People's Bank, which launched its credit card program in the United Kingdom on April 22, said it intends to carve a niche with a low-cost "vanilla" card.
The U.K. card market is considered mature, but the British issuers that dominate the market charge interest rates above 21%.
Available both as MasterCard and Visa, the People's Bank card has no annual fee and an interest rate of 14.4%.
But People's Bank, the 28th-largest card issuer in the United States, also faces stiff competition from other American card issuers vying for the British market, including MBNA Corp., Advanta Corp., and Household International.
Ronald Urquhart, senior vice president of consumer credit at People's Bank, who will oversee the United Kingdom operation, said the bank will go after "people with good credit who carry balances."
"People's has a good track record attacking the market segment in the United States, where customers are paying too much in interest rates," said James P. Benson 2d, director of research for Ryan, Beck & Co., West Orange, N.J. "They can, I think, transfer that track record successfully to the United Kingdom."
Mr. Urquhart said that the bank expects to add 500,000 cardholders during the next three to five years.
People's has $7 billion of assets, two million cardholders, and $2 billion in receivables.
"We're very excited,"said Mr. Urquhart. "We're looking forward to great things in the United Kingdom.'