Thinking about joining Prolific to make money with paid surveys? Not sure if it is legit or worth the time?
No problem. This Prolific review will answer all your questions around how Prolific works, plus I'll share my personal experience and earnings on the site.
Key Points 🔑
- Legit or scam: Legit.
- Who can join: Anyone 18 years or older in the supported countries.
- Average earning potential: $6.50/hour.
- Average work volume: 1-3 paid studies a day (will vary greatly based on demographics and other factors).
- Ways to earn: Paid surveys (mobile, tablet, or desktop).
- Payout options: Paypal
- Minimum payout: £5.
- Payment speed: Cash outs are on Tuesday and Friday afternoon (GMT), but after 5 cash outs the payment is instantaneous.
- Sign up bonus: None.
How This Review Was Made
This Prolific review was put together with help from LaChoclo, a Reddit user from Chile. After using Prolific for nearly 6 months (earning a total of £92.17 in the process), they summarized their personal experience and earnings for me.
Next, I did a bit of my own independent research into the safety, legitimacy, and reputation of Prolific, and finally edited everything together for this in-depth review. Enjoy!
What is Prolific?
Prolific is a marketplace that connects researchers with relevant study participants (aka survey takers) from around the world. What makes it unique for the participants is the wide range of studies available, a minimum payment of $6.50/hour, and no annoying screeners!
Is Prolific Legit or a Scam?
Prolific is legit. Here are some points to back that up:
- Prolific Academic Ltd. is a legitimate company incorporated on April 10, 2014 (source).
- They list a registered office address: 81 St. Clements Street, The Wheelhouse, Angel Court First Floor, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, OX4 1AW. This is a coworking space and Prolific is listed as one of the companies in the space.
- It's free to sign up and start earning.
- The Prolific site is clean and well-made, with no obvious grammar mistakes, bugs, crazy earnings claims, or other red flags.
- They have active followings on Twitter and Facebook where they share information about their company and services.
- You can easily contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There are plenty of positive reviews online and happy users confirming their legitimacy.
- They pay. Proof.
Keep in mind, although Prolific itself isn't a scam, because it hosts third-party created surveys, scammers can appear on the platform occasionally. More on how to stay safe from these below.
Who Can Join?
- Age requirement: 18.
- Country requirements: OECD countries (Currently: AT, AU, BE, CA, CH, CL, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IL, IS, IT, JP, KR, LU, LV, MX, NL, NO, NZ, PL, PT, SE, SI, and the US). Stay updated here.
- Device requirements: Different types of studies will ask for different platforms. The most used are PC and smartphone.
- Payout requirements: Verified PayPal.
Prolific Safety Inspection
Here's a summary of the important bits:
- They have a valid SSL certificate on their site.
- Personal data they may ask you for initially include your name, email address, birth date, phone number, and address (the latter two are only used for verification purposes, not marketing purposes).
- They may ask you for a copy of your photo ID (like a passport or driver's license) if they need to verify your identity further.
- Like other survey sites, Prolific collects demographic info. This is used to match you with relevant studies.
- Prolific will never share specific personal user data with researchers, only anonymized demographic data.
- You can close your account by contacting email@example.com.
- Some surveys on Prolific may ask for unnecessary personally identifiable information or other sensitive data. Report and ignore these types of studies.
- When you connect your PayPal account to Prolific, they gain access to the contact details on your account.
Is Prolific Safe?
Prolific may ask for sensitive user information to keep their site high quality and free from fraud, but they also have detailed security and privacy practices to keep this info safe. Still, watch out for sketchy surveys on the platform as Prolific doesn't seem to catch these all the time.
Prolific Support Quality
The one time I had to contact Prolific support was for a study I believe was wrongly rejected. Unfortunately, they sort of just hit me with an auto generated email and left it at that. So that wasn't very helpful.
From the web, I've heard good things and bad things about their support team from others. Some say they're quick and helpful, others claim they're unresponsive.
There's also an active subreddit, r/ProlificAC, where you can ask questions and get support from other Prolific users and the Prolific support team.
Overall, I'd say their support isn't perfect, but it's on the right track.
How Prolific Works for Participants
Prolific works similarly to other survey sites in that you sign up, fill out your demographics (they call this the ‘About You' section), and then receive and complete studies.
