Businesses pay market research companies to gather information on what customers like you think. Those market research companies, in turn, pay customers like you to provide that information. The good news is, this is no longer limited to in-person focus groups. You can now participate in market research from the comfort of your home.
If you have a rewards-earning credit or debit card, you already know how these programs work. But rewards go beyond credit and debit cards. You can sign up for sites that will pay you to search the internet, shop, download coupons, and complete surveys.
But you’ll quickly find that not all survey apps are created equal. Some pay more than others, and they each offer their own types of rewards. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about earning money by participating in surveys.
Overview: Best survey apps and sites
Site Survey options Redemption options
MyPoints Shopping, clipping coupons, completing surveys, watching videos Gift cards from more than 70 popular retailers, travel miles, or PayPal cash
Swagbucks Internet searching, shopping, completing surveys Gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Visa or PayPal cash
Fetch Rewards Buying groceries Gift cards or donations to charity
YouGov Completing surveys Cash
Toluna Completing surveys, playing games, community interaction Gift cards from popular merchants, including Amazon, Best Buy, and Starbucks or PayPal cash
Opinion Outpost Completing surveys Gift cards from top merchants, including Amazon, Target, and Nike or PayPal cash
Branded Surveys Completing surveys Amazon or Visa gift card or a PayPal payment
Pinecone Research Completing surveys PayPal cash payments, paper checks, pre-paid credit cards, or gift cards
MySoapBox Completing surveys Gift cards from popular merchants, including Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks
Intellizoom Completing surveys $2 cash per survey, up to $10 for more challenging surveys
If you’re signing up for a service that pays you to shop, it’s important to look for retailers you like. That’s what I find most useful about MyPoints. It links up to popular retailers I already use, like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, among many others. That means I’m earning points for money I’d be spending anyway.
Best of all, MyPoints helps you save. Not only can you apply coupons to your purchases with your favorite retailers, but you actually earn rewards for downloading them. When combined with the points you’re getting for shopping, you can quickly rack up rewards.
In addition to shopping, you’ll also earn points for completing surveys and watching videos. You’ll be paid for giving your opinion on a wide range of products, from automobiles to fashion to home and garden. You can earn as much as $50 per survey.
MyPoints lets you cash in your rewards in a variety of ways. You can choose gift cards from more than 70 popular retailers, travel miles, or PayPal cash.
MyPoints has a 4.2 rating in the App Store, and each point you earn is worth about a half a cent. Since you can earn points for shopping and downloading coupons, though, you can accumulate rewards without putting in as much work as if you were credited for surveys only.
If you want to earn money just for browsing the internet, Swagbucks is a great option. You won’t be able to quit your day job, but it’s a great way to earn a little extra spending money each month.
What I like most about Swagbucks is the variety of points-earning options. Sure, you can earn rewards for shopping and completing surveys, but you also earn by simply trading in Google for the Swagbucks search engine. You’ll be adding points to your total in the background while you search the web and browse various websites.
Once you’ve earned enough points, you can trade them in for gift cards at some of the most popular retailers. You won’t see as many gift card options as you get with other survey sites, but all the big names are there. Amazon, Walmart, and Target gift cards are available, or you can trade-in your points for PayPal cash or a Visa gift card and spend wherever you want.
Swagbucks has an App Store rating of 4.4. Each Swagbuck is worth a penny, and users estimate you can make a couple of hundred bucks a month if you’re fairly active on the site.
Fetch Rewards isn’t a survey app, but it is a great way for brands to encourage consumers to buy their products. You’ll earn rewards (and therefore it’s a way to make easy money) for the groceries you’re buying anyway. Best of all, you don’t have to fill out surveys to get those rewards.
To earn points with Fetch Rewards, simply scan your grocery receipts using the camera on your smartphone. Prefer e-receipts? No problem. Just connect your email account to the app and every time you shop, Fetch will scan your inbox with a tap on the screen, find any eligible receipts, and credit your account.
Grocery shopping isn’t the only way you earn points. You can also scan receipts from convenience stores, liquor stores, drug stores, club stores, and big box retailers like Petsmart.
What’s in it for Fetch? Fetch Rewards partners with a large number of brands to encourage members to buy their products. When Fetch scans your receipts, the app is looking for any purchases you’ve made from its partners and that’s where the points come in. You can review the list of partners on the Fetch Rewards site to maximize your earnings.
Once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards from hundreds of retailers. You can also donate your points to charity if you prefer.
