How Do Affiliates Get Paid?

In Affiliate Marketing, Marketing by Compass Creative TeamLeave a Comment


One of the most popular questions that we are asked by our clients who investigate affiliate marketing as part of the online business mix is “How do affiliates get paid?” It’s an important question and in this blog post we will explain exactly what the options are, and how payments to affiliates are handled on some of the most common affiliate networks and in-house affiliate programs. We will also cover briefly whether or not an affiliate has to have a website and if it is possible to promote more than one merchant at a time.

Most affiliate networks and in-house affiliate programs either “preset” the threshold, or allow you as the affiliate to choose the payment threshold. In most cases, affiliates chose the payment threshold, upon reaching it their payment will be remitted to them.

You will also in most cases get to choose the currency that you will be paid in, however, that option is not available on all US networks where sometimes the U.S. Dollar is the only choice. You must decide when setting up your affiliate account the payment method that you will receive funds in. These options vary from network to network and program to program so you may well have to set up a number of different ways to receive payments.

Below is a breakdown of some of the different programs and networks, as well as how affiliates get paid (the method):

  • AvantLink – Pays by checks, direct deposits (to US Banks only) and PayPal
  • CJ by Conversant – Pays by check and direct deposit. Its direct deposit option is only available for select countries.
  • Google Affiliate Network – which was retired in 2013 was paying out their affiliates through their AdSense accounts.
  • Rakuten LinkShare – Pays by check and direct deposit for select countries.
  • ShareASale – Pays by check which can be sent via regular mail or via FedEx. Also pays via direct deposits for US, Canada, UK and EU based accounts that support this payment method.
  • Select Networks – Avangate,, and other affiliate programs (eg. eToro) use solutions like Payoneer. Payoneer pays affiliates through pre-paid personal MasterCard, local eWallets and international checks.

Payment terms and options are highly dependent on the platform specifics of the various programs and networks. Be aware of “Locking Periods” and possible reversals of sales or qualified actions.

Another question often ask by clients is whether or not it is possible to be an affiliate without having a website. The short answer is yes. Technically one may be an affiliate without a website. An example of that would be Pay Per Click search affiliate. These affiliates run paid search campaigns’ linking your ads through affiliate links directly to merchants’ websites. Or, you can employ email marketing or, perhaps, run Pay Per Call campaigns which work offline.

That being said, whatever the method employed to promote your niche, it is highly recommended that you have a website. This will give you an avenue to explain the marketing methods that you use. Furthermore, many merchants will not even consider your application to become an affiliate if you do not have a website. If you don’t have a website or are planning on doing offline campaigns, always check with the merchant that your planned promotional methods are acceptable. This needs to be done before you begin as you don’t wish to find that your commissions are reversed because the merchant does not wish to be associated with a particular promotion style.

Can you promote more than one merchant or multiple advertisers from my niche market? As a free marketer you are compensated by performance. You decide which merchants you are going to invest your time and effort in. You are also only paid when performance occurs. Merchants are well aware of this and it is very rare that a merchant will ask for exclusivity. A everyday example of multiple competing merchants is any price comparison website.

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