The travel industry is a good market to promote credit card affiliate programs due to the high number of rewards cards.
The majority of mainstream credit card providers tightened the rules on affiliate marketing years back due to FTC regulations. A number of them now use Refer-a-Friend programs but there are still opportunities with a variety of credit card providers, just not the big banks.
Commissions on credit card affiliate programs can be tied to the approval method. Some will stipulate that commissions are only payable on auto-approved applications, reduced fees for pending review, and zero commissions for declined applications.
For that reason, it helps to target your marketing towards groups of people likely to have above average credit scores.
The largest commissions are on applications from people with prime credit scores. People with no credit history (students for example) and those with impaired credit would be better suited to credit building credit cards.
Quick Facts on the Credit Card Industry
- The debts owed by Americans on credit cards are the highest they’ve ever been. People with high debts will be interested in low-interest balance transfer credit cards, in particular those with interest-free periods.
- Those with above-average credit scores take advantage of rewards cards. It’s estimated that 75% of credit cards used the most often are attached to a rewards scheme.
- Business users will be interested in loyalty cards, especially those with air miles, or hotel reward points that can be used for accommodation when traveling.
For a high-level overview of the credit card industry, you can find market overviews by the year on ConsumerFinance.gov. Here’s the link for the 2019 Consumer Credit Card Market Report.
- Promote credit card offers based on the best loyalty rewards.
- Focus on introductory offers.
- Finance websites could keep an updated list of credit card offers for balance transfers to help customers save on interest fees.
- Promote credit building credit cards to students and those with a limited credit history.
- Travel rewards credit cards are ideal for digital nomads and those who travel frequently for business.
12 Credit Card Affiliate Programs
- American Express (Canada)
- Avianca Lifemiles
- First Progress
- Credit Card Broker
- Card Cruncher
- Luxury Card
- Credit Builder Card
- Vanquis (UK)
- Petal Card
1. American Express (Canada)
American Express (AMEX for short) is one of the big three credit providers. If you don’t know, the other two are VISA and Mastercard.
Any current account holders can use the refer-a-friend program to earn up to 5,000 reward points per referral. There is a cap of 225,000 member reward points per year. The points rewards are handy for travel affiliates and others who prefer loyalty rewards instead of cash.
The vast majority of affiliates want the cash, but not many of the mainstream card issuers have cash paying affiliate programs. It’s mostly points, until a credit company needs to expand their presence in an area.
In the case of American Express, they’re paying affiliate commissions on credit cards issued to Canadian residents.
The AMEX affiliate program is managed by Commission Junction, uses a 7-day cookie, and pays between $150 CAD and $200 CAD for each new customer, depending on the type of account opened. They are not paying anything for leads.
Commissions drop to $100 for eligible accounts opened by existing members upgrading their accounts.
Sign up on CJ.com (Publisher ID: 5038514)
2. Avianca Lifemiles
Avianca Lifemiles offers a credit card suited to frequent flyers, most notably, those who use flights from the Star Alliance, which has 26 member airlines.
The credit card is issued by Banco Popular, based in Puerto Rico and has two credit card offers,
- Avianca Vuela Visa®
- Avianca Vida Visa®
Both cards are aimed at increasing the miles flyers accrue faster by offering bonus LifeMiles when paying with the Avianca Credit Card. They also have introductory offers for balance transfers.
The affiliate program is managed by Commission Junction and pays $200 for each approved application and the cookies are set to 30-days. A lower commission of $140 is paid for applications that are pending review. Denied applications don’t qualify for any commissions.
The Avianca Lifemiles affiliate program would be best suited to those in the travel industry, or hotel affiliates promoting chains with loyalty programs, as the target customers are those interested in rewards and bonuses.
Sign up on CJ.com (Advertiser ID: 5148134)
3. USAA Credit Cards
USAA are a financial services company with a specific audience demographic. Serving and non-serving military personnel.
In 2019, the size of the military community was 37 million. A vast majority of military families tend to shop in places offering military discounts. There is a lot of them. So much that you could build an entire site around military discount stores.
The USAA affiliate program is available through FlexOffers.com and pays $25 per lead. Affiliates can also earn commissions on all other financial services on a per lead basis.
The USAA affiliate program is also listed on Commission Junction, but, CJ.com affiliates are not allowed to mention “USAA credit cards” on their websites, but instead focus the marketing on insurance products. (Commission Junction only pays for leads on USAA insurance products anyway.)
4. Avant Credit Cards
Avant is a personal loan company, but they also provide credit cards with a lower credit limit of $300 to $1,000 with an annual fee of $29-$39. These are suited to people trying to build their credit.
The recommended credit score to be approved for an Avant credit card is 630 and higher. A good credit score is considered to be closer to 700, so this could be used to build credit from average to good, which is when someone would be eligible for a better credit card deal.
The Avant affiliate program pays per lead and is run privately. Affiliates can promote the personal loan offers through Commission Junction, but not for credit cards. For those, you need to work directly with Avant.
They don’t provide information on the commission structure other than they pay per lead (not per sale) and pay out monthly.
It’s no secret that people get into a lot of debt by mismanaging their credit. Payoff.com provides a personal loan service to pay off credit card debt.
