Co-Branded Credit Card VS Regular Credit CardCo-Branded Credit Card VS Regular Credit Card

Co-Branded Credit Card VS Regular Credit Card

The credit card market is extensive and full of diverse options, offering a myriad of possibilities as you delve deeper into its intricacies. Its versatility becomes apparent, providing a range of choices tailored to individual needs. Even within a single bank, you’ll encounter a variety of credit cards designed for specific purposes.

Each credit card in the market caters to unique user preferences. Some excel in fuel-related benefits, while others are geared towards travel or shopping. The diversity extends to categories aligned with the financial status of individuals; whether you’re a high net-worth individual or an average person, there are credit cards tailored to your specific requirements. Even students and millennials have credit cards designed to meet their distinct needs.

Beyond conventional categories, credit cards often form partnerships with different brands, creating two broad categories: Regular Credit Cards and Co-branded credit cards. While these categories share similarities, each possesses distinct features that set them apart in various ways.

Comparison between Co-Branded Credit Card and Regular Credit Card

Co-Branded Credit Card:

  1. Co-branded credit cards result from a collaboration between a bank and a brand or merchant.
  2. These cards often feature an excellent rewards program, offering value back on expenses.
  3. The card displays the emblems of both the issuer and the associated brand, alongside logos of partnered entities such as Flipkart, Amazon, Indigo, Vistara, and others.
  4. Co-branded cards provide merchandise discounts, points, or other rewards from sponsoring merchants.
  5. They can build a strong customer base for merchants, offering more significant discounts than regular credit cards.
  6. Co-branded credit cards are sponsored by two brands, providing cardholders benefits from both the bank and the retailer or merchant.
  7. Airlines were early adopters of co-branded credit cards, and various credit cards in the market are presented by different airlines and issued by different financial institutions.
  8. Examples of co-branded credit cards include fuel credit cards (collaboration between fuel brands and financial institutes) and shopping credit cards (association with brands like Amazon and Flipkart).
  9. Issuing a co-branded credit card requires cooperation between a merchant or brand and financial institutions already active in the credit card market.

Regular Credit Card:

  1. Regular credit cards are standard credit cards issued by banks.
  2. Banks have complete control over these cards, including the authority to make changes in rules, regulations, interest rates, and fees.
  3. They may have branded partnerships with various labels such as Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, Pantaloons, Myntra, Amazon, etc.
  4. Regular credit cards offer discounts, benefits, and perks with their branded partners.
  5. Rewards points associated with these cards can be redeemed as per the bank’s guidelines, with rates and expiration determined by the bank.
  6. Some credit cards have reward points with lifetime validity, while others may expire 24 months after generation.


Regular and co-branded credit cards possess similar attributes, although they exhibit distinctions in specific aspects. Both fall under the category of credit cards, serving as financial tools to enhance users’ financial standing and purchasing capabilities. Issued by banks, the key distinction lies in the co-branded credit card having an additional partner involved in its issuance, influencing the types of rewards and discounts offered to cardholders.

While co-branded cardholders enjoy exclusive benefits from both the brand and the bank, the functioning remains akin to that of a regular credit card. The variability of interest rates, charges, and fees is contingent on the sole discretion of the financial issuer, in accordance with RBI guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the main difference between a Co-Branded Credit Card and a Regular Credit Card?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: A co-branded credit card is a collaboration between a bank and a specific brand or merchant, offering additional benefits and rewards associated with the partnering brand.
  • Regular Credit Card: A regular credit card is a standard card issued by a bank without specific ties to a particular brand, offering general benefits and features.

2. How do rewards programs differ between Co-Branded and Regular Credit Cards?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: Co-branded cards often have enhanced rewards programs, providing cardholders with benefits, discounts, or points specific to the collaborating brand or merchant.
  • Regular Credit Card: Regular credit cards typically have standard rewards programs that may include cashback, travel rewards, or general discounts with various partners.

3. Can you provide examples of Co-Branded Credit Card partnerships?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: Examples include airline credit cards issued in collaboration with specific airlines, shopping credit cards associated with e-commerce giants like Amazon or Flipkart, and fuel credit cards in partnership with fuel brands.
  • Regular Credit Card: Regular credit cards may have partnerships with multiple brands across different industries, offering a diverse range of benefits.

4. Who has more control over terms and conditions – the bank or the brand – in a Co-Branded Credit Card?

  • A co-branded credit card’s terms and conditions usually stem from agreements made jointly by the bank and the partnered brand. Each party contributes to defining particular elements, ensuring mutual consent and input.
  • Regular Credit Card: The bank has sole control over the terms and conditions of a regular credit card.

5. Are Co-Branded Credit Cards more beneficial than Regular Credit Cards?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: Co-branded cards can be more beneficial for individuals who frequently engage with the collaborating brand or merchant, as they offer specialized rewards and discounts.
  • Regular Credit Card: Regular credit cards provide more general benefits and may be suitable for individuals looking for a broader range of rewards.

6. Do Co-Branded Credit Cards have higher fees or interest rates compared to Regular Credit Cards?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: Fees and interest rates can vary but are not necessarily higher. It depends on the specific terms negotiated between the bank and the brand.
  • Regular Credit Card: Standard fees and interest rates apply, determined solely by the issuing bank.

7. Can I use a Co-Branded Credit Card anywhere, or is it limited to the collaborating brand’s services?

  • Co-branded credit cards provide unique perks tied to a partnering brand, yet they remain versatile for everyday purchases at any merchant accepting credit cards.
  • Regular Credit Card: Regular credit cards have broader acceptance, allowing usage at any merchant that accepts credit cards.

8. Will co-branded credit cards lose validity if I discontinue using the services of the partnered brand?

  • Co-Branded Credit Card: No, the credit card itself does not expire, but the specific benefits and rewards tied to the brand may no longer be applicable if you discontinue using the services of the collaborating brand.
  • Regular Credit Card: Regular credit cards remain active regardless of your engagement with specific brands.

9. How do I choose between a Co-Branded Credit Card and a Regular Credit Card?

  • Consider your spending habits, preferences, and the brands you frequently engage with. If you have specific brand affiliations, a co-branded card may offer more tailored benefits. For more flexibility and general rewards, a regular credit card may be suitable.

10. Can I switch from a Regular Credit Card to a Co-Branded Credit Card, or vice versa?

  • Yes, in most cases, you can request a card upgrade or change from your issuing bank. However, specific terms and eligibility criteria may apply, so it’s advisable to check with your bank for the process and requirements.

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