What Is A Credit Card Issuer And How Is That Different Than Visa, MasterCard Or Amex?
Most people get confused when they try to differentiate between a credit card issuer and a credit card network. They often think that Visa, Master Card or Amex is their credit card issuer; however, that’s not always the case.
A credit card issuer is a bank or another financial institution that gives you a credit card. In other words, the credit card issuer is the institution that offers you a credit limit and takes responsibility for paying merchants for shopping you did with that particular credit card. Some examples of credit card issuers include Citibank, Capital one and Chase.
Normally, a credit card issuer has its name printed in big, fancy letters at the top right or left corner of the card. If you have a private label card, you will find the issuer’s name at the back of the card in small prints.
Remember, credit card issuers are not always authorized to offer their own credit cards. A credit card is basically a tool to facilitate and process credit between banks and cardholders. Credit card networks like MasterCard, Amex and Visa control and regulate the use of credit cards, provide technical assistance, and simplify the payment process between credit card issuers, vendors, and credit cardholders.
Credit card holders mostly get confused because American Express, which has lost the title of America’s best credit card network, and Discover are both credit card networks and issuers for their own cards.
It is very important to know who is your credit card issuer as well as which network your card belongs to. If you want answer to questions about your account, you should call your credit card issuers. On the other hand, if you want to know where you can use your credit card or what policies apply to you when it comes to fraud obligations or auto rental, you should call your credit card network.