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Industry Credit cards
Founded 1966; 50 years ago (1966)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served
Products Credit cards & Contactless Technology
Parent Barclays

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, is a global payment business. The Barclaycard was the first credit card introduced in the United Kingdom, coming into service in 1966. It enjoyed a monopoly until the introduction of the Access card in 1972. The 'Barclaycard' was not the first payment card to be issued in the United Kingdom though, Diners Club and American Express launched their charge cards in 1962 and 1963 respectively.[1] At the time American Express was seen as Barclaycard's main competitor.

Barclaycard later became part of the Visa network but now offer MasterCard, Visa and American Express[2] versions. As of May 2016, Barclaycard remains one of Europe’s leading credit card issuers with over 10 million customers in the UK. Barclaycard's main offices are in Northampton, along with several floors at Barclays' corporate headquarters, One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, London.

Barclaycard UK[edit]

Barclaycard has over 10 million customers in the United Kingdom,[3] issuing one in five United Kingdom credit cards. It is currently the leading United Kingdom credit card issuer.

It is based at 1234 Pavilion Drive in Northampton in a specially designed building. It is one of the main employers in Northampton. Barclaycard UK customer service representatives are based in India and the Philippines.[4]

Barclays were the only major British clearing bank not to issue cheque guarantee cards, instead allowing its customers to guarantee cheques with their Barclaycard (on the basis that if a customer was creditworthy for a Barclaycard they were also good for issuing cheques).[citation needed] This practice ended in 1985, with the introduction of relaxed lending rules, and the introduction of the debit card Barclays Connect, however, it was still possible to guarantee Barclays Bank cheques using a Barclaycard well into the 1990s.

In 2016, Barclaycard won 'Best Credit Card Provider' at the British Bank Awards.[5]

Timeline of Barclaycard UK[edit]

Original Barclaycard design (1966–1983)
  • 1962: Diners Club becomes the first major charge card company in Britain following the merger of Finders Services and Credit Card facilities.
  • 1963: American Express is launched in the United Kingdom.
  • 1966: Barclaycard is launched.
  • 1977: Barclaycard becomes a founding member of the international Visa system.
  • 1986: Barclaycard launches first loyalty scheme.
  • 1990: Barclaycard MasterCard launched.
  • 1997: Barclaycard is the first United Kingdom credit company to allow bills to be paid over the Internet.
  • 2006: TfL and Barclaycard join forces to launch contactless payments on the London Underground.[6]
  • 2008: Barclaycard purchases Goldfish, Discover Financial Services' UK credit card division.
  • 2011: Barclaycard, in partnership with Orange, launches Contactless mobile payments - the first in EU, second after Turkey in Europe.
  • 2012 H1: Barclaycard remove their original Freedom rewards scheme.[7]
  • 2012 (September): Barclaycard launch two brand new rewards scheme cards - Cashback Rewards & Freedom Rewards.
  • 2014: Barclaycard issue cards on the American Express network in the United Kingdom for the first time.[2]
  • 2014: AEG partners with Barclaycard for the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park.[8]
  • 2014: Hawaiian Airlines and Barclaycard launch their consumers and business credit cards.[9]
  • 2014: Barclaycard acquires leading UK-based payment and loyalty business The Logic Group.[10]
  • 2015: The bPay band, a contactless wearable, is fully launched.[11]
  • 2015: bPay joins forces with Topshop to launch a collection of contactless wearable accessories.[12]
  • 2016: Barclaycard becomes the first financial service provider in the UK to enable contactless payments from Android phones.[13]
  • 2016: Apple Pay and Barclaycard join forces, allowing customers to pay with their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card using an Apple device.[14]
  • 2016: Barclaycard celebrates its 50th birthday.[15]
  • 2016: JetBlue and Barclaycard launch their TrueBlue loyalty programme and co-branded credit card.[16]
  • 2016: The fourth product in the bPay range is launched; bPay Loop, giving users the ability to add contactless functionality to their existing wearable devices.[17]
  • 2016: Mondaine, Swiss watch brand, and Barclaycard partner together to sell bPay Loop alongside their watches.[18]
  • 2016: Barclaycard and Garmin, activity tracker brand, team up to sell bPay Loop’s compatibility with their existing devices.[19]

The Barclaycard commercials[edit]

The original Barclaycard adverts featured Alan Whicker, using a Barclaycard in a number of travel locations. American Express was a main competitor at this time, and the focus of the adverts was the number of places that accepted Barclaycard, but did not accept American Express.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rowan Atkinson starred in a series of Barclaycard adverts. The first advert involved Atkinson's character, spy Richard Latham, entering HQ to be told about his next mission. He is given a Barclaycard. The advert ends with Richard coming out of a sentry box with an oblivious sentry guard.

