality legitimate survey sites. Here are some points to note before signing up for any survey panel.

  1. If you have to pay to join or reveal any credit card details, it’s a scam.
  2. Depending on your country, there are laws governing legitimate market research in terms of what information is collected in surveys and how it gets stored. In each country, there will usually be an industry body that sets the standards for this, so look for this information on the site. Make sure the company is a member of the governing market research body in that particular country.
  3. Check that the company has an address, contact details, and is a registered business (there are different ways to check this depending on your country).
  4. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and the privacy policy before signing up. On this point—make sure there is a privacy policy! It sounds like a drag, but you don't want your personal details being sold for anyone to use. Doing surveys reveals lots of data, and you want to be sure that your personal data isn't being sold somewhere else.

Before you sign up for any online survey panels, you may want to set up a separate email account just to receive survey invitations, as you will find your inbox will become quite congested with these invites. If you find you are receiving too many invitations, some panels have an option to allow you to reduce the frequency in which you receive survey invitations.

Share your opinion and be rewarded!

Share your opinion and be rewarded!

Filling Out Your Profile

After finding some online survey panels to join, you need to go about filling out your profile. It is really important that you take the time to fill in all the profile questions carefully and that you update your information regularly. Major life events such as getting married, going to college, or retiring alter your demographic dramatically—so be sure to do a profile update at least once a year. This information is what the company will use to send you surveys in which you may qualify to participate. Therefore if your profile is incomplete or inaccurate, chances are you aren't going to qualify for many surveys.

Taking Surveys

Once your profile is complete, it is a matter of simply waiting to be sent surveys. It may be a few days or a few weeks until you get sent a survey; it just depends on the demographics that companies are looking for. Be sure to add the company's survey invite email address to your contacts list to avoid having survey invites end up in your spam folder.

Giving your honest opinions is the best way to complete online surveys!

Giving your honest opinions is the best way to complete online surveys!

Accumulating Survey Earnings

Each survey will “pay” a different amount, and usually, this amount will generally be added to the “balance” of your account. Once your balance reaches a certain amount, you can elect to “redeem your points” or “cash out.” Every panel you join will be different in terms of how they reward you and the minimum balance needed to redeem your earnings. Some might reward you with cash, PayPal payments, or gift cards from certain retailers.

It takes time to accumulate earnings, and this is why online surveys should never be considered a reliable source of income but rather as a way to make a little bit of extra money over time. Some patience is required, as it could take three months of regular participation in surveys before you can redeem your earnings. If, after this time frame, you are nowhere near the minimum redemption amount, don’t keep wasting your time with that survey panel! Delete your account and try somewhere else.

Keeping Track of Survey Earnings

It would be worthwhile to keep a table or spreadsheet of the date you joined a particular panel and the time taken to earn enough points to make a redemption. That way, you can decide whether or not a particular panel is worth your time and effort.

Looking at the table below, if the date was November 3, with no rewards yet from Panel 3, it might be worth reconsidering your panel membership.

Example Table for Survey Earnings

Use a table to determine if a survey panel is worth your time and effort.

Survey PanelDate JoinedRewardsRewards

Panel 1


$20 Pay Pal 8/8/13

$20 Pay Pal 11/3/13

Panel 2


$15 Amazon 9/9/13


Panel 3




Be Realistic About Paid Surveys

It is possible to safely earn money online by participating in paid surveys by following a few basic principles. It's key to remember that participating in surveys is not going to make you rich, they are just a fun way to make some extra money. If you choose your survey panels wisely, you will not receive any spam and can be reassured that your details are secure. Choose carefully and enjoy spending your survey money!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


VirtaTrade on July 12, 2019:


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Stacy LeFevre from Chicago, IL on August 13, 2017:

Good advice! Many have the misconception or wishful thinking that online surveys will take the place of a traditional job, but that just isn't so. Better for pin money or saving for a birthday present. Patience, perseverance and dedication are all required to be successful with online surveys!

Nick on April 07, 2016:

Panel Opinion its a great survey site- low cash out of £10!

Darren on April 04, 2016:

I love survey friends website , where you can win big on points and bid for vouchers, it's a lot better than other site where you can get vouchers as often the surveys are closed or had enough customers, so i highly recommend Survey Friends.

Gemma on March 29, 2016:

I'm really impressed with surveyfriends, can't believe I've recieved a £10 voucher after only a month.

david on March 23, 2016:

I found out about the Surveyfriends website from the MoneySavingExpert newsletter and joined up as I liked the idea of earning rewards for completing surveys. The website is easy to use and the surveys interesting to complete. As well as survey rewards there are social points available that can be used to enter auctions and lotteries. With only my second auction I won an Amazon voucher. Thoroughly recommend this website to anybody who likes completing surveys.

