Mystery Shopping Company Review: MSI Services

mystery shopping review, Uncategorized / Tuesday, October 16th, 2012


MSI Services is another great reputable mystery shopping company. It’s widely recommended by other mystery shoppers so I thought I would check it out.

Since 2012, I have completed several mystery shops for MSI Services and they are the most promptly paying mystery shop company I have dealt with. They offer shops in a wide range of retail services, food shops, product placement verification, etc. MSI is a division of TrendSource.

MSI is a leader in the mystery shopping industry and has more than 20 years of experience in providing services to many of the top FORTUNE 500 companies.  Some services and programs that MSI offers include Grocery Mystery Shops, Restaurant Mystery Shops, Pricing & Merchandising Audits, Professional On-Site Inspections, and Healthcare Mystery Shops.

Their website offers a list of all shops available in your area and you can request a shop from the site. The site does not immediately self-assign the shop and you have to wait until it is approved for you, but it’s usually approved quickly. If you want a shop which is already assigned to someone else you can sign up as a backup as well. You have to take a short quiz to sign up for a shop you want to make sure that you understand the instructions and they offer all the instructions on their website so you can refer to them later as needed. Their shop reports are submitted on their website and are are easy to complete and usually pretty short. Shop payments are usually pretty low ($3-$5) but can sometimes be up to $10, plus reimbursement. But as with most companies, if the shop isn’t completed quickly they will offer a bonus to raise the shop payment amount.

There are usually only a few shops available at a time on the site so this is not a company which you will constantly be doing work for, but they are a great company to be signed up with to snag some available shops to add to your schedule.

The primary types of mystery shops which I have completed for MSI are restaurants, though I have also done some retail shops at grocery stores, office supply stores, and drugstores.

MSI Services pays twice a month on the 5th and 20th of each month, so if you have a pending payment by the time the pay date rolls around, they will send it to you via PayPal. Many mystery shop companies pay only once a month and sometimes they will only pay for those shops that you complete in the previous month, leaving you with a two month delay till you get paid. So their quick payment is much appreciated. I would definitely recommend signing up with this company.

25 Replies to “Mystery Shopping Company Review: MSI Services”

  1. Hi!

    I read that Trensource requires an EIN to be paid. I investigated various sections of their web site and found differing answers. Do you have any help you could offer?


    1. TrendSource requires an EIN after you’ve made up to $600/year with us! However, any shops done before you’ve hit that threshold can be completed without having one! Feel free to register at 🙂

  2. TrendSource indeed does now require an EIN. It is part of an ongoing process in updating things. I signed up with TrendSource in the Spring of 2012, and the EIN was required at that time.

    1. i am thinking of signing up to work just doing some research on the company. so the company is legit? no bouncing checks, paid on time ?

      please advise

    2. Yeah they are legit and pay on time. I haven't had any issues with them paying but the commenter below had an issue with correcting the bank account number. So double check it when you enter the info

  3. I was hoping that this would be a great opportunity to earn some extra money. Apparently they decided to post my payment of $80 to my bank on the 12th rather than the 20th as stated. I had my account number wrong and when the 21st rolled around I was paid the $140 payment but failed to receive the previous payment. I've contacted support several times, first I was told that my payment should appear that day and to contact again if it didn't. When I did I was told they were just made aware of this issue and the payment will be posted immediately. Still nothing, the 3rd time I was told to check my account again that it should be posted now. The last time I was told the payment was posted on the 12th and my bank hasn't returned it to them and I probably have a hold on my account. I don't have any holds. I'm beyond aggravated at this point. I don't think I could bring myself to go through this hassle to get a few dollars again. Support doesn't know what they're doing, and it doesn't seem like they care about the people out here doing their work as long as they get their results.

    1. Geez, I'm so sorry to hear about your problems getting paid by TrendSource! I've never had those issues getting paid by TrendSource. I hope you get it solved soon. That really sucks. Most mystery shopping companies that I have worked with have been pretty on point with payment so I hope you have good luck with another company.

