Surveys for money: how much can you earn?

If you’re looking for ways to make some extra money, you may be considering joining an online survey site. But what survey sites are available and how much can you really earn from them?

Rhiannon Philps, Laura McMullen Published on 11 June 2021.
Surveys for money: how much can you earn?

Online survey sites are a popular way for people to make some money in their spare time. Whatever your age, location, or employment status, virtually anybody can participate in surveys.

But, while online surveys don’t take up much time and can be done anywhere, whether at home or on the move, they are not the quickest or most efficient way to make money.

Below we discuss the reality of taking online surveys, looking at both the positives and the negatives, as well as identifying some of the paid survey sites that you may consider joining.

The lowdown on paid online surveys

The main attraction of taking online surveys is that you can do them anywhere with an internet connection, whether that’s on a desktop or a mobile.

Signing up to a paid online survey site is free, and then you will receive opportunities to fill in surveys. Most surveys will only take minutes to complete and will offer a reward which can eventually be redeemed for cash, although the size of the reward will depend on the length and complexity of the survey. Most surveys will tell you at the beginning how many points are on offer and how long it should take to finish.

There are no special requirements or knowledge needed to do these surveys, as they just want to know your opinions. Sometimes you can get interesting surveys, but a lot of the time they may be a little dull, but they’re a simple way to earn a bit of extra money.

Some survey sites pay more than others and offer different opportunities for earning cash. To maximise your earning potential from surveys, you should try to take them soon after they are sent as they will close once they receive enough respondents.

Although anyone can do surveys, your demographics and characteristics will determine whether you qualify for a survey. In some frustrating cases, you may start a survey then get disqualified part way through because your profile doesn’t fit the survey’s target participants.

Overall, online survey sites are definitely not a way for you to get rich quick. Collecting enough points to cash out can take weeks or even months, and often the reward will be small compared to the amount of time you spent taking surveys.

However, if you enjoy sharing your views and have time to spare, then taking surveys can be a low-commitment and easy way to earn some extra money.

Our review of 16 paid survey sites

In no particular order, check out 16 of the paid survey sites that are available in the UK:

Swagbucks. Swagbucks is one of the largest survey sites, offering regular surveys and quick polls on a range of topics, including adverts, brands, services, and more. The points on offer for each survey typically range from 40 points to 200 points (approximately £0.35 to £1), although more points will be available on longer surveys with more specific criteria. As well as surveys, Swagbucks also offers rewards for watching videos, searching the internet, and playing games.

YouGov. One of the most popular survey sites in the UK. Many respondents enjoy the surveys on YouGov because of the interesting subjects covered, which include television, politics, brands, and current affairs. Surveys can range from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, offering tens of points per survey or sometimes 100 or more. However, the main drawback with YouGov is you need 5,000 points before you can withdraw the cash reward worth £50, so it is not a quick earner.

i-Say. Provided by Ipsos, this is another large and very popular survey site, offering regular surveys that allow many participants to build up points fairly quickly. Surveys cover a variety of topics and typically take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete, compensating users with 5 to 250 points, and an average of 4 surveys per month.. You can choose to cash out with a gift card or cash when you have a balance of around 490 or 500 points- the equivalent of £5- and it is possible to achieve this in a couple of weeks although this depends on the surveys on offer. Occasionally i-Say may ask you the same basic questions multiple times and can disqualify you from a survey if you don’t fit the criteria.

Crowdology. On Crowdology you can redeem your earnings through PayPal when you have a balance of just £4, which may appeal to some who don’t want to wait for months for a payout. Most of their surveys take 2-15 minutes to complete and will pay around £0.24 to £2, although occasionally there will be longer and more valuable surveys on offer.

InboxPounds. New users get a £1bonus after confirming their email address with InboxPounds. But after this the surveys don’t offer significant rewards- typically just tens of pence for each survey or for other tasks like watching videos or searching the web. It can also take time to accumulate enough money to cash out, so you won’t see any financial gain immediately.

Opinion Outpost. This site offers surveys based on your profile, to try to make sure the surveys are relevant to you. Your rewards come in the form of gift cards for places like Tesco, Amazon, Argos, M&S, or in money via PayPal or Mastercard. One of the more attractive features of Opinion Outpost is that you can also earn rewards by testing products, watching adverts, and completing tasks outside.

OneOpinion. OneOpinion asks surveys on different products and services. Eligibility for the surveys will depend on your profile, so you may not qualify for every survey. Also, you can’t exchange your points for a gift card until you reach 25,000 points, so this is definitely a slow burner.

