If you’ve got a little extra time on your hands and find yourself aimlessly scrolling through your social media a little too much for hours on end? Why not put your spare time to good use and earn yourself some money by doing paid surveys?

It’s entirely possible to make hundreds of pounds through the year just by giving your opinion on certain topics or products. You don’t need any particular knowledge or skillset – just an opinion, a phone or laptop, and an internet connection!

While it won’t make you rich, it will give you enough for things like birthday presents and nice nights out.

How do survey sites work?

Paid survey sites work by sending market research surveys out to registered users. For each survey site you sign up to, you’ll complete a user profile so that the site can send you surveys that are relevant to you. You can then complete these surveys in exchange for payment – either in cash into your bank or PayPal account or with vouchers. Although you won’t earn a fortune with individual surveys, if you do lots regularly, the money can mount up.

What are the best survey sites?

It’s important to remember that the best survey sites aren’t just the ones that pay the most. You have to take into consideration how they pay you (is it cash, voucher, or product?), the threshold you need to reach before payment is made, and whether or not you get regularly screened out.

Prolific Academic

Prolific provides data for academics and researchers at many top universities and companies. You have to give good quality answers in order to be invited to more surveys. If you drop below a certain ‘score’, you will be screened out of new surveys. This ensures that they receive consistent, high-quality data.

The surveys are interesting and pay well, so it’s well worth paying attention and giving honest responses so that you are emailed back with more surveys.

Cash-out method: Paypal once you reach £5.
Potential earnings: 30p – £10 per survey
Typical survey time: 20 – 45 minutes, though some take as little as 2 minutes.


Using Swagbucks earns you ‘Bucks’, which you can trade in for cash, vouchers, and prize draw. You can also get paid to watch videos, play free games online, and search via its pages instead of Google. It’s one of the more interesting survey sites and certainly has a huge following.

Cash-out method: Cash via Paypal, Amazon vouchers, gift vouchers, and sweepstakes entries.
Potential earnings: From 70 Swagbucks (50p)
Typical survey time: 10-20 minutes

Curious Cat

Curious Cat is a little different in that it is actually an app that you need to download, not a website. But don’t let that put you off – it just means that you can still be earning money when you’re on the go! Surveys are short and fun and you only need to reach a £1 threshold before you can cash out.

Cash-out method: Cash via Paypal once you hit the £1 threshold.
Potential earnings: 50p per survey
Typical survey time: 3 mins


Panelbase selects its survey respondents very carefully, so you may not receive as many surveys as you do from other survey sites. However, they do pay very well, so it is worth making sure that you fully complete your profile in order to stand a greater chance of being selected.

Cash-out method: Cash via bank transfer, vouchers, and prize draws. There is a £10 payment threshold.
Potential earnings: 50p – £10
Typical survey time: 5-10 minutes


The YouGov survey site is commissioned by everyone from academics to charities, so there’s a great opportunity for you to have your say on a whole host of topics. Surveys are short and sweet and are often very interesting too. However, one of the main complaints about this site is how long it can take to reach the payment threshold. You are paid in points for each survey you complete and the threshold is 5000 points (£50!)

Cash-out method: Cash via bank transfer once you reach £50
Potential earnings: 50p per survey
Typical survey time: 5-10 minutes

Branded Surveys

Branded surveys are one of the most popular survey sites out there due to their short and frequent surveys. Not only do they pay well, but they compensate you if you are screened out for any reason. As if that wasn’t enough, if you finish top of the leaderboard, you have a chance of being awarded bonus points.

Cash-out method: Money into Paypal (minimum £10 threshold)
Potential earnings: 50p per survey
Typical survey time: 10-20 minutes


Atapoll is a survey app that you use on your phone/iPad. Known for its short and interesting surveys, it’s popular with busy people who try to fit in doing surveys around their other commitments.

Cash-out method: Cash into Paypal (minimum £5 threshold) or to a charity organisation.
Potential earnings: 30p – £1
Typical survey time: 2-10 minutes


With Toluna, you earn points in return for completing surveys. Once you earn 27,000 points, you can start redeeming them for rewards. For example, 27,000 will get you a £5 Starbucks gift card. With Toluna, you get 500 points for signing up and another 1,300 points for completing your profile.

