I Took Online Surveys for Money: Here’s How Much I Actually Earned

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online surveys for money

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If you’re looking for an easy way to make extra cash in your spare time, you might be considering taking online surveys for money.

Many companies rely on online survey data to guide their choices about products, marketing, and more. They value it so much, in fact, that they’re often willing to pay for it. That’s why so many websites facilitate this exchange.

To find out if this side hustle is worth your time, I took some online surveys for money with three popular sites. Find out how much I made and learn some tips for trying it out yourself.

3 sites I used to take online surveys for money

I created an account and spent an hour or two taking surveys with Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost, and MyPoints. Here are my reviews of those experiences.

1. Swagbucks review


Image credit: Swagbucks

Swagbucks is an online platform where you can earn the site’s currency — Swagbucks — by completing various tasks, including taking online surveys.

Signing up was pretty easy, and once I did, I was greeted by a list of ways I could earn Swagbucks. I was prompted to complete some short surveys that asked for my general demographic information, such as age, gender, income, number of people in my household, and so on.

The site’s navigation is fairly straightforward, but it can be a little confusing at first, as there are so many options and so much to look at.

Options for earning Swagbucks

I spent about an hour clicking around the Swagbucks site and completing different actions and surveys in exchange for Swagbucks — or SB, as they are referred to on the site. Here’s what I earned:

  • Signing up for the site: two SB
  • Verifying my email: four SB
  • Filling out profile questions: 16 SB
  • Adding the Swagbucks button to my browser: 50 SB
  • Attempting to complete surveys: seven SB
  • Searching the web through the Swagbucks search bar: 20 SB
  • Watching videos and giving my reaction: five SB

In terms of taking online surveys for money, Swagbucks was a bit of a bust for me. I attempted seven surveys and was disqualified from all of them. Of course, other users in different demographic groups might have better luck than I did.

Other actions were worth far more than the tasks I completed, but most of them were tied to shopping. There was an offer for 1,500 SB to try Dollar Shave Club, for example — a value of $15.

I decided to forego another couple of options I wasn’t interested in. For instance, the site offered SB for downloading and playing certain gaming apps.

Total earnings from Swagbucks: $1.22 in one hour

The tasks I completed got me around 112 SB in total. I also reached my “daily goal” to earn 100 SB, which got me an extra 10 SB.

Redeeming SB is fairly easy, and there are several ways you can opt to do so. Surveying the cash value of the prizes I could claim, it seemed like a Swagbuck was worth a cent. So every 100 SB equaled $1. When all was said and done, the hour I spent on the site was worth only $1.22.

Redeeming Swagbucks

When you have enough SB, you can trade them in for prizes, including gift cards to PayPal, Amazon, and more.

Most of these options required that I meet a certain threshold to claim the prize. A $5 Amazon gift card, for example, required 500 SB. So I was unable to use my 122 SB to get a $1.22 Amazon gift card.

There was an option, however, to donate to charities. It offered the smallest increments of any of the prizes, requiring just five SB. I opted to redeem my SB to donate $1.20 to UNICEF, leaving me with two SB left over.

2. Opinion Outpost review

opinion outpost

Image credit: Opinion Outpost

Signing up for Opinion Outpost was easy, and the site allowed me to use an alias email, so I was able to filter offers from this site into a separate folder I set up specifically for these survey sites.

Like Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost asked me to complete an initial profiling survey to screen me for further surveys. Once I did, I earned five points.

Opinion Outpost online surveys for money

Opinion Outpost is more streamlined than Swagbucks — and it centers exclusively on completing surveys. Whereas Swagbucks had offers for shopping or downloading apps, I earned Opinion Outpost points solely by taking surveys.

Completing a survey on Opinion Outpost took a bit more time. I attempted six surveys over the course of two hours and successfully completed three.

At this point, I noticed something frustrating. Some surveys made it seem like I qualified and would be rewarded for completing them. But then I’d answer a question that would filter me out and disqualify me from answering without giving me credit for completing the survey. It happened during a survey on which I’d already spent about 15 minutes.

This problem isn’t unique to Opinion Outpost — it appears to be a risk you take when you complete any online surveys for money. It happened to me, to varying degrees, on all three sites I tried. All three sites also gave me points for attempting surveys, but it was far less than I would’ve earned for completing them.

Total earnings from Opinion Outpost: $2.30 in two hours

After the five points I got for the profile, I earned 18 more points for completing surveys, which put my total Opinion Outpost earnings at 23 points.

