What are Card Issuers?
The financial institutions that are largely responsible for the shiny piece of plastic in your wallet – and the wonderful rewards that it offers – are known as credit card issuers. These institutions include banks, credit unions, and other lenders that may range in size from local to international. Credit cards are issued by banks and other financial institutions; hotel reward cards are no exception.
The card issuer handles virtually every aspect of the credit card you use, from the approval (or denial) of the credit card application, establishing and enforcing the terms and conditions of card use, and setting the fees, signup bonuses, and rewards structures associated with the credit card offer. Card issuers also handle customer-facing issues; they collect payments and provide customer service in addition to being responsible for actually issuing the card. Card issuers work with credit card payment networks like American Express, Mastercard, and Visa – these are the intermediaries that facilitate payment between bank and merchant. A card issuer is not the same thing as a credit card payment network.
Find Your Ideal Hotel Card
At HotelCards, you can explore hotel credit cards from the biggest card issuers in the United States, and across the world, while checking out impartial, in-depth reviews from our editors. We’ve sorted them into the following categories to make your decision that much easier:
American Express is one of the nation’s leading credit card issuers. There are currently over 53 million AMEX credit cards issued in the U.S., which include lucrative hotel rewards cards from leading brands like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton.
Barclays may not be the biggest credit card lender in the United States, but their 15 million+ cardholders know that Barclays offers some of the best credit card products on the market today, including their Wyndham Rewards hotel card.
Bank of America’s popularity in the credit card world is evergreen; perhaps that’s why over 55 million cards have been issued through the bank to date. Bank of America provides credit card products designed to appeal to every taste and preference, including hotel rewards credit cards from Sandals and Sonesta.
JPMorgan Chase – more commonly known as simply Chase Bank – is the largest credit card issuer in the United States, with over 90 million credit cards issued to date. Chase credit cards are known for their exceptional value and excellent rewards, and their hotel credit cards, from major brands such as IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt are no different.
Comenity Bank is one of the leading providers of co-branded rewards and retail credit cards in the United States today. The bank partners with a seemingly endless list of partners, providing cardholders with valuable rewards and bountiful benefits – including from big names like Westgate and Caesars Entertainment.
Commerce Bank defines itself as a “super-community bank.” This dedication to their partners and customers comes through in their credit card products, which offer excellent rewards and customer service. The bank also issues a co-branded hotel credit card with Drury Hotels.
First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, offers an extensive array of credit cards for everyday use. The bank partners with hundreds of institutions and brands, including leading names in the hospitality industry like Best Western and MGM.
U.S. Bank is the nation’s fifth-largest bank by assets and one of the top issuers of credit cards as well. Over 21 million Americans know that U.S. Bank credit cards, such as their Radisson Rewards hotel cards, are synonymous with rewards and impressive introductory offers.
Co-Branded Credit Cards: Airline Cards, Hotel Cards & More
As credit cards have increased in popularity, card issuers have looked for opportunities to draw customers to their deals, pairing with hotel chains, airlines, and even retail brands. These rewards credit cards feature retailer-specific perks along with that company’s logo and branding – but the retail company itself is not the card issuer. These rewarding credit card offers are known as co-branded credit cards and are the product of a partnership between the retailer and a card issuing bank.
Dating back to the Hilton hotel chain’s 1958 Carte Blanche credit card, which expanded their affinity card into a credit card, hotel chains (like Hilton, Wyndham, Hyatt, Marriott and more) have used co-branded credit cards to partner with existing credit issuers, creating rewards cards that have proven to be extremely popular. This partnership allows hotel chains to offer their customers exclusive direct rewards and other merchant-specific perks that are not available elsewhere while utilizing the existing infrastructure of a financial institution to offer and maintain the associated line of credit.
Determining the Issuer of a Co-Branded Card
To find out who the card issuer of a particular credit card is, cardholders need not look far. The name of the issuer is usually included in the name of the card itself, although with some co-branded credit cards it can be slightly trickier since the retail partner is most often featured in the card name instead. Remember, the card issuer is not the card payment network; the card payment network is always displayed prominently on the face of the credit card, while identifying the card issuer may take additional sleuthing. When in doubt, take a look at the terms and conditions that are provided with the credit card when applying; the card issuer’s name is always present within the terms and conditions and is often displayed on the official web page of the credit card, too.
Editorial Disclosure — The opinions expressed on HotelCards’ reviews, blogs, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author. They are not reflective of any card issuer or financial institution and have not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless otherwise noted. Further, HotelCards lists credit card offers that are updated daily with information believed to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.