Can You Make Money With Online Surveys? [1/20th of the Minimum Wage]

By Ray Alexander

If you search for a list of ways to earn extra income from home, survey-for-cash always appears as one of the options. There are quite a few online survey sites available, no cost to join and easy to start. But can you really make money with online surveys? If so how much can you earn, and which one offers the best deal?

Can You Make Money With Online Surveys?

Not A Lot

You see, online surveys are run by research companies. They need information from a diverse group of people, different backgrounds, ages, sexes, races, locations...in order to get the results as accurately and unbiased as possible. They need as many people, they don't want the same people to participate all the time. 

They often advertise themselves to say "make money by answering our surveys!" But they don't want the monetary rewards to influence the survey results.

You see where I'm going? They offer some money, enough to motivate people to participate, but only a small amount to stop the participants from getting addicted to it. So called "surveys-for-cash" are not designed for the same people to spend hours and hours every day.

For that reason, no, you can't expect to make much money with online surveys. You can get up to $5 within an hour if you're lucky, but not every hour continuously.

"Sorry, You Don't Qualify"

If you've already tried online surveys, you know this well. You spend the first 15 minutes of a survey supplying all your details - where you live, your employment status, educational background, single/married, children/no children... Then all of a sudden you're shut out. "Sorry, this survey is not suitable for you on this occasion."

It's such an irritating, soul-crushing experience but it happens all the time. And this is the reason you can't make money. You first look at the list of surveys - 5-minute survey for $1.50, 10-minute survey for $3... You do the math and think you can easily earn over $10 if you spend the next hour answering 5-6 surveys. Not. It's the qualification-test each time before that takes you forever. You'll be lucky if you can get through more than a couple of them.

Again, that's because the research company is looking for answers from a wide range of the diverse group. It's most likely the case that other people who share the same living status with you have already answered the survey.

"Rewards" Programs

If you still want to make a little cash by answering surveys, there are many rewards programs available, renowned ones of which include;

  • Swagbucks - Probably the biggest and most popular rewards program, when it says it's paid out over $250 million, no lying. As well as by answering surveys, you can earn points (SB's) by shopping online, watching videos, signing up with new services, searching the web on Yahoo! search engine via Swagbucks and playing games.
  • Clixsense - Another big and trustworthy rewards program, since founded in 2007, it's paid out more than $33 million. You can earn cash by answering surveys, playing games, watching videos, signing up for websites, testing new services and completing online tasks (for a few cents, mostly!)

There are other rewards programs such as Earnably and Grabpoints, and there are also surveys-for-cash only sites such as Survey Junkie, MyPointsVindale Research, to name a few.

Swagbucks Clixsense

Swagbucks (left) - Clixsense (right)


I personally think rewards programs are better than surveys-only sites purely because I'd easily get bored. Then I could try something else - play a couple of games to earn a few more credits before logging off. But that's just my personal opinion.

Which Survey Programs Pay More?

The pay rates they offer are more or less the same. Frankly, they're all the same! Because they're not the ones who run surveys, research companies run them. You see what I mean if you think about how the surveys are prepared in the first place?

  1. A company requires specific user statistics. Pays a fee to a research company to find that out.
  2. The research company draws out survey questions.
  3. The research company pays several rewards programs who can list the survey on their platform.
  4. Each of the rewards programs pays the users its own "competitive rate" for completing the survey.

So if you use both Swagbucks and Clixsense, for example, you might see exactly the same survey in both programs. One might pay slightly more than others.

Stop! Scam Alert

When is a survey-for-cash not a survey-for-cash? A fake survey has the following two characteristics, remember these, and you can identify them just by looking at it in the future.

#1 Asking Your Personal Data

Your personal data, as in your full name, email address, street address or phone number. If they ask you any of these details before the survey starts, then it's most definitely a fake. If you enter your details, they'll be sold to third-party advertising companies, and you'll be bombarded with spam emails, texts, phone calls and junk mail in the post.

