While it can be nice to earn gift cards from doing surveys, there are times when it can actually be better to focus on surveys that pay by mail in cash, like those that send you physical checks.
For most people, this is going to be better for those times when you don’t want to be locked in to spending your survey earnings at a specific site, as you may be with a gift card. And it helps that sites offering this are entirely legit in terms of just how much you can earn!
Of course, as with all survey sites, you shouldn’t consider this as a way to get rich.
However, as a way to make a few dollars at times when you’re not doing anything else, like on the train to work or on the couch with Netflix on in the background, it can definitely be worth your time to do a few surveys and get a bit of extra cash.
Surveys that pay by mail in cash (as checks)
There are a ton of survey sites out there and, let’s be honest, a lot of them are complete garbage.
This is why it can really help to narrow down your list of potential survey sites to those that are legit – meaning they actually pay.
Fortunately, all the sites listed below can genuinely let you earn money by doing surveys. Sure, you won’t earn thousands. But you will be paid – including, in this section, with surveys that pay by mail in cash.
- Best survey site in general: Survey Junkie – great range of surveys, including focus groups where you’ll be paid up to $150 per hour.
- Best for making money overall: Swagbucks – plenty of ways to earn extra cash with good survey options. And you’ll get $5 free just for signing up.
- Best for surveys that pay by check: InboxDollars – wide range of options (including the chance to earn more from video surveys) and you’ll get a free $5 welcome bonus for verifying your email.
1. Branded Surveys
Branded Surveys lets you get paid for contributing to actual market research. Given they work with major research firms (which themselves work on behalf of a range of Fortune 500 companies), this means that not only are the surveys interesting but you’ll know that your answers will be used to shape all sorts of product releases.
(They also have a 4.3/5 overall review on TrustPilot, so they’re definitely legit.)
And the best part about these surveys is their pay! That is, you’ll earn points for each survey which can be converted into gift cards or cash that’s deposited directly in your account.
To get you on your way, you’ll earn 100 points just for signing up, equivalent to $1. Hey, you have to start somewhere, right?
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2. Pinecone Research
Pinecone Research is often named as a lot of people’s favorite survey site – mainly due to their payout amounts, which are some of the best in the business.
That is, each survey pays out $3 worth of points. While this may not sound like much, it’s actually a lot more than you’ll get as a per survey rate on other sites. And, by doing these surveys, you can get paid by mail in cash (as a check)!
One downside is that there often aren’t surveys constantly available that you’ll qualify for, although apparently you’re more likely to qualify if you’re around college age. Keep checking though as they’ll be there eventually!
InboxDollars lets you earn money in a combination of ways, with their main focus being on doing surveys, playing games and watching videos.
You’ll earn between $0.50 and $1.50 for each one you complete, although you do sometimes have the chance to earn even more when you combine them through InboxDollars’ video surveys.
You can also get a free $0.50 for completing your profile and an additional $0.50 for completing their “welcome list”. Sure, $1 isn’t a huge amount of money, but it doesn’t hurt!
4. Vindale Research
Vindale Research is another survey site with actual, legit payouts. In fact, Vindale members have earned more than $8 million since it started!
This is partly because Vindale offers surveys that pay between $10 and $15 once you complete it. They will take a bit longer to do – up to around an hour – so if you don’t have that much time, you can always choose one of the shorter surveys that generally pay anywhere from $0.75 to $1.50.
Most of the surveys are on consumer behaviour, so you’ll usually be asked about things you’ve bought (or want to buy). Some are, however, on politics and current events, making it actually fun to get paid to impact a potential political campaign!
InboxPounds is basically InboxDollars’ cousin across the pond. That is, while InboxDollars is only available to people in the US, there’s also an international option.
This means that it essentially works the same as InboxDollars, including in how you make money and the amounts you’ll earn.
Keep in mind that this also means that one of the best ways to earn money with InboxPounds, as with InboxDollars, is their referral scheme. How this works is that once you sign up with InboxPounds, you’ll be given a unique referral link.
From there, for everyone that signs up through your link, you’ll get 30% of what they earn – for life!
6. Ipsos i-Say
Ipsos i-Say is often cited as one of the most authoritative sources on consumer behaviour in the world – but did you know that this information often comes from people like you completing surveys?
And the fact you may have heard of it already means you know your inputs are going to have actual outcomes – and you’ll get to earn rewards for this at the same time!
One of the other benefits of Ipsos i-Say is that you won’t be bombarded with emails. Instead, they only tend to send around eight emails per month with different surveys that you may qualify for. For each one you complete, you’ll earn points which can be exchanged for various rewards.
Toluna has something for everyone, no matter how much free time you have to complete surveys. That is, you can either choose what they call “profile surveys”, which only take a couple of minutes to complete and for which you’ll receive 100 points.
Alternatively, you can choose to do longer surveys of around 10 to 20 minutes long where you’ll be able to earn even more points.
And of course, in return for completing these surveys, you’ll be paid by mail in cash via a physical check being issued if you want. You can also choose to exchange your points for PayPal cash or a gift card, if you prefer.
8. American Consumer Opinion
American Consumer Opinion has been around for years, having paid out over $30 million during its existence, so it’s definitely legit.