After completing a study, the researcher who created it needs to approve your answers before you receive payment. This typically takes a few days but, in some cases, can take up to 22 days.
Once you have £5 of approved earnings in your account, you can cash out via PayPal.
Here are a few key unique things about Prolific's survey process:
- You'll never get screened out – Every Prolific survey that appears in your dashboard is one you qualify for. That means you don't have to worry about answering annoying screener questions or getting kicked out of a survey after 10 minutes. The only way to mess things up is if you speed through a survey too quickly, answer an attention check wrong, or provide low quality answers.
- Each study has a description – This way you can learn what the study is, how long it takes, and how much it pays, before spending any time on it. If you're not interested, you can give it a pass.
- All studies pay at least $6.50/hour – Yep, you read that right. This is one of the biggest perks of using Prolific.
Also, most studies are academic, and some are even interactive, so they can be quite fun and interesting.
How Much You Can Expect to Earn (on Average)
As mentioned above, Prolific has a rule that all studies on the platform should pay at least $6.50 USD/hour.
However, you won't have studies available all the time, and most studies take less than an hour to complete, so don't expect Prolific to replace your full-time job.
In my personal experience, I earn around £5 a week on average. You may earn more or less depending on the number of studies you successfully complete.
Needless to say, earnings can vary greatly!
Warning: Some researchers try to cheat the system by publishing underpaying studies (less than $6.50/hour). Be sure to report these to Prolific if you see them.
I've cashed out Prolific earnings 9 times so far. Took me more or less a week to get the first five payments, but now they come in instantly. Here's proof:
Prolific Review at a Glance
- Earning Potential
- Work Volume
- Payout Options
- Payout Minimum
- Payout Speed
Prolific is a legit survey site with some of the highest paying (and most interesting) surveys the game. However, there isn't a huge quantity of paid studies available on the platform, so don't expect to earn more than a few bucks a day.
Prolific Tips: How to Succeed with Studies
First, in order to get a study, keep your “Studies” dashboard open whenever you can. That way, you'll see new studies as soon as they become available.
At the moment study becomes available, reserve yourself a space as quickly as possible. Studies fill up extremely fast.
Once you're in, you'll have 9 minutes to start the study and a certain time (between 10 minutes to 1 hour) to finish it and deliver it.
Be sure to read all questions carefully and provide quality responses. Some studies will have attention checks thrown in, and if you answer these wrong, you may lose out on your earnings. Giving low-quality answers can have the same effect.
If you run into a study that's taking much longer than the estimated time, paying way too little, or asking for sensitive personal information, report it! Prolific will ban the researcher and sometimes even reimburse you for lost time.
- Keep your dashboard open and join new studies ASAP – This is the best way to guarantee yourself a spot in the study.
- Watch out for attention checks – If you answer an attention check wrong the researcher has the right to reject your answers (which means you don't get paid).
- If you believe your study submission was wrongly rejected, kindly reach out to the researcher to try and work something out. If they don't respond, reach out to Prolific support.
- Use the Prolific Assistant extension – This extension will notify you when new studies become available.
How to Withdraw Your Earnings
First, enter and verify your PayPal address by going to your account page.
Next, once you have at least £5 in earnings, head to your account page and hit the cash out button:
Remember: Your first four payments will be sent on either a Tuesday or Friday afternoon. After that, you can receive instant payments.
This is a small optional feature. If you have email notifications enabled, Prolific will let you know when your study submissions are accepted or rejected, how much money is in your account, and if you're at the £5 cash out threshold.
Note: Don't rely on Prolific's study notifications. By the time you receive an email saying a new study is available, there's a good chance it will already be full.
Prolific Pros and Cons
- Decent, consistent hourly pay – Most survey sites are filled with extremely low paying surveys with no enforced minimums. Prolific is different. $6.50/hour isn't crazy, but it's so much better than most other survey sites.
- Paid in pounds – Even if you don't use pounds where you're from, they have a good exchange rate.
- Mostly accurate time estimates – Unlike some survey sites that say a survey is 5 minutes when it's really 30, Prolific offers much better estimates. Not perfect, but better.
- Descriptive surveys – Before taking a survey, you can see what it's about.
