Students are traditionally without a pot to do their business in and over the years i have heard of some interesting ways that they raise the cash to fund their refuelling habits and a popular one that i have heard of recently is using their computers to fill out online surveys.
The same names of survey sites do seem to crop up, both the good and the bad, but before i pass on the info to other students who were after ways to fund the weekend binge drinking trip, i decided to sign up to as many as possible and try them out for myself so i was giving out the info from a position of experience.
Almost all the sites you had to earn a certain amount before they pay you, others pay out much quicker and some pay straight into your bank, via a PayPal account or with vouchers so i dismissed the voucher paying ones and concentrated on the Paypal and bank account ones because as far as i am aware, barmen won't accept a £10 Love2Shop vouchers for a round of drinks.
Another consideration was the sites that send the most surveys to complete and how much they paid per survey, how many times you were 'screened out' after you started as you didn't fulfil the criteria so after a couple of months these are the survey sites that i can honestly suggest the students sign up to.
1. Prolific. This is an academic survey site and the surveys are generally 5-10 minutes long and generally pay around £1 per survey and the surveys are on all different subjects and i received about 3-4 a week. You can cash out at £5 and it takes about 5 days to receive the funds into PayPal.
2. My Survey. Probably the site that send the most surveys and you get points for each survey and can cash out when you reach 1000 points. They sent a wide variety of survey subjects and most are worth 50-70 points and take about 15 mins each but 20 surveys is easily achievable each couple of weeks although i was screened out of about 25% after the initial 5 or 10 questions had been answered.
3. Global Test Market. Run buy the same people who run MySurvey, a very similar site that run along the same points system and cash out comes at 1000 points. Many surveys each day, most 10-15 mins long with a wide variety of subjects and 50-70 points for each so again each fortnight you could be receiving at least £10 for your efforts. The screen outs are a little higher for this site, at least a third you will not get past the first few questions which can be annoying when you get a run of them.
Those are the main three and with minimum time and effort expended, you could expect to receive £30 each month for about 30 mins surveying if you signed up to all three.
There are others which i would recommend if you have the inclination or a bit more time to sit in front of your computer.
4. Opinion Outpost. Not so many surveys and you receive £2.50 for every 50 points with each survey ranging from 5-25 points and taking between 5-20 minutes each. A wide range of surveys and i was getting at least 2 per day to complete with a screen out rate of about 50% so not as reliable of an income as the three above which is why it is in the 'so-so' column.
5. Survey Bods. You get the cash equivalent for the points at this site with a cashout at £15 but the surveys are very few and far between but each is worth about 75p when you do get them. Screen Outs are quite rare, about 10% i found, but with only 1 survey a week, the £15 cashout will take a few months to reach.
6. One Poll. If you like your surveys quick and easy this is one you should sign to, each survey takes between 2 and 5 minutes but while each is worth between 10p-20p and the cashout is £40, you do get a lot of them, at least 5 per day. Like SurveyBods, this is one that you would do with an eye on harvesting the cash a few months down the line.
7. PanelBase. This is near the bottom of the so-so column for a reason, many screen outs. Survey are mostly 10-20 minutes and you will get between 50p and 1.25 for each and can cash out at £10 but the screen out rate is high, as much as 60% so you will spend much time getting 5 or 10 questions in before being told you don't qualify so while you could get £10 a month, about two thirds of your time will be spent getting nowhere fast.
8. Mintvine. Love and hate this site, Love it because you get surveys galore and they can take between 2 and 20 minutes for between 5 and 100 points each but the screen out rate is ridiculously high, 80% is not an exaggeration and where the Hate enters the fold.
They do sometimes throw you a couple of points for screenouts but you could easily spend an hour either racking up points towards the 1000 you need to cash out or continually being told that you didn't qualify. If you can stand the frustration and you have the time to wade through the array of surveys they dish up, you could easily reach the £10 target each month but be prepared to waste
a lot of time being told you didn't qualify and to have a go at another one.
My recommendation would be to definitely sign up for the top three and maybe a few of the second five and you can expect to see about £50 go into PayPal every month for about an hours work each evening which won't make you rich but should sustain you through a college year and those weekend mornings where you wake up in a neighbours front garden, cuddling a traffic bollard and wondering whose sick is on your shoes.