How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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About MagnifyMoney

MagnifyMoney’s Editorial Code of Ethics

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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At MagnifyMoney and our parent company, LendingTree, all of our writers — both freelance and full-time staff — must adhere to a strict editorial code of ethics whether they are developing product reviews, recommendations, personal finance guides, features, investigative reports, or videos.

Our Commitment to Unbiased and Fair Reporting

MagnifyMoney is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service which receives compensation from some of the financial providers whose offers appear on our site.

Affiliate links help keep the MagnifyMoney site and financial education tools free, but they in no way influence our recommendations, reviews, and other editorial content. You can learn how we make money here.

When articles are clearly based on commentary or opinion, we will note that visibly to the reader.

Whenever there is potential conflict with a source or product mentioned in one of our articles, we will be transparent and forthcoming with that information.

Our Commitment to Accuracy

Our writers strive for 100% accuracy in their work. They must verify all data, names and other pertinent information before publication. Additionally, our team of editors and copy editors provide additional layers of fact checking for all articles.

When corrections or updates to stories are necessary, writers and/or editors must bring it to the Executive Editor’s attention immediately so that any changes are made as speedily as possible.

When information is corrected after publication, the writer or editor will make a note at the end of the story to provide further context.  We will attribute all sources where possible and never plagiarize our content.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

Advertiser Disclosure

About MagnifyMoney

How This Site is Financed

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Fine Print Alert

MagnifyMoney is completely free to use. It does not charge a subscription fee. Our guides are free to download. Our tools are free to use. 

At MagnifyMoney, we’re committed to helping people save money. Our guides are written by true industry insiders, who really know how the system works. You will find experts who used to run credit card companies or have firsthand industry knowledge on a topic helping you understand the rules, tricks and traps.

Plus, we have spend a lot of time developing financial literacy programs for our communities.

In this article, we will explain how it all works.

Yes, The Site is Completely Free

There are two really important things to know about us:

  1. We will never charge you, the user, for any of the tools on our site. We want to help as many people as possible. And we know that charging a subscription or service fee would limit the number of people we could help.
  2. We will never let a bank or financial company pay us to write a favorable review. The reviews are written by us. The blog posts are written by us (or by talented writers we hire. Want to apply: send us a note [email protected]) The marketplaces are powered by us. If you see us recommending a deal as the best, it was because we made that decision – not because we sold that space on our website.

We launched the website in May 2014, and have been overwhelmed by the response. People pay too much money for credit card debt. They don’t earn enough on their everyday savings. And they spend way too much on fake “credit repair” and “credit score booster” books and services.

We have helped millions of people get out of debt faster, negotiate hard with collections agencies, earn 100x more on their savings account and build their scores the right way. And, based upon our growth trajectory, we will be helping millions more.

Along the way, we have had a lot of sketchy people already reach out and ask us if they can write a blog post, pay us for a link or pay us for a good review. The answer has been, and will continue to be: NO!

So how does MagnifyMoney Generate Revenue?

Banks and companies do not pay us for a position in our rankings. We have a team that is constantly looking for the best deals. Our goal is to find the best deals, and worry about the money later.

To find those deals, we look at the Top 100 Banks, the Top 100 credit unions and then a long list of start-ups and other challenger brands to see if we can find an even better deal. We regularly update the deals. If you find a better deal (or work for a company that is creating a better deal), just email Nick, our co-founder. He can be reached at [email protected] dot com, and we’ll include it in our results if we agree that it is a good deal.

We then go out and see if any of the products we recommend have referral deals (or “affiliate links.”) That means they pay us a commission when a MagnifyMoney user ends up opening an account with them. We will only sign an affiliate deal if:

  • We have complete editorial control over our reviews. If taking a commission means we have to write a more favorable review, we won’t do it.
  • We can be completely transparent with you about when and where we get paid. We should never be afraid to tell you where and how we are making money from our partners. If we do this right – you will save more money while we make money in the process.

Doesn’t This Make You Biased?

We don’t think so. We are not afraid to identify our partners. We will let math guide our recommendations.

Are You Different from Other Sites?

We think we are very different from most sites out there. Here is why:

  • We have a team of experts. And when we don’t have the answer, we look outside of MagnifyMoney to find the expertise. Our goal is to give you the best answer.
  • Some websites will only display products that pay them. At MagnifyMoney, we include products based upon the views of the author, not the commission paid to us.

Because Of Our Approach, You Will Find Products Here That You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

When you visit our product pages, you will see names that you haven’t seen before. Not surprisingly, some of the best deals come from small, new and innovative companies that can’t match the marketing budgets of big banks.

We love when the challenger wins. And MagnifyMoney is a platform that will help the challenger win.

This Is Just The Beginning

We love saving people money, but nothing makes us happier than helping people transform their lives. When we can help someone come up with a plan to be debt free in 2 years (when they thought they were going to go bankrupt), we are thrilled. And, when a startup or a credit union provides the product that helps them get out of debt faster, we are even happier.

Banking is too expensive and too complicated. We want to make it easier and more rewarding.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

Advertiser Disclosure

About MagnifyMoney

We Are Here For a Reason

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Before creating MagnifyMoney, I spent my career in banking, working mostly with large multi-national banks like Citi and Barclays. Most recently, I ran the consumer credit card business of Barclays in London.

