Midland cuts rate to boost affinity cards

Midland Bank is slashing the annual interest rates of its affinity credit cards in an attempt to boost flagging take-up rates.

The rate of the three cards it runs – National Trust, Care card and the Arts card – has come down from 23 per cent to 18 per cent per year.

An affinity card is a credit card offered to consumers within a similar interest group and sometimes offers contributions to particular causes depending on the amount spent on the card.

A Midland spokesman says: “We are confident this rate cut will drive these cards into the mass market.”

But since the bank launched its cards in 1990, only the National Trust has performed well. It has raised almost 1.5m. The Arts card, which has the backing of 87 arts organisations across the country, has managed 600,000. The Care card, which involves around 15 charities including The Red Cross and The Terrence Higgins Trust, has lagged behind, making only 300,000 over the same period.

One of the reasons for the Trust’s success is its strong membership identity. Midland says it has found difficulty tapping into membership records of arts and charity sectors.

Figures from credit card lobbyists the Credit Card Research Group reveal that there are 28 million cards in the UK, and that the affinity card sector is booming.

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