Signing Up with & MSPA Certification

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Yesterday, we discussed how to navigate a legitimate website that lists reliable mystery shopping companies. When I signed up, I used Volition, but I have since discovered one more website that I find incredibly helpful: Mystery Shopping Providers Association, or MSPA.

The best part about MSPA is it goes beyond a company listing. It offers helpful insights, information, and recommendations to get started with shopping. Here’s how to use the site to start signing up for companies.

At the home page, click “Shoppers” in the menu bar.

MSPA Homepage 1



Find and click “Member Companies.”




From here, you should be able to access a list of mystery shopping companies to start filling out applications for. There are no company descriptions, so I would recommend signing up for all of them. If you have signed up through Volition, you will notice a lot of repeat companies.


This is also a good list if you want to sign up with fewer companies and sign up with more over time. However, I still stand by my rule of thumb: the more companies you sign up with, the more job offers you will get. The more job offers you get, the more picky you can be. And the more picky you can be, the more money you will make.


MSPA Certification

On the MSPA website, and almost every mystery shopping application you will fill out, you will notice that it mentions MSPA certification. There are two levels of MSPA certification: Silver and Gold.

Obtaining an MSPA Silver certification is $20. You are required to take a very basic skills test.

Obtaining an MSPA Gold certification is $75 and a bit more extensive. It requires watching a video e-course and passing appropriate tests.

Even though you will be told by me and others never to pay for mystery shopping, this certification is different. It is not a scam. It is a completely optional certification (both levels), and does not guarantee you will get any mystery shops. It simply helps you put your foot in the door and get ahead on your business.

Am I MSPA certified?

No, I never took the silver or gold level of MSPA certification. Therefore, I cannot personally speak for how much it helps in the mystery shopping world. I did not know the specifics of the certification when I applied, so I did not pursue it. Now that I have been able to prove myself a trustworthy shopper, I probably will not go back and complete any certifications.’


mystery shopping blog


Do you feel overwhelmed with all of these different companies? If you are just looking for a few companies to get established with, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s post. I will be dishing on my top mystery company picks!

If you have any questions, ask below and I will answer them as quickly as I can. Since I know I have some current mystery shoppers reading this series, I’d love to hear about whether or not you are certified. Additionally, I am looking for more mystery shoppers- brand new or well-seasoned, to interview for this series. Email me at if you’re interested!



  1. Several year ago I’ve looked into this business, but didn’t get into it. I think it was because of this certification, which I didn’t want to pay for. This time after reading your last post I’ve started applying like crazy and was able to get assignments. I’ve signed up for 6 this week so far, and completed 3 already in my first 2 days. And there is this one company that is now sending me personal emails, asking to help with their shops that are due to expire. There was this other job posting on Volition with higher rates, and they were only looking for experienced and certified, so I got shy at first. But seeing the postings weren’t going away I emailed the guy, and he replied and sent me a contract. I still want to get certified, but it’s $20 for silver, I don’t see how you can get it free.

    • I am so glad you’ve had success with it! IT’s always worth a shot to try for those companies and jobs that seem out of reach. You’re right about the certification. I went back and read the information on the website that confused me, and it was worded somewhat confusingly. But, I changed my post to reflect the accurate information. Thanks for that!

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