Posted by William Charles on May 2, 2015

Published on May 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles


Affiliate Links & Bank Bonuses – We Won’t Be Using Them

Very few bank bonuses have had affiliate links or even referral links in the past, the main one that sticks out is the Capital One 360. Because of this we haven’t had any formal policy on what we do in terms of using referral/affiliate links or not, generally I haven’t listed mine and instead allowed readers to add their own in the comments section.

Recently Chase launched an affiliate program for their Chase total checking account, which also comes with a $150 sign up bonus. This is an OK bonus, but given that Chase regularly offers $300 bonuses with the same requirements it’s really nothing special (just a friendly reminder, you can always view the best Chase checking bonuses here).

I’m not sure how much the Chase program pays, but for much the same reasons as why we decided to forgo credit card affiliate links, we will also be doing the same for bank bonus affiliate links. In case you don’t know those reasons, here they are:

  • Censorship. Usually when you agree to have these links on your site, you also agree not to discuss certain information. I’m sure Chase would prefer people didn’t use ACH transfers to meet the direct deposit requirement for example (although I have no idea what their content guidelines are).
  • Quotas. Sometimes these programs require you to meet a minimum number of referral/sales to stay active in this program. I don’t want to be thinking up creative ways to push bank bonuses onto my readers.
  • Bias. I don’t want my decision to recommend or not recommend a bonus being biased because I’m earning money if readers do sign up.
  • Perception of bias. I don’t want readers to think that my content might be biased due to me getting paid if they signed up, even if there is no actual bias on my behalf.

As always, I don’t judge any other bloggers who decided to use bank bonus affiliate links (or credit card links for that matter). I think it’s entirely possible to avoid most of those pitfalls I listed above and some bloggers do this quite successfully.

I’m fortunate in that this isn’t my full time job and my full time job pays a nice salary, writing this blog is just an extremely time consuming hobby on my behalf. If a bank bonus has a referral program, we’ll continue to invite readers to include their own links in the comments section.

If you’d like to support this site in other ways, you can. The best way to support this site is by sharing it with friends, family, people you work with and even strangers. You can do this just by telling them about it, sharing it on social media or even linking to it on forums (when appropriate and within the rules, please).

The other way you can support this site is by letting us know about any deals, tips or tricks that we’ve missed. We try to cover as much as we can, but the more people helping the better. You can contact us here. A simple thank you goes a long way as well, if you like anything that myself, Chuck, Miles Whip or Manasa writes then let us know about it. It always makes my day when I hear about a reader taking an amazing trip overseas which was in part thanks to this blog, at the end of the day that’s what makes this worth doing.

46 Responses to Affiliate Links & Bank Bonuses – We Won’t Be Using Them

  1. SingleFlyer says:

    So do you not use any affiliate links? Only revenue is through ads? I’m curious as right now my website is completely revenue negative (i.e. I don’t make any money on it). For me it is also a hobby, but I have thought it would be nice to at least have a bit of income to cover costs.

    • We have affiliate links for a few things: Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, Quizzle, eBay & Amazon. I wrote all three of the credit monitoring reviews before I had affiliate links so I’m very confident that they aren’t biased in any way and they’ve never requested any censorship. The payouts are quite small as well (I get paid about $1.5 per sign up).

      In total I think last month all combined they made about $200, maybe a bit less. I’m considering getting rid of those as well, but not entirely sure yet. Vast majority of the site’s income comes from google adsense and then synchrony add in the sidebar. Feel free to e-mail me if you want some advice on ad placements and what not for your site.

  2. Mark says:


    This is why yours is one of my favorite blogs, in addition to frequent and useful content. Still, I think you should keep a section of affiliate links for those of us who want to express our gratitude financially. I used your link the other day thinking it would earn you guys commission :/

    • Mark says:

      Oh, just one thing, please don’t bring up vaccines anymore. It’s true that the vast majority of people haven’t heard/seen a convincing argument against vaccines yet, since no network dependent on advertising would ever openly oppose Big Pharma. Most people are shocked to learn of scientists/professors from Harvard, NYU, MIT, Columbia etc who are firmly in the anti-vaccine camp, because they never get any media coverage. Bill Maher has been the only one thus far with Robert Kennedy Jr, and that’s only because HBO doesn’t need to worry about advertisers.

