Mortgage & Credit Card Affiliate Marketing – Can you Make Money in 2017 And What Are The Best Programs?

Consumer finance is a huge market in America.

At the end of 2016, personal debt in America stood at over $12.5 trillion.

Total Debt Balance an its Composition

This doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

73% percent of this date is made up of mortgages and credit cards.

Americans have an insatiable appetite for credit cards and many people view owning a home as part of the American dream.

It’s little wonder then that there is tough competition in credit card and mortgage affiliate marketing.

Is it still worth promoting these offers? If it is, how much money is there to be made?

Read on to find out.

The Credit Card and Mortgage Industries by Numbers

How Much Money Can be Made?

$434.2 million.

That’s how much Bankrate made in 2016.

Mortgage Rates for May

Nerdwallet also made over $100 million in 2016.

NerdWallet

Bankrate is a huge, publicly listed organization and Nerdwallet has raised $64 million in funding.

Don’t expect to be making millions of dollars per year. At least, not yet.

What it does show, however, is that there is a huge amount of money to be made in mortgage and credit card affiliate marketing.

What are People Searching For?

Embed Google Trend

Mortgage loan Google trends

As you can see from the Google Trends graph, there is more search volume for credit cards than there is for mortgages.

The volume for both, however, is still significant.

But what are people searching for specifically? And, what might be some good keywords to target?

Let’s take a look.

Credit Card Keywords

Keyword Difficulty Volume (desc)
best buy credit card 11 578,000
best credit cards for travel 27 9,200
credit card comparison 39 8,700
best credit cards for students 31 8,700
credit card consolidation 34 7,800
best credit cards 2017 35 6,700
how many credit cards should i have 4 6,500
best credit cards for bad credit 33 5,000
credit card reviews 31 4,100
credit card deals 39 3,800

There are a number of branded keywords (Best Buy credit card, JC Penney credit card, Lowes credit card).

These branded keywords have a high search volume and low competition. While that sounds like a great combination, there is a reason for the low competition. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that these cards do not have an affiliate program.

Although they are not immediately monetizable, it could make sense to target this traffic to capture email addresses or brand exposure amongst other things.

There are a number of best x for y searches that IMers can take advantage of (best credit cards for travel, best credit cards for bad credit). These are a great opportunity to put together great pieces of content that could generate significant revenue.

Finally, there are some keywords that give you an idea of what the supporting content may look like. Keywords like “how many credit cards should I have?”.

This might not be a monetizable keyword but it provides an opportunity to create great supporting content. This content allows you to build trust with the reader. It can also be an opportunity to capture email addresses at the top of the funnel.

Mortgage Keywords

Keyword Difficulty Volume (desc)
mortgage calculator 84 1,770,000
how much mortgage can i afford 53 25,000
best mortgage rates 23 9,800
mortgage lenders 33 7,500
mortgage pre approval 32 5,000
what mortgage can i afford 53 6,700
mortgage rates utah 11 1,200
mortgage rates wells fargo 21 1,100
mortgage with bad credit 25 900
imortgage reviews 0 350

There is a lot of search traffic for “mortgage calculator”. There is also a lot of competition for “mortgage calculator”. Google have even created a mortgage calculator widget that appears in the search results.

Mortgage calculator

Reading between the lines, this tells me that people want personalized information. They do not just want general information.

This could make it difficult in the mortgage stage while starting out unless you have the resources to implement a system that can calculate mortgage rates based on user input.

There is also a lot more people looking for information rather than to buy outright. Keywords like “what mortgage can I afford”, suggest that the readers are at an earlier stage in the buying process and are not necessarily ready to purchase immediately. This could be another chance to capture emails at the top of the funnel and guide the users through the entire mortgage process.

Finally, there are also keywords that provide opportunities for reviews, such as “wells fargo rates” or “imortgage reviews”. Reviews are a great way to generate revenue.

Users will often search for a review after having already made their decision to purchase. They are looking for confirmation that they have made the correct decision. The high purchasing intent of these keywords means that conversion rates can often be high if your site is well optimized.

What Kinds of Offers are Available in Mortgage and Credit Card Affiliate Marketing?

How are the Offers Structured?

With mortgages and credit cards there are two options. As a publisher, you can either receive affiliate revenue directly from the bank/ financial institution or go through a 3rd party.

The banks themselves would be someone like discover.com or chase.com.

These 3rd parties are often comparison sites such as CardRatings.com or Wallethub.com.

When it comes to credit cards, deals tend to be structured in the same way they are in other financial services, such as insurance affiliate marketing.

The deals are called lead generation deals. This means that you get paid when someone you refers completes an application form, not when they buy something.

What are the Best Mortgage and Credit Card Affiliate Marketing Offers?

With mortgages and credit cards there are two options. As a publisher, you can either receive affiliate revenue directly from the bank/ financial institution or you can go through a 3rd party.

These 3rd parties are often comparison sites such as CardRatings.com or Wallethub.com.

Advertiser Category Deal Network
Discover Credit Cards $40 per approved account CJ
Credit.com Finance, Money, Loans, Credit Cards Affiliate Network specifically for the finance space Credit.com
Mortgage Simplicity (UK) Mortgages Up to £1,000 or order value Paid on Results
Lendingtree Mortgages Up to $60 Lendingtree
Bankrate Credit Cards Credit Cards Affiliate Network specifically for the finance space Bankrate Credit Cards

Who is Doing Mortgage and Credit Card Affiliate Marketing Well?

