Grocery chain Asda is launching a financial services business this week targeted at the 18 million people who shop at Asda’s 542 stores every week.

It follows Marks & Spencer’s move to launch its own bank, as revealed by Retail Week last month.

Asda Money will be promoted in-store across the chain’s checkouts throughout the summer, as well as online via new website and the grocer said that it will also become the UK’s first supermarket to launch an unlimited cash back credit card. 

The new Asda Money credit card will offer 1% unlimited cash back on Asda shopping and 1% cash back on Asda fuel, plus 0.5% unlimited cash back on all shopping outside of Asda.  Customers will be able to manage the card online, by telephone through UK call centres or by post.

Over the last six months the supermarket has been developing a series of financial products in preparation for the official launch of Asda Money, including: travel money, breakdown cover, travel insurance, car insurance and home insurance.

The launch of Asda Money follows the supermarket’s entry last month into Britain’s energy market, with its new Energy Compare and Save service.

Kirsty Ward, head of Asda Money, said: “Financial products are important, but they shouldn’t cost the earth and you shouldn’t need to be an expert to buy one. At Asda Money, we’re combining our retail and financial services expertise to provide quality products at prices that save people money every day.

“That’s why we’re launching the first supermarket unlimited cash back credit card. Times have changed and shoppers don’t want complicated points schemes or rewards that don’t translate into real every day savings.”

Asda has worked with Creation and Mastercard on establishing the cards and financial products.

M&S’s first bank branch will open this month in the retailer’s flagship Marble Arch store and another 20 are already planned, with services including mortgages.

Other retailers to offer banking services include the Co-operative Group, which has a well-established banking division. Tesco also runs a bank but its much-vaunted launch of current accounts has been delayed until next year.

See Retail Week’s comment on why retailers are moving into the banking sector.