Taking online surveys is one of the top side gigs of 2022. It’s flexible, easy, and you can start right away with no special skills or experience. However, if you are new to taking paid online surveys (or just curious about them), you probably have a few questions. In this short guide to earning money from surveys, we’ll talk about how it all works and how to make the most money for your efforts.

Getting Started: Joining a Legit Survey Site

The first step you’ll need to take if you want to take surveys for money is to find a reputable survey site. This can be a little more challenging than it sounds, however, as there are a lot of scam sites posing as legit survey companies. Unfortunately, these scammers are really only out to steal your personal information and sometimes even your money. So how can you tell the difference between a genuine survey site and a fake one?

  1. Legit Survey Sites Have Real User Reviews

People have become accustomed to sharing their thoughts (good and bad) on businesses in forums, review sites, and social media platforms. You probably already use review sites to get information about purchases you plan to make or services you are considering. 

A legit survey site will have been in business for a decent amount of time (at least a couple of years) and will have reviews from real participants. For example, Branded Surveys has been operating since 2012 and has over two million members worldwide. But more importantly, they have over 45,000 honest user reviews on Trustpilot, along with a rating of “Excellent.” That’s not an easy feat to achieve.

So, when you’re searching for the right survey site to join, you’ll want to look for something with similar credentials. 

  1. A Real Survey Site Will Never Ask You for Money

Some scam sites will attempt to establish exclusivity by asking potential users to pay a small fee to join a “select” group of participants. They will lure you in with claims that you will be part of an elite pool of users who will have access to special, high-paying surveys.

The problem here is that there is no exclusive group and no actual surveys. The scam site only exists to steal your money and your personal information. 

Remember: Real surveys sites do not charge a fee to join or at any time thereafter. The point, after all, is for the participants to make money.

  1. Genuine Survey Sites Do Not Make Overblown Claims About Potential Income

You’ve probably already seen ads that read, “Earn up to $100 for Every Survey You Take! Join Today!” These false and misleading ads never lead to a legitimate survey site, and here’s why:

The purpose of paid online surveys is for market researchers to help their clients make decisions about the products and services you use every day. The researchers get the data they need, and the participants get compensated a little for their time. If everyone could make $100 per survey, many would simply quit their day jobs and do paid surveys for a living. 

Surveys are not designed to be a full-time job. Instead, they offer a way for you to make a little money for extras like a cup of coffee and a pastry or a new book. You can even earn free gift cards for taking surveys. Will you get rich? Unfortunately not. When you get paid for surveys, you’ll make between $0.50 to $3.00 for each questionnaire or study. But that’s still not too bad for something you can do in a few minutes of spare time. You can use your earnings right away on a small treat, or let them compound and spend them later on something you’re had your eye on.

Choosing the Best Payout Option for Paid SurveysWoman Wearing Yellow Button-up Long-sleeved Dress Shirt

Once you have registered at a legit survey site you like, you’ll want to have a look at the payout options. This is essentially where you can choose how you want to be paid. Different sites have different payout options, which you should keep in mind when shopping around for the best survey site.

You can find sites that pay through online payment processors and some with their own payment processors. You may also see some that pay via check. Other sites even offer gift cards as a payout option. The best sites provide multiple cashout choices. Since we are using Branded Surveys as an example, we’ll quickly run through the payout options there.

Payout Options at Branded Surveys

  • PayPal

PayPal is by far the most popular option among survey participants since it allows users to make purchases directly from their PayPal account or withdraw funds from any ATM with the PayPal debit card. 

  • Branded Pay

Branded Pay is Branded Survey’s own bank transfer service. So if you don’t have (or don’t want) a PayPal account but still would prefer a cash payout, you can sign up for this service. Once your withdrawal is approved, your payment will post directly to your bank account. 

  • Gift Cards

Gift cards are another excellent payment method since you can use them just like cash online. Branded offers more than 140 gift cards for taking surveys! They have everything from restaurant chains to hotels to movies to every retailer you can imagine. Cashing out your earnings for a gift card is a great way to treat yourself to something special!

  • Donations

Lastly, Branded lets you donate your hard-earned money to one of several non-profits. Choose from Clean Water Fund, Code.org, Habitat for Humanity, and 18 other worthy causes. 

How To Qualify for the Most Surveys

One of the biggest questions new users have is, “How can I qualify for more surveys?” At any given time, there are several surveys listed on the survey platform. However, you may not qualify for each one. Usually, this is because the market research firm is looking for a specific demographic. For example, they may want data only from single parents or might be interested in getting opinions from people who live in a particular state or region.

Obviously, you won’t qualify for each survey you attempt. But there are a few ways to ensure you get as many survey opportunities as possible:

1. Complete Each Survey With Accurate Information

There is an internal system of checks and balances with survey sites that is put in place to detect and deter fraud. When you complete a survey, don’t pretend you are someone other than who you are. You will want the information you fill in on the survey to be consistent with your main profile on the survey site. For example, if your name is Jane Smith and you live in Seattle, don’t fill out the questionnaire as Harry Johnson from Santa Fe. This is considered fraud and can get you booted off the site.

2. Complete Surveys With Your Honest Opinion 

Be honest and truthful when filling out each survey. Think about your answers and complete the survey to the best of your ability by being as truthful as possible. When the researchers look at the data all the respondents have submitted, it’s easy to see who is taking the time to answer conscientiously. As a result, those participants who have provided genuine answers are most likely to be invited to take additional surveys. 

3. Go Slowly and Methodically

There’s nothing wrong with finishing your surveys quickly and efficiently, but if you feel yourself rushing and checking off boxes at random, slow down and put some more care into the survey. If you complete it too quickly, you may be flagged for not giving accurate and thoughtful information. If this happens, you won’t receive credit for the survey, and your hard work will be down the drain. 

How To Make The Most Money With Paid SurveysTurned-off Macbook Pro Near a Cup of Coffee

People get involved in this particular gig to make money doing surveys. So naturally, you want to make the earn you possibly can, right? There are a few ways to ensure you maximize your income on a survey site:

Log in Often

Survey opportunities change all the time. Each day, companies create new questionnaires that get hosted on the survey site. Sometimes this happens multiple times in one day. Quite often, these are only available for a short window of time or are only available to a certain number of participants before they expire. Therefore, one of the best ways to ensure you are making the most you can is to log in often and check to see what is available for you, so you don’t miss out.

Plug Away Consistently

Another way to ensure a steady stream of extra cash from surveys is to log in regularly. For most participants, this means logging in at least once a day and completing one or two surveys. It takes hardly any time, and after a week, you’ll likely have enough to cash out your earnings.

Take Advantage of Extra Earning Opportunities

At some sites (including Branded Surveys), you can also earn a little more for small tasks in addition to surveys. For example, Branded hosts a daily poll for all users to participate in. All you have to do is log in, answer the poll, and you’ll earn extra points. They also have a referral program where you can earn additional points for every new user you bring to the platform. When you gain these points, you can then convert them to cash. 


Taking part in paid surveys is a great way to boost your finances, and anyone can do it since there are no special qualifications or experience needed. Finding the right survey site, working consistently, and following the suggestions above will ensure that you maximize your earnings taking surveys.