      The point is, let’s keep this great blog apolitical 🙂

    • The problem is if we have a section with affiliate links we still run into the same issues (e.g censorship) – it’s just not worth the trade off in my opinion.

  3. Sid says:

    But now you won’t get to be in the Chase Sapphire commercial

  4. stvr says:

    I applaud your principles but I actually DO want you to make money. If you make a lot of money, then you will be incentivized to further such a great blog.

    • Money isn’t a big motivator for me these days, my day job pays extremely well and I’m financially well off at this point. Seeing this blog increase in readership and having readers score freebies is a much big motivator for me – so share the site as much as you can instead.

  5. TravelMore says:

    I wish you had affiliate links so I could use them when I sign up to say thanks. You are spot on with the censorship. I lost my links for FFU because I refused to listen to them when they said I couldn’t promote bump the bonus or post the reconsideration numbers for Chase.

    • It’s interesting that they don’t want people posting the reconsideration numbers, I wonder why that is? I would’ve thought they would want as many approved applicants as possible.

      • HoKo says:

        They probably do want as many people approved as possible BUT they also perceive the type of people that read blogs like this as gamers/manipulators/tricksters…whatever language you prefer. As a result I doubt these are the sort of customers that Chase wants recon department to be working with.

        (Whether or not this is a smart strategy from Chase is debatable. In some cases, such as people that churn cards and never put another dime on them after earning the sign-up bonus, I would tend to agree w/ chase that they want to avoid these ppl as much as possible.

        But on the other hand a lot of people that use their cards for hardcore MS are actually probably highly profitable customers generating thousands of dollars in interchange fees for the banks…but nonetheless I think most banks perceive MS as shady/high-risk/etc)

  6. pointie says:

    The affiliate links will cause things to be skewed, no matter what. Keep this as a hobby…you’ll be able to provide information most don’t want to because of financial interests..

  7. Paul says:

    Keep up the good work. I found your blog by chance, and it has become my number one spot for information.

  8. HoKo says:

    Applaud the decision on affiliate links 🙂

  9. Jeremy says:

    I very much appreciate your ethics, and I like that you cover a lot of valuable things like bank bonuses that many other blogs won’t cover because there’s not a financial incentive to do so.

    After getting unbiased advice from you and FrequentMiler, it feels punishing to read other blogs that I looked at daily when starting out. One of those blogs in particular seems patently obvious as a medium to push lucrative credit cards than “big travel for small money” – it’s absolutely painful.

  10. Joel says:

    Great work – clear, informative and well organized


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  12. pcgeek says:

    Great decision! Thank you

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  18. Diana says:

    Love your blog! It’s a breath of fresh air just finding a blog and full of passionate writers that focus on the content and strive to be honest and straightforward, which is a challenge when it comes to finances. To be honest, I was looking for your affiliate links in order to support the site, since all of you produce wonderful work! Regardless, thank you for doing what you do and helping all of us attain our dreams without wrecking our wallets. To be honest, my significant other and I just moved to another state, so it’ll give us a chance to visit our family and friends. Thank you guys for being awesome!

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  26. Admore says:

    I turned off adblock after reading this, even though you have the annoying – inline ads that are never very relevant and always trying to distract me. You should feel honored 😛 I think I have ads turned off for 3-4 sites total!

    • Thanks, honestly people using adblock doesn’t really bother me. Typically people that use it aren’t going to click ads/sign up/purchase things anyway so it doesn’t make a big difference anyway. That being said, it’s very nice that you turned it off for us! Better way to support the site is just by sharing it with others 🙂

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  28. Robert says:

    Hey DOC,
    I just wanted to let you know that you are appreciated and you seem like a genuinely great guy. There are some other great blogs around too, but i definitely find a lot of information on your site that cannot be found anywhere else… Keep up the great work…

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