The Four Largest U.S. Card Issuers Now Hold 60% of All Credit Card Debt In The Country

by Trefis Team
Capital One
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The card lending industry in the U.S. is extremely consolidated, with the four largest issuers garnering a market share of 60% at the end of 2016. If the list is extended to include the Top 10 U.S. card issuers, then the cumulative market share exceeds 90% – leaving less than 10% of the share for smaller players.


Figures for individual card issuers at the end of 2016 are taken from their annual SEC filings. It should be noted that the figures for American Express and Discover here capture the outstanding balances for cards they issued directly, not those that are issued for their payment networks by other card lenders. The total card debt figure is as compiled by the New York Fed here.

Among these card issuers, Capital One has seen the fastest growth in outstanding card balances since 2010 due to its analytics-driven marketing strategy, coupled with several big-ticket acquisitions (including HSBC’s U.S. card division and ING Direct). In fact, Capital One edged ahead of the much larger Bank of America in terms of card loans in mid-2016 to become the third-largest issuer of cards in the country. The chart below captures Capital One’s total card portfolio (including cards issued internationally). You can see how changes to Capital One’s card portfolio affects our price estimate for the bank by modifying the chart below.

See Trefis analysis for U.S. Bancorp | Wells Fargo | JPMorgan ChaseBank of America | Citigroup | Capital OneAmerican Express | Discover | Barclays

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