Barclays has an amazing history. Created in 1966, it was the first credit card company in England and one of the first in the world. What began in a small office in Northampton, became the number one card issuer in the UK – and makes nearly $2 billion a year globally.

I had the privilege of meeting the team that created this business in the 60s. You still see the twinkle in their eyes as they talk about those early years. When they describe what they did, they don’t mention revenue, earnings or market share. They desperately wanted to find a way to make it easier for small businesses on the Main Street to accept payments, and they wanted to make it easier for everyday people to buy things. I could imagine the founders of Barclays feeling comfortable working at PayPal, Square or any of the other payments start-ups, because they weren’t afraid to push boundaries, solve real customer needs and have fun doing it.

When the first Barclays was launched, it had a one page set of terms and conditions.  I met with a woman (still working at Barclays) who had cataloged the history of the fine print. For the first 30 years, the product was relatively simple.  But, starting in the late 90s, the fine print grew exponentially. The focus shifted from making payments easier to growing profits. Earnings growth would come not only from acquiring new customers. A bigger focus would be making more money from existing customers. This shift was not unique to Barclays. The credit card industry – in both the US and the UK – began to adopt tactics that would have made the employees from the 60s cringe.

What were banks adding in the fine print?

Things like:

  • Risk-based re-pricing: the ability to increase your interest rate (on your existing balance) based upon an opaque algorithm.  Reasons for being considered risky could include using your credit card.
  • Multiple interest rates for multiple types of transactions.  A purchase APR that is different from a cash advance APR that is different a go-to rate after a promotional APR. Yes – every new APR added was usually higher.
  • Extraordinarily complex definitions of grace periods (the period where no interest is charged) and interest-free periods. With double-cycle billing, it could be very difficult to finally stop the interest from being billed
  • Multiple fees, and fees that cause fees (know in the industry as a pile-on). Your payment is late. A late fee is assessed. The late fee causes you to go overlimit. So, an overlimit fee is assessed. Balances are capitalized daily. So, interest starts accruing on the fees.
  • Not to mention the shoddy insurance products that were cross-sold on top – the list goes on

A lot of those practices are now illegal, thanks to the CARD Act in the US and the Consumer White Paper in the UK. While a lot of practices have been eliminated, a ton of fine print still exists. Have you read your card agreement?  You will still see many fees, many different interest rates, a different version of risk based pricing and more.

Too much of your money gets lost in the bank’s “terms and conditions”  At Magnify, we have one goal- show you how to get it back.

Credit card businesses are still churning out record profits, with returns greater than 25% a year. How can a 50+ year old industry, loaded with data and competition, still provide returns of that magnitude? In our survey, 42% of Americans have average debt of $10,902. 75% of them pay more than 15% interest per year. Think about it: over $1,500 spent every year on interest payments.

Why do people pay those high interest rates and fees?

I believe there are 5 reasons:

  1. They don’t realize how high their rates are. Until the CARD Act, it was easy for credit card companies to increase interest rates without a whole lot of disclosure. People may not even know they are paying 29%.
  2. They don’t know how to get their rate lower. After paying the minimum due every month and watching the balance stay at the same level – they don’t know where to begin, and feel trapped.
  3. They are afraid to shop around, because of what it could do to their credit score.
  4. They don’t understand how the fees work, so find it difficult to avoid them.  And trust me – often we in the banks didn’t even realize how the fee was charged, because it was so complex.
  5. They are just so busy with their life, that they don’t have time to think about how to reduce the interest rate on their debt.

People work hard for their money, so banks should work just as hard as your local shop does for your business.

At MagnifyMoney, we are going to make it easy for people to compare products and save their hard-earned money with confidence. Our brand will be built upon the trust that we must earn. Our success will be measured by the money we save for you. Given that I spent the last 15 years growing earnings and generating fine print, I believe we are uniquely positioned to help you navigate this overly complex system.

I left my job to create MagnifyMoney with my best friend from college. We believe that we can take $1 billion off the bottom line of banks – and put it into your pockets – with over $1,000 to the average American family. That may seem like a big number, but it is just a tiny percentage of the banks’ total earnings.

Right now, MagnifyMoney is not generating revenue. Going forward, we may get paid by some banks, credit unions or new entrants for referring business.

MagnifyMoney will always make the following commitments:

  1. We always recommend the best product. We have compared over 300 credit cards and 500 bank accounts at the time of launch.  And, unlike a lot of websites, we will not put products at the top of our table because of a commission.
  2. If we are getting paid – you will know. You will see clearly on the table when and if we are getting paid
  3. If anyone finds a better deal – even if it from some small one-branch credit union – let us know and we will add it. Nothing makes us happier than a small competitor giving the big banks a run for their money.

Since I left my job last year to dedicate myself full-time to building MagnifyMoney, I have spent a lot of time meeting with banks and explaining our plan. The banks have been cordial, some have even been welcoming (because they are working hard to improve). But, during one of my early meetings, someone told me to “be careful. Too much transparency is not a good thing.”

At Magnify, we respectfully disagree.