A credit card war among the UK’s major high street banks is set to break
out after NatWest this week announced the first deal between a British
bank and American Express.
Until now, MasterCard and Visa have had a duopoly in which theirs were
the only cards distributed through British banks. The arrangement
restricted the penetration of Amex.
But the new deal gives it NatWest’s marketing endorsement and is likely
to spawn co-branded Amex credit or debit cards issued by the bank in
conjunction with retailers, travel companies, airlines and car
The cards will offer a deal similar to NatWest’s Orange card launched
through Visa this year.
NatWest will have access to Amex’s global merchant network next year,
with the launch of its own-branded Amex card, understood to feature a
new NatWest brand to rival Barclaycard.
The bank has already signed a deal with United Airlines to issue a
corporate card for travel expenses on the Amex network.
The deal is expected to spark intense competition between the three card
networks and the banks for customers’ loyalty and will be a blow to Visa