The Battle of the Credit Card Sites: We Compare the Comparison Sites
When price comparison sites hit the internet more than a decade ago it was a revelation. Finally, there was a way to receive hundreds of quotes and review all the deals for your holiday, mortgage or credit card and select the best option for you based on your personal preferences. The days of spending lots of time filling out individual forms were gone, instead: one form and you have personalised quotes at your fingertips.
Updated regularly with new deals and offers, the comparison sites made the consumer finance market more competitive as banks and lenders rushed to get their product or service in first place on your search.
As a business model, the comparison sites became extremely lucrative as businesses paid for prime spots on the search results and advertising costs skyrocketed. Now, the market is saturated with seemingly very similar websites and often the results are skewed as a result of sponsorship or advertisement, though this may not be immediately apparent to the uninitiated.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve trawled the web and ranked the ranking sites for the most recommended places to do your credit card research.
Ranking the Ranking Sites
Loan Owl Singapore
A Singapore-specific comparison site that can help with decisions on credit cards, home loans, insurance and investments. This free service is easy to use, with only three steps between you and a list of potential providers.
One of the newer comparison sites on the market, this website offers comparisons on financial products as well as travel, money changing and broadband.
What was once a mortgage comparison company now covers loans, insurance and credit cards throughout Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Get.com, Moneyline.sg, GoBear and Bankbazaar.sg are a few other popular comparison sites.
The Best Credit Card Comparision Site Goes To….
By using the Cashback Credit Cards option, you can quickly pull up a list of the best cashback credit cards on the market for your category. You can also search for air miles, rewards, dining or shopping depending on your lifestyle. Or select the overall category Best Deals which will cherry-pick the best of the best.
Singsaver often goes the extra mile by offering extras on top of whatever the bank is promising. Regularly the most generous of the comparison sites, that could be in the form of vouchers or cashback just for signing up for a credit card through the site.
By far the best credit card comparison site on the web, we would begin any search here.
How to spot sponsored posts and paid ads
Thanks to affiliate marketing, which essentially is how comparison sites pay the bills, not all price comparison search results are entirely neutral. Aaron Wong from Milelion explains:
“There’s always going to be pressure to recommend not the products that fit the customer the best, but those which earn the highest commission. It is inherently difficult to provide objective ratings when your main revenue stream comes from the provider of said product.”
Sites like Get.com, EnjoyCompare.com and MoneySmart.com have rating systems for the products on their sites. But when there is no opacity to the ratings and the banks are paying the websites, it would be foolish to trust these star ratings.
Research by Milelion showed that on Get.com the average rating was a very respectable 4.2, but that cards which could be applied for through the site scored more highly than cards which you needed to leave the site to apply for. In other words, cards for which Get.com would not get a commission if you signed up to them did not receive as high a rating from the website.
Some websites are upfront about this, explaining that their service is free exactly because they receive these kinds of payments for client referrals. Others are more shady about this relationship, so it’s important to be aware.
So should I use a comparison site or not?
To save time in your search for a new credit card, it is recommended to use price comparison technology. That said, do not limit your research to just one site. No site will have access to all the deals and offers available on the internet so it’s best to make a few searches on a few different comparison sites to ensure you have all the information to hand before making a decision.
Research from the UK suggests that the use of comparison sites limits people’s options. Companies with sub-brands target them at a similar level of the market, so what appears to be several options is, in fact, all the options from one provider clustered together. “It gives the company increased market power and makes consumers’ searches less effective,” says researcher Colin Wren. Again, the best thing to do to counteract this effect is to make multiple searches across a range of comparison sites.
Bear in mind that some providers choose not to feature on comparison sites at all, so it is worth noting these and visiting their websites yourself to compare what they have to offer. Aviva is one such company to look out for.
Once you have a few potential credit cards on the table, try also visiting the individual company’s website, it may be that they have a better offer for direct customers as they will not have to pay the comparison site any commission for your custom.