The higher yield of portfolios is one of the key reasons that U.K. credit cards are more attractive to some investors than U.S. cards. Competition and regulation, however, could siphon that advantage away from the U.K. card lenders.

"One of the rating agencies did comparative takes with yields on various trusts, and you'll always see the U.K. trusts at the highest end for yield and at the lowest end for defaults," said one market source. "People pay more for their credit in the U.K., and personal bankruptcy still remains a taboo area in a way that it isn't in the U.S."

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