By: 21 March 2024

Vladimir Pisanko, head of PSP at Alpha Affiliates

Establishing the best payment processes for affiliate programmes

It’s no secret that there is significant money to be made from affiliate marketing, across many business sectors from fashion to iGaming. But interest from carefully cultivated and highly engaged communities isn’t all it takes, ensuring affiliate marketers get paid for their efforts is, of course, key to success. 

So, what should affiliates be on the lookout for when partnering with businesses?  

Affiliate marketers have a lot to consider before the payouts stage and most advice out there focuses on the all-important factors of developing content, targeting audiences, growing communities, diversifying partners, understanding products, disclosing links, complying with local regulations, and generally becoming the go-to for your network in the niche you’ve chosen. However, once those are established and working, ensuring you’re getting paid for those coveted affiliate conversions is essential. Missed, inaccurate, inconsistent or late payments seriously impact the brand-affiliate partner relationship. 

Sometimes those inconsistencies are due to complex structures, given that commission rates, pay bonuses, and payout dates can vary hugely depending on the affiliate and/or brand in question. Those agreements tend to be established in advance but if a business is managing an influx of new partnerships, is adding new products and services or some of its affiliates are experiencing a significant uptick in conversions, this can quickly spiral for a brand without the necessary processes in place. 

Payment options

Then there are the multiple payment options to consider. Most brands will now offer all mainstream options from PayPal to direct deposits and even gift cards. However, in today’s digital banking age, the payment options available have expanded vastly in the past few years alone. Now emerging options such as crypto must be considered, as well as local options—given not every payment method is available or convenient in every country. This then brings currency conversions into the mix, an inaccuracy due to fluctuating conversion rates will, at best, cause friction and, at worst, impact long-term trust ultimately causing a breakdown of the affiliate-brand relationship. 

In today’s digital banking age, the payment options available have expanded vastly in the past few years alone. Now emerging options such as crypto must be considered

Another element to consider is fraud detection and prevention. After all, where there is money, fraudulent activity often follows. Security is paramount in a high-risk digital business, with fraud appearing in many forms from clicks to payments, so both affiliates and brands need to ensure adequate protection is in place from day one. 

Given that data from finance automation business, Tipalti shows 41% of affiliates say they’ve stopped working with a network because of a payout-related issue and 65% cite repeated payment issues as a reason they left an affiliate network, businesses turn to payment processors to help them manage their affiliate relationships. 

Commission payments

Commission payments are a complex process—with different dates, commission rates, and even additional bonuses or promotions to consider for each affiliate—so technology that can automate much of the above is a must. Affiliates should be on the lookout for partners that, from onboarding through to payment, have systems in place that are ready to scale with your partnership as it grows. This means offering a wide range of payment methods that span payment options but also countries and currencies. As well as assurances that their systems include enhanced fraud detection and prevention measures, chargeback protection, and 24/7/365 support functionalities. 

Ultimately, trust is key in any affiliate-brand relationship

Additionally, those platforms should offer a dashboard function that enables clear reporting and analytics. This will enable the affiliate-brand partnership to base itself on transparent communication and deeper insight into performance metrics, earnings, conversion rates, historical insight to identify trends, and other key data, so both parties can optimise their efforts. 

Ultimately, trust is key in any affiliate-brand relationship. It leads to higher conversion rates and helps significantly expand networks for both parties. So, getting paid accurately and on time is a huge factor in achieving a fruitful long-term partnership that benefits both parties. 

Image: Vladimir Pisanko

Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.