Who does your credit card belong to?
Whilst the answer to this question may seem obvious, many times it is not quite as simple as it sounds. There are lots of credit cards that are owned by umbrella companies and yet trade under a different name.
One example of this is RBS' ownership of Natwest. Even though it says Natwest on your credit card, this does not mean that Natwest are the controlling banking group behind your loans. This may not affect you directly but it is worth knowing for when you might want to change your provider.
The banking group that your credit card belongs will affect whether or not you can carry out a balance transfer or take out a new credit card. It is often the case that you won't be able to take out a new credit card or switch your balance to a card provider that you already have a card with.
How to find out
It is completely understandable to be bit confused about the ownership of your credit card. This is often even harder to work out if you have a credit card with a retailer or a smaller brand.
Here's an easy to use list of who owns what:
|Credit card||Umbrella Company|
|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 should I know who my credit card is owned by?
One reason that you should be aware of who your credit card provider is if you are using an interest free credit card. These credit cards allow you to use your credit card without paying interest for extended periods of time. At the end of this period the interest rates go back up to a normal amount.
This means that if you still have an outstanding balance, you may want to do a balance transfer over to another interest free credit card. However lenders do not normally let you swap to another interest free deal on a new card that they own. For this reason you will want to check which cards are owned by the umbrella company of your current card.
Another reason that you should check who owns your current credit card is the fact that if you find yourself wanting to take out a new credit card, you will often not be able to take out another one with the same bank as your current card.
For example if you already have an HSBC card, you will not be able to take out a second card with HSBC. Furthermore if you have a credit card with HSBC, you won't then be able to take out a John Lewis credit card as they are owned by HSBC. This is often because the banks want to save their other cards for newer customers.
Credit card suppliers normally want you to be a customer of theirs for at least half a year before they will even consider letting you take out a second credit card. This does change from bank to bank, so if you want to know for certain, then you should check the fine print in your credit card account details.
It is also important to remember that you do not want to apply for too many credit cards in a short space of time. This is because doing so and getting rejected will leave a mark on your credit record. If you have a poor credit rating, you will find it harder to take out a loan in the future.