22 Best Referral Programs To Make Money in 2021 And Beyond [Updated List]

Best Referral Programs

Have loads of products and services you can’t wait to tell your friends about? These referral programs are the perfect platforms to refer brands while making money and giving benefits to your friends too. 

For many people, referring products and services to family, friends, and colleagues is a much easier proposition than approaching random people. 

Moreover, when you have tried and tested a product yourself, it becomes much easier to convince others. Especially those with whom you share a close connection. 

If you are someone who regularly passes on the news about great brands to your near ones, why not try your luck with the best referral programs? Not only do you share good bits but you also end up earning from sharing. 

Let’s check out the top referral programs in the market. 

What is a Referral Program?

Referral Program

A referral program is the same as word-of-mouth promotion. When you’re happy with a product or service, you want your friends, colleagues, and family to try it out also. A referral program rewards you and the user if you spread the brand word to your ecosystem. 

Referring a brand to others is done naturally. Simply because you have used it and experienced its benefits. You don’t force a brand on others. 

Best 22 Referral Programs To Join To Make Money

1. Rakuten

Rakuten homepage

Overview:

Target, Macy’s, Nike, Walmart, and other leading retail stores pay a commission to Rakuten -an apps referral program – for referring you to them. And Rakuten thanks you by sharing this commission with you! No wonder they have more than 13 million members. 

Key Benefits:

  • Free sign-up in under 30 seconds. 
  • Convenient payment through check or PayPal. 
  • Chance to earn on a wide variety of products and services – from shoes to ride-sharing. 
  • Shopping can be done from anywhere – desktop, mobile device app, or browser extension.
  • $63.50 was the average cash back for each member in 2020. 
  • $10 welcome bonus on joining Rakuten.
  • A flat rate on each member whom you sign up.
  • $50 bonus on 10 qualified referrals. 
  • Exclusive cash bonuses, freebies, and more. 
  • Cookie life of 90 days. 

2. ShareASale

ShareASale referral program

Overview:

With more than 16,550 brands across all verticals, ShareASale is a dream customer referral program. In 2020, affiliates earned a huge sum of a billion dollars. 

Key Benefits:

  • An easy format to choose merchants without wasting time by applying filters and accessing relevant marketing calendars. 
  • A hassle-free dashboard to track which merchants are performing the best, get better analytics, and identify broken links. 
  • 260 new retailers join every month to widen the referral opportunities. 
  • Payments are made monthly. 

3. Direct Energy

Direct Energy partner landing page

Overview:

Direct Energy offers both residential and business electricity and natural gas plans and solutions to provide maximum protection to your office or home. 

Key Benefits:

  • Marketing materials to help you get more referrals. 
  • Best energy products at the best prices. 
  • Zero sign-up cost. 
  • Get paid per referral signup. 

4. Payoneer

Payoneer refer-a-friend landing page

Overview:

Payoneer opens a world of opportunities for you as it facilitates international payments, handles digital marketing seamlessly, makes working capital accessible, and accepts payments easily. 

Key Benefits:

  • Earn $25 for every referral. 
  • Free to join for anyone. 
  • Customized dashboard to track referrals, conversions, and commissions. 
  • Both you and your friend get paid. 

5. Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club

Overview:

An e-commerce platform offering a wide range of products, Sam’s Club won’t disappoint you with its plethora of offers and discounts. 

Key Benefits:

  • Signing up is free. 
  • Commission on each qualified sale. 
  • A high average order value of $265 means more commission chances for you. 
  • Customizable link functionality to give you maximum flexibility.
  • A variety of creative options and promo offers to increase earning commission chances. 

6. Acorns

Image Alt: Partial screenshot of Acorns homepage showing product benefit copy and a mobile phone screen image. 

Overview:

Every drop makes an ocean and that’s what Acorns does with your paycheck. It helps you save loose changes so that your savings grow.

Key Benefits:

  • $5 for both and your friend when you refer Acorns and they open an account.
  • The $5 in your account will be invested to grow your earnings. 
  • Your referral should also invest $5 in their account so that you get a $5 bonus. 
  • When your friend puts $5 in their account, they also get a $5 welcome bonus. 
  • Cookie duration of 30 days. 

7. Swagbucks

Swagbucks referral program landing page

Overview:

Swagbucks lets you make money from everyday online activities like shopping, searching, watching videos, or playing games. You win points called SB and you can exchange them for cash or gift cards. 100 SBs equal $1. 