- Many times studies may appear in your native language – That means if you speak Spanish, you'll occasionally receive Spanish studies in your dashboard.
- No screeners – Prolific researchers can’t screen you out halfway through a survey. If a survey appears in your dashboard and you fill it out honestly and accurately (watch out for attention checks!), you WILL get paid.
- Instant payments – Although you won't have access to these instantly, they're available after four cashouts.
- Low payout minimum.
- You can only cash out via PayPal – This isn't a huge con, but it's a downside for anyone who can't get a PayPal account.
- Not available worldwide – Only people from a specific group of countries can join Prolific.
- Inconsistent work – Although I typically receive new studies daily, sometimes studies stop showing up for days at a time. I've heard of people going weeks (or even months) without new studies too.
- Studies fill up really fast – Some seem to fill up almost instantly, which can be frustrating.
- Delayed earnings – You need to wait for researchers to approve your submission before you actually receive your earnings. This is just a slight inconvenience.
- No referral program – Prolific used to have a referral program, but it's since been shut down.
Prolific Reviews From the Web
I looked on TrustPilot (where Prolific currently has a 3.9/5 star rating) for recent reviews from other Surveytime users to get a feel for what people like and don't like about the site.
- Interesting and fun surveys – That's not something you hear with many survey sites!
- Fair pay – Some love the minimum $6.50/hour rate on Prolific, others say it's still a bit low though.
- No screeners.
- Easy to use.
- Bonus payments – If you're lucky, you may receive bonus payments for your responses. That's a good incentive to provide high-quality answers!
- Valuable research – A lot of users like how Prolific focuses heavily on academic research-based studies as they actually feel worthwhile to complete.
- Most studies are only available on PC – Although smartphone studies exist, they may be less common.
- Studies fill up too fast – Many users expressed frustration in seeing a study become available and it filling up instantly.
- Slow support – As mentioned above, some have had trouble getting in contact with Prolific support.
- Sensitive bans or account locks – Prolific has high standards and fraud prevention methods, and it seems some users feel they were wrongly banned or had their accounts locked for unjustified reasons.
- Not enough studies – Some say they only get 1-2 a day, or less.
Although some people seem to have unlucky bad experiences with Prolific, the people who have found success with it love it. Most say it's one of the best survey sites around – and I'd have to agree.
Want to leave your own short Prolific review to help others? Click here!
How to Get Started as a Prolific Participant
To get started, head over to Prolific.co and create an account:
Tip: Make sure to create an account as a participant (“I want to take part in studies”) and not a recruiter.
Next, fill in your “About you” page. This is where you'll enter in all your demographic information so that Prolific can match you up with relevant surveys.
Tip: The more you fill out on your about page, the more you'll increase your chance of getting studies.
When you're ready, start up the test study on your dashboard. This is a super simple example study that Prolific gives to all new users. It'll give you an idea of how the studies work and prepare you for the real, paid studies.
Now you're ready to start earning! Wait for the studies to come in and follow the tips in this review to succeed on Prolific.
A lot of people like to compare Prolific vs. MTurk because the surveys on each platform can be very similar. Just keep in mind that MTurk is a lot more complicated at first as its got more going on than just surveys. To learn more, read my full MTurk review where I interviewed someone who's made over $60,000 on the platform.
If you're looking for other paid survey sites, here are a few popular ones:
- Survey Junkie – Earn up to $50 per survey.
- PaidViewPoint – Inconsistent but quick and easy surveys (plus, no disqualifications).
- Pinecone Research – No minimum payout requirements and $3 per survey.
- Lifepoints – Huge survey site that's available in many countries.
- YouGov – Worldwide availability with good surveys and a $15 minimum payout.
For more ideas, check out these articles:
Prolific offers an easy and simple way to earn money by helping researchers. It's not super consistent or high paying work, but it's a good way to earn some extra money on the side.
If you're someone who already spends a lot of time on the computer (e.g. while playing games, watching Youtube, working, etc.), give Prolific a try. Just keep the dashboard open and wait for studies to come in while you do other things.
On the other hand, if you're not able to spend much time on the computer, you probably won't have as good of an experience with Prolific. It could still work, but don't expect much.
Have you used Prolific before? Please click here to leave your own short Prolific review in the comments! Thanks – it helps a lot.