In the adverts following, Richard is accompanied by a protégé called Bough (played by Henry Naylor). Bough is the person who approves of Barclaycard and tells Richard of its benefits, much to Richard's disagreement. In the adverts, Richard burns the end of a rug, breaks a china tea pot for a wedding present (and disturbs the photo of the wedding), and, in one particularly well-known advert, confuses a head honcho from MI5 for a plumber at a crime scene. One ad gives Latham the immortal line: "Barclaycard? This man's in no state to go shopping!"

The other well-known thing about the advert is the theme tune. This advert was the basis for the film Johnny English, which also starred Rowan Atkinson (the name of his character was changed from Richard Latham to Johnny English).[citation needed]

In 1997, soon after the end of the adverts starring Rowan Atkinson. Barclaycard released a campaign involving an man, bearing resemblance to Andrew Agnew, whilst getting up in the morning, his house begins to slowly fall apart. When he leaves for work, the entire building collapses. It is set to Trini Lopez's "If I Had a Hammer".

In Autumn 2008 to promote contactless payment technology and a change in branding, Barclaycard released a campaign featuring a fantasy water slide. Conceived by creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and shot in São Paulo, the TV advert feature an man (played by Robert Wilfort) leaving work via a slide and passing various contactless payment sites on his way home. The TV advert was directed by Peter Thwaites and set to The Bellamy Brothers' "Let Your Love Flow", which, due to the resultant popularity, re-entered the UK Singles Chart and peaked at No. 21.

A second advert was released in January 2010, featuring a man travelling to work on a roller coaster. It is set to Boston's "More Than a Feeling".

Barclaycard International[edit]

As of 2016, Barclaycard operate in 40 countries and have over 30 million customers.[3]

Timeline of Barclaycard International[edit]

  • 1991: Barclaycard launches in Germany
  • 1997: Barclaycard launches its Dollar Card
  • 1998: Barclaycard launches in France
  • 1999: Barclaycard launches in Spain and Greece
  • 2001: Barclaycard launches in Botswana
  • 2002: Barclaycard launches in Italy
  • 2003: A collaborative credit card agreement with Standard Bank in South Africa is launched
  • 2004: Barclaycard launches in Ireland, Portugal and Egypt; acquires U.S. credit card issuer Juniper Financial Corporation
  • 2005: Barclaycard launches EnterCard in the Nordics, a Joint Venture with Swedbank
  • 2007: Irish portfolio is sold to Bank of Scotland (Ireland)
  • 2007: Barclaycard launches in India and Dubai



In July 2003, Barclaycard took over the United Kingdom wing of the American Company Providian National Bank, known as Monument, when it was sold off due to financial irregularities of its American parent company.[20]

Providian's former base in Crawley (West Sussex) was fully part of the Barclaycard group, mainly catering for the very lower end of the credit card market.[citation needed] This targeting of the less affluent has created a lot of controversy as invariably the people targeted have existing financial problems.[citation needed] Barclaycard sold the Monument business and premises to Compucredit in 2007.[21]


In March 2011, Barclays announced that it would be buying the British credit card business arm of Egg from Citigroup for an undisclosed price. At the time of the announcement, Barclays claimed that the credit card assets consisted of 1.15 million accounts with approximately £2.3bn of gross receivables.[22]

They intend to integrate those customers within their own credit card arm. At the time of the announcement, Citi said it was "committed to working with Barclays on a seamless transfer of the customer accounts, ensuring continuation of the high level of service to which customers are accustomed".[23] The deal was expected to be completed within the first half of 2011.

Analog Analytics[edit]

In June 2012 Barclaycard acquired Analog Analytics, a digital coupon and daily deal business similar to Groupon.[24][25]

The Logic Group[edit]

During September 2014, it was announced that Barclaycard was to acquire The Logic Group,[26] a UK-based payment and loyalty business. The procurement would enable Barclaycard’s clients to benefit from The Logic Group’s single platform transaction processing capabilities, alongside data insights which would allow merchants to better target their services to customers.

