Most people are familiar with how a debit card works and the benefits it can offer, but what about debit card co-branding? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what debit card co-branding is, what the benefits are, and help you to determine if it’s right for your business.

What Is Debit Card Co-Branding?

Co-branded debit cards display the logo of the issuer or network and the business that commissions them. So, if you decide to issue co-branded debit cards, each card will bear your brand’s logo along with the network you choose, such as Mastercard.

While there are clear advantages associated with having your brand logo on frequently used debit cards, co-branded cards are about much more than simply design or brand awareness.

As well as having your logo or a custom design imprinted on each debit card, a co-branding agreement allows businesses, such as merchants or retailers, to offer their customers unique rewards and incentives.

When you issue co-branded debit cards, for example, you might incentivise customers by rewarding them with loyalty points or cashback every time they use the card at your stores or on your website. Alternatively, you might issue co-branded debit cards to employees who are authorised to use company funds and enable them to generate rewards every time the card is used.

Crucially, co-branded debit cards can be used in a variety of locations. When you opt for co-branded Mastercard debit cards, for example, cardholders can use the card in more than 210 countries and territories, wherever the Mastercard logo is displayed at payment terminals or online payment gateways.

Co-Branded Cards: Example

One of the earliest examples of card co-branding can be seen among airlines. Here, well-known airlines allowed customers to collect air miles when they used co-branded credit cards. Customers could then exchange these air miles for flights or discounts when booking with the airline.

Further examples of co-branded cards can be seen across the retail industry. Today, many stores and retail brands, such as Amazon and Target, offer co-branded cards to customers, along with a range of rewards, discounts, and incentives.

How Does Debit Card Co-Branding Work?


From a cardholder’s point of view, co-branded debit cards function in the same way as any other debit card. When the card is used, the money is taken from the linked account (such as a current account) straight away, so there are no bills to pay at a later date and no interest applied to purchases made via the card.

In addition to being used to make purchases in store or online, a cardholder can use a co-branded debit card to take money out of their account in cash or to pay cash into their account via an ATM.

Unlike credit cards, co-branded debit cards don’t provide users with a credit facility, so cardholders can only use the funds in their account when making purchases or withdrawing cash, unless they have a pre-agreed overdraft in place.

Depending on the rewards and incentives available, the cardholder then accumulates points or generates discounts when the card is used, in accordance with their agreement.


Before we look at the benefits a co-branded debit card can offer to businesses, it’s important to take a closer look at how they work for brands.

Co-branded debit cards can be used in two ways when it comes to businesses:

  1. Debit cards for employees
  2. Debit cards for customers

Employee Co-Branded Debit Cards

Employees encounter a number of expenses in the course of their duties and companies must reimburse staff when they spend money for company purposes. If an employee is asked to represent their employer at a corporate function, for example, their travel costs can be classed as a business expense.

Traditionally, employees would cover these costs themselves, retain the receipts, and then ‘claim back’ the cost from their employer. However, this is time-consuming for the business to process and unpopular amongst employees who may begrudge being out of pocket for weeks or months before their expenses claim is processed.

Now, co-branded debit cards give businesses greater flexibility when it comes to managing company expenses. By issuing employees with a co-branded debit card, for example, you’re giving them permission to use company funds, in accordance with any pre-existing agreements (such as the type of expenditure that’s permitted).

While this is a viable way to use co-branded cards to streamline your business management, it’s far more common for businesses to use these types of cards to incentivise and reward customers.

Customer Co-Branded Debit Cards

Making co-branded debit cards available to your customers gives you the opportunity to expand your operations with minimal stress and risk. To facilitate the arrangement, a business partners with a card issuer, like PayAlly, who handles the management and processing of relevant transactions.

The issuer (e.g., PayAlly) makes the cards available on behalf of card networks (e.g., Mastercard) and essentially acts as an intermediary. When the card is used, the payment processor automatically sends the information to the card issuer, who approves or denies the transaction based on whether the card is active and the availability of funds in the account. If approved, the funds are then transferred from the cardholder’s account to the merchant’s account and a record of the transaction is sent to the payment processor.

While this might sound like a relatively complex process, it’s much simpler in practice. In fact, the same process is undertaken whenever you use a debit card in store or online, and with the latest tech, a transaction can be completed in seconds.

What Are the Benefits of Co-Branded Cards?

For cardholders, co-branded debit cards offer all the benefits of a regular debit card with the added enhancement of collecting rewards and/or discounts, but what about for businesses? Here, we look at some of the advantages associated with having your company logo on co-branded debit cards:

Growth Opportunities

Making co-branded debit cards available to your customers gives businesses an opportunity to diversify their operations and enter new markets. As a result, you’ll generate new revenue streams and increase your profitability accordingly.

While launching your own cards can be time-consuming and complex, co-branded cards enable you to utilise an established global network and capitalise on their success and reputation.

Customer Loyalty

When customers can generate loyalty points, rewards, or discounts by using their co-branded debit card at your stores or on your website, they’re more likely to shop with you in the future. This enhances customer loyalty and increases retention rates, as well as boosting customer spend.

In many cases, the additional funds generated far outweigh the cost of any rewards offered, which is one of the reasons co-branded cards are so popular amongst forward-thinking businesses.

Enhanced Security

Established card networks, like Mastercard, use ‘best in class’ security measures to ensure financial transactions are only authorised when it is appropriate to do so. With advanced fraud prevention protocols and security features, such as 3D Secure, Mastercard protects cardholders and businesses.

Furthermore, major card networks are well-known, recognised, and trusted by the vast majority of your target audience. By partnering with an established card network in this way, you can capitalise on the trust that’s already been built between the network and your target audience to maximise acquisition rates.

Brand Awareness

Having your company’s logo displayed on your co-branded debit cards generates a significant amount of brand awareness. Not only is your logo seen by unlimited people every time the card is used, but it’s seen alongside the logo of a reputable and trusted global financial institution. This acts as an indirect endorsement in the eyes of third parties and elevates your brand accordingly.

Customer Acquisition

The enhanced brand awareness and brand visibility that are generated by co-branded debit cards can lead directly to improved customer acquisition rates. As more people see your company logo, brand recognition is reinforced and the likelihood of securing new customers increases.

Additionally, customers who may not have used your products or services in the past may become more interested in your brand now that you provide an additional service in the form of debit cards and associated rewards.

Competitive Advantage

No matter what sector you operate in, maintaining and scaling your market share is always important. With co-branded debit cards, you can establish a competitive advantage over other businesses operating in your industry and increase your share of the market as a result.

From offering a service that your competitors aren’t to delivering better rewards and incentives, there are a variety of ways you can leverage co-branded debit cards to beat the competition.

Is Debit Card Co-Branding Right for Your Business?

Having access to the right products, services, and financial services is critical for today’s businesses. At PayAlly, we’re committed to providing bespoke debit card co-branding solutions that meet your needs and empower your business.

To find out more about our co-branded debit card services, contact our team now on +44 (0)208 0595 005 or email us at