Key Benefits:

  • Get 10% of referral earnings from each referral. For example, if your friend gets 1000 SB points, you get 100 SB points too. 
  • The more your friends use your referral link, the more you earn. 

8. T-Mobile

T-Mobile refer-a-friend landing page

Overview:

Get all the latest mobile devices and the top internet deals from T-Mobile. Seamless connectivity with friends and family or your favorite shows makes T-Mobile worth every shot. 

Key Benefits:

  • Get $50 per referral who joins T-Mobile. 
  • Chance to earn up to $500 per year. 

9. Coinbase

Coinbase homepage

Overview:

Coinbase is the place where you can trade all the popular cryptocurrencies most securely. You are assured of insurance protection for up to $250,000.

Key Benefits:

  • Every time your referral trades cryptocurrency using your referral link, you get a bonus. 
  • Choose any messaging app, email, or text message to promote your referral link. 
  • Upon completion of your friend’s trading of a minimum of $100 worth of cryptocurrency, both of you get a bonus of $10 or its equivalent in your domestic currency. 
  • The cookie life is 180 days from account opening. 

10. Xfinity

Xfinity showing produce description copy

Overview:

The fastest and most secure internet for your home and office. Xfinity keeps all your devices protected and offers you the best price for the fastest internet. 

Key Benefits:

  • Current Xfinity customers who use their home service are eligible to reap the benefits of one of the most profitable referral programs – $175 per qualified referral. 
  • Scope to earn up to $500 per calendar year for referring your friends and family to Xfinity services. 
  • Your referrals can get rewarded with $100 per qualifying service. 
  • For new Xfinity Mobile accounts, both you and your friends get extra bonuses. 

11. Do$h

Dosh affiliate partner landing page

Overview:

Download the Do$h app to get hundreds of cash back from restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. There’s no need to get your receipts scanned or have coupons to qualify for a cashback. 

Key Benefits:

  • When your referral signs up for the first time and connects a valid debit or credit card to avail an offer and get cashback, you get $10.
  • You have access to exclusive offers that you can pass on to your referrals. 
  • A wide array of top-notch creatives can make your site and offers look more attractive. 
  • Track your referral status and earnings from a single platform to avoid confusion. 

12. SoFi

SoFi referral program landing page

Overview:

SoFi puts all your investments in one app so that you can have full control over your finances. You can refer your friends to a wide range of SoFi products like home loans, personal loans, insurance, and others. 

Key Benefits:

  • $15 for both you and your friend on every referral. 
  • Your referral link can be shared through messaging apps, email, or social media for maximum flexibility. 

13. Axos Bank

Axos Bank referral program landing page

Overview:

Investing in stocks and shares has never been easier. With Axos Bank, trade commission-free to maximize your savings and investment returns. A tech-driven company with more than two decades of experience, the Axos Bank app makes banking effortless and efficient. 

Key Benefits:

  • Earn $20 per referral when your friends sign up on Essential Checking. 
  • Get bonus funds every time your referrals add deposits to their Essential Checking account and meet other requisites. 

14. Ezoic

Ezoic showing product description copy

Overview:

More than 10,000 publishers have joined Ezoic to help them create, analyze, and optimize content that gives the highest ROIs. The AI-driven platform ensures the most friendly user experience on your website to drive organic traffic and increase search engine rankings.

Key Benefits:

  • Monthly commissions based on the earnings of your friend’s website who joined Ezoic through your link. 
  • Recurring commission of 3% of a publisher’s revenue for the lifetime of the customer. 
  • Monthly commission payments. 

15. RevenueHits

RevenueHits referral program landing page

Overview:

RevenueHits is the choice of over 20,000 publishers who want to turn their website and other social media properties into high income generating assets. 

Key Benefits:

  • Earn 10% of the income of your referral publisher in the first year if they earn more than $1,500. 
  • In the first year, earn a 5% commission of the income made by your referral if their revenue is less than $1,500. 

16. Blooom

Blooom referral program landing page

Overview:

The worries of retirement can take away your sleep but with Blooom your mind can be at peace. Check out how your retirement savings plan is doing with Blooom and improve your funds with expert advice. 

Key Benefits:

  • $50 Amazon gift card offer on each referral. 
  • Through your referral link, your friends are eligible to get a discount of $20 for the first year when they sign up. 
  • Referral links can be shared through social media, email, and texts. 

