If getting paid to shop sounds too good to be true, then the idea of mystery shopping might seem like a fantasy. Luckily, there are legitimate companies that will pay you to shop.

That’s right! You can earn cash just for doing something that you already love to do.

If you enjoy shopping, then you should start mystery shopping today. It is a great way to earn extra income. It is possible to make hundreds of dollars each month as a mystery shopper.

Is mystery shopping legit?

You might be wondering why a company would ever pay you to shop. Well, the answer is pretty simple. Businesses pay the mystery shopping company to review the shopping experience in their stores.

In turn, the mystery shopping company will pay you to complete the in-store tests. Also, as a mystery shopper, you will be able to set your own hours while earning extra cash.

Of course, this industry has several scams that attempt to lure potential shoppers in with empty promises. Being aware that there are mystery shopping scams is important.

One way to spot a scam is if the company asks for your credit card or requires you to pay a fee to access shops. Legitimate companies do not do this!

So don’t be drawn in by a mystery shopping scam when there are plenty of great options available.

In this article, we will take a look at the best legitimate mystery shopping companies.

Best Mystery Shopping Companies

All of these mystery shopping companies are legitimate ways to earn extra income. Sign up for any that sound appealing. It is a good idea to try more than one company to find out which ones work best for you.

1. Market Force

Market Force has been providing mystery shoppers opportunities since 1972. Overall, the company has an outstanding reputation, so you can comfortably sign up with them.

In fact, market Force has been given the MSPA Shopper’s Choice Award for three years in a row. This high praise indicates that this company is great to work with.

Market Force works with a broad range of businesses. So you should be able to mystery shop for something interesting.

To sign up, you will need to be 18 years old and have a high school diploma. Simply create a Shopper Force account to get started.

You will need to provide your name, email, zip code and answer several personal questions. Once you agree to the Terms of the Agreement, you will be ready to shop!

Market Force will pay you for the shops you complete via check or direct deposit once a month.

2. Secret Shopper

Secret Shopper is a newer company that has been around since 1993. Since its inception, the company has established a strong reputation among mystery shoppers.

The signup process is simple. First, read through and agree to their necessary legal documents.

Second, pass a basic certification test. Third, provide your personal information. And finally, receive your shopper ID.

After this, you will be able to view available shops right away and start earning! The pay per shop is between $12 and $25. Secret Shopper will pay you via check on the 20th of every month.

3. Second to None

Second to None opened its doors in 1989 and has a good reputation among mystery shoppers.

Once you complete the signup process, you will be able to start shopping. You will need to log into your account to claim your next mystery shop.

The rate per shop differs due to the wide variety of stores that work with Second to None.

Second to None pays their shoppers via direct deposit or PayPal once a month.

4. BestMark

BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopping companies in the industry. The Better Business Bureau has given BestMark an A+ score, which is a testament to its amazing reputation.

To become a BestMark shopper, you will need to be 21 years old with access to a reliable way to travel.

The BestMark signup process involves a short application. Once you are approved, you will be able to claim shops right away. As a BestMark shopper, you will receive payments twice a month via check.

5. GBW

GBW is a global company that operates in over 100 countries around the world. The company currently has over 400,000 secret shoppers that are enjoying GBW opportunities.

To get started with GBW, head to their website and click the “Become a Shopper” button. Then select your country, and fill out your personal information. Next, answer a few questions, and include references.

Once your application is approved, GBW will send login information to your email. They will email you if there is an available shop in your area.

When you do any mystery shopping for GBW, you will be paid once a month by electronic funds transfer.

6. Quest for Best

Quest for Best is a mystery shopping company that operates in 40 US states. The signup process is quick and painless.

Just fill out your Online Shopper Profile. Next, Quest for Best will let you know if there are any opportunities in your area. Or they will hold onto your information until a local shop becomes available.

7. About Face

About Face is a smaller mystery shopping company but still worth checking out. Once you sign up, make sure to check the job board regularly.

Sometimes, the company sends out emails with available shops. But usually, the job board has several more opportunities.

The company pays between 25 to 45 dollars per shopping trip. Although, the exact compensation will vary based on the details of the shop. After the shop, you will receive your money via PayPal in 45 days.

8. Pinnacle

Pinnacle has been offering mystery shoppers great opportunities for around 20 years. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The company focuses on helping financial institutions create a better customer service experience.

The compensation for a shop ranges from $4 to $75 and is paid out via PayPal once a month. To get started with Pinnacle, head to their website and click “New Shopper Sign Up.”

Pinnacle will ask you to provide your email, personal information and then agree to the terms. After that, you are ready to start mystery shopping with Pinnacle. You will have to check the job board for potential assignments and sign up when you find a good match.

9. A Closer Look

A Closer Look provides mystery shopping opportunities in a variety of industries. Hotels, traditional retail and restaurants are some of the shops that are available through A Closer Look. This shopping experience could be a fun way to create a very affordable night out.

Signing up for A Closer Look is more involved than some other mystery shopping companies. But the potential opportunities are worth the effort.

First, provide an email to A Closer Look on their website. The company will verify your email address and then send you an application link. Fill it out right away because it will expire in just two days.

The application will take around 25 minutes to complete. They will ask about your personal information and require you to take a quick test to qualify. Finally, you will be asked to provide a summary of your latest dining experience.

Once approved, A Closer Look will send you an email with instructions on how to sign up for your first shop. The company pays via check on the 3rd Friday of each month.

