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Branding and relationships issues in affinity and co-branded credit cards

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The use of the plastic card as an icon of the relationship between the card user and the cardholder continues to gain in popularity in what is increasingly a card centric society. In the credit card market, the growth in cards issued and value of transactions made is being fuelled by the growth of the affinity and co-branded credit cards. These cards involve a triadic relationship between the card issuer, the cardholder and the affinity partner group and this creates challenges concerning which brands appear on the limited ‘real estate’ offered by the face and reverse of the plastic card. The prospects for affinity and co-branded credit cards are excellent in all markets where the credit card is an established product and a better understanding of the branding and relationship issues that they create can only assist their development.

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1Steve Worthington, BSc (Hons), Cert Ed, MBA, FRSA is the Britannia Building Society Professor of Marketing of Financial Services at Staffordshire University Business School. Before returning to academic life in 1992, he worked as Marketing Group Head within Co-op Brand, the own label of the Co-operative Wholesale Society. Prior to that, he was Head of Marketing and Planning with the Co-operative Bank; a subsiduary of the CWS. He also has business experience with Manulife and Kodak. Steve has published widely both in academic journals and in more practitioner focused publications, He has also written a number of case studies concerning both bank and retailer provision of financial services and authored a major report entitled Branding and Relationships in Plastic Cards, published by the Financial Times.

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Worthington, S. Branding and relationships issues in affinity and co-branded credit cards. J Brand Manag 6, 188–197 (1999).

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