What drew me to YouGov is the fact that the collected information is sometimes cited online and in news reports. Knowing I’m a part of the group that is referenced in, “According to a survey from YouGov” is an incentive to participate, especially if I’m paid for my feedback.
The biggest issue with YouGov is that it combines paid survey opportunities with those that pay nothing. You’re free to complete those just to take part in the information being collected and distributed. Some members found that paid opportunities were few and far between.
Despite its name, YouGov doesn’t just collect information on political issues. As with other survey sites, you’ll be polled about your thoughts on brands and services.
Once you’ve collected 5,000 points, you can redeem them for $50 in cash. YouGov even gives you a headstart, providing 100 points just for signing up.
YouGov’s app store rating is an impressive 4.6, with reviewers praising the cashout rates. It takes 5,000 points to earn 50 British pounds, which currently equates to just over $60 US dollars. You’ll earn about 50 points per survey, with each survey taking about 15 minutes.
Toluna focuses heavily on the value of being an influencer in its marketing. There’s a reason for that. It takes a while to amass rewards using this platform.
You’ll need 60,000 points to cash in with Toluna, but they tempt you with a faster way to rewards. Choose to cash in early and take a chance on something Toluna calls a “giftie,” which is a raffle. You turn an agreed-upon number of points over in the chance you might win a prize. Think of it like buying a lottery ticket.
In addition to surveys, you can also earn points for playing games and engaging with the community on the site. You’ll get points for referring friends to Toluna, as well as 500 points upon signing up.
One feature that gives Toluna the edge is that you can sign up to be a product tester. If you’re approved, you’ll be sent products you can test and provide feedback on. It’s competitive, but if you end up getting in, it can be a great way to earn points and, bonus: You get to keep the products they send you.
Toluna has a 4.2 rating in the App Store. You’ll get about 100 points per survey with this site, and each survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. You’ll need at least 30,000 points to claim a gift card, so obviously this is a lesser-paying option, but if you can land one of those product-testing assignments, you can add free products to that tally.
Although you’re limited in your redemption options, I like Opinion Outpost because of how quickly you can achieve a high points balance. You just sign up and start taking surveys, with your points balance displayed on the dashboard.
Another great thing about Opinion Outpost is that you can take surveys from both computers and mobile devices. That means whenever you find yourself with some spare time on your hands, you can take a survey and grab a few extra points.
Once you have enough rewards, cash them in for rewards from a small selection of partners. You can redeem your rewards for points from Amazon, Target, Nike, and PayPal, among others.
One downside to Opinion Outpost is that you’ll have to prequalify before you can take a survey. This is done by answering a few questions before the survey’s available. If you don’t qualify, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a quarterly prize, but it can feel like you put more time in to find a survey you can finally complete.
Opinion Outpost isn’t available as an app, so there’s no rating on the App Store. Your earnings with Opinion Outpost depend on the survey, but if you can land some good ones, you can make up to $3 a survey, which can add up over the course of a day.
Formerly known as MintVine, Branded Surveys offers reward payouts in US, Canadian, and UK dollars, opening it beyond North America. You can also choose to direct your points toward a US charity.
Branded Surveys partners with some of the top names in the industry, including Nielsen and Harris Interactive. As such, you’ll have more confidence that your feedback will make an impact.
One thing that sets Branded Surveys apart is the volume of surveys. You’ll have to qualify for each one, but having a wider range of options makes it more likely that you’ll find one that’s a match.
Another plus in Branded’s column is its quick payment turnaround. You can cash out once you reach 1,000 points, choosing an Amazon or Visa gift card or a PayPal payment. If you’re in the UK, you can opt to receive payment through Bpay.
A great thing about Branded Surveys is if you start to put time into starting a survey, only to find you don’t qualify, you’ll still be paid a few cents. Branded Surveys offers about $10 for every 1,000 points, and each survey will pay 100 points.
From respected industry leader Nielsen (of Nielsen Ratings fame), Pinecone Research is a great way to earn rewards while also feeling as though your voice is being heard. To get started with Pinecone Research, you simply sign up and wait for approval. Once you’re approved, you’ll start receiving invitations to participate in surveys.
After you’ve set up an account, you’ll be able to view the rewards available, as well as the points you’ll need to earn them. You can trade your points in on small rewards or save up for something bigger. As long as your account remains active, your points never expire. You can also opt to trade your points in for cash, deposited to your account.
One thing that sets Pinecone Research apart is that sometimes members are mailed physical products to try out. In many cases, you get to keep the items after you’ve completed the survey. Some brands ask that you send the products back, though.