10. Perception Strategies

Perception Strategies uniquely focuses on the healthcare industry mystery shopping. The company was founded in 1998 and has facilitated over 150,000 mystery shops.

As a mystery shopper, you will provide feedback that will help to improve the overall patient experience.

Simply submit an application to get started. Once it is accepted, you will need to complete a short training before you can proceed.

If there are any openings available, then you will be able to start right away. Otherwise, Perception Strategies will store your application until an opportunity opens up.

Perception Strategies offers both in person, website and phone mystery shopping. Each shop will pay between 12 and 17 dollars. The company pays via check at the beginning of each month for any work completed in the prior month.

11. IntelliShop

IntelliShop works with a wide range of businesses, from car maintenance to fast food, and everything in between. So you should be able to find shops that match your interests easily.

In order to become a shopper for IntelliShop, you’ll start by giving them your email. You’ll also need to agree to an independent contractor agreement.

Next, add your personal information, and provide your tax information. After that, you can start earning money that day.

IntelliShop has a job board that you can monitor, but they also send out emails.

Each shop typically pays between 5 and 10 dollars. Most of the shops will reimburse you for what you spend at the store. After you submit your review, they will pay you via PayPal on the 20th of the next month.

12. GFK Mystery Shopping

GFK Mystery Shopping is a UK based company that only works with UK residents. The company has a range of mystery shopping opportunities. They include phone calls, web chats, emails and in person shops.

If you would like to work with GFK, you just have to apply to become a mystery shopper. The application will ask for basic information.

Then you will need to agree to the terms and the independent contractor agreement before you can sign up. Once you are approved, you can start shopping right away.

13. Sinclair Customer Metrics

Sinclair has been providing mystery shopper services since 1987. With an A+ score from the Better Business Bureau, you can feel comfortable working with this well-known company.

The signup process is easy. Start by providing your email and reviewing the Mystery Shoppers document. Then agree to the Independent Contractors agreement, and complete an online application.

If they approve your application, you will need to complete the new shopper survey and the Sinclair new shopper challenge. Now you are ready to shop with Sinclair.

As a mystery shopper with Sinclair, you will have many types of shopping experiences. The pay will vary based on the shop, but Sinclair pays its shoppers via check 60 days after they shop.

Mystery Shopping by Phone

If you do not feel that you have time to mystery shop in person, then consider phone mystery shopping. You will not have to got to a physical store to perform the shop.

So it may be easier to fit into your busy schedule. You could even complete some shorter phone mystery shops on your lunch break.

The basic principle of phone mystery shopping is the same. You will call the company and try to find the answer to a specific question. After the call, you will record your experience and get paid.

Here’s a list of the best phone mystery shopping companies:

14. Yardi Matrix

Yardi Matrix provides chances to mystery shop in the commercial real estate industry. If you are approved, then you will be asked to call apartment complexes and ask specific questions. You will be asked to evaluate your experience from a renter’s point of view.

Yardi Matrix requires that you submit a current resume to start the application process. If they hire you, the company will assign calls based on their needs.

Yardi Matrix works differently than most mystery shopping companies. They ask that you become an employee instead of an independent contractor.

Based on your current arrangements, this could be good or bad. The main difference is that your taxes will be taken out automatically.

They fill the seasonal employee positions three times each year. Each season lasts for roughly six weeks. The company expects that you are willing to work about 10 hours a week during this period.

But if you want mystery shopping to be more flexible, then Yardi Matrix is not the best choice for you.

15. ARC Consulting

ARC is a worldwide phone mystery shopping company that works across several industries.

To work with ARC, complete the application and enter your PayPal information. After you are approved, you will need to complete a training meeting before you can sign up for shops.

The pay per phone call ranges between $3.50 and $12. It will vary based on how much work ARC has available.

16. Call Center QA

As a mystery shopper for Call Center QA, you will be helping businesses improve their call center experience. After you call a company, you will be asked to evaluate and write a summary of the call.

To begin working with Call Center QA, you will need to fill out an application. It covers basic information, demographic information and education. Once you are approved, the company will contact you when openings become available.

Each phone call will earn you $5 that will be paid via PayPal quickly.

How much can I earn as a mystery shopper?

Mystery shopping is a great way to earn extra income. But it is not something that you should rely on to pay your bills.

The number of shops you are able to do each month will likely vary. Some companies can offer one mystery shop a month, while others have several available each week.

A big factor in the number of available shops is your location. For example, if you live in a large city, then expect more mystery shopping openings. But if you live in a small rural community, then the chances of mystery shopping may be more limited.

With that said, don’t let location discourage you from giving mystery shopping a try.

To maximize your mystery shopping earnings, consider signing up as a shopper for multiple companies. Also, check the available shops regularly.

And claim shops as quickly as possible. The competition among mystery shoppers can be intense. So check in often to avoid missing the best shops.

Once you sign up for a shop, make sure to show up and do a great job. If you miss a shop you signed up for, then you might not have as many mystery shopping chances in the future.

However, if you do a good job, then the company is more likely to assign shops to you in the future.


If you enjoy shopping, you should consider trying out the legitimate mystery shopping companies we’ve listed.

Mystery shopping income may not be reliable. But it can be a fun and easy way to earn extra money. It may also provide you with an opportunity to explore new stores within your area.

Will you take this opportunity to do something you enjoy while building your bank account?