  4. As someone who has worked for them for a month or so, I don’t have anything good to say about them. Yes, they do pay on time. But their compensation overall sucks. There’s always someone willing to take the job for nothing, which leaves those of us with sense without any local projects to work with. The long-distance ones are better to do because you can actually request money for distance & time, but once they’re onto you that you’ve figured this out they stop approving your projects. I emailed them this morning to ask them to cancel any / all projects that I’m assigned to or have requested. My car is not worth tearing up going around town for less than minimum wage. If you’re someone who already rides around town, this might be ideal for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it. Their small pay does not account for gas, car maintenance, or time spent.

    1. Yup, this is legit. I have worked for MSI and gotten paid. There are a few more companies that are legit that I reviewed on the Mystery Shopping Companies page here on my site. I will be adding more reviews soon!

  5. Are there any other mysteryshopper sites that are available? Also, do you know of any other sites that are hiring writers on different activities? If so, can you post them or email them to me? Please. Thanks.

    1. Tiffany,
      There are many companies that hire mystery shoppers and I would recommend you start at the Mystery Shopping Providers Association search page which can show you opportunities from their member companies in your area. There are many other gigs which are not listed on that site, but that’s a good place to start.

      As for writing jobs, there are a bazillion places to look for writing jobs. It all depends on what type of jobs you are looking for. I do a little freelance writing and blogging and have found my jobs through individual websites and emails. You can email me at and we can chat about it.

  6. This Admin clearly works for the company! She has deleted a bunch of comments, which she claims to be spams, secondly all she can say that they pay on time or twice a month. all the correspondence is on that, which means she has been hired to do this, no inside information, nothing more just tell them we pay on time. Look, admin we all know what they are, we do not expect something corporate with all the benefits, it is a LOW PAID job. sure there may be some others who do not pay on time or at all. but that should not bother you as you are not doing a review on them but for this particular company.

    just tell us how much they have paid for this project, and let them know I am available for the next one.

    1. Hi Piro. I am the admin/owner of this blog. I do not work for any mystery shopping company though I have worked as an independent contractor to do mystery shopping assignments for these companies, which is how I can review them. Unfortunately, I get spam comments on my site which are from people trying to sell products like hair extensions that are irrelevant. I sometimes get spammy comments on my blog that appear to be from someone working for a mystery shopping company and are not an unbiased comment. I deleted one comment from this thread and honestly it was so long ago I don’t remember what it was. I have since changed the process so that I have to approve comments before they are published and I can weed out spam much easier that way. As you can see, since I have published your comment which is not so pleasant towards me, I am not filtering out only positive comments.

      In my review above I specifically list how much I have been paid for mystery shopping assignments from Trendsource and yes, they are low payment amounts. It can be frustrating and not worth my time, so I tend to work more for other companies that pay better. The mystery shopping assignments that I take on from Trendsource are usually only easy assignments or ones that are bonused because they haven’t been able to get it done and need it completed within a certain calendar window.

      I do not know what type of “inside information” you may be looking for, but I cannot disclose anything proprietary about these companies, such as their specific clients, because I would open myself to a lawsuit based on their independent contractor agreement (which is standard practice for mystery shoppers to sign for each company they work for). What type of information would be helpful to you? If there is more information that would be helpful to include in my reviews, I will include it as long as I am able to.

      Thanks for reading EMTC!

  7. I’m doing my first assignment for MSI TrendSource today so I will let you know if and when I get paid. This one appears to be very good pay for the job assigned. They only calculate mileage as the crow flies and not on mileage you will have to drive or the time to actually make the round trip so i have requested many projects with PAD of $15 to $30 and of course, have not had those projects assigned to me. They appear to be a legitimate company and if you only accept projects close to your house I think it can be an easy source of supplemental income but would not take the place of a full-time job.

    1. Good luck and I am glad you are enjoying working with MSI so far. You are right, many mystery shopping projects close to home are a great source of supplemental income but are usually not enough to pay the bills in place of a full-time job. The work is usually not steady enough to make it full time unless you travel a lot for the mystery shops.

  8. This company is a pain in the butt to work for and the pay is pathetic. More than just a couple of times, and the last time was the last time, they’ve had me resubmit photos already submitted, and answer questions on reports that were already answered within the report. The Last straw was that they refused to pay me for a perfectly good shop I did. They claimed they did not have all of the photos but after reviewing it they stated they did but it was too late to submit to the client. It was only late because of the redundant back and forth. Don’t waste your time or gas on this worthless company.

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