An issuing bank is a bank that offers card association branded payment cards directly to consumers. The name is derived from the fact that it issues payment to the acquiring bank on behalf of its customer (the purchaser in the transaction).
The issuing bank assumes primary liability for the consumer's capacity to pay off debts they incur with their card.
In the case of credit cards, the issuing bank extends a line of credit to the consumer. Liability for non-payment is then shared by the issuing bank and the acquiring bank, according to rules established by the card association brand.