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IndustryCredit Card
Area servedWorldwide
ProductsCredit Cards & Contactless Technology
ParentBarclays plc,
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IndustryCredit Card
Area servedWorldwide
ProductsCredit Cards & Contactless Technology
ParentBarclays plc,

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, is a global payment business. The Barclaycard was the first credit card introduced in the UK, coming into service in 1966. It enjoyed a monopoly until the introduction of the Access card in 1972.

Barclaycard later became part of the Visa network but now offer both MasterCard and Visa versions. Barclaycard claims it is Europe's leading issuer of credit cards with 10.4 million customers in the UK and 10.8 million outside the UK.[1] 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 10.4 million customers in the UK,[1] issuing one in five UK credit cards. It is currently the leading UK credit card issuer.

It is based at 1234 Pavilion Drive in Northampton in a specially designed building where it employs approximately 3,000 people. It is one of the main employers in Northampton. Barclaycard UK customer service representatives are based in India and the Philippines.[2]

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.

Timeline of Barclaycard UK[edit]

Original Barclaycard design (1966-1983)

The Barclaycard commercials[edit]

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 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 a 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]

Barclaycard operates in over 60 countries and has 10.8 million customers outside the UK.[1]

Timeline of Barclaycard International[edit]



In 2002 Barclaycard took over the UK 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.[4] 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.[5]


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.[6] 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".[7] The deal was expected to be completed within the first half of 2011.

Barclaycard products[edit]


Barclays and Barclaycard have been providing contactless debit and credit cards since 2007 and, since May 2011, contactless mobile phones,[8] 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 UK’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.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

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 UK, 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 Payment Acceptance awards[edit]

Barclaycard Payment Acceptance timeline[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "General News UK: npower: Barclaycard Freedom Scheme Customers to Receive Boost from npower". © 2010 Newsdesk AB. 2010-03-15. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  2. ^ Barclaycard outsources UK customer service operations to FirstSource
  3. ^ "A closer look at the Barclaycard Freedom scheme". 23 May 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Thu, 24 Jul 2003 (24 July 2003). "Barclays picks EHS for £5m Providian job | Archive". Marketing Week. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Business | Barclays sells sub-prime business". BBC News. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Reuters (1 March 2011). "Barclays to buy Egg credit card | Business |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "BBC News - Egg credit cards bought by Barclays bank". 1 March 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Barclaycard launches "Quick Tap" mobile contactless payments : Banking Times: Daily Banking News". Banking Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  9. ^ McDonald's, Barclaycard ready NFC awareness campaigns | SecureIDNews
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Jenny Williams. "Slug and Lettuce rolls out contactless payments in 80 pubs". Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Contactless mobile payments arrive on high street". Retail Gazette. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Contactless Payment at". Little Chef. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Barclaycard Contactless system adds more retailers". Personal Finance Stuff. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Co-operative gearing up for 2012 cashless society". 22 July 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "M6 toll to go contactless". 28 July 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  17. ^ By:  Dan Balaban. "Starbucks Plans to Accept Contactless Payment in the UK | NFC Times – Near Field Communication and all contactless technology". Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Greggs rollout contactless in-stores". Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "London buses offer contactless card payment". BBC. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "BBC News - Mobile wallet offered to UK shoppers". 20 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Mark King (20 May 2011). "Contactless 'pay at the tills with a mobile' system introduced | Money |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Gareth Beavis . "Orange and Barclaycard launch NFC on the high street | News". TechRadar. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 

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