The UK’s largest building society Nationwide is to issue Mastercard debit cards for the first time.

Nationwide is readying plans to roll out its first business banking service targeting the UK’s 5.6 million SMEs.

On launch, the new Nationwide SME business account will feature debit cards through Mastercard.

The UK debit card sector has historically been dominated with Visa with a market share of over 95%.

However, Visa’s UK debit card market dominance is under attack from Mastercard.

Last May, Santander announced plans to switch from Visa to Mastercard for its more than nine million debit card customers.

And Santander will begin issuing Mastercard debit cards to all of its retail customers from the fourth quarter this year.

In addition, TSB has agreed a deal to switch its debit card customers from Visa to Mastercard branded cards. But implementation of that deal has been delayed following TSB’s much publicised IT issues last year.

Nationwide Mastercard debit cards from early 2020

At Nationwide, the society will issue Mastercard debit cards to business customers from early next year.

Nationwide’s new business proposition recently benefited from the Board of Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund.

In particular, Nationwide will receive £50m from the fund, designed to boost competition in business lending by granting awards to challenger banks.

Mark Barnett, Divisional President of Mastercard UK, Ireland, says:  

Nationwide is part of the fabric of the British High Street.  We are thrilled to be working with them as they embark on this journey to build a new business offering.

Over the past few years we’ve become the payment partner of choice for challenger banks and fintechs. There is a lot of innovation right now when it comes to small businesses and payments. The next 12 months will be key, both for new entrants and incumbents. It is an exciting time for the sector and we hope to be at the centre of it.” 

Simon Hamilton, Managing Director, Nationwide for Business adds: We are aiming to disrupt the business current account market. These partnerships will help us do just that.

“Our partnership with Mastercard will enable us to offer a best-in-class banking experience for small businesses across the UK.  We will offer the ethic of care and human service that Nationwide is famous for. And overlay a modern digital experience that puts everything business owners want and need directly in their pocket.”