What is the Virgin Money Rainbow Card?

Welcome to the new Virgin Money Rainbow Credit Card – we hope you love it as much as we do. It's much more than a gorgeous design – it's a statement, a pledge and a way to raise money for Stonewall, an amazing charity that’s been doing great work for equality since 1989. Take a look at the story behind the card – and see how you could be part of our journey.

Virgin Money – accepted by all

It’s tempting to think that the battles for equality have all been fought and won in the UK but fifty years after the Sexual Offences Act 1967 there is still discrimination, and sadly the ladders to the top of many organisations still have broken rungs for many members of the LGBT community.

So there is still work to be done, however, the pioneering campaigning carried out by LGBT activists over the last five decades has inspired other minority groups to press for true equality in the workplace and in society. As a Virgin business, we believe passionately in the freedom for our colleagues and customers to be themselves regardless of race, sexuality or background.

The launch of the Rainbow credit card celebrates the values behind that symbol – values of acceptance, diversity and love.

Virgin Money's Affinity Pride Network

Virgin Money is very proud of its Affinity Pride Network (APN), spearheaded by our Creative Director Tim Arthur, who joined us after leaving his previous post of Global CEO of Time Out.

“The APN’s mission is to develop insight and awareness for all colleagues, build confidence and enable colleagues to be a part of an inclusive, balanced workforce where sexuality and gender identity aren’t a factor,” says Tim. “The key ways in which the Network delivers this is through proactively creating an inclusive culture, working with all colleagues to develop insight and raising awareness of the issues. We also work closely with key influencers and promote collaborations with external parties – very much like our Stonewall partnership.”

Tim picks up his personal involvement from the start of his Virgin Money journey: “From the day I joined Virgin Money, it’s been clear just how valued diversity and inclusion is across the business. It is a core part of how we work as a Virgin business.

“Coming from a media background, it’s actually been eye-opening to see how closely Virgin Money, operating in the more traditional financial services sector, has embraced diversity and engagement."

“It’s this approach that inspired me to play an active role in our APN. The Network has done a wonderful job showcasing our ambitions for equality and diversity across our business – recognised by the inclusion of two of our team in this year’s OUTstanding lists – in the Top 50 Ally Executives and the Top 50 LGBT+ Future Leaders.

We’ve still got a long way to go, and this is a constantly evolving journey but this positive change is being led by the wonderfully committed and passionate members of our APN and I’m hugely proud to be able to support them in any way I can.”

Stonewall, our partner charity

We asked Stonewall to project forward to 2027 to give us a picture of where we could realistically expect to be on the issues that they campaign for. Their response leaves us in no doubt how many steps need to be taken even to reach these achievable goals.

“Hate crime against lesbian, gay and bi people has gone up by 80% in the last five years so that one in six have had to deal with a hate crime in the last year,” said Stonewall. “For trans people the situation is worse, with two in five being victims of hate crimes. Nearly half of young LGBT people are still bullied at school. Many LGBT people still face discrimination in their everyday lives, in shops, restaurants and bars, when finding a new home or using public services. And many are still rejected by family, their communities or their faith."

“In the next ten years Stonewall wants individuals and organisations to come out for LGBT people in their communities, workplace or school. We need to work together to remove the barriers that still face so many LGBT people and create acceptance in every family, school, workplace and community. And while not every one of those would appear in a timeline of milestones in the next ten years, they will add up to transforming the lives of too many LGBT people who are held back at the moment."

“But there are some key milestones that will be among those positive steps forward.

  • Reform of the Gender Recognition Act, so that trans people no longer have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition, or have to go through a demeaning, intrusive and time-consuming process to have their gender recognised, including non-binary people who identify as neither male or female.
  • Equality laws safeguarded in law when Britain leaves the EU and loses protections afforded by EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and other EU laws.
  • Anti-discrimination laws improved so that they protect all trans people, including non-binary people from discrimination.
  • LGBT hate crimes falling, and reporting and prosecutions up because LGBT people know they will be supported when a victim of a hate crime.
  • A big drop in the number of LGBT young people bullied at schools, and all schools providing lessons that are fully inclusive of LGBT people, including LGBT inclusive relationships and sex education.
  • More companies, big and small, making sure their workplaces and their services are welcoming and inclusive for LGBT people.
  • Fewer LGBT people experience discrimination and abuse when accessing health and social care services; waiting times slashed for trans people accessing gender identity services; and gay and bi men no longer excluded from donating blood.
  • LGBT people no longer report higher levels of mental health issues compared to the rest of the general public.
  • LGBT asylum seekers to the UK no longer held in detention where they face abuse, and decisions on cases dealt with fairly recognising the persecution so many LGBT flee from in other countries.
  • More faith communities provide a welcome space and acceptance of all LGBT people, including the ability to practice as ministers and marry in accordance with their faith.
  • Better representation of LGBT people in all areas of public life, particularly trans people who face huge barriers achieving positions of influence, including in politics, the media, the justice system and in companies big and small.
  • More progress in acceptance and rights for LGBT people in other parts of the world where so many face violence, persecution or discrimination, and for many severe punishments just for being who they are, and loving who they love."

“The barriers to achieving this are the same as those that have always blocked progress in equality: people or organisations not intervening when they see someone discriminated against, people allowing one group to be marginalised or hated for being who they are, or people not recognising that while we have made progress on acceptance of LGBT people, too many still face discrimination and barriers in their lives today."

“The fact that we have seen reverses in LGBT equality in USA and other countries more recently is a warning sign that nobody can be complacent. We need to keep working together to create acceptance in our communities and ensure everyone can be themselves, whoever and wherever they are.”

Passivity is not an option

At Virgin Money, we are very clear in our belief that it’s vital to promote diversity and tackle discrimination head on. By proactively working with our peers on awareness, education and inclusion, we believe we can break down barriers and address outdated mindsets much more quickly. What’s more we want to celebrate diversity and the richness it adds to us as a company and to society.

We want people in 2027, 2037, 2047, to look back on 2017 and say that we did all we could to uproot discrimination. We want to see a world where everyone feels free to be themselves.

So this is the background to Virgin Money’s Rainbow card. Every time the card is used, we make a donation to Stonewall, and that helps them to push their cause over the line. If you’d like to show your support and use the Rainbow card with pride, find out how to apply for yours here.

You can also simply make a donation to Stonewall hereLink opens in a new window.