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[Editor's note: Since we tested this site in 2017, it has merged with Global Test Market to become LifePoints, according to .]
Paid often promise easy money, but do they deliver? To find out, I spent five days testing MySurvey, the self-proclaimed “world’s No. 1 paid survey website.” While it had decent hourly earnings and survey qualification rates, I found that its poor survey-taking experience and unclear disqualification process quickly outweighed those benefits.
MySurvey’s dashboard is uncluttered, easy to navigate and clearly spells out point values and time estimates for each survey. But I ran into several issues that put a damper on the overall experience.
After logging in for the first time, I noticed a Spanish-language poll on my dashboard. It seems that selecting the “Hispanic or Latino” option in the ethnicity profile question means the site assumes I speak Spanish — I don’t. Then there were the consistently lengthy page load times (I once waited 10 minutes for a survey to load).
When I was able to take the surveys, it was unclear when I was disqualified since the site didn’t mention it. Instead, I would be abruptly redirected to the site’s homepage and shown a brief “thank you” message. There were also other issues: Once, I ran into five technical error messages in a row. That’s notable when you only have time for an average of nine surveys a day. I contacted the site’s helpdesk, as directed, but didn't receive a response after over two weeks.
Survey qualification (and subsequent completion) rates are largely dependent on profile information — like age, gender and location. I'm a 20-something woman living in an urban area and I completed a little more than a quarter of the 45 surveys I attempted. That’s on par with the average success rate for the 12 sites NerdWallet tested.
When I was disqualified, it usually occurred within just a few minutes, so I didn’t feel like I was wasting the majority of my time on ill-matched surveys. The site gave me sweepstakes entries in exchange for some of those efforts. But, since I didn’t win, I didn’t gain anything from that lost time.
After trying out MySurvey for three hours and 41 minutes over five days, I was left with 670 points and 500 sweepstakes entries. The minimum payout threshold is 1,000 points, so I wasn’t able to test its payment process. But users who do earn that many points have several redemption options, including e-certificates, gift cards, charity donations and PayPal payments.
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If you want the flexibility of PayPal payments, though, you’ll need at least 1,200 points to access the smallest option, $10. That’s an exchange rate of 120 points per dollar (or less than one cent per point). Based on that rate, I earned about $1.52 an hour.
Those who are willing to opt for gift cards may find better deals. For example, I found a $20 CVS Pharmacy gift card for 2,300 points (that’s 115 points per dollar) and a $25 Kohl's gift card for 2,850 points (114 points per dollar).
While taking is easy — you could probably do it while watching TV or listening to music — it’s not an efficient way to make money, as my experience with MySurvey showed. You could spend hours on this and still not make enough to buy a burrito.
If you decide to take surveys for compensation, MySurvey might not be the best option due to its unclear disqualification process and generally poor survey-taking experience. Regardless of the survey site you go with, consider setting up a separate email account so survey offers don’t clog your regular inbox. Also take breaks to avoid straining your eyes, and if you don’t already have it, install anti-malware protection on your computer in case you come across a questionable site.