Published on November 13th, 2014 | by William Charles0
Credit Card Affiliate Networks
A few people have been e-mailing me and leaving comments recently after I decided to remove all credit card affiliate links from this website. Some people were asking questions that I can’t answer, but the most common questions was “how do you get affiliate links in the first place?”
What Are They?
Basically you go through what is known as an affiliate network. Affiliate networks basically just collect a bunch of different offers from different companies and act as an intermediary between the company providing the affiliate link and a publisher.
When it comes to credit cards, there is really only two players left in the marketplace: Bank Rate & Credit Karma. There are more than two affiliate networks that have credit cards on offer, but they are all owned by either Bank Rate or Credit Karma.
Credit Card Affiliate Networks
Click any of the following links and you’ll be taken to the affiliate section of that website.
- Credit Karma
- Link Offers (Bank Rate)
- CJ affiliate (not owned by either of the two main players, biggest affiliate network in existence but only a few card issuers use it)
I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed.
After you’ve joined an affiliate network, you need to get approved by the different card issuers. Several years ago this was extremely easy, all you did was start a website join an affiliate network and apply for the links that you wanted to promote. Unfortunately a lot of websites acted in malicious ways in order to get consumers to sign up for credit cards, they:
- Didn’t properly disclose they were being compensated
- Provide information that was out of date or inaccurate
- Outright lied to consumers
After a lot of consumer complaints and lawsuits in other industries (most notably payday loans and weight loss) the FTC made it clear that not only were publishers responsible for making sure they were compliant in regards to the law but the affiliate network and the company having their product promoted were also responsible.
For static sites (e.g credit card review sites) this is relatively easy. You have somebody go through the site and make sure there are proper disclosures and that information is accurate (preferably ensuring that the sites draw the data directly so that information remains accurate). For blogs this is much harder, new content is constantly being added so it’s much harder to ensure that all of the information is accurate and compliant.
Because of this the credit card issuers basically had to manually check every post from every website/blog that was an affiliate. Because the majority of affiliates were responsible for only a minority of leads the affiliate networks mostly decide to focus on the small amount of affiliates that were bringing in the majority of the credit card leads.
In general most people should be able to be easily approved for a variety of sub-prime high fee cards (e.g cards that are targeted towards people with bad credit and also come with high annual fees and no rewards programs), Barclays cards and sometimes Discover cards. Getting links from the other card issuers is now much more difficult and you’d need to show that you can send a high volume of leads to the more lenient card issuers first.
If you’re seriously thinking about setting up a website and using credit card affiliate links, I think it’s worth reading a couple of posts first. They are as follows:
- We’re Removing All Credit Card Affiliate Links – Here’s Why by yours truly
- 3 Reasons I Rejected the American Express Affiliate Program by Maximizing Money
- The “Travel” Miles/Points Blogosphere Has Turned Into a Giant Credit Card Pumpization Scheme! by Travel Blogger Buzz