For customers with a minimum of $5,000 credit card debt and either a fair or good credit score, they can provide a debt consolidation loan. These can lower the total interest repayable, but more importantly, it allows people to keep their credit card accounts open, providing an emergency line of credit if needed.
A study done by the company in 2019 showed customers’ FICO scores increased on average by 40 points by consolidating credit card debts into one loan.
To qualify for a debt consolidation loan, customers need to have:
- $40,000 annual income
- Less than 50% debt to income ratio
- A minimum credit score of 640
- 3 years credit history
Customers taking out a loan with Payoff.com are given a free FICO score report every month showing the changes made to their credit score the more their debt is repaid. Only a handful of lenders provide this service free. Most charge for credit monitoring services.
6. First Progress
First Progress provide credit cards for building or re-building credit. Rather than providing credit, customers need to fund their accounts. The money deposited is used as security, so they don’t actually provide credit.
The cards require an annual membership fee and they also charge interest on the credit card transactions.
How they work to improve credit ratings is by reporting monthly to each of the three main credit bureus.
The affiliate program is managed by CommissionSoup.com and is also available on CreditCardBroker.com. None of those networks disclose the commissions, but rumor has it, they pay $45 per funded account of the First Progress Platinum Select and Platinum Elite Cards.
For more details, contact the team at CommissionSoup.com or see below for details on the CreditCardBroker.com affiliate program.
7. Credit Card Broker
Credit Card Broker have a number of financial products you can promote including credit cards for building credit and some of big-name brands that are exclusive to the network.
To be approved as an affiliate, you need to be experienced in affiliate marketing and have a website and preferably a good amount of US traffic. When applying, they also ask you to be specific about your marketing plan.
Commissions vary by the product sold and vendor and there’s no information provided about how much of a share their affiliates are paid. It can be assumed they’ll use a revenue share model as they are the main affiliates and you need to use their links.
It should be noted that being approved by CreditCardBroker.com won’t mean you can promote any program listed. Some of the bigger banks will need to manually approve your website before you can add affiliate links.
If you’re considered to be a suitable partner, they’ll arrange a phone consult. Take that time to get your questions answered like, what’s your share? They don’t publish rates publicly.
8. Card Cruncher
CardCruncher.com is a credit card comparison and recommendation website for customers to find the best cards based on their unique circumstances.
It speeds up the process of reviewing different cards for different needs.
Customers input their spending habits, and then the software categorizes those into groups such as eating out, travel, leisure, utilities, etc. Based on spending habits, the platform would recommend the best card that would return the most savings.
The affiliate program is managed by Aragon Advertising and pays an 80% revenue share.
The target audience is millennials aged 23 to 35 years old, however, anyone with a prime credit score interested in the savings they can get from using rewards cards would be a good fit for CardCruncher.com.
9. Luxury Card
Luxury Card is as the name suggest – luxury. The cards themselves are made of either steel or carbon creating a prestigious card weighing 22 grams.
They have three different card levels.
- The Gold Card
- The Black Card
- The Titanium Card
The fees are high for any of these reward cards and that’s reflected in the affiliate commissions.
Naturally, the target market are high earners interested in getting the most in rewards. Rewards are 2% cashback and 2% on airfare points as well as zero foreign transaction fees.
Additionally, they give members access to a concierge service via an app that can be used to help with travel itineraries, booking reservations, or sourcing gifts when traveling to a business meeting, as examples.
The Luxury Cards affiliate program is managed Commissionsoup.com, uses 30-day cookies, and pays up to $405 per lead.
10. Credit Builder Card
The Credit Builder Card service provides a secured credit card with a $200 spending limit. It’s designed to improve credit scores.
To open an account, a refundable deposit of $200 is required. This is returned when the account is closed, provided all transactions are paid for in full.
The service reports to all three major credit bureus, which is how it helps people build credit or start repairing a damaged credit score.
Charges for using the service are $29 per year with interest charged at 19.9%.
The affiliate program is privately run and they are looking for partners in the credit repair niche.
Commissions are $15 per funded account rising to $20 after 3 successful referrals, and payments are paid monthly either by check or ACH transfer.
11. Vanquis Credit Cards (UK)
Vanquis are the credit card arm of the Provident Financial Group serving the UK market.
The company was established in 2007 to provide credit building cards in the UK but not for poor credit. The service is for those with a limited credit history and those with an uneven credit history.
Examples of those suitable for a Vanquis credit card would be students who live with their parents, therefore, they have no utility bills, perhaps still using a family plan for their cell phone and haven’t applied for credit.
The fewer information lenders have from past lenders experience, the more likely they are to decline applications.
For customers finding themselves lacking credit history, that’s where Vanquis could be a good fit.
The affiliate program is managed by Optimisemedia.com but Vanquis doesn’t provide details about commissions or tracking.
12. Petal Card
The Petal Visa Card is a starter credit card for US residents, similar to how the Vanquis card for the UK is for those with a limited credit history.
With the Petal Visa Card, US residents with a limited credit history can avoid paying fees for credit building cards, while earning up to 1.5% cashback.
The credit limit starts at $500, and interest rates are between 12.99% to 23.99% and there are no foreign transaction fees, which could also make it a suitable card for frequent travelers who are paying foreign transaction fees on their current card.
The affiliate program for the Petal Visa Card is managed by Impact.com and pays up to $36 per sale.