Money at 30: InboxDollars vs. Survey Junkie Review

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Money at 30: InboxDollars vs. Survey Junkie Review

There’s an old joke that suggests that, like a certain body part, everyone has an opinion. But did you know that you can make money by offering your opinions on brands, movie trailers, politics, and more? It’s true — as the sites InboxDollars and Survey Junkie prove.

Both of these sites allow users to take various surveys and earn a small amount of cash for their time. Then, when you reach a certain threshold, you can cash out your earnings for gift cards or PayPal credit.

So how do these sites work and how do they compare? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of InboxDollars,  Survey Junkie, and paid survey sites in general.

How to Make Money By Taking Surveys

Before we jump into InboxDollars and Survey Junkie specifically, I wanted to answer a few common questions about paid survey sites:

Are survey sites legit?

First of all, both of the survey sites we’ll be looking at in just a minute are legitimate, as are a few others that provide similar offerings. While there may surely be a few bad apples, the idea of paying survey participants is certainly not a scam. Between political polls, market researchers, and others, there are plenty of companies looking to these aggregators to help find survey subjects and obtain the data they’re looking for.

How much can you make doing surveys?

Now that we’ve established that you can indeed legitimately get paid to take surveys online, here comes the bad news: you probably won’t make a ton. If you get lucky, you may qualify for a well-paid survey and perhaps even be invited to participate in an in-person focus group that can pay pretty well. However, on the whole, an individual survey may pay between .25¢ and $1.50. What’s more, some of these surveys can take 20 minutes or more to complete! Therefore you shouldn’t expect to hit it rich by doing surveys, although you might be able to score some extra pocket cash in your spare time.

How much information will I need to share about myself?

As you’ll see, when you sign up for new survey sites, you’ll typically be given a few intro questionaires. Common questions include your age, zip code, your income bracket, marital status, and the ages of those in your household. Some may even pry a bit further, asking for your sexual orientation, medical history, and more. Often times survey makers will include a “prefer not to answer” option, although there is the chance that holding back on responses will result in you being disqualified from certain studies. Despite this, you should ensure that you’re comfortable providing this information and feel free to decline surveys if they’re simply asking too much.

Do I need to qualify for surveys?

Those recruiting for surveys are often looking for specific demographics to poll or perhaps need to meet a quota of different demographics to fill out their sample size. Because of this, you’ll typically need to qualify for certain surveys and be accepted into them. In some cases the survey site you’re using will pre-qualify you using your profile answers, although each survey you take will likely ask for the same basic information over and over again (sometimes they’ll even ask the same question multiple times in the same survey!). Getting booted from a survey can be frustrating at times, especially if they have a long pre-survey process. Luckily, the two sites we’re talking about today do provide you some consolation prize if you do end up being disqualified.

How long are individual surveys?

Typically when you choose to join a survey listed on a site, it will give you a rough estimate of how much time it will take to complete. These can vary but a typical length is 5 to 3o minutes. I will say that I’ve been able to blow through some studies much faster than the quoted time, while others have taken every second as long as they said (or longer). Remember: you’ll need to make it to the end in order to receive your reward so be careful with which surveys you choose.

What are these surveys about?

Short answer: it depends. What’s more, sometimes the questions they ask you at the beginning of a survey or during the qualification stage can seem so random that it’s hard to tell exactly what the focus of the survey is. Funny enough, there have been plenty of times where I’ve even completed all of the questions and still hadn’t the slightest idea! In any case, some of the topics I’ve encountered involve political issues, advertisements, movie trailers, brand awareness, and much more. Admittedly some of these — such as the ones where you get to screen movie trailers and give feedback — are fun whereas those that find you ranking and giving your impression on dozens of brands can be pretty tedious. So, once again, it depends.

InboxDollars vs. Survey Junkie: What Each Service Has to Offer

Currency

The first difference between InboxDollars and Survey Junkie is the currency they use to reward your survey taking. No, it’s not like one of them will pay you in pesos or yen, but one utilizes points while the other sticks with regular old dollars and cents.

When browsing surveys on InboxDollars, you’ll see payouts expressed in U.S. dollars — or, more accurately, cents in most cases. Meanwhile Survey Junkie uses a point system instead. That might sound like it could be confusing but, conveniently, one point equals one cent. In other words, there’s not much a difference between the two sites in this regard but it’s still worth noting nonetheless.

Desktop experience

Visting InboxDollars and Survey Junkie, you’ll quickly notice a difference in their site design. The former’s homepage is simultaneously basic and busy. Packed with multiple columns, toggling images, and even ads, InboxDollars isn’t the most attractive website I’ve ever seen. Still, it’s pretty simple to find surveys and navigate the site as needed.

Survey Junkie’s site features a much sleeker and more aesthetically pleasing design. On the left, you’ll see your current point balance along with your lifetime points earned. Then, on the right, you’ll see available surveys and how many points each is offering… and that’s about it for the dashboard.

Personally, I definitely prefer the look of Survey Junkie to InboxDollars. That said, the site is not without its flaws. Something that’s a bit annoying about both sites is that surveys open in new windows and then, when you’re done with the survey, returns you to the main site without closing said window. Because of this, you can quickly end up with several open tabs. Clearly this isn’t the end of the world but did get on my nerves a bit during survey binges.