Cash-out method: E-vouchers, including Amazon, Argos, Starbucks, and more.
Potential earnings: 15 – 50,000 points
Typical survey time: 15-30 minutes

Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost has become increasingly popular over the years due to its frequent surveys and fast payout system. They have great reviews on Trustpilot that reflect this. You’ll get regular email invitations as soon as surveys are matched to you, so make sure you fully complete your profile.

Cash-out profile: Cash via Paypal or vouchers (£2.50 minimum payout)
Potential earnings: 50p per survey
Typical survey time: 15 minutes

i-Say (Ipsos)

Another survey site where you earn points in return for completing surveys. A big bonus with this site is that it is upfront about how long surveys will take and how much it will pay. You can expect to receive around one survey per month, but this will increase if your profile matches the surveys they have available.

Cash-out method: Vouchers, including Argos and Amazon. There is a £5 payment threshold.
Potential earnings: 5p – £1.80
Typical survey time: 15 minutes


Qmee is a browser add-on that pays you to search Google. But they now pay you to take surveys too. You can do this online or via their app. Surveys are frequent but don’t often pay as well as some of the other survey sites. However, there is no minimum payout threshold, which is a big bonus.

Cash-out method: cash via PayPal. No minimum threshold.
Potential earnings: 30p per survey
Typical survey time: 5-20 minutes

The Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t pay to join

Legitimate survey sites allow you to sign up for free. If you stumble upon a site asking for payment, run a mile.

Do set up a dedicated email address

When you are signing up to many different survey sites, you will likely be inundated with emails and it will be so much easier if you set up a separate email address just for your survey work. This will save you from having to sift through your personal emails trying to find any survey invites you may have been sent. It also makes it less likely that you’ll miss any important emails that are sent to your personal email address.

Don’t expect big money

The average payout for a completed survey is around 30p. Some will be less and some will be more. So, you’re never going to get rich by completing surveys, no matter how many you do But if you consistently spend time doing them, you will make a nice amount each month for not much effort. When I was completing surveys myself, I would earn approximately £30-£40 each month and I used this to help pay off debts.

Don’t lie

You might be tempted to lie when completing surveys. However, if you have said one thing in your user profile and then say something completely different in a survey, you risk being caught out and having your account closed. You might think that telling the odd fib here and there to get more surveys will go unnoticed, but cross-checks are done regularly and you are likely to be caught out.

Don’t check boxes randomally

Don’t be tempted to just tick any old box so that you can speed quickly through the survey. It is commonplace for researchers to add in control questions to check that you are paying attention. If you are caught out not paying attention or randomly ticking boxes, you won’t receive payment for that survey. But the main reason you shouldn’t be doing this is that it skews the data. The researchers are paying you to answer accurately. If they find the data to be inaccurate, they will be unable to use it.

Don’t store cash in your survey accounts

Your surveys accounts aren’t bank accounts. Don’t store your cash there. Once you reach the minimum payment threshold, withdraw your money into your bank account or PayPal account. It’s your money and it’s better sat in your bank account than in your survey account.

Do spend vouchers asap

Use your vouchers asap to avoid them becoming invalid. If you hang on to them for months on end, there’s a chance you’ll forget about them and your hard work will have been in vain. Also, there’s always the risk that stores may go into administration, and if this happens, they are not legally obliged to accept your vouchers. Yes, it’s not very likely to happen but it can happen and it has happened – even to well-known stores, such as HMV and Comet.

Do pay tax on your earnings if you hit the threshold

Any money you make from completing surveys is classed as income. If it’s your only source of income, you’re unlikely to reach the £1000 threshold and shouldn’t have to pay tax. If you make more than £1000 though, you’ll have to register for a self-assessment tax return, as it will be classed as self-employed income.

Final thoughts

Completing surveys online is a great way to make a bit of extra cash in your spare time. Be sure to sign up to more than one survey site in order to maximise your earnings and also ensure that you fill out your user profile in full on each survey site so that you are sent as many surveys as possible.