Toward the end of 2014, Barclaycard confirmed that the acquisition had since been completed.[10]


Transport For London[edit]

During 2006, Barclaycard and Transport for London (TfL) launched their contactless payment technology on the London Underground; initially rolling out at only a handful of stations including Euston and Waterloo. TfL contactless payments cut down on travel queues with users able to quickly touch their cards on the reader, as well as providing a simpler way to top up. Using smart technology, the system also caps daily and weekly travel spend, as well as calculating the best fare. Since the launch, contactless technology has been implemented across the entire Tube network, London Overground, buses, DLR, tram and National Rail services which accept Oyster payments.



During the 2014 British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park, one of the world’s leading live-entertainment companies AEG partnered with Barclaycard for financial investment and technological expertise during the 10-day event. As part of the partnership, Barclaycard were responsible for point-of-sale equipment across the festival, as well as launching the bPay band which allowed revellers the ability to touch and pay on a contactless terminal, without the need cash or cards. In 2015, this partnership was extended until 2019.

[28] [29]

Hawaiian Airlines[edit]

In 2014, Hawaiian Airlines and Bank of Hawaii partnered with MasterCard and Barclaycard US to launch their consumer and business credit cards. In the first few months of its launch, the companies made donations to the Hawaiian Airlines-sponsored Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, for every new card that was activated.



In early 2016, Barclaycard and North American airline JetBlue joined forces to provide customers with a co-branded credit card. The TrueBlue loyalty programme enables holders to redeem JetBlue flights from credit card purchases, using points that never expire.



During 2016, Swiss watch brand Mondaine and Barclaycard partnered up to celebrate the launch of bPay Loop. A range of classic watches, including the hero product Mondaine Evo Big Date, were chosen to compliment bPay Loop; bringing together elegant timepieces and cutting-edge technology.



In 2016, bPay and Garmin teamed up, promoting bPay Loop with the technology company’s range of watches and fitness bands. The idea behind the partnership came from turning existing wearable fitness devices into a contactless way to pay.


Barclaycard products[edit]


Barclays and Barclaycard have been providing contactless debit and credit cards since 2007 and, since May 2011, contactless mobile phones,[34] as well as the terminals that accept contactless payments. Barclays and Barclaycard have issued over 11.4 million contactless-enabled cards.

Barclays and Barclaycard provide contactless terminals for around 50,000 outlets in the UK, including:

Mobile payments[edit]

On 20 May 2011, Barclaycard and Orange launched ‘Quick Tap’ - the United Kingdom’s first contactless mobile phone payments service, allowing customers to make contactless purchases on the high street with their mobile phone for the first time.[46] The launch means that, in addition to using contactless cards or chip and PIN, consumers can tap their mobile phone on a contactless reader at tills in over 50,000 stores to make purchases £20 and under.[47]

The service is available to Orange customers who use a ‘Quick Tap’ enabled handset. Barclaycard and Orange launched with a ‘Quick Tap’ enabled version of the Samsung Tocco Lite.[48]


In June 2014, Barclaycard unveiled its first voyage into the contactless wearable market, giving customers the ability to pay for goods without their credit cards.[11]

Having been initially launched at Pride in London and the Barclaycard British Summer Time music festival in Hyde Park, the full-scale roll out of the bPay band occurred in 2015. The band can be used in more than 300,000 locations across the UK and originally capped payments at £20 however, following the limit increase in September 2015 to £30, customers were able to touch their bPay bands on contactless terminals to spend even more.

The bPay band is not exclusively available to Barclaycard customers, but VISA and MasterCard users also.

Following its success, Barclaycard launched three more contactless wearable devices during 2015. An evolution on the original bPay band, the wristband, is an adjustable, splash-proof and slim accessory that enables quick payments for anything under £30. The bPay sticker turns almost anything into a contactless way to pay, adhering securely to flat surfaces. And the bPay fob is a battery-free keyring providing a lightweight and discreet way for users to make payments.

Lyle & Scott’s Contactless Jacket[edit]

September 2015 saw another world first for Barclaycard, with the launch of Lyle & Scott’s Contactless Jacket.[49] The iconic British men’s lifestyle brand partnered with Barclaycard to develop a double-faced hooded jacket that features a bPay contactless chip in the cuff. Linking to a secure digital wallet, wearers need only touch their sleeve on a contactless terminal to make a payment of up to £30.

