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
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.
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
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
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.
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