Surveys are distributed based on information you provide. Many brands request specific audience demographics, so some members receive more surveys than others. This makes the questionnaire you complete at signup especially important.
All in all, Pinecone Research is a great platform from a respected brand. It’s an easy way to participate in market research from the comfort of your home while also being rewarded.
MySoapBox focuses on surveys, rewarding you for answering questions on products, services, and experiences. You’ll sign up and be invited to participate in various surveys, with rewards varying from one project to another. The more surveys you complete, the more opportunities you have on the site.
MySoapBox is a part of Interview Service of America (ISA), one of the largest US-based market research companies. They’ve collected data for businesses since 1982, typically through telemarketing and in-person focus groups. Through the online option, consumers have the opportunity to participate from the comfort of home.
Once you’ve earned 25,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards from popular merchants. Rewards include Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks.
MySoapBox is a website only, not an app, so there’s no iTunes rating. With MySoapBox, you’ll need 1,000 points to equate to $1, and you’ll generally get between 750 and 1,500 points per activity. That means you’ll make about $1 for every survey you complete.
Intellizoom doesn’t mess with rewards and points. You’ll earn cold, hard cash for completing surveys. They don’t send you actual dollar bills, of course. You’ll be paid electronically within 21 business days of your survey responses being approved.
The amount you’re paid is based on the complexity of the survey. You can earn up to $10 for more challenging surveys, such as those that require you to record audio or video. Simple surveys usually pay around $2 each.
You may find yourself not as active as you want to be, though. As with other survey sites, you have to wait until you’re invited to participate. Typically, invitations are based on demographics, but you’ll also be graded on the quality of your surveys. You can boost your earnings by making an extra effort to provide useful, well-constructed feedback.
Without an app, you are limited to using the site in a browser. If you can get enough of the more challenging surveys, you could make a decent wage from this site.
How I came up with this list
Surveys can be a great way to make a little extra money in your spare time. Some of these sites even let you earn points for shopping, downloading coupons, and playing games.
Yes, some survey-for-cash sites can be scammy. It may even sound too good to be true. When I was researching top survey apps and sites, I first narrowed it down to the reputable ones, reading reviews and making sure people had actually gotten paid for their efforts.
Once I had a list of trustworthy sites, I further sharpened it to make sure you were getting the best of the best. Here are the features I considered in my research:
- Options for earning points.
- Redemption options.
- Difficulty in earning enough points to get rewards.
- Turnaround time for rewards after cashing in points.
Keep in mind that scams aren’t the only thing to worry about with survey sites. You’ll find that with some sites, the amount of work you have to put in to get even a $50 gift card is far more than with other sites. You can speed up that turnaround time by choosing a site that lets you accumulate points for doing other things, including shopping, gaming, or participating in the site’s community.
What is a survey app?
A survey app gathers information from consumers, often in exchange for pay. You’ll sign up, provide some demographic information, then apply to complete surveys.
Also falling in the “survey app” category are sites that offer rewards for conducting web searches and shopping online. Your behaviors are tracked, with the information being used to help companies improve their products and user experiences.
Why should you use a survey app?
If you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money, a survey app can help. Some find they sign up for the rewards, only to find the real enjoyment comes from providing feedback. The information you provide is used to help businesses improve everything from product design to marketing efforts, so having a voice can be a huge benefit.
Those with a little extra time on their hands will likely find a survey app is a great fit. If you’re looking to make hundreds of dollars a week, though, you’ll probably be disappointed.
Most important features of survey apps
Ready to get started? If so, here are some features to consider as you’re shopping around for a survey app.
What do you have to do to earn points? Surveys are only one option. You can also find apps that will let you earn points for doing web searches, shopping, watching videos, and more. Also, consider the types of surveys the site offers. Many will simply ask you about your feelings on products or services, but there are some that are political in nature.
If you’re looking for cold, hard cash, you’ll need to first weed out the sites that only offer gift cards. Although if you’re like me, a gift card to a retailer like Amazon or Walmart can be as good as cash. Many survey apps also allow you to cash out via PayPal, which is accepted at a wide range of online retailers.
Ease of finding surveys
Ideally, you’ll sign up for a site and be able to complete as many surveys as you want. Unfortunately, that isn’t how it always works. Many companies are looking for data from a very specific demographic, so you’ll only be able to participate in some of the available surveys.
Survey sites can be more than a way to make a little extra money. Participating in market research can be rewarding in other ways. You’ll know your feedback is being used to influence the direction businesses take, making any rewards you receive a bonus.