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Student Loans and Credit Card Debt: Where and How Consumers Are Converting

Current economic conditions mean that brands everywhere are focused on bolstering their resilience. If improving brand resilience is at the top of your to-do list (it should be), there are two interconnected hurdles you’ll have to navigate: student loans and credit card debt.

A consumer who is burdened by either credit card debt or student loans may be less prone to making nonessential retail purchases. Someone saddled with both credit card and student loan obligations faces even more financial pressure. We’ll explore these two debt crises and highlight some ways you can overcome them to drive conversions.


The student loan dilemma

Americans owe approximately $1.77 trillion in student loans. This debt is like a constant weight for many young adults. High monthly loan payments have reshaped the financial landscape for millennials and Gen Zers, delaying milestones like homeownership, marriage, and even starting families.

However, the impact of student loan debt goes far beyond recurring monthly payments. This debt significantly influences consumer spending habits, leading many to postpone major purchases until they can find relief through refinancing opportunities or forgiveness programs.


The credit card conundrum

The ever-prevalent issue of credit card debt runs parallel to the student loan crisis. Americans’ credit card debt recently reached a record-setting figure of $1 trillion. High interest rates coupled with minimum monthly payments can trap consumers in a cycle of debt for years.

There has been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior over the last few years. Many consumers are wary about taking on credit card debt. Some have reduced unnecessary expenses and sought out zero-interest balance transfer options. More Americans are also increasing their financial literacy and engaging in responsible credit card use.


Exploring conversion strategies within partnership marketing

When you understand emerging consumer pain points, you can adjust your brand strategy to address the dual challenges of student loan and credit card debt. The fear of mounting interest, the stress of juggling multiple recurring monthly payments, and the desire to achieve financial freedom are all motivators you can leverage.

For example, you can revamp your partnership marketing strategies to position your brand as part of the solution. Adopting modern conversion strategies will be particularly effective when targeting Gen Z and millennial consumers, as the student loan and credit card debt crises have hit these groups particularly hard.

Here are two ways to drive conversions and refresh your partnership strategy.


1. Coupon affiliates

While Gen Zers and millennials are looking to cut back on unnecessary expenses, they haven’t quit making purchases altogether. Instead, they look for deals. Enter the coupon affiliate.

According to recent data, millennials are highly attracted to coupons. Nearly one-third of millennials never shop without them, and 93% of this demographic regularly searches for digital coupons before making a purchase.

The coupon affiliate strategy is quite simple: You partner with affiliates and provide each with a different coupon code that they can offer when showcasing your products. Since each coupon code is unique, you can easily attribute conversions to specific affiliate partners and ensure they are properly compensated for their efforts.



Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is the latest point-of-sale financing trend, and it has caught on like wildfire. In 2022, roughly half of consumers used BNPL at least once. Offering BNPL services on your e-commerce site and in your physical retail locations encourages consumers to buy more and helps reduce spending hesitancy.

Partnering with buy now, pay later affiliates can be a great way to boost your revenue. According to Klarna, offering BNPL boosts average order value by 41%. Klarna also reports that BNPL increases conversion rates by 30%.


Acceleration Partners’ approach

Understanding what is impacting consumer spending will help you keep your affiliate strategy going strong. However, knowing what you are up against is only part of the equation. To truly thrive amid the current economic downturn, you need to get creative, forge new partnerships, and rethink the way you approach partnership marketing.

Acceleration Partners is the leading partnership marketing agency and is ready to help you breathe new life into your strategy. Our global team excels in detecting and capitalizing on emerging trends in the affiliate and influencer marketing verticals.

The student loan and credit card debt crises aren’t the end of your partnership marketing strategy; they are fuel for its evolution.


Connect with AP today, and let’s forge a winning strategy that propels your brand toward its revenue goals.