NatWest latest UK bank to switch to Mastercard debit cards from Visa

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - NatWest has become the latest British lender to switch to issuing Mastercard debit cards from Visa, in an agreement that includes 16 million consumer and business customer cards.

Mastercard - long the main provider of UK credit cards - has been eating into Visa’s lead in debit cards after similar deals with Santander UK and HSBC’s First Direct , while also signing up start-ups including Monzo.

The agreement includes all NatWest Group’s brands, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Coutts.

Mastercard said in a statement on Thursday that after card conversions were complete it would account for around one in three of all consumer debit cards in circulation by banks in the UK, and one in four in Ireland.

“We believe this partnership will enable us to offer more tailored payment options to our customers however they wish to pay – whether in store, online or via mobile devices,” said Salim Secretary, head of payment schemes and partnerships at NatWest. (Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Jan Harvey)