1. WalletHub

WalletHub

Wallethub is targeting a range of keywords, including credit cards for parents. Like many affiliate marketing niches, the mortgages and credit cards niche fits the “best x for y” content format.

This is a simple and effective format. That is why you will find it replicated across many sites and many niches.

Wallethub

Here, Wallethub lists the biggest benefit of the card as the headline. This allows the reader to skim. There is a lot of detail in this post. Also, the detail is often technical. It makes sense to break up the text to make it easier to read.

If you force the reader to read the chances are that they will get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information.

The star rating builds a level of trust. Five stars from almost 3,000 reviews inspire confidence in the user.

The name of the back also builds trust. Chase is well established and well respected in the banking industry. Conversion rates will be higher if you promote products with an established company that has a level of name recognition.

Back-to-School Saving Tips

Wallethub also gives some tips on how to budget properly. It is debateable whether or not this is a genuine attempt to help their reader or some kind of SEO play.

However, it can show you an effective path to take. If you can genuinely provide useful information that helps your readers, there is an opportunity in this niche to build trust and loyalty within your readership.

2. Value Penguin

Value Penguin

In this example, Value Penguin are target student credit cards.

This is a very similar tactic to the one we have just seen WalletHub using but with a different keyword.

In fact, even the offers are displayed very similarly as you can see in the image below.

Value Penguin

The difference, however, is that Value Penguin has been a bit more creative. They have created an interactive tool that compares the different credit cards.

Their users can compare on: Rewards, Net Rewards Rate, APR, Annual Fee and more.

Compare Student Credit Cards

The tool also updates the table below showing rates and the value of rewards.

rates and value of rewards

Tools like this allow the users to understand the true costs of the products they are purchasing. This can put their minds at ease and increase conversions.

The drawback is that this requires budget and technical ability to put together. Not only that but, the rates and information is constantly changing. An integration would, therefore, be required to get on ongoing feed of the correct information at that point in time. Otherwise, the data would quickly become inaccurate.

3. Nerdwallet

Nerdwallet

This example from Nerdwallet shows the mortgage niche in as simple a format as it can get.

The post follows the “best x for y” format but then targets even smaller niches within the article.

Nerdwallet
Nerdwallet

This is simple, but it is extremely effective. It is taking marketing right back to its core purpose of identifying the reader’s problem and providing a solution.

NerdWallet recognize that lots of first-time buyers have a low credit score or are unable to pull together huge down payments. Recognizing and providing solutions to these issues will make a difference to conversion rates.

Nerdwallet also have very clear call to action buttons. The “Get Started” buttons are clean, simple and unambiguous.

Another thing NerdWallet does well is, linking to their reviews on each mortgage provider. As you can see, there is a plain text link to a review in each of the boxes. This keeps the user on the website. The alternative is that the user goes back to Google to search for a review. This could lead to another company getting credit for the sale.

Finally, Nerdwallet also create a neat summary table at the end of their post.

Best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers review

This simple table summarizes the clearly in a way that is easy for the reader to understand. It tells the reader all the information that they need to know but it also provides clear calls to action and internal links to reviews.

One of the best things about this post is that it shows you do not need to write thousands and thousands of words to make money. By being creative and thinking about the readers, it is possible to make money and keep it simple.

Pros of Credit Card and Mortgage Affiliate Marketing

  • Large Audience: There are more credit cards than people in America. This obviously presents an opportunity.
  • Repeat Customers: People move house, refinance and purchase multiple credit cards. If you can become a trusted source of information, then people will come back.
  • It’s not an easy decision: Choosing a mortgage or a credit card is complicated. People are likely to research the topic in depth. If you can provide simple and clear information, there is an audience for you.
  • Reputable Companies: The financial institutions that you are affiliated with are well-established and trustworthy.

Cons of Credit Card and Mortgage Affiliate Marketing

  • Lots of Competition: You are going to be competing with companies, such as Bankrate and Nerdwallet, have vast resources. It will be difficult to outrank them.
  • Hard to find a narrow niche: A credit card is a credit card. A mortgage is a mortgage. Although it is not that simple, it is difficult to segment the market in this niche.
  • Difficult to Promote Offers Effectively: Interest rates change constantly. Mortgages rates change based on location and outside factors. Competitors use high-tech solutions that are beyond most IM’s reach to solve these problems
  • Ethical Concerns: Debt can ruin lives. You must be sure that you are going to promote products responsibly.

Should I Start a Credit Card and Mortgage Affiliate Website?

I would advise you to proceed with caution.

The two biggest drawbacks are the difficulty to promote offers and finding a narrow niche.

If you look at all of the successful mortgage websites, they are all able to provide personalized information based on, at least, location. Many also gather information on user age and credit rating. This helps provide the best deals available to their users. A system like this will not be easy to develop.

It would be a lot easier to work around this issue if there was the opportunity to focus on a very specific niche.

However, this is difficult. There is not enough difference in the way people use credit cards to target different age groups. A lot of credit cards are available nationwide, removing the ability to segment by location.

The outcome of this is that it is very difficult to find high-value keywords with low competition. This means that it will be very difficult to generate the volume of traffic required to make a significant amount of money.

If you are passionate about personal finance and believe that you can create great content, there are opportunities in this niche. However, unless you are sure you know what you are doing, I would recommend against starting a website in the mortgage and credit card affiliate website.

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