Can You Really Make Money Taking Online Surveys?

The answer is yes. But the question really is: Does it make financial sense? That depends on your time and your tolerance.

Lately, I’ve been having good luck with online surveys. Not only have I earned more than $20 for relatively little work, I’ve been asked to test several products.

Can’t say exactly what they are – confidentiality agreements – but they’re all things I was happy to get. Even though none of them was a pony.

As I noted in “Make hundreds by taking online surveys,” this can be a nice way to bring in some extra dollars or some gift cards. Both can bolster your budget.

That said, I just canceled my memberships in three survey sites because I decided they were expecting too much and offering too little. For example, I might get 150 points for a survey – but the smallest reward cost 10,000 points.

Heck, one site doesn’t even give actual rewards. It lets you trade your points in for chances at cash drawings. Do the math.

And any time I see an invitation that offers 50 cents for a 40-minute survey, I pass.

Every little bit helps?

Some people wouldn’t. A number of the folks I interviewed said they do surveys while watching TV with family, keeping an eye on the kids in the yard, or waiting for supper to cook. I bet plenty of cubicle workers keep surveys open on alternate screens too.

For them, the 50 multitasked cents are a bonus. But I spend too much time on the computer as it is. I like getting the extra funds, but it needs to be maximum reward for minimum effort.

Thus, I’ve decided to stick with surveys that are shorter and pay what I consider a decent amount – and like the folks above, I multitask. I keep a survey screen open while I’m doing other online chores, or eating an apple, or, yeah, talking on the phone. (Don’t pretend you’ve never done your nails, folded laundry, or killed Xbox aliens while chatting with your BFF.)

My advice: Don’t join every survey company you’re invited to join, and if you don’t get good results, cancel.

Also: If you have your own website, surveys can be a good source of prizes. How else would I be able to give away so many gift cards?

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Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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  • I participate in several survey sites, and get annoyed with the number of surveys I don’t qualify for — after I’ve filled out a 5 minute pre-survey.  There is no indication that one is not actually in the survey yet, and after wasting time answering questions I find out I don’t qualify and I don’t often get any points for my time.  I also dislike having to accumulate $25 worth of survey bucks or points before I can cash out.  This can take quite a while if you rarely qualify for a survey!  One I did cash out a few months ago for $15 then received an email saying there was a problem with the routing number on the check, don’t deposit it or it would bounce, another check is on the way.  Loooooonnng wait for replacement check……Also worry about legitimacy of some sites, as they all ask for full birthdates.  Can’t help but notice that every time I fill out a survey (or try to before I am rejected) I suddenly get tons more spam to my inbox.  Hmmmmmm…….

    • Anonymous

      They also want your credit card—no can do!

  • Donna Freedman

    Any site that asks for your credit card is suspect. Don’t ever give it. They’re supposed to be paying YOU, remember?
    And as I noted in the linked MSN Money column, you should start a separate e-mail account for survey registration because you will almost certainly be spammed.

  • I did this quite a bit in college for some extra cash and even now when I’m just sitting around.  I’ve made a few hundred dollars, but it is no replacement for a real job.  You just won’t get enough surveys per day (or at least not ones that offer fair compensation) to make enough to live on.  Look for ones that offer a 1$ to 10 minute or better ratio, if it’s less than that I don’t bother.

    I’ve never had to, nor would I, provide a CC or bank account information.  Google the name of a site and you’ll find plenty of reviews to help you make your choice or I could help answer any questions you might have.

  • I only take online surveys with companies that ask for my personal information.  It shows that they “care”.

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