Toluna. Surveys on Toluna tend to take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, with rewards ranging between 15 and 50,000 points per survey. However, to cash out your points with a £10 gift card you would need a balance of 55,000 points. Toluna will often ask the same profiling questions to ensure you qualify for a survey, which can become tedious after a while.

OnePoll. The press and media ask surveys through OnePoll, so you could be asked for your opinion on a range of topics related to the news, popular culture, and more. The surveys are typically short and often only take a matter of minutes to complete, but this speed does mean the rewards are lower.

The OpinionPanel Community. This survey site is exclusively for those aged 13-30 years old. When you first join and complete the registration survey, you will receive 1,000 points (equivalent to a £10 gift voucher). On average, you can earn 150 points per survey (worth £1.50), or sometimes up to 500, and after you build up 2,500 points you will automatically receive a £25 voucher. There may sometimes be opportunities to earn more money through more in-depth interviews and discussions.

LifePoints. LifePoints sends you surveys based on your profile, and they may also send some other activities that give you the chance to earn rewards. Surveys generally take between 10 and 20 minutes and, before starting a survey, you will see how many points are on offer.

Panelbase. Panelbase may give you a £3 cash bonus when you register. After this, rewards can start from £0.25 for short surveys taking just a few minutes, with most surveys taking around 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Very occasionally you could get up to £10 for more complex and longer surveys. You can redeem your rewards in cash or gift cards when you have a balance of £10.

PopulusLive. PopulusLive conducts research on topics ranging from culture to politics to business. Their website claims to pay £1 for every 5 minutes spent completing a survey, but despite this it will be a while before you can benefit from your earnings as you can only cash out when your balance reaches £50. Furthermore, surveys are competitive and quotas are often filled relatively quickly so your opportunities to earn may be more limited.

Valued Opinions. Surveys on this site generally take 15 to 20 minutes to complete and cover topics like food, films, and the environment. It is a well-established survey site and rewards include vouchers for retailers like Amazon, Sainsbury’s, and M&S.

Branded Surveys. You will receive relevant surveys based on the information you have included in your profile. Each survey will usually take around 10-20 minutes, and there are also Daily Polls which will give you a handful of bonus points for answering a quick question. You can cash out when you reach 500 points ($5 or approximately £3.50) via PayPal or a gift card.

SurveyBods. When you sign up to SurveyBods they will give you a £1.50 cash bonus. Their site says you can earn between 25 and 150 points for each survey and they will typically take you between 5 and 20 minutes to complete. However, you can only redeem your points when you have a balance of 1,500 points (£15) and availability of surveys can be hit and miss, depending on your profile.

Are these sites worth your time?

Whatever site you look at, the earnings you can get from regular survey-taking is meagre compared with other work opportunities. As of April 2021, the UK National Living Wage in 2021 is £8.91 per hour for those 23 and over, for example, and the hourly earnings from doing surveys ranges from a few pence to a few pounds.

Most survey sites also require a minimum amount of points before you can redeem them for rewards, which could take weeks if not months to reach.

What to know if you take online surveys

Even though online surveys have their drawbacks, lots of people will still consider taking them. After all, anyone with an internet connection can do them, they’re quick and simple to do, and they can even be fun and interesting!

But there are some things to bear in mind if you do start taking online surveys, especially if you join multiple sites. Here’s some tips:

Don’t overshare. If you’re asked to give your National Insurance number, bank account details or any other key personal or financial information, leave the survey. Although you will have to share some personal information on survey sites, such as your age, occupation, income, and location, be wary of sharing too much. If you feel uncomfortable with the direction a survey is taking, exit and consider reporting it.

»MORE: How to protect yourself from online fraud

Create an email address just for survey sites. This is particularly useful if you join lots of survey sites. Many survey sites will send several emails a day, so using a separate email address will prevent these emails from cluttering up your main inbox.

Withdraw your earnings as soon as possible. Cash your points out when you reach the minimum threshold- don’t store them up on the site. If the site closes, you will probably lose all your points, which means all your hard work would go to waste!

Install anti-malware software. You may have this already, but as survey sites can redirect you onto other sites, having anti-virus software will help protect you from any spam links.

Take breaks. Taking surveys will mean you spend even more time looking at a screen than normal, which can strain your eyes. To help prevent this, try to remember the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.

If you decide surveys aren't worth the effort, or you want to earn even more cash, there are other ways to make money online and offline, such as blogging, selling your stuff, taking deliveries, freelancing and more. These will often involve more effort and time, but they are likely to yield greater financial rewards per hour when compared to taking surveys.

Source: Getty Images

About the authors:

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

Laura McMullen writes about managing money for NerdWallet. Her work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other outlets. Read more

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