|Site||Highlights||Payout & Rating|
BBB Rating: A+
BBB Rating: A
No BBB Rating
BBB Rating: A+
No BBB Rating
BBB Rating: A
No BBB Rating
In 2005, when HIF was only a figment of my imagination, I was heavily into the “make money online for free” scene. It's actually what I considered making HIF about until I got into freebies!
Most of the offers involved paying a little money and getting little more back via a check in 10-18 weeks. There were scams and you had to stay on top of things, but if you were diligent and read the fine print, it was a cool little world where you could make some side money.
One of the popular methods were survey sites. They paid less than the big offers, but you could make a quick buck today versus waiting 18 weeks for a bigger check.
Flash forward to earlier this summer. I heard the term beermoney and began looking into it. Turns out, that's what the free money online scene had evolved into! As in you won't get rich, but you'll earn a little extra beer money. 😄 🍺
As I read more about beermoney, I started recognizing names from 15 years ago. With times still tough for so many, I figured why not put together a list of the best survey sites that legitimately pay out in 2018.
There are 3 simple rules when it comes to the best survey sites.
Important Survey Rules!
- Use a new email for surveys only.
- Don't give out your personal phone number.
- If it's too good to be true…
If you follow these rules, you're golden!
For starters, make a new email account and only use it for survey sites. I prefer Gmail, but any free email service will work. The goal is making sure your personal or work email doesn't get slammed with survey offers.
Next, you'll want to get a free Google Voice phone number. This way if a legit survey company is ever acquired by a shaddy company, they can't sell your phone number to spammers!
Last, if it sounds too good to be true, then I promise it is. Make sure not to waste your time on any site that promises big, huge paydays. I participated on these sites during my downtime – watching TV at night, waiting for my girlfriend to get ready, sitting on the subway, etc.
Over the course of a month, casually taking surveys, I made enough to buy a few rounds at the bar this weekend. I could have made a little more if I spent less time watching The Expanse!
Survey Tips I've Learned
On top of those Rules, I picked up two key tips to maximizing my time and keeping my sanity on beermoney sites.
- You can always give fake info or choose not answer.
- Shop around – different sites want different people!
Always remember you can give fake info or select the “don't want to answer” option. There's no law against telling somebody on the Internet that you're Bob T. Bobbertson III from Tucson, AZ, a 90 year old Southern Baptist worth a million bucks. Perhaps while answering some questions, Mr. Bobbertson's eyes frequently slip to the screen as the Mariners continue their date with destiny. Who knows what he might have clicked!
Though be warned – the more inconsistent answers you give, the less surveys you may qualify for. That's why I always pick the “choose not to answer” option if I don't feel like giving away my personal info.
Finally, shop around! Each of these sites are running surveys or studies for specific brands or products. That means one site might want a single guy taking their surveys while another wants married moms. After joining multiple sites, you'll quickly notice which sites are giving you the most opportunities.
Armed with these tips, you can make money during your free time starting today!
Stuck Signing Up?
Some signup processes make it seem like there's nothing more to do after you join. Simply go back to the homepage and log-in with the account you just created. You'll then find the main user area!
Top Survey Sites
Without further ado, let's get to the best survey sites!
Inbox Dollars is a platform run by Cotter Web Enterprises, a company with an A+ BBB rating. They pays users cash for participating in polls, taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and reading emails. They're not only one of the oldest sites on this list (up there with HIF in total age!), but they're also routinely rated as one of the top survey sites.
One reason users tend to love InboxDollars is the more you use their features, the more opportunities you're given to make money. For example, those who read the paid emails every day will continue to regularly receive them. However, if you don't read the emails or delete them without opening, InboxDollars will skip days and email you less. However, if surveys are your jam and you keep taking them, InboxDollars will start offering you more of them. They basically let you choose how you want to earn money.
Hands down one of the best bonuses offered on this list is InboxDollars gives all new users $5! Seriously, just for joining, you get $5 added to your account.
Payout for offers range from $.50 all the way up to $50. Most emailed offers are super easy to complete, though the higher paying offers tend to take at least 5 minutes. There are also high-paying offers that require you to sign up for other products or trials, but I personally skip all of them. My research shows those offers typically are approved within two days.
One wrinkle is their high minimum threshold required to cash out, which is $30. They also don't offer PayPal, but they do allow for Prepaid Visa cards (which have no fee) or you can get a physical check via snail mail with a $3 processing fee.
InboxDollars ultimately is an excellent platform for making a little extra money on the side. I give it based on their longevity, BBB rating, awesome signup bonus, amount of offers, and ease of use! If their payout methods weren't stuck in 2002, I'd bump them up to 5 stars.
Earn Money with Inbox Dollars
Create an account today and get your free $5 signup bonus!
