General Purpose Credit Cards

General-purpose cards have the logo of one of the bankcard companies on the front. For purposes of this booklet, the bankcard systems, MasterCard and Visa,, are referenced interchangeably as companies and associations.

These cards are associated with the consumer's or cardholder's revolving credit account at a financial institution or other business.  The revolving credit line is capped or limited based on the creditworthiness of the consumer.  These cards can be used at any location that accepts credit cards from the particular bankcard company and include bankcards and closed-loop cards.  Bankcards require agreements and transaction processing arrangements among participants, while closed-loop cards may not.

  • Financial institutions issue bankcards in conjunction with the three major credit card association networks, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.  MasterCard, Visa, and American Express operate "open" networks in which financial institutions can compete in card-issuing and merchant acquiring.  The card-issuing financial institution and the merchant acquirer can be different organizations.  Firms that serve as both the card issuing agent and the merchant acquirer issue closed loop credit cards.


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Co-Branded/Affinity Credit Cards