Think about it, if they genuinely cast a survey for a research purpose, they don't need any of your personal details. In fact they want - they need - the responses anonymously.

If they were to offer a prize competition in exchange for answering the questions, then they would be asking for your consent (to give out your personal data) after the survey, not before. And they would only require your email address in order to enter the competition. Otherwise it would be a data protection breach.

So if you log on to a survey and are immediately asked for your name, address, etc., then stop. Close the browser, to protect your data.

#2 Offering A Large(ish) Reward

Now you know you won't really make decent money with online surveys, right? From less than a dollar up to a few dollars per survey. But if someone's offering a lot more, say $10 or over per survey, then that's a red alert. Similarly, if someone's offering a big prize competition - the latest iPhone to win, the latest Nintendo to win, a prepaid Visa card...

...Then again, they'll be asking you for your personal detail - where you want your money/competition prize to be sent to. All they want is your detail so that they can sell it to third parties. You won't receive whatever's being offered.

You see, as I explained earlier, genuine research companies are looking for genuine answers. They don't want anyone who's primary intention is to make money to take part in their research. For the best interest of the clients (whoever request them to run surveys), and for their own integrity.

Can You Make Money With Online Surveys?

You can certainly make a little bit of pocket money with them. But I hope you agree that answering surveys one after another, and another, is not an ideal way. There are better, creative ways to earn an income that's full-time equivalent, you know. But if you'd like to try surveys-for-cash for an experience, the main thing is to enjoy it. Good luck!

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Let us hear your opinion - what do you think about what you've read so far? Leave a comment below. Any question or request will be welcomed. We'll get back to you as soon as we can!

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Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. You cannot make money with online surveys. Anyone who suggests is on a different planet. Sure, if you think 50 cents per hour is decent. Stop giving us a false sense of security cause We all have better things to do.

    1. Hi Guy, thanks for your comment. Yes, online surveys are not designed for the participants to make money, as I explained in my post. Just a good alternative incentive.

  2. Hey Ray, I agree with you. Survey for cash always pops up in a list of things you can do to make money online but only if you are talking about making 50 cents online daily. Not to make a living with it.
    If you don’t realise that you can do so much better than answering surveys or if you don’t deserve better, you can’t see success for a long time. Surveys for cash are just for entertaining purposes. I wouldn’t spend more than 10-15 mins at a time.

  3. I see your point. Yeah surveys are there for research purposes. If they reward with a lot of money they get biased results. How about in developing countries? I’m guessing $1 here is worthy in some countries.

    1. Hi David, each survey is likely to be targeted at people in specific countries, not the world at large, I guess. I don’t know how they set the rewards, but I guess the same principle applies anywhere? Thanks for your comment.

  4. Hi Ray, when I first started to learn online marketing I too was told a survey for cash was one of the options to make money. It would take me too long to earn actual money because I was always ‘disqualified’, I thought I was doing something wrong. I didn’t know it applied to everybody. Soon I realized it was not for me. I tried about 5 different survey companies, including Swagbucks and Clixsense. I never made it be entitled to cash out.

    Thank you for your information, however it doesn’t sound like you can ever make decent money, it will be a long time before I give a survey for cash another try.

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right, if you’re seriously looking to work online, surveys-for-cash will be nothing but to waste your time. If you want to learn content marketing, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, I’ll get back to you.

  5. Hi, I have been making money with online surveys for a long time but I make about 10 dollars or more a day. It is not bad for a single mother to look after her kids while using spare time. Many times it takes too long to finish one and miss a chance for a credit but it ‘s ok if you move on to the next I don’t mind.
    It is sometimes a scam because new tabs open up for no reason and ask for more surveys which I don’t recognize i need to be careful. Once I answered a new one that popped up, I knew something was wrong but carried on. It didn’t credit and I wasted 15 minutes.
    But you can make money with surveys if you spend all day and some evenings all the time.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to hear that you’re making $10 or more constantly on a daily basis. The job sounds like a perfect one for you, allowing you to earn in your spare time. All the best to you with continued success!

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