Portals have become a popular middleman in the world of e-commerce; consumers go to the portal with an idea of what they want to buy. And the portal helps pick the right online store, says Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com.
Here's how they work. First, log in to your credit card account. Then, look for the portal. You may have to do some digging, but somewhere on the page, you'll see a link directing you to a website where you can earn additional rewards for shopping online. Once you click on the link, a cookie is stored on your computer, so that when you check out, you automatically receive bonus rewards.
The bonus rewards are just that -- a bonus to what you would normally receive. You could get more cash than usual on your cash-back card. If your card gives rewards points, the portal will add even more points to your purchase.
If you're looking for the retailer with the best bonus offer, Kelly suggests using sites such as evreward.com, which compile all of the top deals from thousands of online stores.
Both credit card companies and retailers stand to gain from shopping portals.
Banks gain valuable information on your shopping habits when you use their portals. They may use that information to send you targeted offers for items they think you might want. Misasi says this kind of targeted marketing has the potential to bring revenue to banks "in the hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even billions of dollars" industrywide. Misasi estimates a single bank could get several million dollars annually from targeted offers and sales on shopping portals.
Retailers, meanwhile, have lined up to offer deals through shopping portals. They've been willing to pay hefty fees -- some can go as high as 10 percent of the transaction value -- to be placed on the portal. It's worth it, Misasi says, because it gives retailers instant access to untapped pools of motivated consumers.