The Truth About Paid Surveys: Are They Worth Your Time


Paid surveys are often promoted for the balance between money earned and time spent. However good that balance may be, are paid surveys worth your free time?

Besides answering this central question, we’ll also provide a general overview of paid surveys and how to stay safe when searching for participation.

What are Paid Surveys

Paid surveys offer an easy way to earn extra income by answering company-sponsored questionnaires. Large survey services, such as Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, and Survey Junkie, work together with commercial enterprises that seek qualitative consumer data to back their decision-making.

Businesses outline the specific questions they need to be answered, and survey services then distribute these questionnaires to their user base. Users sign up for these platforms and complete surveys in their spare time, varying in length and complexity.

In exchange for their time and responses, participants receive some form of compensation, such as direct monetary payments, often via PayPal or direct bank transfers, gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon and Walmart, or redeemable points that can be exchanged for various rewards such as cash, gift cards, or merchandise.

To maximize gains from these surveys, people often look for at least one more Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, or Pinecone Research alternative to spread out their answering activities across multiple platforms.

Are Paid Surveys Worth the Effort

It must be noted from the onset that paid surveys are only a supplemental stream of income. The benefit from these surveys can be estimated in terms of their payout and the time it takes to complete a survey.

Concerning the time spent, it may take 2 to 20 minutes to complete a given survey. For instance, platforms like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie typically provide surveys that take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, with some shorter ones requiring only 2 to 5 minutes.


The payout for these surveys varies. On Swagbucks, you can earn anywhere from $0.40 to $2.00 per survey, while on Survey Junkie, the payout is usually between $0.50 to $3.00 per survey. Pinecone Research, known for its higher-paying surveys, often pays around $3.00 per survey, though these surveys may take closer to 20 minutes to complete.

How to Participate in Paid Surveys?

To begin participating in surveys, you’ll need to follow the same steps for the majority of available survey services.

Sign Up

  • Visit the website of a reputable survey platform such as Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, or Pinecone Research.
  • You can create an account by providing basic information such as your name, email address, and sometimes additional demographic details like age, gender, and location.
  • Some platforms may require email address verification, so check your inbox and confirm your registration.

Complete Your Profile:

  • Complete your profile. This often includes answering detailed questions about your lifestyle, interests, and household.
  • The more comprehensive and accurate your profile, the better the platform can match you with relevant surveys, increasing your chances of qualifying and receiving more surveys.

Browse and Select Surveys:

  • Once your profile is complete, you can start browsing available surveys. Most platforms list surveys, estimated completion time, and rewards.
  • Select surveys that match your interests and time availability.

Redeem Rewards:

  • Accumulate enough points or cash to meet the platform’s minimum redemption threshold.
  • Redeem your rewards via options like PayPal, direct bank transfer, or gift cards.
  • Some platforms offer redemption options, so choose the one that best suits your preferences.

How to Avoid Illegitimate Survey Platforms?

While participating in paid surveys can be a legitimate way to earn extra income, it’s essential to be cautious and avoid scams or illegitimate survey sites. Here are steps to help you identify and steer clear of such fraudulent surveys:

Research the Platform. Before signing up, research the survey platform. Look for reviews and testimonials from other users. Trusted review sites like Trustpilot or BBB (Better Business Bureau) can provide valuable insights into the platform’s legitimacy.


Check if the platform has been mentioned in reputable financial or consumer advice articles.

Verify Contact Information. Legitimate survey companies will provide clear contact information, including a physical address, email, and customer service phone number.

Be wary of platforms that only offer a contact form or lack transparent details.

Check for a Secure Website. Ensure the survey platform’s website is secure. Look for “https://” at the beginning of the URL and a padlock symbol in the address bar.

Avoid sites that do not have these security features, as they might not protect your personal information adequately.

Beware of Upfront Fees. Legitimate survey platforms do not charge you to sign up or participate in surveys. If a site asks for an upfront fee for membership or access to higher-paying surveys, it is likely a scam.

Avoid platforms that promise unusually high payouts in exchange for a membership fee.


Paid surveys can be a convenient way to earn some extra money in your spare time. By answering questions from companies looking for consumer insights, participants receive compensation in various forms, including cash, gift cards, and redeemable points.

While the earnings from paid surveys are modest and should be seen as supplemental income, they can add up over time, especially if you sign up for multiple platforms and dedicate regular time to completing surveys