Tesco’s banking division was launched as a joint venture with RBS in 1997. This was not long after Sainsbury’s had ventured down the same pathway with BOS. Both of these supermarket chains have now recouped complete stakes in these businesses. Banking has worked well here to date with 7.5 million customers joined up. They also still remain as the market leading supermarket chain with their retail history dating back to 1919. There are currently 5 Tesco credit cards available though www.tescobank.com, but we are concerned here with Foundation that was launched in May 2014. This is their only subprime offering with the 4 other cards competing in the prime space with the leading banks.
The Aquis credit card delivers the lowest potential rate from Vanquis Bank over their other direct or affinity cards. There has been some big recent developments with this particular brand that includes a fresh domain and a new secondary product known as Credit Builder. To begin with the website, this service had been available on a subdomain of the main Vanquis site. Visitors couldn’t openly navigate to this page, but would instead need to get to it through search engines or through ads or comparison listings. The new switch has taken this project to www.aquiscard.co.uk. This domain was registered way back in 2002, but the reboot looks to have come recently in late 2015.
The Original credit card was the least well known subprime card identified through keyword data research. This is however one of the newer market releases having only arrived at www.originalcard.co.uk back in early November 2014. This launch from Vanquis actually came on the same day that the NEO brand was introduced. The NEO edition is slightly more well known, but it is found on more comparison searches that would have helped to give it a bit of an extra boost in popularity. These releases do share matched specs. The styling of this card’s design is the best that we have seen across the range though that could tempt users in.
Vanquis Bank launched both the NEO and Original brands on the 4th November 2014. The NEO credit card served at www.neocreditcard.co.uk is a little more well known, but these are still the UK’s least popular subprime cards (factoring Google search data tallies). They share matched product specs not just to each other, yet also to the main Vanquis release. The only difference is of course the styling of the cards across the range. Since there is no USP (introductory deal, lower rate etc) you do wonder why these cards were launched. The common sense approach would be to attract more affinity partnerships whereby they can sit back and let their partner bring in the sales.
The Marbles credit card was launched in May 2015. It had previously been available in another form through HSBC, but an acquisition was agreed with the leading bank in 2007 for MarblesTM. This was not the only acquisition from NewDay Ltd who purchased the Citi Card from Citibank Financial more recently in 2010. They turned this project into Opus, but they are no longer taking applications. You can either apply for this featured product headlined at www.marbles.com or you can head to NewDay’s core line of cards known as Aqua. The starting rate there is 34.9%, but through Advance you can get this rate down to 19.9% after 3 years.
Barclay’s Barclaycard was Britain’s first credit card launched on June 29th 1966. The trend was initially set through the arrival of charge cards from Diners Club (1962) and American Express (1963). A wide range of prime cards are available through www.barclaycard.co.uk. We are however focusing here on their subprime Visa offering named Initial. This Barclaycard credit card is set at 34.9% APR, but it starts out at 0% on purchases for the opening 3 months. Once this deal ends there is a £20 cashback incentive added should the account be managed well. There is a note that the interest could be reduced after a year, but no further details are presented.
Aqua is a small, yet emerging subprime card provider. Capital One has been leading the way with 4 million customers, Vanquis has 2.5 million and there are 750,000 joined here. The gulf between this trio has however been closing recently. TV advertising is making a difference here and they importantly deliver the most intriguing subprime offering in the Advance that when managed well can drop to 19.9% APR. There are currently 4 Aqua credit cards available through www.aquacard.co.uk. This brand has been trading since 2002 and it was created by SAV Credit Ltd who have now become NewDay Ltd. Outside of this company they run Marbles and Opus. The latter is closed for new business.
Vanquis Bank (full name) is the credit card arm of Provident Financial who are well known as the market leading doorstep lender (as Provident) and they have been progressing well through their online equivalent service (named Satsuma Loans). Whilst they have seen dominance in the doorstep sector they have had to chase Capital One in this niche. They have 4 million customers whilst there are around 2.5 million here that have been built up since 2002. There is just the single Visa option pitched at www.vanquis.co.uk. However, they have another offering on a subdomain of this site called Aquis. Update: This product has now received its own website at www.aquiscard.co.uk.
Capital One was established in the year 1988 and they have been trading in the UK since 1996. They have built up more than 40 million customers worldwide. Of this tally, there are 4 million local customers that have received their Classic card through www.capitalone.co.uk. This is their subprime offering and they also offer the Balance Plus that is targeted at prime audiences. It appears that they have discontinued some of their previous releases such as the Aspire range. Affinity partnerships have been taken on with Luma, Ocean Finance and Shop Direct’s Littlewoods and Very brands. This partner approach has also been approached by their main rival Vanquis Bank.