I have been asked why I do not mention credit card sign up bonuses offered by third party websites. Today, I will give my thoughts on third party sites and also explain why I haven’t mentioned them in my regular posts.
First of all, for those who are not familiar, third party sites usually offer an additional gift card or cash back bonus, on top of the regular credit card sign up bonus offer, when you sign up directly through their website.
List of Third Party Sites
Below is a list of some of the more well known third party sites in Canada.
- Redflagdeals (change to your respective city)
What’s Great about Third Party Sites
What’s amazing about these sites is that you get an additional bonus, on top of the regular sign up bonus. For example, you may sign up for a credit card offer that is already exactly available from a credit card company, but the third party site may add on a $50 cash back or $50 gift card to a retailer.
Personally, I have used the GreatCanadianRebates site to sign up for some credit cards. I like the cash back bonus more than the gift card bonuses.
In other cases, we see even better deals than the regular offer. For example, we have seen some first year fee waived promotions only offered by third party sites, but not offered by the credit card companies themselves.
Consequently, third party sites really sweeten the pot for signing up for a credit card that you will sign up for anyway.
Some of the frustrations that I have seen and heard is that you are not instantly approved by the third party site application. When that happens, you need to call the credit card company to get it approved through reconsideration. Consequently, you may not qualify for the cash back or gift card bonus, because you were not initially approved. In general, this isn’t a big deal, because you will still get the regular bonus offer, but it can be a pain in the butt chasing all the customer service agents around to figure out whether you can still get the bonus cash back / gift card.
As a result, there is certainly a lack of reliability from these sites, which leads into my next point.
Why I haven’t Written about them in the past
The first time I ever used one of these sites was over 3 years ago. I saw a $100 sign up bonus cash back deal for the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard. When the card arrived in the mail, it was some Platinum Card that had zero benefits, other than a low interest rate. What the heck? I still got the $100 check, but I never ended up activating the card, because that was not the one I signed up for and I was never going to use this Platinum card anyway.
The credit card took over 1 month to arrive. I didn’t cancel the credit card right away. I waited until I received the cash back from the third party site, which arrived 2 months after the credit card. I deposited the cheque, waited the full 5 business days for the check to clear before cancelling the credit card.
The whole process took over 3 months to clear. It worked out in my favour that time, but after that experience, I took a time out from third party sites.
More Recent Experiences
In 2014, I tried my luck several times. First off, I applied for the TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa, and that went through without a hitch. Some of my family members also gave it a try and it went smoothly for them as well. The cash back came accordingly for everyone.
In 2015, I tried the Scotiabank Scene Visa. I received pending at first. When I followed up with Scotiabank and they told me that they will send me a letter with the decision. Ultimately, I was actually rejected. I couldn’t believe it! I did not get much of an explanation from Scotiabank, so I let it go. I mostly applied for the credit card because the requirements were low, so I shouldn’t have had a problem getting approved. I really just wanted to see if my lack of trust in third party sites was justified. So this result didn’t help.
Later in the year, I gave third party sites another chance. I applied for the MBNA Best Western MasterCard just before the 40,000 sign up bonus promotion kicked in, but I did get a cash back bonus. Though, even when the 40,000 sign up bonus came out, the third party site did not increase their offer anyway. The initial response for my application was “pending”. I called MBNA a few days later to speak with reconsideration and they approved my application. Once again, it took over a month for the credit card to arrive and it was the correct one this time around.
Unfortunately, I did not receive my cash back. I even waited until I activated my credit card before submitting a request to figure out what happened. Luckily for me, then agreed to credit me the missing cash back. By the time I received my cash back, it took well over 3 months from the day I submitted my application.
You will notice that I did not specify which websites in my experiences. To be fair to them, since I am not going to publish their promotional offers, I rather not single them out either. As you can see though, from my past experiences, my level of trust in these third party websites continues to be relatively low. So for the time being, I will continue to hold off publishing their offers.
That being said, I am sure that many of you have much smoother experiences. So in the future, feel free to post their offers in the comment sections of the relevant posts on this blog if you feel that it would benefit others to be aware of those promotional offers.
Also, feel free to share your personal experiences in the comment section below. Did it work out well for you?