Topshop x bPay[edit]

In November 2015, Barclaycard announced its latest contactless wearable partnership; this time with high street fashion retailers Topshop.[50]

The TOPSHOP x bPay collection launched with a playful, cheeky monster fish print and featured smartphone cases, stickers, and keychains; all of which enabled customers to use them to make purchases of up to £30.

During June 2016, Topshop and Barclaycard announced the second line of TOPSHOP x bPay wearables, a luxe metal and snake effect range of bracelets, smartphone cases, and key chains.[51]

Barclaycard Contactless Mobile[edit]

During September 2015, Barclaycard announced an industry-first; the launch of a mobile app that provided Android phone users with the ability to pay contactlessly.[13]

Using the app, UK customers are able to make payments of up to £30 by touching their smartphones on a contactless terminal. Meanwhile, purchases of up to £100 can also be made via the app but require the user's PIN to be entered alongside it.

Android users who download the app are also provided with the market-first, real-time card replacement service, which allows lost and stolen cards to be downloaded instantaneously to the phone and used immediately.

Apple Pay[edit]

In April 2016, Barclays announced that a recent partnership with Apple Pay meant customers would be able to sync their devices, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone 6, to their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card.

A Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card can be added through the iPhone Wallet, which starts a confirmation process of the user’s Apple account and bank details. Apple Pay can be used wherever a contactless or Apple Pay logo is found, and for in-app purchases on the device, fingerprint payments can also be made.[14]

Other elements of Barclaycard[edit]

In addition to Barclaycard UK and Barclaycard International, there is also Barclaycard Payment Acceptance (Merchant Acquiring) and Barclaycard Commercial (Corporate Issuing and Partnership Issuing). Until November 2008, Barclaycard Payment Acceptance was known as Barclaycard Business, previous to which it was known as Barclaycard Merchant Services (BMS). As a Merchant Acquirer, it enjoys around 38% of the UK Acquiring Business and offers a number of channels including internet payments (ePDQ) and small merchant bank-owned terminals (PDQ Terminals) normally provided by Ingenico (formally Fortronic).

It teamed up with London's Transport for London to combine a credit card with an Oyster card—called OnePulse—which was launched in the autumn of 2007.

Barclaycard Payment Acceptance[edit]

Barclaycard is a leading acquirer in the United Kingdom, with 1 in 3 transactions being processed through Barclaycard. It offers solutions for taking card payments in traditional face-to-face environments, as well as card non present environments such as online, or phone or mail order.

Barclaycard offers a range of terminals for taking payments, which can be customised to a merchant’s needs with various value added services – such as Dynamic Currency Conversion or Mobile Top Up. These value added services tend to be central to the Barclaycard proposition.

In online or cardholder not present (CNP) environments, Barclaycard has two main solutions: ePDQ and Barclaycard SmartPay. As with the terminal offerings, these can be supplemented by additional products such as Fraud Reporter or pre-paid gift card e-vouchers. Barclaycard’s products give merchants the option to either host the payment pages on their own website or re-direct the payment to Barclaycard’s domain. Having a Barclaycard hosted payment page can help reduce a merchant’s scope for PCI DSS compliance, as the merchant is no longer liable for storing the card holder’s information. Barclaycard’s background in innovation is not limited to card issuing, and the acquiring business has been recognised for many of its industry firsts.

Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance[edit]

