What are Card Issuers?

Credit card issuers are the financial institutions responsible for flashy credit cards sitting in your wallet and all the impressive rewards they offer. There are thousands of card issuers throughout the world. These types of institutions include banks (such as Bank of America, Barclays, Chase, U.S. Bank, or Wells Fargo), credit unions (such as Federal Credit Union, Golden 1, Gulf Coast Credit Union, and countless others), and other types of lenders (such as Capital One or Discover). Card issuers often range widely in size, from local credit unions to multinational banks.

Card issuers handle virtually all aspects of the credit card life cycle, including the approval (or denial) or credit card applications, establishment of terms and conditions, and determining the fees, signup bonuses, and rewards structures. Aside from being responsible for issuing the card, card issuers handle customer-facing issues such as collecting payments and providing customer service. Card issuers work closely with credit cards payment networks like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover – the intermediaries to facilitate payment between bank and merchant –  but they are not the same thing.

Store Credit Cards & More: Co-Branded Credit Cards

Nowadays, it’s quite common to find a retailer or brand offering credit cards with their namesake. These cards tout retailer-specific perks and are splashed with their company’s logo and branding – but the retailers themselves are not the card issuer. These fun credit cards are known as co-branded credit cards and are the result of a retailer and a bank (or other financial institution with lending capabilities) partnering together.

How To Determine the Card Issuer of a Co-Branded Card

Determining the card issuer of credit often is a very straightforward process. The issuer usually includes their name in the name of the actual card itself. This identification, however, becomes a bit trickier with co-branded cards, which typically have the brand’s name instead. While identifying the card issuer may require some detective work, it’s not overly complicated. A person can likely find it on the official page of any credit card and if in doubt, the name should always be present at the bottom of the terms and conditions.

Browse Credit Cards by Issuer

Explore credit cards from the biggest card issuers in the United States, and across the world, with in-depth reviews from the team at Best Cards. We’ve sorted them into easy-to-find categories to make your decision easier:

Browse Credit Cards by Credit Union

Explore credit cards from the biggest credit unions in the  United States, with in-depth reviews from the team at Best Cards. We’ve sorted them into easy-to-find categories to make your decision easier:


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