Find out who owns your credit card and ensure you don’t miss out on the best credit card deals
Many banks and their various products, such as credit cards and current accounts, come under the umbrella over a wider banking group.
For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group controls RBS and Natwest banks and their credit cards. This does not necessarily impact you but it might be worth knowing in the event that you want to switch your credit card.
When switching your credit card provider, especially in the case of taking out a balance transfer or transferring debt from one credit card to another, knowing your banking groups could be important.
Who owns your credit card?
Understandably there can be a lot of confusion about who owns your credit card, and what the rules are around that.
With lesser known brands and famous retailers, it can be even more confusing. Who owns aqua credit cards? Who owns Tesco credit cards?
You can see our list below to see who owns your credit card provider (or handles their lending):
|Credit card brand||Owned by|
|AA||Bank of Ireland|
|American Express||American Express|
|aqua||NewDay (formerly Sav Credit)|
|British Airways||American Express|
|Bank of Scotland||Bank of Scotland|
|Black Diamond||Vanquis Bank|
|Capital One||Capital One|
|The Co-operative Bank||The Co-operative Bank|
|Halifax||Bank of Scotland|
|John Lewis Financial Services||HSBC|
|Post Office||Bank of Ireland|
|Sainsbury’s Bank||Sainsbury’s Bank|
|Tesco Bank||Tesco Bank|
|Vanquis Bank||Vanquis Bank|
Why you should know who your credit card provider is
There are two reasons why you may wish to know who your credit card provider is.
Firstly, balance transfer credit cards, which offer 0% interest for long periods, will never let you transfer a balance between the same credit card providers.
This means, if you have a Natwest credit card, and you apply for a new Natwest balance transfer credit card, you won’t be able to transfer debt between the cards. It always needs to be from a new provider.
The same almost always applies between banks under the same banking group, so if you have a Natwest credit card, you would not be able to transfer the balance to an RBS credit card, as they fall under the RBS group.
Secondly, some banking groups will not allow you to have more than one credit card from their range at the same time.
This might be because they want to reserve their other cards for ‘new customers’.
If you have one credit card for less than six months, and then apply for another from the same provider, you may get turned down for this reason.
You may also wish to know which banking group your current provider falls under after having a bad past experience and wanting to avoid it when switching to a new current account provider, for example.
However, it’s worth noting that many banks, even under the same banking group umbrella, offer different services and can often be very different from one another.
Who provides the best balance transfer cards?
Fortunately if you are seeking to transfer your balance you have quite few options, whoever owns your card. While the best balance transfer card, depends on what you want from a card, you can look at the cards with the longest 0% period, no upfront fee, or flexibility with long 0% periods for purchases and balance transfers.
Longest 0% period
Virgin are offering the longest ever interest free balance transfer period of 40 months. But this is a limited offer, only available to those who apply before 9 September 2015.
However the 2.99% transfer fee does push the upfront fees into the more expensive end of the market, so check that the extra four months are worth the fee.
- No transfers from: Virgin Money cards
Tesco’s card gives you 19 months of interest free borrowing for no upfront fee. After your 19 months is up they will levy 18.9% interest on your balance.
- No transfers from: Tesco Bank credit cards
0% purchase and balance transfer combined
The Santander 123 is a versatile card that offers you interest-free balance transfers and purchases for just under two years.
- No transfers from: Santander credit cards
Can I have more than one card by the same provider?
Applying for a credit card by the same issuer does not just pose a restriction on balance transfers.
Some providers will not consider you eligible to apply for two versions of their cards at the same time.
For example, can you apply for a Luma credit card if you already have a Capital One credit card, and vice versa?
Capital One issues Luma credit cards as well their own credit cards, but you may not be able to have both at the same time.
As a general rule, and as mentioned previously, credit card providers usually want you to be a customer for longer than six months before taking out another of their products – this is the case for Luma and Capital One.
The length of time varies, so check the terms and conditions on the credit card provider’s application page if you are not sure.
In the case of some credit card providers, the issue of being a customer for a short period is not necessarily an issue, but you will likely not be eligible for any introductory offers, so you should think about why you’re applying for another credit card.
It’s also worth noting that issuers such as American Express who have licenses on other credit card providers’ brands, may also create some restrictions of their own.
For example, a Lloyds credit card with an American Express license, which gives you, say, Avios points on shopping may restrict you from getting the introductory offers on any other American Express credit card.
Applying for too many credit cards in a short space of time can also affect your credit score.
If you’re in doubt about your credit history, you can get your free credit report and score here.