Who owns your credit card?

Knowing who owns your credit card will help ensure you don’t miss out on the best credit card deals.

If you have a credit card, understanding exactly who owns that particular brand is important, particularly if you want to carry out a balance transfer. While most of us know which company provides our credit card, it’s not always as obvious knowing which banking group it falls under.

Who owns your credit card?

To help you get a clearer understanding of who owns who, the table below highlights some of the main credit card brands and the brand owners:

Credit card brandOwner
AAJaja Finance
American ExpressAmerican Express
AquaNewDay
British AirwaysAmerican Express
Bank of ScotlandBank of Scotland
BarclaycardBarclaycard
Capital OneCapital One
Clydesdale BankClydesdale Bank (trading as Virgin Money)
First DirectHSBC
HalifaxBank of Scotland
HSBCHSBC
John Lewis FinanceHSBC
LloydsLloyds Bank
M&S BankHSBC
MBNAMBNA
Metro BankMetro Bank
NationwideNationwide
NatWestRBS Group
Post OfficeCapital One
Sainsbury’s BankSainsbury’s Bank
SantanderSantander
Tesco BankTesco Bank
The Co-operative BankThe Co-operative Bank
TSBTSB
Virgin MoneyClydesdale Bank (trading as Virgin Money)
Yorkshire BankClydesdale Bank (trading as Virgin Money)

How to apply for a credit card

You’re more likely to get accepted for a credit card if you have a good credit score and lenders can see that you’ve borrowed responsibly in the past.

To give yourself a greater chance of success, it’s well worth using an eligibility checker on a comparison site as this will give you an indication of the credit cards you’re most likely to get accepted for. Eligibility checkers use a “soft” search on your credit file, so there will be no impact on your credit score. In comparison, when you make a full application, lenders run a full, “hard” search of your credit file, which can affect your credit score.

It’s also worth checking your credit score and taking steps to improve it if needed:

  • Make sure you are registered on the electoral roll
  • Check for mistakes on your credit report and get them corrected
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Space out credit applications by 3 to 6 months.

You can further improve your chances of getting accepted by knowing which credit cards are owned by which banking groups.

Does it matter who owns my credit card?

Yes, it does. One of the reasons for this is that you might not be able to have more than one credit card from the same banking group. Some providers will only accept new customers, which means if you already have a credit card with a brand that falls under the same banking group umbrella, you could be turned away.

However, it also pays to check who owns your credit card if you want to carry out a balance transfer. This is because you cannot usually transfer balances between credit cards that fall under the same banking group.

So if, for example, you had a balance on a First Direct credit card, you wouldn’t be able to move it to another First Direct credit card and you also wouldn’t be able to transfer it to an HSBC credit card as they both fall under the HSBC group.

Are balance transfers a good idea?

Balance transfers can be a great way of helping you to pay off existing credit card debt more cheaply. By shifting existing debt over to a credit card that charges a low rate of interest or no interest at all for a set time, you’ll be able to pay off your debt more quickly and save yourself a lot in interest.

However, when comparing your options, you’ll need to check who owns your existing credit card and then disregard any balance transfer credit cards that fall under the same banking group. You’ll then want to pick the card with the longest 0% balance transfer deal and the lowest fees.

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

This will depend on the type of credit card and the provider. Some providers may allow you to have more than one credit card with them, while others may impose certain restrictions. These restrictions could apply to the bank itself or across the entire banking group.

For example, while Lloyds credit cards are owned by Lloyds Bank, the bank is part of Lloyds Banking Group which also includes Halifax, Bank of Scotland and MBNA. In this case, Lloyds states that customers can only have 2 credit cards with Lloyds Bank and up to 5 with Lloyds Banking Group.

Another thing to watch out for is that some providers will ask that you’ve been a customer for a certain length of time before they will allow you to have another credit card with them. Capital One, for example, requests that you’ve held a Capital One account for more than 4 months before applying for another card.

If you’re not sure, either take a look at your provider’s website or give them a ring to check.

How to identify different credit card providers

As well as the bank and banking group, your credit card will also use either the Mastercard, Visa or American Express payment network. Your card will display the logo of whichever provider is used, but you can also tell by looking at the first numbers on the credit card.

  • Mastercard credit cards start with the number 5.
  • Visa cards start with the number 4.
  • American Express cards start with the number 3.

Which credit cards will I be eligible for?

Again, this will depend on the provider and the type of credit card you’re applying for. Some card providers will only offer their best deals to new customers, so if you already have a credit card with that particular provider, you may not be eligible.

If you are eligible, you may find you don’t qualify for certain introductory offers. For example, to qualify for a welcome bonus with many American Express cards, you must not have been a customer for the past 24 months.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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