However, not only does it let you earn money by doing surveys, but you can also sign up for receiving free products for you to test. These are often updates to existing products, although sometimes you’ll get brand new items before they’re on the market.
And you can even keep them once you’ve given your review!
Caddle is a survey app, rather than a site – and it’s only for Canadians!
It’s similar to sites like Swagbucks, in that you can earn money in a bunch of different ways, including watching videos, writing product reviews, redeeming coupon offers and, yes, doing surveys.
This is another one of the options that, when you do these surveys, you’ll be paid by mail for cash through a “Caddle cheque” being sent out. It will take a few weeks for each check to be approved once you qualify for it but overall reviews are very positive about the reliability of this method of payment here.
10. Consumer Opinion Institute
Consumer Opinion Institute is different from the other options on this list in that it really does involve you receiving surveys by mail for cash.
Specifically, once you go through the Consumer Opinion Institute sign up process, you’ll receive one to two surveys by mail each month (although there are some online options). And when it comes to payment, you’ll be paid up to $5 either in cash or you’ll get paid by check for these surveys.
Most people are very positive about this, although there are some Consumer Opinion Institute reviews which say that some surveys have too many questions for only getting $5 for this. Of course, you’re free to simply check each survey you receive and see if you think it’s worth your time.
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Other sites to do paid surveys for cash
While you may sometimes prefer to do surveys where you’d paid by mail in cash through a check being sent out, there are other times when you’re just looking to do paid surveys for cash, no matter how it’s paid!
In these cases, you’ll get your cash either to your bank account or you can do these surveys for money via PayPal (which is sometimes done as a PayPal gift card). Ultimately, it’s exactly the same as getting cold, hard cash – just for answering some questions.
11. Survey Junkie
We mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating – Survey Junkie really is one of the best survey sites out there.
Not only does it have the usual list of surveys that you can get paid to do, but you can also be given the opportunity to participate in paid focus groups.
These may take slightly longer than a usual survey (around an hour or so), but that’s not so bad given that you can earn $150 just for one hour of your time – which is more than any of the standard surveys will ever pay you.
They often fill up fast so doing this will make sure you’re able to get to the front of the line each time!
How safe is Survey Junkie?
Survey Junkie is completely safe, with dozens of reviews online confirming that you are actually paid for the surveys you complete through this site. With a rating of 4.5 on TrustPilot, you can rest assured that Survey Junkie is considered legit by its users.
The main complaints on TrustPilot aren’t related to whether or not Survey Junkie is legitimate, but primarily involve people complaining about not qualifying for all of the surveys on offer – which is, to be honest, common for all survey sites.
Swagbucks has paid out over $600 million to its users so they’re definitely legit. Not only can you make money from doing surveys, but you can also earn rewards from:
- Watching videos
- Playing games
- Searching the internet
- Online shopping.
- Redeeming other offers
(And you’ll get a free $5 welcome bonus just for signing up with Swagbucks and verifying your email address!)
With all these options together, Swagbucks is definitely one of the survey sites that pays the most. You can find out more in our review of whether Swagbucks is worth it but, spoiler alert: it definitely is based on my own experience using it.
Free sign-up bonus: $5
A great app for making extra money, including with cash back from online shopping, watching videos, playing games and more.
And given it’s paid out over $400 million through Amazon, Paypal and other gift cards, it’s 100% legit.
PointClub is a site entirely devoted to surveys where you’re able to earn points for each survey you complete.
While it’s rare to find sites offering surveys that pay cash only, you can redeem your earnings here either for gift cards or directly into your PayPal account – which is basically the same as doing surveys for cash!
Like most survey sites, the process of filling in your profile is pretty straightforward, with information on things like your age, gender and where you live.
It’s best to give as many details as possible here, as it helps to make sure you’re only shown surveys that you actually qualify for.
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MyPoints is great for anyone looking to do surveys for cash when combined with other offers.
Specifically, MyPoints is a great way to make money if you do much online shopping. How it works is that once you’ve signed up, you earn points for each purchase. This means you’ll essentially get cash back via gift cards.
The surveys also pay out really well here, letting you earn around $2 for each one you complete. When combined with the other rewards, MyPoints has paid out over $236 million over time, so there’s definitely cash to be made here.
15. Survey Voices
Survey Voices isn’t actually a site that lets you do surveys for cash. Instead, it’s an aggregator of survey sites, allowing you to access a bunch of surveys all in one place.
How it works is that you fill in your profile and Survey Voices will then send you surveys from a number of different sites that you qualify for. If you’re interested, you’ll then be able to go to these sites directly to do each survey.
The advantage here is that you’ll basically be signing up for a one-stop shop. I would, however, recommend that you sign up with a separate email address that’s only for surveys to avoid your inbox accidentally being flooded with notifications about new surveys.
OurFreeRewards is one of the newer kids on the block, but this doesn’t make it any less legit.
What it actually means for this survey site is that it tends to have less users than some of the more popular ones – which means less competition for qualifying for the surveys listed here. In fact, this is one of the most common complaints about survey sites: that each survey is always full by the time someone sees that one is available.
