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05.09.17

U.S. Credit Cards Gain Ground on Debit, Prepaid, Nilson Says

The U.S. purchase volume of credit, debit and prepaid cards increased 7 percent in 2016 compared with last year, according to The Nilson Report. That purchase volume hit $5.648 trillion last year, with the volume from American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards increasing 8 percent year over over to reach a combined $3.059 trillion—the first time that figure has topped $3 trillion.

The report shows a healthy and growing market for credit cards. By comparison, purchase volume for debit and prepaid cards increased only 5.8 percent, to $2.589 trillion. Credit cards also increased their market share in 2016, to 53.64 percent. That’s the fifth year in a row in which credit cards gained market share. “Consumers are choosing credit cards over debit cards to gain rewards from banks and other issuers,” said David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report.

The top card issuer in this latest report is JPMorgan Chase, a title it has held since 2008. Purchase volume on its card base stood at $861.3 billion last year.

Other leading issuers included:

  • American Express remained the largest issuer based on combined credit card purchase volume.
  • Wells Fargo overtook Bank of America as the largest issuer based on debit and prepaid purchase volume.
  • Wells Fargo is still the largest issuer based on signature debit purchase volume.
  • The Bancorp Bank remained the largest prepaid card issuer.

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