Access (credit card)

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File:Access card.png
Location United Kingdom and Ireland
Launched 23 October 1972
Operator Joint Credit Card Company
Currency British and Irish pound

Access was a British and Irish credit card brand used by three of the big four UK banks plus a couple of other banks between 1972 and 1996. It was established by a consortium of banks in the UK to rival the already established Barclaycard. It became defunct in 1996 when it was taken over by Mastercard.


The Access card was introduced in the United Kingdom on 23 October 1972[1] by a consortium consisting of the National Westminster Bank, the Midland Bank, Lloyds Bank and the National and Commercial Banking Group, as a rival to the established Barclaycard. It was also issued in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by Ulster Bank, a subsidiary of NatWest, Northern Bank, then a subsidiary of Midland; and Bank of Ireland, which was otherwise unconnected to the founder banks.

The card scheme was run from several offices in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England, by the Joint Credit Card Company with the main site being located at Priory Crescent, the former home of Ekco. It participated in the Eurocard/MasterCard systems. Europay International has since been taken over by MasterCard International.

Cultural impact

From 1978, the main slogan of Access was "Your Flexible Friend", which featured in many TV adverts, accompanied by an animated Access and his friend Money (a pound sign) also earlier adverts featured the bumbling "Fat Wallet". The slogan "Your flexible friend" was featured in an episode of Mr. Bean. Another slogan which featured in a television advertisement was "Does you does, or does you don't take Access?" (sung to the tune of "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby"). Yet another slogan was "It takes the waiting out of wanting".

Additional brand use

The Access brand name is in limited use on some MasterCard branded products, most notably the Access Prepaid Worldwide card, and the PayPal Access card.


  1. "The Midland in 1972". The Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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