LendingTree has agreed to pay up to $130 million to acquire the credit card shopping site CompareCards.

The deal, announced late Wednesday, will expand LendingTree's footprint in the credit card market. In addition to cards, U.S. consumers use LendingTree to shop for mortgages, personal loans, auto loans and student loans. LendingTree and its competitors are paid by lenders that get referrals from the sites.

"We strongly believe that CompareCards' technology platform, established issuer relationships and expert industry knowledge will accelerate our growth and further expand our presence in the online credit card comparison shopping industry," LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda said in a press release.

Under the terms of the deal, LendingTree will pay $85 million in cash this year, subject to certain adjustments, and up to $22.5 million in each of the next two years, subject to achieving certain growth targets.

CompareCards enables consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons between different credit card offers. The Charleston, S.C., company collected $54.1 million in revenue during the first nine months of this year, according to the press release.

"We are confident that our core competencies, particularly as it relates to consumers with prime credit, will enhance LendingTree's ability to capture meaningful market share in the credit card vertical," Chris Mettler, the founder and president of CompareCards, said in the release.

LendingTree, of Charlotte, N.C., was founded in 1998 and went public two years later. It is among the nation's largest consumer credit comparison-shopping sites. The company reported $254 million in revenue last year.

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