Tons of banks have their credit cards issued/managed by Elan, but is that a good thing?
When you apply for a credit card from a bank, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a card that will be managed by that bank. This also holds true for store-issued cards. Nowadays a lot times companies will either outsource or sell-off their credit card management to companies like Elan Financial Services (a US Bancorp subsidiary).
What does this mean for you?
According to Elan’s website, they have “nearly 1,700 active financial institution partnerships in place.” That means there are a lot of Elan credit cards in use! I do not see a portfolio listed on their website but from what I know, they manage for a lot of local and regional banks.
The effect on you – the customer – may be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.
- Because Elan is so huge, their scale might allow for greater resources and opportunities (i.e. more card offerings, more elaborate reward programs, and so forth).
- If your credit card was managed by your local independent bank, it would be unlikely you would be able to get customer support ‘round the clock. The Elan credit card customer service is available 24/7 (at least that’s what their website says).
- If your credit card management is managed by a big outside firm like Elan, then your credit card from your local bank may feel no different than a credit card issued from the other side of the country.
- One of the main benefits a local credit union or bank can offer you is personal customer service. For example, when I was younger the people at my bank all knew me very well so I didn’t feel like I was just a number. Unfortunately if you have an Elan credit card, that personal touch of getting customer service locally might be limited or non-existent.
Which credit cards does Elan offer?
Based on the “Products and Rewards” category on their website, it appears they only offer Visa cards. That being said, it appears they offer all tiers of Visa (Signature, Platinum, Secured, College, etc.) but the exact availability will of course vary depending on bank that’s using them.
Are the reviews by customers good or bad?
Because the Elan Financial Services website doesn’t publish their card portfolio, I can’t say definitively one way or another whether they are a good company. However I can tell you that off the top of my head, I can’t think of any recent reviews of Elan credit cards on the forum that were bad.
This means the company must be doing at least something right, because their competitors World Financial Network National Bank and GE Money have absurdly high number of negative reviews and complaints on this site and elsewhere (I have seen many where people allege they are a scam, but technically they are not since they aren’t doing anything illegal).
Should you have one?
Well first of all, remember that you can’t apply for a credit card through Elan directly. To get one you must apply through the bank/credit union which uses them.
Overall the Elan credit card services appear to be respectable, which is surprising considering the company’s size. The only downside I can think of is that I personally do not know of any cards they offer that have rewards which are comparable to some of the best cash back cards currently on the market from different issuers.