Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Introduction to paid online surveys

Would you like to earn extra cash just by giving your honest opinion? 

Online surveys for cash
Completing online surveys for cash is a great, easy way to earn a little extra money on the side, by giving your opinion on everything from your shopping habits, through to politics, new products, new adverts or even just what you think about companies and brands, but it’s important to know that not all survey sites are the same.

There are hundreds of survey sites out there, but only a few of them are actually worth signing up to. This blog gives you the lowdown on the top online survey sites, based on the Author’s own experience, to help you find the most reliable and best-paying, paid online survey sites.

Before listing them though, here are the top 10 rules and dos and don’ts that you need to bear in mind before you go off and start signing up to online survey sites:
  1. Never ever pay to sign up to an online survey site! Sites that ask you to pay to get the ‘best’ surveys are scams. Genuine online survey sites get paid by the companies who commission the surveys. They pass a small slice of those fees on to the people who complete them, as an incentive for doing the surveys. There is simply no legitimate reason for any online survey site to charge you for signing-up, so avoid any that have sign-up fees like the plague.
  2. Set up a new email address and use that to sign-up for online survey sites. Don’t use your main email address – you’ll get tons of emails about new surveys and you really don’t want them all going to your main email account! 
  3. Check that email address regularly. Most (but not all) survey sites will send you email notifications when a new survey is available. Most surveys have short time limits (typically a few days) and/or only need a certain number of respondents, so get in quick if you don’t want to miss out. 
  4. Don’t imagine that you’re going to get rich from doing paid online surveys, or that you’re going to be raking the money in straight away. They’re a great way to get extra cash (and Amazon vouchers), but you certainly won’t be rolling in it. Some sites have low payment thresholds (so you could get a payout in a just a day or two) but for many it could take you several weeks to hit the payment threshold. 
  5. Don’t keep cash you’ve earned in the survey sites – cash it out to PayPal as soon as you can. You never know when a site might change its rules, stop operating or close your account for no obvious reason, so don’t be storing cash you’ve earned in your online survey site accounts. 
  6. Be honest! Seriously, give your honest opinion and don’t be tempted to lie to get more surveys. Many sites have quality checks that will spot inconsistent answers, and you will get banned if you’re caught, so you’ll lose any rewards that you’ve built up. 
  7. Some sites reward you for referrals. Take advantage of this where you can. Some will pay you cash, some will give you extra points, and some will even give you a percentage of all the points earned by people you refer. This can be a great way to earn extra points (and thus cash). Disclaimer Alert: If you sign up using any of my referral links here, you’ll be one of my referrals and I’ll love you forever. Thanks!
  8. Don’t worry if you ‘screen out’. This is a perfectly normal part of market research and you will frequently be screened-out of surveys after a few questions. This is because researchers are often looking for people with a certain profile, or sometimes because enough people with your profile have completed the survey already. Most sites will give you a few points, or extra entries into their prize draws, when this happens.
  9. It’s best to stick to cash surveys, not prize draw ones. Many sites run monthly or quarterly prize draws and give you the option of entering points you earn for completing surveys as entries in these draws. Unless you’re just doing surveys for fun, don’t bother, use them towards a payout instead. Always check whether a survey you’re about to do is for cash or for draw entries. This should be clearly stated. 
  10. Don’t forget that you may need to tell the taxman! Depending on your circumstances, you might need to pay tax on the money you earn from doing online surveys. If in any doubt, it’s best to check with HMRC. Give them a bell on 0300 200 3504.


PopulusLive logo

PopulusLive - high payments for surveys, but will take time to get a payout 

PopulusLive pay great money for their surveys, which are usually interesting and not too time consuming to complete.

They pay £1 per 5 minutes of a survey, so a typical survey will pay £2 or £3, which is definitely one of the highest rates out there.

However, surveys are not all that frequent, they can fill-up quickly and there isn't a special page on the site where available surveys are listed - you have to be invited to complete surveys by email (so make sure you're checking your special survey email address frequently. Not using a dedicated email address? You need to read the 'top tips and do's and don'ts' in this intro post).

Having said that, the emails are very up-front and tell you exactly what the reward will be for completing the survey. The pay is good, but the payout threshold of £50, coupled with the relative infrequency of surveys (maybe one or two a week if you're lucky) means that you won't be cashing-out from PopulusLive in a hurry.

They don't have a referral program.

Very much worth signing up to for the high paying surveys, but don't expect to get a payout quickly. 

PopulusLive quick facts: 

  • Typical survey length: 10 - 15 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: £2 - £3 
  • Pays out when you hit: £50 
  • Pays out by: cheque 
  • Referral program? No

Monday, 21 November 2016


Panelbase - clear survey info, cash rewards and a relatively low payout threshold

Panelbase logo
Panelbase is a great survey site, mostly because it is completely transparent about the surveys you can take and the rewards you'll get for completing them.

Unlike many survey sites, it rewards in cash not points, and with a relatively low £10 payout threshold, you could be cashing out your earnings in just a few days.

Panelbase allows you to complete a full profile, so they can match you up with the best surveys. But the best thing about Panelbase is how straightforward the info is about each survey that you're eligible for. The Surveys tab in your account shows you a table of all the surveys they have available for you. The table shows each survey's ID number, the subject (e.g. TV, Lifestyle, Business, Gaming etc), the reward (in pounds and pence) and the duration. You can also see when the survey started and when it will close.

They also have a referral program - you can add friend and/or family email addresses on the Recommend page in your account.

