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I've researched a number of credit cards and I found one that I want to apply for. If a particular website was helpful in my decision process, is there any downside to applying for the credit card through their link?

My alternative would be to go to the bank's website and apply for the credit card there. Is there any benefit to the consumer with either of these two avenues?

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There is one thing you may not realize you're doing when you knowingly use an affiliate link. If you sign up, or enter any useful information at all, you are providing statistical data that will forever associate you with the sort of person who responds to this type of lead generation. While it's debatable that this is harmful in any way aside the nuisance of targeted media, it will almost certainly cause a stream of advertising in similar formats for various other offers, which could in turn lead you to sign up for things you don't need.

Affiliate links are simply a way to channel conversions, log specific data, and apply incentives. If you go through the bank itself, the affiliate misses out on a commission, but you still get logged as the sort of person who signs up directly and thus, a different kind of targeted media.

There's pretty much no way to avoid being a statistic in this game. If you get approved, every purchase you make is data they can use to narrow down the targeted media. Understanding that and accepting it is part of the contract when building credit, and is not necessarily anything to be afraid of.

In the end, as the consumer, the finalized product is identical unless the affiliate or direct method outright advertises something special to incentivize you.

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I don't know enough to comment on any disadvantage to the consumer signing up through an affiliate but by doing so you potentially have friends and family with the same card that are missing out on a referral bonus.

Chase has many credit cards whose referral bonuses are worth $100+ to the cardholder. American Express offers similar benefits.

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  • Usually there is not a downside to helping someone who has helped you... those credit card affiliate sites work much like a travel site in which they aggregate all the deals for you. You can still refer friends and family once you get approved and if there is a bonus in which you will get. – NuWin Aug 29 '18 at 16:12

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