What is an Affinity Card?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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An affinity card is a specialized type of credit card offered by lots of companies. Generally these cards represent a business arrangement between two organizations. One of these organizations is the lender or bank, while the other offers a logo and usually stands to financially benefit by doing so. Some borrowers also can reap the benefits of affinity cards because many of them will offer special purchase discounts or cash back.

It’s easy to recognize an affinity card. It usually has the logo of main credit card companies like Visa® or MasterCard®, but then it will also possess the logo of the second organization involved. There are airline, university, gas, sports teams’ cards and many other types. An airline affinity card might offer some discounts or cash back on purchases of airline tickets, and the airline company may receive a small percentage of all purchases the person using the card makes. Additionally, the fact that a logo is on the card may inspire people to do more business with that company than they would ordinarily.


Affinity cards with a university logo are frequently marketed to college alumni. These cards are not only a point of conversation when a person carries them and uses them. They may directly benefit, in small part, the university offering the card. Another thing an affinity card with a college logo can do is offer discounts to college services or events. This would encourage alumni to maintain interest in the college even after graduation, and continue to support it by attending special events the college holds, such as concerts or games.

It’s a point of interest to many consumers to determine whether it’s beneficial to carry an affinity card. In some cases, these cards can be great deals and represent opportunities to save on money on things a person would ordinarily purchase anyway. Some credit cards with a dual logo will have excellent interest rates and could have attractive incentives. Will affinity cards represent lowest interest rates offered? This really depends on each card.

As with any credit card offer, potential borrowers should read all of the fine print to determine if an affinity card is worth carrying. Interest rates can occasionally be higher, but higher rates could be offset by frequent discounts or by the sense that the extra rate is somehow benefiting an organization that a person supports. Carrying cards with higher interest rates makes little sense if a person will seldom take advantage of any discount offers and isn’t interested in profiting the co-sponsor of the card.


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