The company has issued a brief that describes itself as a challenger brand looking for an agency to help build its positioning in the market.
There is no intermediary involved.
The search suggests a ramping up of MBNA’s UK activity. Last year, the company spent about £5 million on above-the-line advertising, according to Nielsen figures. However, this was a decline compared with previous years, when it spent about £10 million.
Tag created MBNA’s most recent ads in the UK. The agency launched a TV campaign in 2013 called "the power behind your credit cards" to mark the brand’s 20th anniversary in the UK.
Before Tag, MBNA worked with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which was appointed in 2006.
MBNA sponsors the Thames Clippers fleet of river buses in London.
Earlier this year, MBNA retained MEC as its media planning and buying agency after a competitive pitch. MEC has handled the business since 2008, when it won a contest against Arena.
An MBNA spokesman said: "We've embarked on a review of our brand strategy support and have shortlisted three agencies. When we’ve made our decision, we’ll announce which of these agencies has been awarded the mandate."