This is why balancing your survey sign ups on some of the bigger sites with smaller ones, like OurFreeRewards, can be a great strategy for always ensuring that you qualify for something.
Dabbl is an app that does exactly the same thing as a survey site, in that it gives you access to questions that you can answer and be paid for it.
This app is actually really slick, with many of the surveys being far more interactive than you’ll find on actual survey sites. For example, you may be asked to pick your favorite from two images or will be asked to review a short video, in addition to simply answering some questions.
There are some reports that the range of survey options has dropped slightly in the last 12 months, but Dabbl is upfront about this and says it’s because companies have less money to spend on research during the events of 2020 (and, now, 2021). This means that this should improve in the coming months.
iSurveyWorld is widely known as one of the best survey sites for always having access to surveys. That is, where other sites may say you don’t qualify for surveys at certain times, iSurveyWorld usually has a few that you’ll qualify for, meaning there’s always a chance for you to earn money here.
And as another advantage, iSurveyWorld is open to people all over the world, not just the US like a lot of other sites where you can do paid surveys for cash. That said, some people report that you’re likely to qualify for more surveys if you’re in North America or Europe.
LifePoints is focused entirely on having you provide information on various aspects of your life, so you won’t be making money through videos and other things here.
Where you can really earn money here though is from some of the broader questions they ask you. For instance, one person on Reddit described how they earned 1,000 points for tracking all of their credit card purchases over a month (which was super simple to do, as all the information was on their credit card statement).
This is in contrast to the fact that most surveys pay between 50 to 350 points for each one, showing that certain tasks are far more effective for your money-making here.
(And another interesting point is that you only have to be 14 to sign up. This means it’s a great way for teens to make money.)
OnlineMom has a ton of articles targeted at moms on subjects ranging from raising kids, meal tips, lifestyle ideas and more.
And they also offer surveys! While these will be “mom-related”, meaning you may be told that you don’t qualify if you try to do one and say you don’t have any kids, this doesn’t mean that the questions will all be related to your children.
Instead, given the range of information on the site, expect the surveys to be just as varied.
21. Survey Club
Survey Club allows people from all over the world to join – in fact, they claim to have users on every continent (except Antarctica!)
This means that, for anyone outside of the US looking to do surveys for cash, this could be a great option for you.
Some of the surveys are hosted directly on Survey Club’s site and, in other cases, it will direct you to other sites to do the survey, making it kind of a hybrid survey aggregator site.
Do those survey sites actually pay you?
Legitimate online survey sites really pay you, as the information you provide is directly used to influence consumer and, sometimes, political activities. As your inputs on these surveys are highly valued by market research companies, they are willing to reward you for your feedback.
In particular, the survey sites on the list in this article are definitely confirmed as being legitimate. Having reviewed hundreds of reviews of these sites online, these are all legit sites where you will really get paid to take surveys online.
How much will I get paid to take surveys?
You will generally get paid between $0.50 and $2 for each survey you take, with the occasional opportunity to earn more from longer surveys. From there, different sites have different minimum payout limits, which can also vary depending on whether you wish to be paid by gift card or through PayPal.
For example, Swagbucks states that its average payout amount for each survey is about the range mentioned above. If you want to redeem your earnings as a gift card, the cashout amount is $3. However, this rises to $25 if you prefer to be paid via PayPal.
(At least it’s not so hard to reach this amount given you’ll get $5 as a free welcome bonus with Swagbucks, just for verifying your email address.)
What survey site pays the most?
Swagbucks has paid out over $500 million to its users, making it the survey site that has paid the most. However, it’s worth noting that they don’t only pay you to take surveys, as users can also earn money from watching videos, playing games and redeeming offers.
However, some other survey sites do occasionally have the option to earn a lot more. As an example, Survey Junkie gives you the chance to participate in paid focus groups. For one hour of answering questions to someone, you can earn up to $150 just for this.
Can you really make money off of surveys?
You won’t become rich off of surveys, but they can be good for earning some extra cash in your free time. Given they generally pay only up to around $2 per survey, there are more effective ways to make money, but they can also be worthwhile for earning the occasional gift card.
I always recommend people consider surveys as a way to make money when they wouldn’t be doing anything else otherwise.
For example, on your commute to work on a train or bus or waiting for your kids to finish sports practice can both be great opportunities to do a couple of surveys and earn a few dollars.
Similarly, during those times when you’re, say, sitting on the couch with Netflix on and scrolling through social media, you could easily use this time to complete a survey. While none of these will make you a millionaire, it’s a good use of these kinds of short periods of free time you have.
(And when it comes to finding actual online jobs that send checks, these part time online jobs are a great place to start.)
Final thoughts on doing surveys that pay by mail for cash
While some of these survey sites allowed you to be paid by mail in cash via checks, all of them will let you get paid in some form for doing surveys.
Those survey sites in the second half of the article tend to pay in other ways, mostly limited to gift cards or payment to your PayPal account, although some will directly deposit to your bank account.
But either way, they’re definitely legit, with hundreds of reviews online confirming that they do actually pay. This means that, as a method to earn a few extra dollars in your spare time, these survey sites can be a solid option for you.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.