Jessica P on March 22, 2016:

The site is easy to us. Surveys are usually quick to do and pay out lots of points making it fairly quick to accumulate points compared to other survey sites I have used.

Sophie on March 03, 2016:

Panel Opinion is fantastic, follow them on Facebook to take part in some fantastic competitions. Really glad I tried them out great site.

Anna on February 25, 2016:

Great site have won many vouchers and gifts, after being recommended i thought id try it out and i have to say i am glad i did. what a fantastic site with some fun things to take part in. Really enjoy the weekly competitions on Facebook and the gift lotteries and auctions! Great way to win some good stuff!

-- Survey Friends

Martin on February 24, 2016:

I really think belonging to a number of sites pays off. Focusing on different sites at a time allows you to keep money consistently coming in. If one site doesn't have a survey for you that day, just switch it out with another

Charlotte Hemmingsway on February 19, 2016:

Survey friends is a great site to take surveys and earn some great rewards! One of my favorite things about the site is the Gift Lotteries and Auctions great chance of winning some extra vouchers! Glad I was recommended!

Leah on February 15, 2016:

Signing up to online survey sites are usually a waste of time until I found Paid Product Testing! Really like the concept of being able to try out new products and getting paid to do so. What's great is you get to choose the products you want to test as well :)

Tom on February 15, 2016:

Overall, one of the best paid survey sites I've used. Very happy with my vouchers, having been a member for a while I have been lucky enough to win a variety of fantastic rewards

Tracey Higgins on February 11, 2016:

I have only been a member of SurveyFriends for less than a year, but enjoy the chance to take part in surveys and competitions. I have only recently linked my account to Facebook, and was surprised to be a Facebook winner so quickly! I try and enter competitions when prompted to do so, however small the chances of actually winning are - you never know, one day, like me, you could be lucky!

Charlene on February 09, 2016:

Paid Product Testing is great, fantastic product tests and really short follow up surveys, well worth signing up and testing products you might like!

Marissa K on February 01, 2016:

Glad I came across this small forum, I've just joined up to Paid Product Testing and I love it! Fun and interesting products to test and their Facebook page is really good too!

Thanks for sharing! would never have know about the site otherwise!

Debby on January 18, 2016:

I've recently really got into Paid Survey Sites, having initially thought they can be a waste of time, I have to say so far I've been able to accumulate a nice sum of around £30! That's mainly though taking part in surveys and also winning points on social media!

Two of my top sites are Panel Opinion & Mystery Shopper! I'll be sure to be checking some more that have been listed on here :)!

Rachel Aldrich on January 14, 2016:

Survey Friends!!! Love the new website

Lisa Humeborough on January 07, 2016:

Some survey sites can be quite rewarding, a friend of mine just introduced me to Paid Product Testing and so far I've taken part in a number of interesting product tests. What's great about the site is you can choose which products you want to take part in and get rewarded!

John on December 22, 2015:

Online surveys are a great way to earn some extra cash especially near Christmas. Survey Friends is one of my favorite sites, I've just received some fantastic vouchers in the post.

JennyP on December 08, 2015:

Easy way to get some great vouchers. Only signed up to Survey Friends a couple of months ago and already won over £20. Great website and fantastic rewards!

Arianne on December 08, 2015:

Agreed! Survey Sites can be really beneficial if you find the right one. Survey Friends really works for me! I think its a great way to get some rewards! Surveys are really interesting too :)

Katy Vineyard on December 03, 2015:

I've been trying out different ways of making money online and I have to say so far online surveys are the best way! You really need to find some good sites to ensure you make a profitable return on the time you invest!

Here is a list of some sites I recommend :

- Mystery Shopper

- Paid Focus Group

Charlotte Gray on November 26, 2015:

I love online survey sites, but I think you really have to find the right one, recently I've tried out Paid Product Testing. It's a really interesting site, that rewards you for testing products! It's a great way to earn a bit of cash before Christmas and they have some great products to try out!

Kathrine Cotlby on November 17, 2015:

I have been a member of the panelopinion website for over a year now and would highly recommend them to others. Many surveys are shorter than other websites. For longer surveys, they would pay you something if you get screened out which is good. They have a low cash out rate of £10. I have always been paid promptly and don’t receive any spam mail from them!!!

MickaelF on November 04, 2015:

For me, Survey Friends is the best paid survey site. I like to answer surveys. I won £20 voucher ten days ago, it was fantastic!

The surveys are very varied and easy to use.

I was very surprised when I won. One of my friends won an Amazon gift card with the same survey site.

Matthew C on August 18, 2015:

One site that people have success with making money from surveys is The results vary from person to person but people do make money off completing surveys.

Ana on January 24, 2015:

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