Swagbucks is another tremendous money-making option run by Prodege, an A rated BBB company. Not only that, but I've written about Swagbucks frequently and many Hiffers have been earning rewards with them for over a decade!
Swagbucks' two biggest perks are their numerous ways to earn rewards and money along with their extensive history of paying out rewards. In September 2017, they hit a milestone of paying back $200 million to their users!
The easiest way to start claiming some of the next $100 million is to make some searches. Swagbucks rewards members for making simple internet searches on their Yahoo-powered search engine. You won't get SB for every search, but they'll sporadically give you SB after you make just a few searches. You can easily set your browser to use Swagbucks' search by default, which will maximize your potential earnings.
On top of that, you have multiple daily quests you can complete for bonus SB. Some of these involve earning a certain amount to trigger a bonus while others encourage you take surveys, watch videos, or play games. They even have a similar daily trivia app like HQTrivia and they're one of the only sites on this list with a great mobile app that lets you earn points and rewards while on the go.
New members also get $5 for free just by signing up and confirming your email. As for cashing out, they have tons of gifts cards starting at $5. VISA prepaid cards can be $10 and PayPal cash withdraws begin at $25. They also have a sweepstakes page with various offers, like gift cards, retail shopping sprees, vacation trips, and extra SB points. There is also an option for charity donations!
Ultimately, it's impossible not to give Swagbucks thanks to all that sweet, sweet cash.
Earn Money with Swagbucks
Create an account today and get your free $5 signup bonus!
Ipsos i-Say is a survey-focused site run by Ipsos (hey, imagine that!), a global company headquartered in Paris, France. Oh la la! Unfortunately, since they're in France, they don't have a BBB rating. i-Say gives users the ability to share their opinions in return for 10 to 100 points that can be redeemed for a number of different rewards.
Like other survey-focused sites, i-Say emails you when a qualifying survey is released, depending on your demographic information. One of the nice perks with i-Say is they frequently have polls with simple “yes / no” answers that are presented to everybody, regardless of your demographics! These polls don't go towards a payout, but they do play a part in the Poll Predictor.
Every time you complete a survey, you're invited to play the Poll Predictor, where you have to guess the percentage of the total yes and no votes. If you're close to the actual final percentages, you win “chances” that are redeemed for free entries into huge i-Say prize draws!
i-Say prize contests are another nice perk. The overall cash out threshold differs based on the reward method, but the lowest is a chance to win a dream vacation. You only need 200 i-Say points per entry into a contest where the top 3 winners receive a check for $5,000 towards their dream vacation.
Chances are you want cash though and i-Say has you covered. A $5 Starbucks, Amazon, or Walmart gift card only costs 500 points. For 1000 points, you can visit the online merchandise store and exchange them for various beauty, fitness, and electronics items. Finally, you can trade your points for money, as long as you have at least 1000 points. That will earn you a $10 VISA gift card whereas 1530 points will get you a $15 PayPal cash out.
Overall, I give i-Say based on their solid history, low payout threshold, and quantity of surveys. It's the survey site I suggest to anybody who loves our Try Your Luck Thursday contest roundups thanks to their prizes and contests. I'd award the final star if they had just a few more earning methods or a BBB profile.
Pinecone Research is the online survey branch of Nielsen Holdings Company, which not only owns the National Consumer Panel that many Hiffers have joined, but who also have an A+ BBB rating. With Pinecone, consumers earn $3 via points for every survey they complete! In some cases, members can earn even more by completing product tests. However, the surveys are their main method of earning.
Pinecone Research can actually be hard to join, as they open and close registration based on their needs. Once in though, it's a great platform to earn a little free money throughout the year. Most surveys pay in the $3-$6 range
They also have a product testing service with many opportunities to try products that haven't even hit the market yet. These unreleased products are typically in their final stages of development, so you get to keep the product forever AND earn money just by answering a few questions.
One impressive factor about Pinecone Research is their payout options. Since the Nielsen Company owns them, Pinecone also has access to their paid trials, surveys, polls, and sweepstakes entries. Sweep prizes are paid out either quarterly or bi-weekly, with the quarterly prize at $4500 and the bi-weekly prize at $500. Both are sent out as checks made payable to the winners, so they're literally free money!
Aside from contest, members can withdraw cash starting at only $3! Snail mailed checks are sent in quantities of $3, $5, or $15 or you can redeem $15 through PayPal. If you opt to cash out through PayPal, you'll receive your pay in three to five business days. For those who choose to receive a check, you'll receive your compensation in seven business days or less.
Their crazy low payout threshold, along with their BBB rating and exclusivity earns Pinecone Research a rating. It's hard not to love a site where you earn free money! Make your voice heard today and take advantage of learning about new products before they hit stores while you make money with Pinecone Research.
