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A selection of Virgin Money credit cards

What is a credit card issuer?

By:  Jennifer Laird | 11th October 2021

If you have a credit card, it’s important to know who your credit card issuer is. But what counts as a credit card issuer? Is it a bank, a payment processing company or something else? Let’s run over what you should know. 

What is a credit card issuer?

The credit card issuer, or provider, is a bank or financial institution that offers credit cards to customers. So, it’s the institution you actually get your credit card from.

You enter into a credit agreement with the card issuer, and you make your monthly repayments to them. They set your credit limit and decide whether it’s appropriate to adjust your limit at any point.

What are some examples of credit card issuers?

In the UK, common credit card providers include:

Are credit card providers and payment processors the same?

No, but this is a common misconception. 

Say, for example, you have a Virgin Money credit card. There’s a MasterCard logo on the front. Virgin Money is the card issuer, but MasterCard is the payment processor.  

American Express is an exception to this rule. The company issues and processes its own cards. So, if you take out an American Express credit card, the company is usually also your payment processor. 

How do I check who issued my credit card?

It’s easy to check your issuer. Here are some tips:

Does it matter who issued your card? Yes, and here’s why.

How much do credit card issuers charge?

Well, there’s no one answer to this question, because card interest rates vary so much! How much you pay to use your card depends on a whole range of factors, including your:

Some cards come with an annual fee, too, so bear this in mind when you’re shopping for a card.

3 Tips for Finding the Lowest Credit Card Issuer Fees

Want to keep your credit card issuer fees as low as possible? Here are three key tips:

  1. Shop around for a card offering a competitive interest rate. Don’t just apply for the first card you find. 
  2. Pay your bill on time. Otherwise, you’ll probably face late payment fees.
  3. Keep the interest down by paying off your outstanding balance in full each month. Or, at least pay down as much as you can. 


In summary, your credit card issuer is simply the lender that offers you the card and sets up the credit agreement. It’s important to know who the issuer is because you might find it hard to get more than one credit card with the same issuing bank. What’s more, it’s usually not possible to make balance transfers on cards provided by the same issuer. 

For more information on picking a credit card issuer, check out our list of top-rated credit cards in the UK.

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