Banks and credit card companies started shutting down (or temporarily suspending) their credit card affiliate programs in mid-November 2008 in response to the severe shortage of capital available and to reduce the risk posed by online customer acquisition channels that have historically produced less-than-liquid leads.
Credit card affiliate programs that have been suspended to date include:
- American Express Consumer Cards
- Capital One Travel & Gas
- Household Bank
- Orchard Bank
With reductions in consumer lending forecast to escalate to the tune of 2 trillion dollars, affiliate marketers who promoted those credit cards will have to work harder to make up for those lost big buck commissions, as more program suspensions are anticipated.
If you've been affected by credit card program closures, it's time to broaden your scope within the finance niche and entice visitors back to your site with helpful tips and tools that will help them improve their financial standing and weather the economic storm.
Here is a list of alternative products and services that should prove particularly lucrative to credit and finance affiliates.
Credit Score Reports
A person's credit score determines whether or not they can borrow money or buy products and services. It also affects the interest rates for which they qualify. Most people however do not know their credit score and in many cases the report contains inaccurate data that unfairly drops their credit score. Help your visitors learn their credit score by sending them to companies such as Equifax, which provides line-by-line comparisons of credit histories with all 3 credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Equifax Score Watch takes credit score reporting to the next level with continuous score monitoring and notification when a change in FICO® score impacts the interest rate consumers are likely to receive.
Considering how ‘twitchy' the banks are now with lending and raising credit card interest rates at the drop of a hat, it behooves consumers to stay on top of their credit scores, especially if their credit rating is good. Point them to a comprehensive credit file monitoring system that provides automated alerts of key changes to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports. Wireless alerts are available and alerts are customizable.
Improving a credit score helps consumers save money by allowing them refinance their debt and qualify for credit cards at lower rates. You can help your visitors dispute and change the information (misinformation) listed on their credit reports by pointing them to reputable companies that offer credit repair services. One such company is Lexington Law. Payouts start at $45 per completed application and trackable 800 numbers ensure that affiliates are properly credited with all refered sales.
Debt Consolidation and Personal Loans
Debt consolidation is a strategy used by consumers to reduce both the number and amount of their monthly bill payments, by making payments to one lender. LowerMyBills.com is one provider that assists consumers with debt consolidation.
Mortage Rate Comparisons and Refinancing
The federal housing bill that went into effect on October 1st, 2008 injected $300 billion to give some relief to homeowners to insure refinance mortgages, specifically for those who are struggling with their current mortgage terms.
A mortgage is typically a person's biggest lifetime expense, so lopping off even a fraction of a percentage point on a mortgage loan represents savings of tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the term.
Mortgage rate comparisons are fast and free at LowerMyBills.com and their commissions start at:
- $6 per Home Refinance Application
- $6 per Debt Consolidation Application
- $3 per Home Equity Application
- $2 per Home Purchase Application
- $10 per Debt Management Application
Note: As mortgage loans and home equity loan affiliate programs too are being terminated in increasing numbers, you might consider posting a link to a Mortgage Calculator to direct mortgage loans consumers to the merchant where they might find other offerings of interest.
Personal Finance Education
Considering that the current economic crisis is due in large part to personal finance ignorance and mismanagement on the part of consumers (who apparently thought that living beyond their means was an acceptable and never-ending option), it's time to educate the consuming masses to become responsible financial planners and managers.
An Amazon search for ‘personal finance‘ returns 34,778 Results, but under Related Searches you'll see a name you will instantly recognize if you pay attention to money talk in the media – Suze Orman.
Her advice is sound, practical and cheap. Her book, “Suze Orman's Action Plan” sells for only $9.99 on Amazon. Granted, you won't make a killing on commissions at that price, but with her solid branding on CNN and Oprah, chances are that you'll sell a LOT of them with a strong recommendation.
Help your visitors pay less taxes and get back every penny they deserve from the tax man with QuickTax which offers their “Maximum Refund Guarantee”.
- 15% of Sale on paid desktop products (download/CD) and paid online editions.
- Average order value report at $40 on Desktop Products and $15 for Online Editions
FileLater.com, an authorized IRS e-file provider offers easy, online IRS income tax extensions for those who need more time to finish their income taxes. Users can get up to 6 more months to finish their taxes. FileLater pays 20% commission on a sale and reports a 14%+ conversion rate with an average sale price of about $25.00.
Identity Theft Protection
As money gets tighter, identity theft will likely increase. Identity (or ID) theft occurs when a thief obtains Social Security, driver's license or credit card numbers and uses them for personal gain. Numbers are obtained by dumpster diving, stolen mail, computer viruses, phishing and other scams and are used to perpetrate check, credit card and other types of fraud.
LifeLock provides a proactive identity theft service, specializing in the prevention of identity theft rather than the reporting of it. Founded in 2005, Lifelock is the industry leader in identity theft protection. Program pays $37 on monthly service sales and the same on annual plans.
Bankruptcy Filing Kits
The American Bankruptcy Institute recently reported that consumer bankruptcies in the U.S. rose by nearly 33 percent in 2008 with 1.1 million new filings in 2008 compared with 801,840 in 2007. Credit Axis (note: merchant has been deactivated on CJ) offers a do-it-yourself bankruptcy filing kit as part of its $35.95 U.S. one-time membership fee that also includes a:
- Bad Credit Lender List;
- Credit Repair Kit;
- Government Grant Resource and Application Guidance;
- When and Where Government and Police Autions Resource.
The Credit Axis program pays $15.00 on a sale.
In summary, don't give up and shut down your credit card blog when NCSReporting or CardOffers.com keep nagging you to stop advertising those now defunct programs on your site. Update your offers and present your audience with financial products that are relevant to their needs in today's economy.
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