Growing Your Credit Card Affiliate Program – By Lori Weiman

by Jenae Reid on August 9, 2017


If you’re an affiliate manager at a credit card company, you’re laser-focused on growing your affiliate program. I’ve compiled four growth hacks for credit card affiliate marketers meant to save time, mitigate risk, and keep your headcount where it is.

The information comes from The Search Monitor (disclosure: my employer), where I have access to a database of more than 30,000 affiliates and their activities supporting financial advertisers.

Hack 1: School affiliates on federal ad regulations

It’s in your best interest to teach affiliates the complex rules of federal ad regulations in financial services. Their violations can actually lead to a lawsuit for you, so it’s worth it to establish correct procedures and reduce potential risk before you can scale. Your affiliates don’t have time or staff for this.

The government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates the use of items such as:

  • Disclosures (such as interest rates and fees)
  • Language around “fixed” rates
  • Language claiming government endorsements
  • Claims of future performance
  • Authenticity of endorsements

When your ad monitoring tool identifies regulatory issues such as these, notify your partners with clear proof (e.g., screenshot highlighting the problem sections), and then continue to monitor until reaching a resolution.

Hack 2: Automate your compliance monitoring

Every time you change your offers and communicate these to affiliates, you need to monitor your publishers’ sites. Harness web crawlers that never sleep. They will find the trickiest violations that manual searches will overlook.

Affiliates can be very creative to earn more commissions. They may break the rules for just one day, keyword, or geography.

Let advances in technology carry this burden for you. If you continue to perform your compliance tasks manually, you are limiting your program to 20-30 publishers and can say bye-bye to scaling your revenue.

Hack 3: Recruit proven performers

Historical performance data, including perceived threat levels, on credit card affiliates exists. Use it to learn past compliance violations, publishers they have advertised for, and keywords they appear on.

Credit card advertising is risky enough that you need to make sure the publishers are good actors. Affiliate screening greatly limits your risk and reduces the time needed to resolve issues.

Hack 4: Encourage affiliates to brand bid competitors

This hack is a proven way to drive more traffic to your program. It’s perfectly acceptable for your affiliates (and you) to bid on a competitors’ brand. Big brands do it all day.

They can bid on keywords such as their brand name, brand + “login”, brand + product, or even brand typos or URLs. As long as they follow the brand bidding rules of the engines, this is an effective growth tactics for affiliates.

Final Thoughts

Affiliate programs can be very lucrative, but only if you scale your program and manage your risk. With credit cards in particular, your risk is elevated by a watchful, fine-happy regulator. If you can balance scale and risk, you’re on your way to growing a successful credit card affiliate program.



Lori is CEO of The Search Monitor which provides compliance monitoring and competitive intelligence tools.

This article appeared in issue 39 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2017.


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