Mobile app

If you’d rather complete surveys and collect cash while on the go, you’ll be happy to know that InboxDollars and Survey Junkie both offer mobile apps. For the most part, these apps are similar to the desktop version of the site with a few minor omissions (namely the games InboxDollars offers, but we’ll get to those in a bit). For each, you’ll be able to select and take surveys just like you would on the site.

One thing I did like about the mobile app experience versus desktop was each app used a built-in browser. Not only did this remove that whole “too many tabs” issue but also made it easy to go from survey to survey. Unfortunately some of the surveys were a bit more mobile-friendly than others but all were certainly manageable.

Disqualification bonuses 

I’ll start with Survey Junkie this time as their disqualification payoff is a lot more straightforward. If you attempt to take a survey and don’t meet the criteria, you’ll typically get 3 points. Similarly, if the survey turns out to be full, you’ll get 2 points. There are times when it seems you should get 3 points and end up with 2 or others when you don’t get anything for some reason but, for the most part, it’s pretty standard.

InboxDollars, on the other hand, rewards you with spins should you get bounced from a survey. These spins can then be used on the prize wheel, allowing you to win up to $5. However the much more likely scenario is that you’ll end up with progress toward unlocking a scratcher card (don’t worry, I’ll explain) or get nothing at all.

So what’s this scratcher card I speak of? There are three different cards you can unlock, each with an increasingly larger top prize. For example the first card allows you to win up to $10 while the third has a grand prize of $100. When you unlock the first card, you can either try your luck then or continue building up progress until you unlock the next card instead. I should note that, while you can win up to $100, the biggest prize I’ve received from one of these scratchers is a whopping .10¢.

Extras

Speaking of games, this is one area where InboxDollars stands out. The site features half a dozen games you can play in order to earn scratcher card progress. These include a bubble shooter, Solitaire, a Crossy Road rip-off, a game called “Candy Jam,” and more. These games are actually pretty cool and I’ll admit that unlocking scratchers is pretty darn fun (even if I typically only win 1 or 2 cents per scratch).

But InboxDollars doesn’t stop there. Looking at the top of the site, you’ll also see tabs for Offer, TV, Search, Videos, and more. I won’t go into all of these but I will note that Offers also happens to spill over onto the homepage. These offers range from free samples to fairly significant bonuses you can earn for making certain purchases or taking actions. Incidentally once one of the deals I spotted involved opening an account with the online bank Aspiration that I reviewed just a few weeks ago. FYI, I have yet to try any Offers (or other tabs beyond Surveys and Games) so I can’t speak to how effective these deals really are.

Meanwhile, Survey Junkie pretty much keeps it simple, offering little more than surveys. This certainly helps contribute to that clean design I praised earlier but I wouldn’t hate it if they added some games as well. That said, I think it’s probably best they stick to one thing as it helps separate them from some of their competitors.

E-mails

Both InboxDollars and Survey Junkie will send you frequent e-mails alerting you to new surveys. However, while they may say things like “exclusive” or “we need you for this one,” most of the time these links lead to surveys that are already full. Therefore, in reality, these basically just serve as a reminder to visit the site. That said, InboxDollars did once send me an e-mail that led me to a $25 survey, so perhaps it’s worth paying attention to these updates every once in a while.

How do you cash out?

Perhaps the largest difference between InboxDollars and Survey Junkie is how much you’ll need to accrue before you can cash out. For InboxDollars, you’ll need to rack up $30 before you’ll be able to claim your cash. Meanwhile, Survey Junkie lets you take your earnings after you reach just $10.

With InboxDollars, you can choose to use your rewards for a PayPal credit, gift card to various retailers, or have a check sent to you. Admittedly it’s been quite some time since I cashed out on the site but I do remember using my balance to get a Starbucks gift card. This involved first getting a link to a gift card marketplace and then selecting which retailer I wanted a card for. From there, I was able to add the digital card to my Starbucks account without issue.

As for Survey Junkie, I actually spent the better part of my weekend taking surveys so that I could reach $10 and review the cash-out process (you’re welcome). Like InboxDollars, you can also select a gift card or PayPal transfer with Survey Junkie but, instead of a check, you can link a bank account in order to retrieve your funds. I opted for the PayPal credit, which transferred seconds after I confirmed the e-mail address for my PayPal account. From there, I could move the money from PayPal to one of my linked bank accounts. Again, it was all quite painless.

The Verdict: Final Thoughts on InboxDollars and Survey Junkie

Ultimately, both InboxDollars and Survey Junkie are legitimate sites that could help you make a few extra bucks. Moreover, from my experience, they seem to offer similar surveys and often comparable payouts. With that considered, I’d give the edge to Survey Junkie overall. That’s mostly due to the much lower cashout threshold and cleaner interface, but I also appreciate that they give you points when you’re disqualified from surveys instead of InboxDollars’ spins.

At the same time, InboxDollars’ games are surprisingly fun and do have the potential to earn you some spare change. And while I haven’t taken advantage of any of their offers myself, some did sounds fairly enticing. So if you’re looking for something beyond just surveys, perhaps you’d want to go that route.

Taking surveys online might not make you rich but there are worse ways to spend your time. If you’re looking for a legit survey site, InboxDollars and Survey Junkie both have their pros and cons. So, whether you choose one site or elect to try both, hopefully you’ll be able to turn your opinions into extra cash.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at https://moneyat30.com/

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