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How Does NerdWallet Make Money?

NerdWallet is an online platform providing tools and tips on all matters related to personal finance. The company gained traction as a simple web application comparing credit cards. NerdWallet makes money via affiliate commissions determined according to the affiliate agreements.

Origin story

NerdWallet is a personal finance company founded in 2009 by Jacob Gibson and Tim Chen with an initial investment of just $800.

NerdWallet began as a simple web application comparing credit cards. Jobless after the GFC, credit analyst Chen got the idea for NerdWallet after being asked for advice on the credit cards with the lowest foreign transaction fees.

Traffic to the site grew quickly in the following years, allowing the company to expand through capital raisings and the acquisition of retirement planning firm AboutLife.

With Chen sitting on the board of the National Foundation for Credit Counselling, the company maintains a focus on educating consumers about financial literacy. In addition to credit card reviews, NerdWallet now compares banking, investment, loan, and insurance products.

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NerdWallet revenue generation

NerdWallet makes money via affiliate commissions first and foremost. In this scenario, a business owning a financial product or service pays NerdWallet for sending them new customers.

The exact commission is based on the particular arrangement between NerdWallet and the company it is affiliated with.

The product itself also has a major bearing on the commission. For example, the fee for a new bank account sign-up would be next to nothing. However, the commission for a new mortgage or life insurance account is likely to be a few hundred dollars.

Endorsements

In addition to receiving affiliate income, NerdWallet receives money from some financial institutions in exchange for a review of their services on the company website.

Collecting revenue from endorsements is somewhat of a grey area for consumers, but NerdWallet maintains that such endorsements do not affect their recommendations or advice in any way.

Content strategy

The NerdWallet website is free to use, but the company banks on the fact that approximately 5% of readers will then go on to make a purchase.

This percentage gives Gibson and Chen clarity on the sort of readership they need to attract to hit revenue targets. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the success of NerdWallet is its prolific content strategy.

During the early years, the company committed to publishing 500 high-quality articles per month. This has increased to 1000 articles per month over time, creating a vast resource backed by authoritative backlinks from related websites.

This focus on organic search traffic is a key component of the NerdWallet revenue generation strategy. It allows them to expand their reach and increase credibility while keeping costs low.

Key takeaways:

  • NerdWallet is an online personal finance comparison website. It was started with just $800 by Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson with the simple goal of reviewing credit card deals.
  • NerdWallet makes nearly all of its money through affiliate marketing. The exact commission depends on the product being advertised and the arrangement between NerdWallet and the affiliated company.
  • Approximately 5% of all NerdWallet readers make a purchase to earn the company affiliate revenue. As a result, the company has a prolific content creation strategy to build authority and increase its reader base with minimal expense.

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"