Published on October 1st, 2014 | by William Charles49
We’re Removing All Credit Card Affiliate Links – Here’s Why
Credit card affiliate links have been getting a lot of attention lately. I’ve been tossing up what to do, on one hand having these links has the ability to make me a lot of money in a short period of time on the other hand there are a lot of potential negatives to having these types of links. Despite the larger credit card issuers getting in touch with me regarding advertising, I’ve made the decision that effective immediately all credit card affiliate links will be removed from this website. Below are some of the reasons as to why I made this decision, they are in no real order.
- When you agree to have these links on your website, you also agree not to post certain information. In the past, this actually hasn’t really been enforced and I’ve never removed content or not published content because of this – although it was made apparent that the larger card issuers would require this. To me, this totally defeats the purpose of having this blog – I like to post work arounds and tips that the bank would prefer that you don’t know about. The banks want to pad their bottom line and I want to pad your bottom line. They’ll even cut you if you post parody material.
- Although not officially discussed, most of the larger programs require you to make a minimum number of sales otherwise you will have your links removed. I don’t want to create content on this site purely to make a quota, I want to post information that I personally find useful.
- There is a risk that my moral compass would be swayed by the large amount of cash on offer. Credit card sales is a massive business, I think some people don’t realize how big of a business it is. To give you some perspective, here are some stats that you might find interesting:
- In 2010, Bankrate acquired creditcards.com for $145 million, bankaholic was acquired for another $14.9 million and LinkSpectrum another $42.1 million. Bankrate dominates this space, but Credit Karma is gaining ground and has received almost $200 million in funding to date.
- According to the Google Adwords tool, most credit card related keywords have bidding at $10+. This means that for every person that clicks an advertisement the advertiser has to pay $10 or more, if these advertisers are paying $10 for a single click then you know they are receiving a large payout for each approved credit card.
- Even though my moral compass wasn’t swayed (and I don’t believe it ever would be due to myself earning a nice living in the banking sector) my readers perception of my motives could change. I’ve been accused of promoting certain offers because I have affiliate links for those offers, when that simply is not the case. I’d rather my readers know that I’m promoting things with the right intention.
I personally don’t judge other bloggers that do have credit card affiliate links on their websites, I think it’s entirely possible to do it with integrity and without creating content for the sole purpose of selling cards and I think there are some that do this extremely well. For myself, the cons far outweigh the pros.
Card issuers have been forced to tighten who has access to these links, so you’re now seeing less and less bloggers without them. This is largely because a number of websites weren’t complying with federal and state laws and then the affiliate networks and the card issuers themselves were being held accountable.
It looks like the card issuers have already found a loophole for this, instead of running through an affiliate link network they are instead doing it internally and marketing it as a refer a friend bonus. It’ll be interesting to see what the FTC & CFPB have to say in the future, my guess is they are going to get in trouble and this smoke screen won’t fool anybody.
If you want to support this site, read it and then share it with whoever you think will find it helpful. Writing this blog is a hobby for me, I am very lucky in that I have a real job that pays me an excellent salary and I get to travel the world while doing so. I don’t need credit card affiliate cash to survive and I certainly don’t want to sell my integrity for money.
I’d also like to use this post to remind my readers of two extremely important things:
- If you carry a balance on your credit card and pay interest, the bank wins and you lose. Credit card interest rates are insanely high and that’s even before taking into account the ridiculous fees they often tack on. If you’re struggling, there is almost always a better option out there other than paying credit card interest. Explore your options, credit unions typically have much better rates on personal loans than banks. You should be living below your means and building an emergency fund.
- Be mindful of who’s affiliate links your using, as mentioned previously when your approved using these links the bloggers get a big pay day. Support bloggers who do the right things (e.g properly disclose when they get paid, tell you about links which are superior to their own and provide useful content).