Follow this topicFollow this topic Knowledge » Credit cards

The secret truth about your credit card

Neil Faulkner
by Lovemoney Staff Neil Faulkner on 16 December 2009  |  Comments 17 comments

If you're not careful, this secret could cost you dear...

The secret truth about your credit card

Your credit card may be hiding a dirty secret. Its parents.

For example, did you know that M&S Money - the provider of insurance, loans and credit cards -  is wholly owned by HSBC and not Marks & Spencer?

Didn't think so.

It just goes to show that favourite brands aren't necessarily controlled by your favourite organisations.

With credit cards, this matters more than you think.

There are well over 100 companies and charities that offer credit cards, but there are less than a score of card issuers. Understandably, HSBC is the card issuer for HSBC cards and for M&S Money cards. It's not surprisingly the issuer of First Direct cards, as it wholly owns that online bank too. Yet it is also the issuer of Marbles and John Lewis cards.

Why does this matter?

Most card issuers will not let you have another of its cards, even if you buy a different brand.

You need to stop using your existing card for at least six months and in many cases longer before you will be considered for another card by the same issuer.

The problem is that the more times you apply for credit the worse your credit record looks. Therefore, you don't want to apply for another card from the same issuer.

This is a major problem if you wish to transfer you existing card balance to a cheaper deal. It may be that a new 0% credit card deal will save you hundreds in a year, but you endanger your chances of getting a new card, or any other form of credit, be it loans or mortgages, if you apply for a second card from the same issuer, and get rejected.

And what's more most issuers won't even let you transfer balances between two cards that they own.

But how do you find out which cards have the same issuer?

Buried in the small print

It can be extremely difficult to find out who the card issuer is for any given card. Details of the overall issuer are often hidden in the terms and conditions.

However, it's not just that these crucial details are buried in the terms and conditions, it's also that the terms and conditions are buried! It's often not until you've given a credit card provider all your personal data by going through their online application form that you are given the opportunity to read the terms of the deal you've just applied for!

So to help you out here's a list of card issuers, which I've worked hard to ensure is as accurate and up-to-date as possible:

Credit card issuers

Card issuer

Card provider (i.e. the brand/the company you applied to)

Allied Irish Banks


American Express

American Express

Bank of Ireland


Post Office




Capital One

Capital One




Egg card



Amnesty International


Childrens Aid Society



Help the Aged

Labour party

Liberal Democrat

Medical Foundation


Ramblers Association

Save the Children


Stroud & Swindon

Yorkshire BS



Alliance & Leicester*


GE Cards (Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Harrods)




First Direct

GM Card


John Lewis


M&S Money


Lloyds Banking Group

all "lifestyle"



Cancer Research

Carphone Warehouse



Lloyds TSB

More Than



HBOS (part of Lloyds Banking Group but accepts transfers from Lloyds TSB)


Bank of Scotland

Bank of America

(cards mainly issued by MBNA Europe)

The AA card




breakthough breast cancer

british heart foundation

Cheshire Building Society


Football clubs




Melton Mobray Building Society

Norwich & Peterborough


Rugby League clubs


Ski Club GB

Star trek


Toys R US


Virgin Money

Virgin Atlantic

World superbikes


National Australia Group


Yorkshire Bank

Clydesdale Bank

RBS Group



Lombard Direct

Royal Bank of Scotland

Ulster Bank


Sainsbury's card (50% owned by Lloyds)


Tesco ClubCard credit card



Data from company websites, press offices and from (with a few corrections of my own)

*Older cards from these banks were issued by MBNA.

Get help from

If you need a bit controlling your credit cards, we can help.

First, adopt this goal: Pay off credit card debts

Next, watch this video: The cost of credit card debt

And finally, why not have a wander over to Q&A and ask other members for hints and tips about what worked best for them?

Transfer a balance and get 17 months interest free through

More: Twelve cracking credit cards for spending | Beware these 19 credit card tricks!

Enjoyed this? Show it some love


Comments (17)

  • retrac
    Love rating 0
    retrac said

    i don't suppose it's obvious to general consumers/users of credit cards, but as a retailer, the reality is that it's ME that really pays for all the profits of card companies. Credit cards cost me dear. Everytime a consumer uses one I pay for that use, cashback deals/airmiles vouchers and othe so called benefits. if you work it out as I have, the retailer pays ~tenfold for all these incentives. the best thing to do would be for all credit card users just to cut them up. Use a debit card instead. They only cost me 18p. and I get the money 4 days later.

    Report on 13 May 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • eLJay
    Love rating 78
    eLJay said

    retrac - really the retailers should have 2 prices for cash and debit against credit cards, which would encourage people to use those instead of credit cards. I always use a debit card but never get any further benefits as I'm paying exactly the same as credit card users but without the protection you get on items over £100 or other perks. I always end up moving back to credit cards on larger items just for the cover.

    Report on 17 February 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

Post a comment

Sign in or register to post a reply.

Our top deals

Provider & account name Credit rate (AER)
Based on £1

Based on £1

TSB Classic Plus Current Account

5.0% 0% EAR Apply

Nationwide BS FlexDirect

5.0% 0% plus £0.50 per day usage fee Apply

Clydesdale Bank Current Account Direct

2.0% 9.9% EAR Apply
W3C  Thank you for using One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest