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General Rules For Paid Surveys


General Rules & FAQ



This segment of my blog contains basic, most relevant information about paid online surveys for money. Understanding and following simple rules should assure long and productive interaction between you as a panelist and any legitimate paid surveys panel currently operating on the internet and offering paid surveys to its members.


"All content included within the surveys, such as cards, text, graphics, photos, products, audio clips, etc. is the exclusive property of Research Company or its sponsoring client and is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. You may not copy, modify, publish, transmit, participate into another website, or in any other way exploit any of the content, in whole or in part, without the specific permission of Research Company or its sponsoring client."


Users must NOT create more than ONE account per person, nor may they create more than ONE account per household.



From the perspective of experienced panelist one, and the most important, advice I can give you is "be patient". Online surveys are a numbers game and a time game. To be successful in it, you need to not worry about any waiting periods associated with taking paid surveys online. I have seen way too many negative comments about my favorite, legitimate paid surveys panels, that were just unjustified.


If you are reading this you are ahead of many panelist that started up with the wrong expectations and most often wrong or simply outdated information.


If you will be consistent in taking online surveys that are provided by legitimate survey sites, your checks will become regular after about 6-8 weeks. Then you won't even think about it (or at least you shouldn't). You shouldn't hustle a particular survey site about some particular survey, because at the end, its not necessary (and very unwise). I occasionally had survey rewards showing up in my account after over 8 weeks. Funny part, I totally forgot about the survey. Last thing you need is stress and I am here to help you avoid it. It might seem difficult, but the simple way to put it is "pick and complete surveys offering best rewards daily and move on to the next day....then repeat". Checks will catch up shortly and they will keep coming long after you stop taking any surveys. It's online panelist reality and you must make peace with it to become successful. If you will follow my advice and recommendations, you will get paid to take surveys, and you will get paid well!



Here are some frequently asked questions about paid online surveys:



How much will I be paid for completing a survey?


Reward amount varies. It is a general rule that survey invitations must contain clear payment information along with time needed for completion. Incentives can offer as little as $1 or as much as $400 (focus groups). Some surveys offer merchandise, free samples or sweepstake entries as a reward. In my opinion your time is too valuable to settle just for a chance to get paid. You should stick to surveys that pay you for your time. I am no one's advocate but I believe that mutual respect is the only way for a long and productive relationship between a research company and its panelists.



When will my account get credited after I complete the survey?


If the survey has been completed there should be no problem with your account being credited. Most often, survey sites will wait to show the credit after the survey has ended and the data has been received. Some sites will show your reward as "Pending" until your survey participation is validated and the data has been verified. Once the results get reviewed and confirmed, the status of that survey will change to "Earned".

As long as you were 100% done with the study, the credit to your account shouldn't take more than 4-6 weeks after the survey you have taken has officially closed. You can make a note of the date and time of completion along with the subject matter of the survey if you wish.



Why does it take so long sometimes to receive the credit?


Aside from their own market studies Survey Panels very often partner with other research companies. If the panel you are a member of is conducting the research, the credit to your account usually doesn't take so long. A study hosted by a third party (other survey panel) takes much longer to show up in your account.  This is because your panel has to wait for the hosting panel to submit and confirm your participation



How do I check my earnings?


To check your account balance you must visit the survey panel website and log into the members' area. There you will find your current balance and/or rewards.



How do I retrieve rewards from the survey panel account?


Legitimate paid surveys sites have member areas with clear and detailed information on how to retrieve your earned rewards. Generally, you must earn a certain dollar amount called "payout threshold" before you can redeem your earnings. $10 dollars is the most common threshold amount.



I live outside the U.S. or Canada. "How will I get paid and do I need to have U.S. dollar account?"


Survey panels accepting panelists worldwide will pay international participants in a form that can be cashed in their country. For instance GlobalTestMarket and American Consumer Opinion will mail you a check in your country's currency. If the given panel cannot produce a check in your local currency, it will usually issue an electronic gift certificate that can be used in your country. Most panels (if not all of them by now) offer payments to their members via PayPal.



What are the payment forms used by Survey Panels?


Each Survey Panel that you join has their own method of payment and they usually include (not limited to) checks, PayPal transfers and gift certificates.


What is PayPal and how do I use it to receive my earnings?


PayPal is an online account that allows you to receive and send money electronically. Accounts are free to set up and offer a safe and fast way to send and receive money online. Once you set up a PayPal account you can link it to your bank account (it is possible to transfer money to and from your PayPal account). PayPal account is very convenient and can be used to pay at most online retailers. You can find more information about PayPal by visiting their website at


Most survey companies offer the option to receive earnings via PayPal, so it is a good idea to have one. It will enable you to get your incentives much faster. In fact, some survey panels offer PayPal as the only method to receive cash payments. Once you receive your earnings you can keep it there for future online purchases or you can transfer the money to your bank account.



Do I need to include my online earnings in my tax return?


If you are a U.S. citizen survey panels will treat you as an independent contractor and as a result no income taxes are withheld from your payments. However if you are paid more than $600 in a year by any given survey panel, and you live in the U.S., the survey panel will send you a 1099 tax form. You must include these payments as "miscellaneous income" on your tax return.


If you live outside the United States you will need to consult an accountant to get the answer to how this applies to your location. U.S. based survey panels are only obligated to send you a 1099 MISC tax form if you earned more than $600 with their panel. Since each survey panel is a separate corporate entity, your earnings from each panel are treated separate, so if you earn $300 from panel A and $400 from panel B, chances are you will not receive a 1099 tax form. The $600 rule states that the survey panel is not required to file a 1099 MISC with the IRS.  However, it is your sole obligation to report all taxable income on your tax return.


This information is based on my basic understanding of tax laws, and since I am not a professional accountant, it is always a good idea to consult with a tax professional when making tax preparation decisions.

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Get Paid To Take Online Surveys For Money


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