Online companies use rewards systems as payment

How would you like to get paid for giving your opinion? Some research companies claim to do just that, for your participation in online surveys.

I wanted to know if it was really that simple, so I signed up for a couple.

The first place I tried is Bigspot.com .

After agreeing to the terms and conditions, I had to register with some basic personal information.

I earned $5 for confirming my account and got started.

The surveys sent to me listed dollar amounts and times.

Payouts range from 25 cents to a couple dollars, with some taking up to 25 minutes.

You can claim a gift card after accumulating $25. Cash payouts start at $50.

In all, it would have taken more than three hours of surveys for me to earn about $14.

I chose a 10 minute survey, but a few questions in, a screen popped up telling me that I didn't qualify.

Bigspot.com rep Rob Dolafi tells me that "a typical study has both demographic (age, gender, income, ethnicity, etc.) qualifiers as well as behavioral qualifiers."

That means potential participants have to be screened for some surveys.

Another site Swagbucks.com claims to pay for more than just your opinion.

They also pay to play games, take polls, watch videos, even shop at places you normally would go.

You can get three swag bucks for watching about 10 minutes of videos.

But bucks don't necessarily mean dollars, they're points.

For example an Amazon gift card worth $10 will cost you 1,000 swag bucks.

The hours can be long and the wages low, but if the patience and a computer, you just might be able to cash in.

Don't expect to get rich doing this, but you can expect lots of emails and to watch some advertisements.

Also these are marketing research companies, so check out the privacy policies and make sure you are comfortable with what is done with your information.

And if you end up trying it, let me know how it goes and I'll let you know when I get my first gift card.

Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 -1 at 1-855-323-1515 or leave a message anytime.

You can also send me an email, tweet me @letjoeknow or  "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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