Consumers who want credit cards from the Royal Bank of Scotland must have or open at least a checking account with the financial institution, an RBS spokesperson tells CardLine Global. The bank initiated the policy, which took effect 1 Oct., to reduce the risk of default among its credit card customers. "We are focusing where we can on helping our current account customers, savers and mortgage borrowers, and this move helps us improve the service we can provide to them," the spokesperson says. "We are very much open for business and welcome new customers who want a current account and a … credit card from us." The spokesperson would not say how many credit cards the bank issues, though the Wall Street Journal  put the total at 7 million. The bank has 13 million customers, the spokesperson says. United Kingdom-based HSBC Holdings PLC reportedly has taken a similar move, though immediate confirmation from the bank was unavailable. "The decision is a competitive one, so it's hard to predict at an industry level whether it will expand," a spokesperson for the UK Cards Association, an issuer trade group, tells CardLine Global. "With all the pressures on the UK credit card market at present and the current economic climate, this type of change, and any others card issuers may make, aren't going to come as a surprise to anyone within the industry."

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