On this site, 10 points equaled a dollar, so my haul was $2.30. Since I spent more time on Opinion Outpost, I averaged my earnings out to $1.15 per hour — similar to what I earned with Swagbucks.

I also earned entries into a quarterly drawing for a $10,000 grand prize. I’m not going to hold my breath, but it’s a nice option.

Redeeming Opinion Outpost points

Redeeming points on Opinion Outpost is straightforward. In exchange for their points, survey takers can get gift cards to PayPal, Amazon and iTunes as well as miles on United Airlines.

My 23 points didn’t meet the threshold to claim any of those rewards, however. I tried to donate them to the Red Cross, but my account was new and under review for the first 72 hours, so I couldn’t redeem my points yet.

3. MyPoints review


Image credit: MyPoints

The MyPoints platform is similar to that of Swagbucks, with options to earn points that include:

  • Taking surveys
  • Shopping or booking travel after clicking through from MyPoints
  • Downloading and playing app-based games
  • Watching videos
  • Reading articles
  • Clipping and redeeming coupons

I completed the initial profile survey for 10 points in addition to a few other low-point polls and actions. MyPoints has a “Daily 5” section, where you can quickly complete tasks to get five bonus points, so I did a few of those too.

MyPoints online surveys for money

I spent about an hour and a half attempting surveys and completing other actions on the MyPoints platforms.

Most of the 245 points I earned on MyPoints came from online surveys for money. Of the seven surveys I attempted, I was disqualified from five. The two I did complete got me 100 points each.

Total earnings from MyPoints: $1.75 in 1.5 hours

Compared to what I’d earned on other survey sites, 245 points seemed pretty great — that is, until I went to redeem those points.

MyPoints had the lowest points-to-dollars ratio by far. Based on the cash value of the prizes I could claim, I needed anywhere from 140 to 160 points to get $1 in prize value. That means I earned, at most, $1.17 per hour. So in 1.5 hours, I earned $1.75 through MyPoints.

Additionally, MyPoints didn’t have an option to redeem fewer than 480 points — about twice what I had. Even donating my points required a minimum of 715 points. I wasn’t willing to sink any more time into taking surveys to get to that mark, so those 245 points — a value of $1.75 — went unclaimed.

Is taking online surveys for money worth it?

As I wrote this article, a few colleagues expressed skepticism. One said she tried taking online surveys and stopped because it wasn’t worth her time. Another said his best advice on taking online surveys for money was, simply, “don’t.”

Despite their warnings, I tried to go into the experience with an open mind. But after trying it, I’m not sure I can recommend it.

As I went through the process, however, I tried to think of different audiences who might benefit more than I did from taking online surveys for money. See if you fall into one of these categories:

  • You’re a desirable demographic. Many of the questions revolved around income, race, ethnicity, and health conditions. Depending your own demographic information, you might have better luck qualifying for surveys than I did.
  • You want to get rewards when you shop. Both Swagbucks and MyPoints provided rewards and cash-back offers for shoppers. These sites could be a way to get more value out of the dollars you spend while shopping.
  • You want to multitask. You can take surveys while catching up on your favorite show, for example. A parent or babysitter could even complete a few online surveys for money while the kids watch a movie.
  • You can’t commit to a second job but want some extra spending money. While a second job or side hustle might offer more cash for your time, not everyone can commit to one. In these cases, online surveys could be a way to earn a bit of extra money.

Disappointing amount earned taking online surveys for money

The return on investment is dismal. At best, I earned about $1.18 per hour for my efforts. But in reality, I was able to claim only my $1.20 worth of Swagbucks despite spending about six hours across all three sites. I would’ve been better off working another side hustle, whether it was delivering pizzas or pet sitting.

For me, taking surveys was boring, slightly painful, and frustrating. I felt bamboozled when surveys I started and spent time on suddenly disqualified me. The points I earned also seemed largely useless if I didn’t spend several more hours earning enough to claim a reward worth getting.

The whole experience reminded me of the play-for-prizes arcades I visited as a kid. However, the surveys were much less fun than arcade games, and my “tokens,” aka online points, bought even less. I also felt a little queasy about trading my personal information for fake online money.

My advice: If you want to take online surveys for money, make sure you understand the return on your investment. Other side hustles and ways to make extra money are likely more rewarding than online surveys.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.51% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.