Earning money online – surveys

Earning money online – surveys

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For anyone looking to start earning money online, I always suggest starting off with doing paid online surveys.

Why do online surveys?

I recommend starting off with doing online surveys for those looking to make money online for two main reasons:

  1. It gets you used to being online for large periods of time so that you can see how you cope mentally and physically with the demands of being sat in front of your computer for a length of time. Don’t underestimate how tired it can make you if you’re not used to staring at a screen! It also gives you the opportunity to find whether the environment you’re working in is suitable or whether you made to make adjustments to the lighting, furniture or even the interior decor!
  2. Doing surveys helps prepare you for the more lucrative money earning opportunities that the internet can bring. It takes a certain amount of stamina and fortitude to keep completing surveys over a period of time. If you can do it and make a success of it then doing paid work such as web search evaluation, user testing and audio transcriptions becomes a lot easier. It also gets you comfortable with giving your opinions and can help build your skills and comfort in using the internet.


Of course the big question on everyone’s lips and usually the first one I get asked is ‘which survey sites pay the most?’. This can be closely followed by ‘which site has the most surveys’.

These are both good questions and were certainly the first two I had when I started doing online surveys. The answer to both these questions is not always straightforward. In the case of rewards you’ll often find that some survey sites offer higher rewards depending upon the nature of the survey and how popular it is or how difficult to find people of the right demographic.

The subject of demographics is why the question around which site has the most surveys is also not straightforward to answer. Demographics is basically a term used to describe a segment that you may or may not fall into for marketing purposes. These segments are usually defined by things like age, gender, location, income and occupation. Some demographics are very common. For example, there’s quite a lot of university students who complete online surveys. Others are often very rare. For example, there aren’t many Chief Information Officers with six-figure salaries who complete surveys! When surveys are commissioned marketing companies specify which demographics they want the survey to target and will only accept submissions from these specific demographics. Thus you may find that because of the demographics you fall into you’re offered a lot of survey work as there aren’t many people with your demographics completing surveys. Vice versa you may find that you’re not offered very many surveys because there are lots of people with similar demographics to yourself.

But don’t despair! Whatever your demographics there’ll always be opportunities out there for you because there are always companies out there looking to sell something to you! My advice is always therefore to sign up for multiple different survey sites to make sure that you get a steady flow of opportunities throughout the course of a month.

Which sites to use:

So which sites should you use? Well below I’ve listed some of the sites that I think based on my own experience are the best to use and which have always paid out to their members (as survey sites can and do go bust!). But before you go rushing off to sign up for them all do take into account the fact that I will be publishing individual reviews of each site with hints and tips for how to get the best out of each site so make sure to read these reviews first!

Best survey sites:

  1. Populus live – infrequent surveys but unlike many other survey sites populus pays you for your time rather than varying the reward according to the type of survey offered or your demographics. It also pays well for your time with each 5 minute survey earning £1, 10 minutes earning £2 and 15 minutes £3 giving an hourly rate of £12. Here’s a link to the site: Populus Live
  2. Prolific academic – this is a site run by Oxford University graduates and operates an ethical price promise which means that any surveys (or studies as the site calls them) published on the site have to state clearly how much they are paying per hour and are asked to abide by a minimum rate of $6.50 an hour. That may seem a low rate, especially given the rate of dollars against the pound but in practice must surveys on the site pay way above this rate. The surveys offered are usually on behalf of academic institutions and so can have completely weird and wonderful content which makes prolific academic a bit more interesting than some of the other survey sites. Here’s my referral link if you want to sign up! Prolific Academic
  3. Branded Surveys (or the site formerly known as Mintvine) – payments per survey can vary hugely on this site as it tends to act as a hub for surveys offered by other providers. That means you can have some surveys on the site that offer a very high amount of rewards for completion and others that offer peanuts. One advantage this site has though is that it offers rewards for ‘screen outs’ (screenouts are where you’re unable to complete a survey as enough people with your demographics have already completed it). They also have daily polls where you get rewarded for voting in a poll so because of these two features I’m happy to recommend it here.Here’s my referral link if you want to sign up! Branded Surveys
  4. Panelbase – Although this site tends not to pay as highly as some of the other websites here I like the fact that unlike other sites it gives you the value up front in pounds and pence of each survey that you’re invited to. As well as this they also make payments via BACS direct into your bank account so there’s no messing around with vouchers or PayPal payments. Here’s my referral link if you want to sign up Panelbase
  5. Global Test Market – this site is not without its issues – screenouts can occur midway or even near the end of a survey on this site with no rewards offered for being screened out other than entries into a prize draw. I’ve also had the odd survey crash before completion as well. However, there’s no doubt that they, along with their partner site My Survey UK, offer the highest volume of surveys. They also occasionally offer higher paying surveys than the average and product tests as well (and who doesn’t love a freebie!). So for those reasons (and the fact that I consistently get a minimum of £30 a month from this site alone) I do recommend giving them a try. Here’s a link to their website if you want to sign up Global test market
  6. My survey UK – as with their sister company Global Test Market this website does suffer problems with surveys crashing and screen outs happening at annoying points during the survey. However, again there is a high volume of surveys available through this site as well as product tests and the occasional high paying survey so it’s one to try. Here’s a link to the website if you want to sign up My Survey
  7. Ipsos I say – the internet and I are somewhat divided on this survey site. I like the fact that the site has a mobile app that works well on my phone, usually has a reasonable amount of surveys each month, pays points for screen outs and offers bonus points based on how many surveys you successfully complete throughout the course of the year. However, I think it gets a bit of bad press because it pays at a slightly lower rate than survey big boys Global Test Market and My Survey. Nonetheless, I’d recommend sticking with this one. Here’s my referral link if you want to sign up Ipsos I-say
  8. Valued Opinions – one of the lowest paying survey sites on the list but included because it does have a regular flow of surveys for completion. There’s a maximum on how many surveys you can do per day (I think it works out as roughly £2ish a day) which means you don’t have to spend too much time messing about on the site. They also issue payouts quite quickly once you’ve requested them although they do charge an extra 50p on payouts which is annoying. Each survey value is quantified in pounds and pence as well as how long it takes to complete which are both really useful features when deciding to do a survey or not. Here’s a link to the website Valued Opinons
  9. Panel Opinion – a new one for me that I’ve not been with for long. Surveys are infrequent however, they do offer some high paying surveys including mobile app tests and things like webcam studies/focus groups. They also have a poll which pays 2p per completed poll (trust me it all adds up!) although it doesn’t appear daily. Payment is made via BACs into a bank account as well so again there’s no messing about with vouchers or PayPal. Here’s a link to sign up Panel Opinion
  10. Pinecone Research – this is a hard website to sign up for as they don’t accept referrals directly via their website. However, if you’re prepared to search around on the internet you can usually find an affiliate link somewhere which allows you to sign up. They offer a good rate of pay at £3 per 20 minutes but I do find that the surveys can be a bit boring and infrequent which is why they don’t feature more prominently on this list. Here’s a link to their homepage to find out more Pinecone
  11. Surveybods – it took me a long time to realise that this company had both a mobile app and a website as I first signed up through their mobile app. Thus I was missing out on lots of surveys and so have only recently had my first cash out. That being said though the surveys are well paid (they pay in points but each point = one pence so it’s easy to work out). They don’t pay as highly as Populus or Pinecone but do have the occasional 10pence poll that takes less than a minute to complete. They also pay via BACs into your bank account although it can take 2-3 weeks for the money to appear. Here’s a link to their website if you want to sign up Surveybods
  12. Onepoll – this site is the home of quick surveys, usually only taking a couple of minutes to complete at 10 or 15p each. Although the amounts sound low they soon add up into a decent hourly rate of pay. Unfortunately, they have a high cashout threshold (the amount you have to earn before they pay you) of £40 and I have heard anecdotally of surveys drying up when users approach the cashout threshold. However, there are ways around that which I will go into when I blog about onepoll. Because of this though they’re not as highly recommended as the other survey sites. Here’s a link to signup Onepoll

Sign up for all 12 of these sites and you should have enough to keep you busy as you enter the world of online earning. Survey taking is a subjective experience though as some people will refuse to use certain websites because they don’t like the website design whilst others prefer websites that pay their rewards in gift vouchers rather than cash because it means that they can put the vouchers aside for Christmas. So experiment with them and others and see what works best for you 🙂

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