If you’re serious about earning money from home, you’ve probably heard you can get paid to do surveys from your couch.
If you’ve explored this at all, you know there are tons of sites to choose from—it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start. Which are legit? Which are a waste of time?
The best paid survey sites offer simple signup, an easy-to-navigate platform, and of course, attractive rewards.
Today we’ll review a popular option: EarningStation. Let’s get started!
What is EarningStation?
EarningStation is an online rewards platform that pays members to complete surveys, watch videos, play games, shop, join offers, and more. At this time, it’s only available to residents of the United States.
You sign up with your email (or Facebook account) and share demographic information about yourself to get matched to earning opportunities. Then, you can select from available surveys and offers. Once you complete the activity, your account is credited with the promised dollar amount.
There’s no limit on your daily earnings. Once you’ve earned $25, you can cash out for a gift card.
EarningStation offers 17 different physical $25 gift cards that they mail out. Yes, I’m talking about snail mail. This is their way of verifying your address.
After your first redemption, you can apply for digital rewards. You’ll have to answer a couple of security questions, but if you’ve been honest, it shouldn’t be an issue. The digital gift card selection is smaller, but they’ve got the ones that matter: Amazon, Visa, and PayPal.
Is EarningStation a Scam?
In a word, no. EarningStation is a legitimate way to make money. If you follow the rules, you can easily earn a few bucks a day. It’s not much, but it adds up!
What do I mean by following the rules? They have systems in place for detecting people who are completing surveys with random, false information. If you try to do this, EarningStation will block your account, and you won’t be able to take any more surveys.
Because your first redemption has to be for a physical gift card, you won’t get your reward if you provide a fake address. Again, this deters people from lying.
But if you play by the rules, you can earn a little bit of money by completing surveys, watching videos, and taking part in EarningStation offers.
How to Make Money with EarningStation
Before you answer the real surveys, EarningStation has you fill out a short survey about yourself. It asks for demographic info like your birthday, address, educational background, ethnicity, income, and employment. It pays $2, and the info you share helps EarningStation offer you surveys you’re likely to qualify for.
With that out of the way, your survey board shows you available survey titles, their payout, and the time it takes to complete them. Choose the ones that jump out at you and get started!
EarningStation partners with various third parties to provide offers to join promotional campaigns. When you sign up, you get the benefits of that campaign, plus your payment from EarningStation. Examples include signing up for coupons, buying a product on sale, or subscribing to a service. When I signed up, one of the first offers I saw was $1 for signing up for Green Dot banking.
EarningStation partners with the Game Show Network (GSN) to offer members 20% cash back on every dollar they spend on GSN games. If you would pay to play GSN games anyway, doing so through your EarningStation account gets you a 20% discount in the form of cash back.
EarningStation pays members $0.02 a day to watch a daily video. These videos are short, usually a minute or less. On the Video Channel, you can watch seven more of these short videos a day to earn $0.01. You can’t cheat, though—if you open a video in one tab and then try to go do something in another tab, the video pauses.
EarningStation also partners with third parties to offer other paid watching opportunities. For example, Express Videos pays you $0.01 to watch a certain number of videos, depending on length.
Obviously, you won’t make big money watching videos for $0.01! But it’s something you could turn on in the background while you do housework. It’s better to earn a tiny bit than nothing at all, right?
Do you ever use Groupon to shop for deals? If so, you can earn 5.5% cash back when you launch Groupon from your EarningStation account. Again, if you would use Groupon anyway, why not snag cash back on your purchase?
EarningStation rewards active members by paying out a little bonus every 10 days you meet your daily earning goal. Every time you earn your reward, you also get a free spin on the EarningStation spin wheel. The spin wheel gives you a chance to win prizes like money, gift cards, and merchandise.
The goals and rewards increase over time. For example, you’ll earn your first $1 bonus by earning $0.25 a day for 10 days. The 20-day bonus is $1.20, but you need to earn $0.30 for those 10 days to get it.
For every 10 days, the reward increases by $0.20 and the earning goal increases by $0.05. The maximum reward is $3.60 with a $1 earning goal at 160 days.
EarningStation has a pretty sweet referral program. When you successfully refer a friend, you get 10% of their eligible earnings—for life. Note that it doesn’t include sweepstakes wins, GSN, or video earnings.
The key to making money with the Refer-a-Friend program is to refer friends who will actually use the platform. Unlike some other referral programs, EarningStation doesn’t reward you just for getting a friend to sign up. For you to earn, they have to earn.
