Still wondering why there’s such a focus on the co-branded credit card aspect of loyalty programs? Perhaps the news that Credit Karma – one of the largest online financial services advice sites – just received a fresh round of funding which values the company at more than one BILLION dollars is part of the reasoning. But Credit Karma is not a credit card company and doesn’t have a loyalty program, you say? Here’s a key explanation from the WSJ article about the investment:
Instead of charging consumers for these services, Credit Karma makes money through partner sponsorships with financial institutions. Financial institutions pay Credit Karma only when its members actually buy one of their products.
In the same story the company’s CEO suggests that it does the best job of matching customers to credit products. Playing matchmaker can be very, very profitable it turns out.
Perhaps most interesting to me, however, is that the investors seem to think that the gravy train on this front isn’t pulling in to the station quite yet. That, or they believe that Credit Karma has the best system for matching customers to banks and a good means to make those conversions happen such that they’ll keep the business even as others may lose it. They’re certainly big enough, with 32mm customers, to support a decent referral rate for quite a while yet.
Either way, with the co-branded “super-prime” CCs generally the more lucrative ones to the affiliate, this sort of number shows the huge value potential out there for everyone in the loyalty credit card space. Even the consumer every now and then.
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