What are card issuers?

Numerous financial and banking companies in Canada are considered card issuers. That’s because Visa, Mastercard, and other card-providing companies don’t offer their consumers credit and debit cards directly. Instead, they partner with banks, credit unions, and other businesses that allow Canadians to receive these cards.

These companies are also known as card issuers. Essentially, they issue cards to their clients but aren’t the ones who make them. There are numerous reliable and popular card issuers in Canada, but some of the most prominent are:

  • The Royal Bank of Canada;
  • The Bank of Montreal;
  • Scotiabank;
  • HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation);
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank;
  • The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Online and mobile banking has become increasingly popular over the past few years, enabling many Canadian fintech companies to start issuing cards. Some of them are:

Card issuers vs card networks

Many consumers don’t understand the difference between card issuers and card networks, which we’ll clarify here.

Card issuers provide their clients with desired cards. Card networks represent the background infrastructure that makes all card transactions possible.

Card networks work with card issuers to sell their products to consumers and allow them to make purchases using their infrastructure.

The top three card networks in Canada include Visa; Mastercard; and American Express.

Pros and cons of other issuers’ cards

The cards mentioned here don’t belong to any of the main banks or card issuers. That means they belong to some other issuers that are usually less popular.

If you’re looking for a new card to invest in, you’re surely wondering what is a better choice – should you get a card issued by one of the main banks, or should you go with a more alternative option?

The answer to that question isn’t simple because everyone’s looking for something different in a card. That’s why it might be a good idea to look closely at the pros and cons of other issuers’ cards. That way, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

The advantages of getting other issuers’ cards are:

  • Lower fees: Main banks have significant expenses, so they have to cover them with bigger fees. Since less familiar issuers have lower costs, they can afford to offer cards with lower fees to their clients.
  • Better deals: Other issuers are usually new players on the market, so they need to attract as many clients as possible. They do that by offering amazing deals, discounts, bonuses, and cashback rewards.
  • Reliable customer service: Main banks have so many clients that it’s almost impossible to respond to all inquiries and solve all issues. However, that’s not the case with other issuers, which are working hard to get back to each customer.

The disadvantages of getting other issuers’ cards are:

  • Limited availability: Issuers that aren’t main banks are usually situated only in one country or region. Therefore, their products and services aren’t widely available. So, even if you have a card from another issuer, you might be limited in where you can use it.
  • Limited security: Smaller card issuers don’t have the resources to pay for the most sophisticated security systems. Even so, that doesn’t mean these cards are unreliable for use.

These are some of the main pros and cons that you should consider carefully when choosing a card issuer.

Bottom Line

With all the pros and cons of other issuers’ cards in mind, it’s safe to say it’s good to have cards that are not from the main banks in your wallet. With low or no fees and great rewards, these cards are definitely worth it. Choose a card from a less-known card issuer and give it a shot today!

Frequently Asked Questions