UK Accounting Glossary
A kind of credit card linked to an organisation other than the issuing bank
An affinity card is a kind of credit card which is co-branded by both the issuing bank and another company, charity or organisation, and with some sort of loyalty or rewards program relevant to the co-branding.
Affinity cards operate like ordinary credit cards. However, they will be linked to a particular cause, which may or may not be charitable.
Some charities offer credit cards (the schemes are run by card issuers on the charities’ behalf) that make small percentage payments towards charity funds each time you use the card. There may also be a donation to the cause when you take the card out.
Trades unions have offered affinity cards to their members and even Star Trek fans have been given the option of a Starfleet credit card!
An example would be a card linked to a hotel chain, where holders of the card could build up points in a reward scheme that can be redeemed at that hotel.
Another example is a charity card where ‘cashback’ is paid to the charity every time the card is used.
Sports-related affinity cards are also increasingly popular, where the credit card carries the logo of the team that the holder supports, and the cashback earned when the card is used is given to the team in question.
One of the biggest issuers of affinity cards worldwide and in the UK is MBNA who issue hundreds of different affinity cards linked to everything from football clubs to airlines.
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This glossary post was last updated: 15th February 2020.