What is a 'National Issuers'

National issuers are credit card companies that offer cards to creditworthy customers nationwide.

National issuers include companies such as Capital One, Chase Bank, Discover, American Express and Citibank.

A card’s terms and conditions often tip off a prospective customer as to whether the card company is national or regional. Language that indicates an offer is only available to U.S. residents 18 and older often indicates the lender is a national issuer.

BREAKING DOWN 'National Issuers'

National issuers generally are household names, as opposed to local and regional banks and credit unions. Conversely, card offers valid only in particular states aren’t from national issuers.

From a consumer perspective, there are notable differences between national, regional and local issuers. Local and regional issuers sometimes offer a wider range of rates, so it’s possible to do more comparison shopping and find a better deal. Lower rates generally help consumer who tend to carry a balance.

Conversely, national issuers tend to offer far better rewards and perks, as its where these lenders tend to compete. Many change these benefits often. This type of card tends to benefit frequent travelers and those who tend to pay their balances in full each month.

Sticking with a national issuer sometimes is better for individuals who face credit problems. Some credit unions, for instance use cross-collateralization, meaning they lump all credit risk they face from one individual together. Say a consumer has both a truck loan and a credit card with the same credit union. Individuals who don’t pay their credit card balance from this credit union might have their truck repossessed. The national issuers, however, tend not to cross-collateralize.

In addition, most national issuers have more generous return protection policies, for example, in addition to rewards miles, additional insurance for travelers and concierge services.

Trends Among National Issuers

Benefits offered by national issuers tend to run in cycles. As of 2018, several national issuers scaled back some cardmember benefits, seemingly in an effort to cut costs. For example, Discover eliminated return protection in February 2018, as well as a handful of other perks such as flight-accident insurance. However, it noted that it continues to offer its popular rewards program for everyday purchases, as well as enhanced security alerts and account monitoring.

Meanwhile, Chase eliminated return protection and reduced its trip cancellation insurance for one of its popular cards. However, it added a $100 credit for TSA Precheck, a seemingly recent perk offered by several national issuers in recent years.

Lastly, Citigroup reduced trip cancellation insurance and changed its return protection coverage. It also reduced coverage for damaged or stolen items and made changes to its car-rental insurance perks.

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