The fastest growing bank credit card issuers in the US are not traditional banks, but retailers. Target is leading the way as the fastest growing VISA issuer while Sears is leading the MasterCard pack. This week, Target has moved into the Top 25 of U.S. card issuers as its VISA outstandings topped $2 billion in the quarter ending May 4th. Since the launch of the smart VISA program in September 2001, Target has issued more than 6 million cards, becoming the largest issuer of smart VISA credit cards in the nation and the second largest issuer of general purpose smart credit cards in the USA. Target says it will have smart card readers installed in all stores by August. The company plans to make e-coupons available to smart VISA card customers by the Christmas holiday shopping season. Target ended its first fiscal quarter of 2002 with $4.2 billion in total card receivables which includes $2.2 billion in private label credit card receivables. The Target Guest Card had $899 million in receivables, while the Mervyn’s card had $607 million, and Marshall Field’s card had $687 million. Target’s private label card receivables have declined 16% over the past year while its VISA program has grown seventeen fold since last year. Target said yesterday it expects to add between $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion to credit card receivables by the end of 2002. Meanwhile Sears has signed up more than 20 million consumers for its Gold MasterCard, which was launched two years ago.