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Credit Cards

Credit Card Referral Program Guide

Updated Sep 21, 2021   |   9 mins read

Companies across the globe are constantly looking for ways to market their products to as many consumers as possible. Credit card companies are no different.

Not a second goes by in America without a credit card commercial on air, and plenty of people can say they’ve received at least one pre-approved offer in the mail.

Some of them even rely on referral programs to acquire new business. These programs (also known as refer a friend programs) exist as a way for credit card companies to reach new customers through previous clients.

This guide will take a look how credit card referral programs work and will dive into each major credit card company’s specific program.​

What is a Credit Card Referral Program?

Let’s start with the basics.

Referral programs are a part of marketing known as referral marketing. At their most basic, they are a way to market a product to new customers by offering incentives to pre-existing customers who refer their friends or family to said product. The incentive is usually a cash reward or discount from the company to the referring customer.

These programs are offered by numerous companies covering a variety of different services and products such as cable plans, phone plans, mobile apps, bank accounts, subscriptions, and, of course, credit cards. While referral marketing is a prevalent way to market any product, they seem to be especially useful to credit card companies who already market their products with reward-based incentives from the start. So, a refer a friend program seems right at home with credit cards.

There are several companies that offer their own credit card refer a friend programs. Each of them are slightly different with their own set of terms and conditions and rewards, yet they all offer the same incentive for participating: some form of cash.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular refer a friend programs for credit cards. Below, we will outline the steps taken, and we’ll also discuss the actual refer a friend bonuses offered to participating card holders.

Chase Refer a Friend

chase referral program

Referral Process

The process to refer a friend to a Chase credit card is fairly straightforward, and there aren’t too many pesky limitations. For starters, you need to be a Chase credit card holder to refer a friend, and you must be holding a card with an eligible credit card refer a friend program attached to it. Bank employees cannot participate in the Chase refer a friend program. Right now, there are seven cards with refer a friend programs; see the listing below for more details.

If you have one of these cards, then you can go online to this page and start by entering your last name, zip code, and the last four digits on your card. On the next page, you can start referring friends in several ways. You can share a link via social media (Facebook or Twitter) or text message; alternatively, you can type in names and emails for an email send out through Chase.

Friends will receive a referral email within seven days, but the social media and text option is most likely immediate. Friends who already hold a Chase credit card or are on a Chase unsubscribe list will not receive an email. Note: in order for you to receive any sort of refer a friend bonus, your friends must apply for the card using the links you sent them.

You may refer up to 25 friends within a 24-hour period. You will not receive any approval or denial notifications from Chase regarding a friend’s application due to confidentiality reasons. However, if there is a successful application, the necessary rewards will be credited to your account within eight weeks of approval.

Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-Chase, or suspicious website.

American Express Refer a Friend

american express refer a friend

Referral Process

If you are an American Express cardholder, then you have exclusive access to the American Express refer a friend program. You may only refer an American Express credit card that you are holding, and it must be an eligible card in the refer a friend program. On top of that, your account must be in good standing in order to receive any sort of refer a friend bonus.

In order to get started, you must enter your login credentials on American Express’ secure referral login page. Afterward, you will be brought to a new page where you can enter the names and emails of friends. American Express discourages you from spamming tons of people; they want you to refer only friends and family after gaining their permission to do so.

After this step, your friends and family will be sent a personalized link through email, facebook, twitter, or text leading them to a credit card application. If they are approved after submitting, then you are eligible for the relevant credit card refer a friend bonus.

When a credit card referral application is approved or denied, you do not receive any sort of notification. However, if an application is approved, you should receive the associated bonus within six to eight weeks. Your friends and family must use the specific link you send them if you want to receive the bonus.

Friends and family will not receive a referral offer under two conditions. First, they already have the American Express card being referred. Second, they have opted out of receiving marketing communication and notifications from American Express.

Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-American Express website.

Refer a Friend Bonuses

There are numerous refer a friend offers because American Express has seventeen eligible cards in the program.

Note: There are several American Express cards with referral bonuses that are not featured on this list. These include the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the Business Gold Rewards Card, and the Plum Card.

Discover Refer a Friend

Referral Process

You must be a cardmember in order to participate in the Discover credit cardreferral program. You may only refer friends to a card that you are holding, and that card must be eligible for the Discover Refer a Friend program. Your account must be in good standing in order to refer a friend.

In order to get the referral process going, you must sign into Discover’s Refer a Friend page with your Discover login credentials. You will be provided with a referral link for the card on your account. You can send this link to your friends via email or some other form of communication.

After receiving the referral link, your friends have the option to submit an application with Discover (Note: friends who either already have a Discover card or are opted out of Discover’s marketing communications emails will not be able to receive the referral email). If the application is approved, then you are eligible to receive a cash back or miles bonus credited to your account.

Keep in mind that you will not receive any notification whether a friend’s application is approved or denied; however, if it is successful, the bonus will eventually appear within five weeks of approval.

Discover does not explicitly state which cards are eligible for the program; however, it does state which cards are ineligible.

Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-Discover website.

Avoiding Credit Card Referral Program Scams

You may have noticed that you are sometimes required to enter personal, identifying information including your name and credit card number in order to send referral messages to your friends. Naturally, these requirements open the door for scammers to phish for your information by setting up fake, believable credit card referral landing pages.

You should be on the lookout for any sort of unsecured website that prompts you to enter personal information. It should be fairly obvious whether a site is secure or not. Chase, American Express, and Discover all have their own official landing pages, and they are clearly safe, secure, and owned by the company itself. A safe bet would be to navigate to the refer a friend landing page from their company homepages.

Notable Companies Without Refer a Friend Programs

As mentioned earlier, there are only three major companies (two credit unions and one big bank) that offer credit card referral bonuses in the United States, and they’re all listed above: Chase, American Express, and Discover. There are a few big banks that are worth mentioning; these banks DO NOT have a referral program on their credit card products.

Citi, a notable provider of credit and banking products, does not have its own credit card referral program. If you manage to get your friends to sign up with Citi, then you shouldn’t expect any sort of bonus or thanks in the United States. There are a couple Citi refer a friend programs offered internationally, but this review focuses on offers in the U.S.

There is currently no Capital One refer a friend program for credit cards. Capital One does have a few enticing introductory offers, but they are only awarded to those who meet the requirements after applying for a new card all on their own.

Another major company without its own credit card refer a friend program is Bank of America. While Bank of America used to offer a referral program on checking accounts, the promo is no longer offered.

If a website is posing as any of these banks, then steer clear of them! Protect your personal information.

>> Read More: How to apply for a credit card