  • 2011 – Launch of Barclaycard Fraud Reporter, powered by Ethoca which gives real time notification of cardholder-confirmed fraud direct from issuing banks within hours of a transaction
  • 2011 – 1st acquirer to launch the United Kingdom’s first contactless mobile phone with Orange that can ‘tap and go’ to make payments
  • 2011 – Launch of Barclaycard’s new GPRS Mobile Terminal with colour screen and contactless
  • 2010 – Launch of Barclaycard SmartPay: making the complex simple by delivering next generation secure and flexible processing across multiple and domestic markets.
  • 2010 – Barclaycard launches its new countertop and portable terminals, with embedded contactless reader
  • 2010 – Launch of Barclaycard Prepaid
  • 2007 – 1st acquirer to market with a new range of contactless card processing terminals
  • 2007 – 1st Contactless card in the United Kingdom for Barclaycard OnePulse: a credit card, Oystercard and contactless card in one.
  • 2005 – 1st acquirer to market with an iRetail EPOS solution for retail businesses to support the industry Chip & PIN programme
  • 2004 – 1st acquirer to market with a new range of card processing terminals to support the industry chip and PIN programme
  • 2004 – 1st UK acquirer to launch a Mobile Chip & PIN terminal using cellular radio communication
  • 2004 – Acquiring business 1st with VGIS implementation for Visa Purchasing Flexible Format Invoices (that can contain all information such as buyer's full name/address, buyer's cost centre and purchase order number)
  • 2004 – Acquiring business 1st to implement Travel & Entertainment VGIS invoices for Visa Corporate Cards - from Vanguard car rental. (Invoices include class of car, period of hire, incidental charges such as fuel, name and address of renter etc.)
  • 2003 – 1st acquirer in the world to perform a live Chip & PIN transaction to new global standard
  • 2003 – 1st acquirer to trial Chip & PIN terminals
  • 2002 – Introduction of ePDQ/Verified by Visa secure on-line payments
  • 2001 – 1st acquirer to launch PrePay – enabling retailers to accept mobile top up transactions through PDQ terminals. Launch of mobile PDQ terminals and portable PDQ terminals
  • 2000 – 1st acquirer to develop CardProve – a standalone counterfeit fraud checking device for retailers and businesses
  • 2000 – Launch of ‘En@ble’ – service to help United Kingdom retailers and businesses begin trading online within days
  • 1999 – Launch of the Corporate Travel & Entertainment card for medium and large businesses, recognising the different needs of this market sector
  • 1999 – 1st acquirer to market Portable PDQ solution using radio technology
  • 1999 – 1st acquirer to process credit card transactions for John Lewis and Marks and Spencer, where previously these retailers only offered debit card payment
  • 1998 – 1st British acquirer to launch an internet payment system (ePDQ), leading the way in online fraud prevention
  • 1998 – 1st acquirer to launch Mobile PDQ terminal using cellular radio communication
  • 1998 – 1st acquirer to launch service to capture and process card transactions via tone dialling telephones with Tonelink service
  • 1998 – 1st co-branded Barclays Card is developed by Barclaycard Business solely for BTI UK Hogg Robinson clients
  • 1997 – 1st acquirer in the world to perform live Chip transaction to new global standard
  • 1997 – 1st acquirer to enable credit card payments over the internet
  • 1994 – Barclaycard Business is the 1st issuer to develop a bespoke Purchasing Card program
  • 1992 – 1st acquirer to trial combined Cash Register PDQ terminal.
  • 1991 – 1st Corporate Card issuer to recognise the demand for and develop Gold and Silver variants
  • 1991 – 1st acquirer to launch Portable hand-held PDQ terminal using battery power and smart card for data storage media
  • 1989 – 1st acquirer to launch portable PDQ terminals using battery power and removable data storage media for transaction storage
  • 1987 – 1st acquirer to trial unattended stamp book vending in partnership with the Post Office using PIN verification called ‘PINPOINT’
  • 1986 – 1st acquirer to introduce PDQ (processes data quickly) terminals – used by UK businesses to process credit and debit card transactions
  • 1985 – 1st acquirer to trial unattended Petrol vending machines in partnership with Shell, Mobil, Texaco and BP using PIN verification called ‘PINPOINT’
  • 1985 – 1st acquirer to trial unattended train ticket vending machines in partnership with British Rail using PIN verification called ‘PINPOINT’.
  • 1983 – in response to rising levels of fraud, the acquiring business installed the first terminals (equal first with Amex) to automate authorisation requests (coupled with zero floor limits) at Jenners in Edinburgh.
  • 1983 – 1st acquirer to trial dispensing cash on Barclaybank cash machine cards at supermarkets and petrol stations (rather than banks). The service called 'Supercash' was the forerunner of the Purchase with Cashback facility.
  • 1982 – 1st acquirer to pilot a debit card use in BP, Shell and Esso filling stations in Norwich using Barclaybank cash machine cards.
  • 1969 – 1st bank to launch Commercial Cards via our Issuing Business (to compete with Amex and Diners).
  • 1966 – Acquiring business was established with the launch of Barclaycard credit cards


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External links[edit]