Barclays get a licence to issue American Express cards

According to this article, Barclays has a signed a deal with American Express to issue Amex cards in the UK.  The first fruits of this deal will be seen during 2013.

At present, Lloyds and MBNA are the only two credit card groups – apart from American Express itself – to offer Amex branded cards in the UK.

This is potentially good news for Head for Points readers.  Shops that accept American Express cards pay higher fees than they do if they accept Visa or MasterCard cards.  This extra money pays for extra reward points for users – that is why, for example, the Lloyds Avios American Express card is substantially more generous than the accompanying MasterCard.

Hilton credit card

At present, Barclays issues three cards that we cover – the Hilton HHonors Visa and the Priority Club and Priority Club Black Visa cards.

In theory, we could expect to see these cards relauched, potentially as a double-pack of an American Express and a Visa – with the Amex card offering substantially more points than the Visa cards do.  One to watch as the year develops.

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  1. Flashware says:

    I hope it doesn’t result in a devaluation of the MC/Visa earning through!

  2. Any chance of Barclays taking over from Lloyds to run the Avios card?

  3. Phillip says:

    Could this also be linked to some past rumours that MBNA was looking to sell its UK business with Barclays being an interested party?

    • I really hope not, Barclays are next to useless at running cards linked to loyalty schemes compared to MBNA!

    • Yes. Barclays was a rumoured buyer for the MBNA UK business before Bank of America decided to keep it. As they didn’t get an Amex licence via MBNA, it looks like they decided to get one directly.

  4. It looks like Barclaycard are preparing for the anticipated upcoming regulation that will massively reduce the interchange (the cut taken from each transaction) on the Mastercard and Visa platforms. Interchange is what makes reward cards viable, so when it gets cut, so will rewards. Amex is expected to be outside of this hit (at least initially), so it’ll soon be the only platform for rewards.