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Who owns your credit card?

Find out who owns your credit card and ensure you don't miss out on the best credit card deals

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Who owns your credit card?Who owns your credit card?

Give yourself the best chance of having your credit card application accepted by understanding who owns your credit card and why this matters.

How can I successfully apply for a credit card?

When you apply for a credit card, lenders take a number of factors into account. These include your credit rating, your financial history, how much you are borrowing already, your age and whether you have any bad credit in your past.

You can improve your chances of having your credit card application approved by making sure you are on the electoral register, your credit score is good, and you are not making lots of applications for credit in a short period of time.

However, what many people do not realise is that you might be turned down for a new credit card if you already have a credit card with a bank in the same banking group.

For example, balance transfer credit cards, which offer 0% interest for long periods, will never let you transfer a balance between the same credit card provider. In addition, some banking groups will not allow you to have more than one credit card from their range at the same time.

Knowing who owns your credit card can improve your chances of successfully getting credit by making sure you do not apply to a financial services company with whom you already have a credit card.

Find out how to improve your credit rating and your credit score

Who owns your credit card?

Many banks and their various products, such as credit cards and current accounts, come under the umbrella over a wider banking group.

Paying interest?

Transfer your balance to a balance transfer card and pay 0% for the introductory period

For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group controls RBS and NatWest banks and their credit cards. While NewDay Ltd look after brands, such as Aqua and Fluid. This is important to know if 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, there is no point in applying to a banking group with whom you already have a 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):

Updated 2 September 2020
Credit card brandOwned by
AABank of Ireland
American ExpressAmerican Express
aqua NewDay (formerly Sav Credit)
British AirwaysAmerican Express
Bank of ScotlandBank of Scotland
BarclaycardBarclaycard
Black DiamondVanquis Bank
Capital OneCapital One
The Co-operative BankThe Co-operative Bank
HalifaxBank of Scotland
HSBCHSBC
John Lewis Financial ServicesHSBC
LloydsLloyds Bank
LumaCapital One
M&S BankHSBC
MBNAMBNA
NationwideNationwide
NatwestRBS Group
Post OfficeBank of Ireland
RBSRBS Group
Sainsbury's BankSainsbury's Bank
SantanderSantander
StarwoodAmerican Express
Tesco BankTesco Bank
Vanquis BankVanquis Bank
Virgin MoneyMBNA

Doe it matter who my credit card is with?

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.

Compare credit cards with Uswitch

Compare all sorts of credit cards from 0% cards to rewards, balance transfer to cashback cards.

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. This could be following a bad experience and wanting to avoid it when switching to a new current account provider.

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. For example, you might be able to get a New Day credit card with Aqua, but they also provide store cards for Amazon, Topshop and Debenhams.

Who provides the best balance transfer cards?

Fortunately, if you're seeking to transfer your balance, you have quite a few options, whoever owns your card. 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.

Take a look at our comparison table for the best balance transfer cards to suit your needs.

Paying interest?

Transfer your balance to a balance transfer card and pay 0% for the introductory period

Can I have more than one card by the same provider?

Applying for a credit card by the same issuer doesn't 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, 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.

Which credit cards will I be eligible for?

Sometimes having a credit card with a provider means that you do not qualify as a new customer and therefore miss out on some of the best deals.

In the case of some credit card providers, the issue of being a customer for a short period is not necessarily an issue. However, you will likely not be eligible for any introductory offers.

It’s also worth noting that issuers such as American Express (who have licences on other credit card providers’ brands), may also create some restrictions of their own.

For example, a Lloyds credit card with an American Express licence, which gives you 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 find out how to check your credit report and score here.

How to identify different credit card providers

To make things even more complicated, different credit card providers run cards for the banks. So Visa will be running a number of different cards from financial companies such as Barclays and Nationwide.

You can identify different credit card companies by the first numbers on the credit card. 

  • Cards starting with the number 3 are American Express

  • Cards starting with the number 4 are Visa

  • Cards starting with the number 5 are MasterCard

Should I consider getting a credit card?

Credit cards can be a great benefit to you if used correctly. There are many positives associated with using a credit card. However, it's important to note that if not used correctly they can have a damaging effect to your credit score, create debt.

Pros of using a credit card

  • Credit cards can offer you protection on your purchases with Section 75

  • Improve your credit score, by making regular monthly payments and not missing any

  • Manage your spend by paying for expensive items when needed, to be able to balance your spending, especially if you have a 0% interest rate

  • Many credit cards offer great rewards, meaning anytime you use them you are likely to reap the rewards

Cons of using a credit card

  • After any introductory rates, interests rates can be very high

  • Can lead to debt, if not used correctly and minimum payments aren't made

  • Too many credit card applications can hurt your credit score

What if I get turned down for a credit card?

If you have a poor credit history, or not enough of a credit history, credit providers are likely to reject your application. When you apply for credit, either a credit card, loan or mortgage, your credit provider will run a credit check to check your history of repayments. They'll be looking for evidence that you're a responsible borrower who'll be able to make their repayments. Any information is usually held for between 5 and 6 years. But items like court or bankruptcy rulings might stay on your file for longer. If you have missed repayments, have a lot of outstanding debt, are not on the electoral role or have made a lot of applications for credit in a short period of time then this can adversely affect your application.

Find out more about Credit cards for Bad credit

Paying interest?

Transfer your balance to a balance transfer card and pay 0% for the introductory period