17. Mr. Rebates

Mr. Rebates homepage

Overview:

Choose from over 3,000 stores to shop from and get cashback. Attractive weekly deals from stores like Macy’s, Uniqlo, Banana Republic Factory, and plenty others mean you get cashback on all your regular shopping. 

Key Benefits:

  • A host of tools to make it easy for you to hook more referrals. 
  • All referrals are organized under your name to avoid confusion.  
  • You get 20% of the rebate your referral gets every time they use Mr. Rebates and get cash back. 
  • Your rebate will be given to you within 24 hours, making Mr. Rebates one of the many successful referral programs. 

18. GetAmbassador

GetAmbassador referral program landing page

Overview:

GetAmbassador is a referral marketing software that caters to the needs of both small and large enterprises to maximize clients and revenues. In four steps, it ensures you recruit, manage, and reward the right brand ambassadors. 

Key Benefits:

  • Outstanding referral experience to increase your earnings. 
  • Bespoke referral campaigns to target various segments. 
  • Automated tracking and reward system for easy monitoring. 

19. SurveySavvy

SurveySavvy homepage

Overview:

Get paid to fill in online surveys and behavioral research questionnaires. Even when you’re browsing online, your behavior can give insights and clues to marketers. 

Key Benefits:

  • Spread your referral link through your social media accounts and blogs
  • Both you and your referrals get incentives when you fill in surveys. 
  • Even when your indirect referrals complete a survey, you get paid too. 
  • A small amount like $1 makes you eligible to receive a payment. 

20. FlexOffers

FlexOffers referral program landing page

Overview:

With over 12,000 affiliate programs under its belt, FlexOffers has the widest affiliate marketing network. It brings publishers and advertisers on the same platform to maximize benefits for both groups. 

Key Benefits:

  • Earn handsome commissions from your referral’s sales volume. 
  • There’s no limit to the number of digital content creators you can refer. 
  • Track the biggest bonuses you are getting from the most profitable referrals. 
  • Earn up to 50% of all the profits from all the referral sites. 

21. Ibotta 

ibotta referral program

Overview:

Save more money when you shop at ibotta and receive cashback. From apparel to groceries, you get cash rebates on each purchase. Install the app to get $5 for sharing your first receipt and subsequent cashback whenever your receipts are shared. 

Key Benefits:

  • Get $10 every time your referral submits their receipt at ibotta. 
  • Your friend also receives $10 when they share their receipt. 
  • Share your referral link via email, social media, or text. 

22. VigLink

VigLink homepage

Overview:

A leading tool for over 2 million publishers to monetize their content, VigLink provides you with a thorough analysis of what works. It brings your content to the attention of the advertisers that bring you the best ROI. 

Key Benefits:

  • 35% commission in the first year when your referral signs up.
  • A unique referral link that keeps track of the number of referrals and your earned commissions. 
  • The link can be embedded in any blog, forum thread, email, or webpage to reach a wider audience. 

Final Words

Unique referral program ideas will always get the right advertiser, publisher, and consumer on the same page. If you really believe in a product or service (including your own), getting referrals to spread the word and earn in the process is child’s play. 

In this post, the best referral programs have been shared to help you choose your niche without wasting time on extensive research. If you have more referral program ideas and experience to share, don’t forget to comment in the section below. 

What’s the difference between a referral and affiliate programs?

In a referral program, the existing customers are incentivized to refer your product and services to their friends and family in a natural way. This type of program rewards both the referrer and the referee. 
On the other hand, an affiliate program depends on a third party like a publisher to spread the word about your business and get rewarded. You may not know the publisher personally. Plus, the publisher may not even have used your brand, yet they promote it to others. 
Moreover, an affiliate gets a commission for referring a product or service but the user may not be rewarded with discounts or bonus offers. 

What makes a good referral program?

A good referral program depends on three elements – how easy it is to make referrals, the referral message, and the monitoring system of the referrals. 
It should be easy to make a referral in a few clicks. Too many steps and the customer you’re counting on to get more leads will stop the process. Single-click referral links should be implemented in the program. You can also consider widgets. 
The referral message should be easy to formulate with a template but should also have the scope for customization. The message should be pre-filled so that it can be simply shared across email, messaging apps, and social media. 
Lastly, the tracking system of referrals and rewards should be easy. Plus, these should have the scope to conduct A/B testing, track how many referrals turned into sales, and other analytics and tracking tools.

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