Harris Poll Online
Harris Poll Online is a platform run by The Stagwell Group, who I couldn't find a confirmed BBB profile for. But hey, at least we know they enjoy going alone to social events. Harris Poll has been around for a while though. In fact, they were on my local NPR station last month talking about how Americans polled on certain issues back in 1978!
Harris Poll focuses mainly on polling and questionnaires where individuals earn HIpoints for every offer they participate in. The platform partners with more than 500 PR firms, which give them the ability to offer multiple polls on various topics. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see any of these offers since I was rejected while trying to sign up! I don't think they were looking for men my age. 🤷
The most significant perk with Harris Poll is you still receive points even if your initial answers deem you unqualified for a questionnaire. That's means no wasted time! As for the surveys themselves, most seemed to fall within the 5-20 minutes randge to complete (I looked around with my sister's account 😎)
Once you rack up some HIpoints, they can be used to purchase entries into their sweepstakes or receive a gift card. Sadly, they have no PayPal redemption offer for cash. Their sweepstakes run every quarter and gives you the chance to win up to $10,000. You'll also receive sweepstakes entries for every questionnaire completed, which is nice. If you want to spend your earning elsewhere, you can choose from many different retail gift card options starting at $10.
The lack of PayPal plus being personally rejected forces me to give them a rating due to the high praise I found in my research. That said, see if you qualify for Harris Poll Online today – it won't make you a ton, but it can easily make you enough to cover your daily coffee habit!
Vindale Research is run by SayForExample, Inc, who you better have freaking guessed also have an A rating at their local BBB. Vindale members earn cash by sharing their opinions through online research questionnaires, as well as for watching videos and taking polls. They had some photo and studies options, but I didn't try either of them out.
Right from the start, Vindale gives you a leg up with a free $2 signup bonus after you fill out your basic profile and take a super short survey.
Aside from that, the bulk of their earning opportunities comes via surveys. The pay for each survey will differ anywhere form $0.25 up to $50 per offer. Polls also vary in subject matter as well. I was offered surveys on baby food, pets, fast food, car maintenance, radio, grocery, various sports, homeowner stuff that sounded like a nightmare and made me thankful I rent, and even heart health.
I told them heart health was important because that's where the love comes from and was instantly declined.
But I laughed and isn't that the true source of heart health?
What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, Vindale! On top of the surveys, users can also join the Vindale community blog and social media pages to participate in polls and challenges. Reward codes found on those pages can be traded for cash. Another unique feature to Vindale is their member photo forum. Members can take pictures of themselves and be compensated $5 for it. Sounds weird, yes. But hey, sometime you need five bucks!
Now, with all that said, let's swallow this tough pill – Compensation is distributed in increments of $50, which suuuucks. Payments are automatically processed monthly on the 15th and your account balance is rolled over if you don't have at least $50.
Vindale Research is a great place to earn extra money, but that threshold of $50 is brutal for beginners. Luckily you can make your first buck at Vindale rather quickly, which together with their longevity and earning options, makes me feel comfortable giving them .
Earn Money with Vindale Research
Create an account today and get your free $2 signup bonus!
Opinion Outpost is the last stop on this train. They're run by Survey Sampling International, who don't have an accredited BBB page, despite hailing from CT.
With Opinion Outpost, you earn points via their market research surveys. Upon signing up, you're quickly offered a large batch of short, entry-level surveys. Based on your responses to these short surveys, you may qualify for the much longer, more lucrative surveys.
Out of the 50 or so high-paying surveys I attempted, I only qualified for around 25%. While this sounds bad, the overall total I was able to earn through Opinion Outpost was the highest out of all of these sites!
Rewards on Opinion Outpost allow for entries, charities, and a few other methods, but the main options are PayPal and Amazon giftcards. While the limited realistic options are a slight bummer, they more than make up for it with the awesome minimum threshold: $10 and $5, respectively.
Due to the sheer quantity of survey opportunities alone, I made the 2nd most amount of money with Opinion Outpost.
I definitely think it helped that I'm a guy, because I got a lot of “what's it like shaving that scraggly beard every day?” questions. But I was happy to answer during Colbert commercials and ended up cashing out with PayPal in only a few weeks.
Based on their sheer volume of possible earnings alone, plus their super-low cashout hurdle, I give Opinion Outpost a solid . As long as you know what to expect, Opinion Outpost is one of the best sites out there to make a little extra money.
Earn Money with Opinion Outpost
Signup for free to see if you'll also make the most with them!
So there ya have it! These are some of the best survey sites to make a little beermoney in your spare time. These sites won't make you rich, but they're Goob-approved and can add some extra bucks to your pocket for a birthday 🎁, bill 📝, or beer 🍻.
I'll keep this list updated, but I'm curious to hear from any Hiffers who do surveys! What are some of your favorite survey sites?