Amazon Mechanical Turk, aka MTurk

Program Name: Amazon Mechanical Turk

Site URL:

Referral program? No

Date joined: 11/25/2010

Amount earned: $3,459.05

Analysis: Definitely recommended! This one has obviously paid the most, and is one program that will pay you if you’re just looking for straight money without referrals.

Here are some tips and advice I can pass on, to hopefully make it easier for you to earn without any unnecessary rejections or problems.

Sign up for an account at a Turker forum to get a good idea of who to work for, and who to avoid. Some helpful forums devoted to MTurk are MTurk Forum, CloudMeBaby, TurkerNation, MTurk Grind and mTurkWiki.

Install the TurkOpticon browser extension  and check Requester reviews before doing any of their work. Don’t work for someone who pays too low, has arbitrary rejections, or is an out and out scam requester. Once you get comfortable with the site, be sure to start leaving reviews of your own so you can help new Turkers too.

Once you’ve got an idea of which Requesters you like the most, sign up for an account at TurkAlert at to get emails as soon as your favorites post HITS.

I tend to primarily do transcription, with an occasional research survey here and there. I only log into MTurk for less than hour per day, so my earnings are very low. There are many people making much more money than I do there, because they devote the time to it.

I do transcription offline for a local college, so that’s what keeps me the busiest during the day. However, I like to log in once daily and get a few HITs in just to keep my account active. During the holiday breaks when school is out and there’s no work to do offline, having MTurk to fall back on is a real lifesaver.

US members can get paid by direct deposit to a checking account or prepaid debit card, or by Amazon Gift Card codes. The minimum payment is $10.00 by direct deposit, or $1.00 to a gift card.

Personally, I choose the gift card option. We use it to buy pet supplies and household goods in bulk that offer free super saver shipping, so that we reduce our monthly grocery bill.

International? This I’m not so sure of any longer. They used to routinely accept members from all countries, but I started hearing in late 2012 that they were only approving new US accounts. If you’re outside of the US, definitely try to apply, but be aware that they may not approve your application. I have heard rumors of certain countries not being accepted, and recently was contacted by someone from Australia who was declined.

Problems with Amazon Payments

Today I ran into a frustrating situation with my Amazon Payments account. It’s even more frustrating because Mechanical Turk has been the biggest earner for me yet.

I received a request to verify the last four digits of my social security number two days ago, which I did. But the next day I received:

Greetings from Amazon Payments:

Thank you for signing in to your Amazon Payments account and verifying your account information.  Unfortunately, we were unable to confirm the information you submitted.

To verify your account information:

        1. Sign in to your Amazon Payments account.

        2. Click the Edit My Account Settings link at the top of the page.

        3. Click Verify My Account Information and submit the requested information.

You can also sign in to your account and contact us if you believe we have made a mistake.

– The Amazon Payments Team

OK. Odd, but I did it again. And then received the same message. And repeated.

Then today, I received this:

Greetings from Amazon Payments:

We appreciate your use of Amazon Payments.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to confirm your account information.  This may be because you failed to respond to our past requests for more information or we could not confirm the additional information you gave us.

In either case, we are now required to restrict your Amazon Payments account features.

Please sign in to your account and contact us should you have any questions about our need to take this action.

– The Amazon Payments Team

I can’t transfer money out of my Amazon Payments account now, which is obviously a huge problem. I’m not going to do any work on MTurk until this is resolved, but that’s really going to cut my earnings down to about zero.  It’s so frustrating because the amount of good HITs on MTurk has finally ramped up, and I was counting on it to be able to pay my insurance bill this month.

I wrote to them asking what I need to do to fix this. I’m hoping it gets resolved soon. That insurance premium due date is looming….

Update 4:30 PM – I received a reply from Amazon Payments, so I’m very happy with how fast they responded. As I expected, they want me to fax them a copy of my ID. I’ll head out to send this fax later on tonight, and report on how fast they resolve this issue. So far, so good.

Update 01/07: Couldn’t get to OfficeMax last night, so I got my paperwork faxed over this afternoon. I’m not expecting anything to happen over the weekend, but it would be great if they could get this fixed sometime next week. I’m missing out on a ton of work, and a ton of desperately needed money. Very bummed, but keeping a good thought.

Update: 01/13: Hooray!  All fixed! I got an email from Amazon today stating the hold was lifted, and I can now log into I’ve missed it!