All in all a great site and definitely recommended if you're looking for a relatively quick payout. 

Panelbase quick facts:

  • Typical survey length: 5 - 20 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: 50p - £1.80 
  • Pays out when you hit: £10 
  • Pays out by: PayPal 
  • Referral program? Yes - earn 20p per person referred (by adding their email addresses)

Friday, 18 November 2016


MintVine: Fun site with lots of surveys 

MintVine is a cracking paid survey site and you can usually hit the low payment threshold of 1000 points in just a few days. If you're looking for a survey site you can cash out of quickly, MintVine is definitely worth considering.

It has lots of surveys and you can also earn a few points here and there by doing there 'Daily Poll'. Complete the poll on consecutive days and the reward for completing it grows.

At the time of writing you need 1000 points for a payout of $10 (about £8). Each survey typically gives you 50 - 70 points. You can cash out by PayPal, Amazon or with a variety of gift cards and vouchers for high street and online retailers.

MintVine also has a referral program (click here to join as one of my referrals). For each person you sign up, you'll get 50 points when they complete their first survey and 15% of all points they earn, which is pretty good.

They have a few fun ways to find surveys from your account dashboard, including Survey Street, Rewards Road and Points Place. Presumably they ran out of alliterative name ideas after that, but those three pretty much cover it!

All in all it's a fun site with good surveys and is definitely worth signing up to.

MintVine quick facts: 

  • Typical survey length: 5 - 20 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: 30p - 60p 
  • Pays out when you hit: $10 (about £8) 
  • Pays out by: PayPal, vouchers 
  • Referral program? Yes - 50 points plus 15% of points earned by the referral


GlobalTestMarket - lots of surveys, reliable payer 

GlobalTestMarket logo
GlobalTestMarket is another firm favourite of mine, as it has lots of surveys and the payout threshold of £30 (for the first payout - you can cash out subsequently when you hit £10) is easily achievable within a month or so.

GlobalTestMarket is a US-based company but they have loads of surveys for the UK and European markets. They have surveys on a wide range of topics. Most of the surveys I get tend to be about advertising campaigns, new products and brand ideas, although I've also had surveys about banking, finance, my online and offline shopping habits, services and cars.

They do appear to have a referral program, but it always says it's closed in my region, so I can't say for sure whether you'll be able to refer other people to get extra points.

Surveys can last anything from 5 minutes to over half an hour in some cases, and you'll get anything from 10 to 50 'market points' for completing them (the majority pay 30 points in my experience). You have a huge range of choices for what you do with your points - you can exchange them for PayPal cash, Amazon vouchers, Nectar points and more; you can even exchange them for products, such as homeware and jewellery. I just go for cold hard cash myself: 1087 of them are worth £30 PayPal at the time of writing.

One thing to note is that screen-outs are quite frequent, but they give you 10 entries into their quarterly prize draw each time you do screen-out of a survey.

GlobalTestMarket quick facts: 

  • Typical survey length: 10 - 20 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: 50p - £1 
  • Pays out when you hit: £30 (for first payout, £10 for subsequent payouts) 
  • Pays out by: PayPal, vouchers, products 
  • Referral program? Not known, maybe in some countries/regions


YouGov: a market-leader, but no quick payouts to be had

YouGov logo
YouGov is another firm favourite of mine as it is a highly professional and leading market research company that has great surveys. They are frequently commissioned by political parties, big brands and national newspapers.

YouGov has surveys on a wide range of topics, including advertising, brands, finance, politics and current affairs. It sometimes even asks what you thought about the TV programs you've watched in the last 24 hours!

The only possible downside is that it can take a long time to reach the payout threshold, which is a (quite large) £50 when you hit 5000 points. With each survey rewarding you with 50 points, and surveys coming through on average once or twice a week (in my experience), you face a fair old slog to hit the payout.

Nevertheless, it's well worth signing up as the surveys tend to be relatively quick and interesting to complete. If you don't want to spend months clocking up your points to get your £50 cheque, you do have the option of cashing in your points as entries into the monthly prize draws, the top prize for which is £2000. Personally, I prefer to wait for guaranteed cash rather than gamble my hard-earned points away, but that's just my choice.

YouGov also has a referral program (follow the link above or click here to register as one of my referrals) which at the time of writing gives you 200 points for each person you refer who goes on to complete six or more surveys.

YouGov quick facts: 

  • Typical survey length: 10 - 15 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: 50p 
  • Pays out when you hit: £50 
  • Pays out by: cheque 
  • Referral program? Yes, get 200 points per person who goes on to complete six surveys

Thursday, 17 November 2016


i-Say - top-paying site with great surveys

i-Say logo
i-Say is a very good survey site that pays out in vouchers (Amazon and iTunes are available, as is a prepay virtual MasterCard).

It has lots of surveys and they tend to be quite interesting and fun to complete.

You earn points for doing surveys, usually between 25 - 100 points for each one, depending upon the survey length. Typical survey lengths are 5 - 20 minutes. At the time of writing, you need 1380 points to get a £10 Amazon voucher.

There's also a referral program which lets you refer up to 5 friends or family by adding their email addresses (so that isn't a referral link above). You'll get 100 points for each person you refer.

i-Say quick facts: 

  • Typical survey length: 10 -15 minutes 
  • Pay per survey: 10p - £1.50 
  • Pays out when you hit: £10 
  • Pays out by: Vouchers 
  • Referral program? Yes, but you can only refer up to 5 people