Once you have $25 in your EarningStation account, you can cash out. Cha-ching!
The first time you redeem, you can choose from 1 of 17 physical gift cards that EarningStation will mail out to you. Popular options include Amazon, Walmart, Shell, and Starbucks. The downside is that it can take 4-6 weeks for your gift card to arrive.
After that first redemption, you can apply for digital rewards. If you’re approved, you can redeem for an Amazon, Visa, or PayPal digital gift card the next time around. The easiest and most versatile option is PayPal, since it’s essentially cash.
Advantages of EarningStation
Earn Money with Little Effort: EarningStation isn’t a passive income opportunity—you have to do the surveys, shop on partner sites, watch videos, or fulfill offers. But let’s be real, these things don’t take much mental energy. You can fill out a survey while you sit on the couch watching Netflix or toss on some videos while you clean the house.
No Big Time Commitment: The great thing about EarningStation is that you can earn money even if you only have a few minutes to spare. And realistically, there are lots of opportunities to pop online and do a quick offer during a typical day. This makes it easy to get started and keep the momentum going.
See Survey Topics Before You Start: Something that annoys users about survey sites like Survey Junkie is that you don’t know the survey topic before you start. That means you might waste time starting a survey only to discover the topic doesn’t apply to you. With EarningStation, you can see survey topics and choose ones that interest you.
Attractive Redemption Options: It doesn’t get much better than PayPal or Amazon. Almost everybody uses them, and if you don’t, there’s no time like the present.
Disadvantages of EarningStation
It Can Be Repetitive – When you start out, you share your demographic information with EarningStation so they can match you to earning opportunities. Sometimes, though, when you begin a new survey, you have to answer a lot of the same questions again. That can be annoying.
Inconsistencies Will Get You Blocked – Don’t get any ideas about keeping your personal information private. If you make up info and aren’t consistent, EarningStation will block your account and prevent you from taking further surveys. Also, don’t pretend to be a U.S. resident so you can join—they will detect your IP address and block your access.
First Gift Card Has to be Mailed Out – You won’t be eligible to redeem for a digital gift card your first time cashing out. EarningStation will mail your first gift card to verify your address. It takes 4-6 weeks to receive it, which is a bummer. After that first time, though, you can apply for digital rewards.
You Might Get Disqualified – As you go through a survey, you might suddenly get disqualified. This is because the companies are looking for input from a target audience you aren’t part of. It can get annoying if it happens a few times in a row—nobody enjoys wasting their time.
Who Should Use EarningStation?
- Anyone Looking to Earn a Little Extra: If you’re looking to earn a little extra cash without investing a lot of effort, EarningStation is a great solution.
- People Who Enjoy Surveys: It might sound weird if you’re not one of them, but some people genuinely enjoy sharing their opinions for market research. If that sounds like you, you’ll love that EarningStation pays to hear what you think.
- People Who Don’t Mind a Physical Gift Card: Remember, the first time you cash out, you’ll have to wait 4-6 weeks to get a gift card in the mail.
- Anyone Who Can Only Spare a Few Minutes: If you have a busy life, you might think you don’t have time to make extra money on the side. While it might be true that you don’t have time to start a business or get a part-time job, anyone can spare five minutes!
Who Should Avoid EarningStation?
- Non-U.S. Residents – EarningStation is only open to U.S. residents. If you live elsewhere, don’t bother putting in a fake address, they’ll detect your non-U.S. IP address. Yes, you can use a VPN, but it’s kind of pointless because your first gift card has to be mailed to your physical address. How annoyed would you be if you went through all that trouble and then couldn’t get your $25 reward?
- People Looking to Get Rich Quick – There are ways to earn some decent money from home but doing surveys and online offers isn’t one of them. EarningStation can help you earn a little something for easy tasks, but it won’t make you rich.
- Impatient People – It isn’t hard work, but it takes a little while to earn that first $25 gift card, and then you have to wait 4-6 weeks to get it in the mail. If patience isn’t one of your virtues, you’ll probably get frustrated and give up on EarningStation before you’ve earned enough to redeem a reward.
The Verdict: Is EarningStation the Real Deal?
EarningStation is a legitimate way to earn money for online activities like surveys, watching videos, shopping, and fulfilling third party offers.
Sure, there are a few annoying quirks, but overall, it’s a decent platform that can help you earn some extra cash without a lot of effort.