The credit card industry is booming in the United States, but is only dominated by a handful of companies. As of mid-2016, American consumers were approaching $1 trillion in credit card debt. The top 10 credit card issuers issued almost 90 percent of all credit cards given to consumers in the U.S. General Purpose credit card spending has grown by 5 percent in the past 14 years. The following is a snapshot at how the four major credit card networks in the U.S. are impacting the market.
The four major credit card players United States are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Visa leads the way, with credit purchase volume at $1.2 trillion in 2014. MasterCard’s U.S. credit purchase volume was about $607 billion the same year. American Express spent over $668 billion in 2014. Lastly, in 2014 Discover had a credit purchase volume of $129 billion.
One would think that the last Great Recession, would make credit card issuers be more discerning as to who receives a credit card, and for banks to tighten their lending standards. But according to Equifax, the evidence is mixed as to whether or not credit card issuers or banks are giving more or less credit to applicants.
The Future of Cards
Any data that may indicate a decline in credit card usage or a slowing down of usage may be explained by security concerns. Security is one major threat that continues to impact credit card circulation. According to The Nilson Report, card fraud losses were $16.31 billion in the U.S. in 2014. Currently, U.S. card issuers are upgrading approximately 1.2 billion credit and debit cards to include smart chips. The nation’s switch to EMV payment technology is expected to drastically reduce instances of fraud.
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