Payment Card News

Big 3

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The bank credit card industry has boiled down to the top three issuers who collectively will control nearly 60% of the market, based on card balances, this year. This week, Bank of America completed its $35 billion acquisition of credit card giant MBNA. The merger created the largest U.S. credit card issuer based on card loans, the country’s largest debit card issuer and the world’s largest affinity card issuer. The new Bank of America Card Services organization will have more than 40 million active U.S. accounts and nearly $140 billion in managed balances. The BofA/MBNA merger pushes Chase to second place in credit cards and Citigroup to third place. Citigroup dominated the U.S. bank credit card industry for most of the past two decades. The three issuers will control nearly $400 billion in U.S. bank credit card balances (excluding store and gas credit cards). Discover, Capital One and American Express rank just below the big three with about $136 billion in bank credit card loans. Total bank credit card U.S. outstandings are hovering around $665 billion. This means the big three will hold a 59% market share and the big six will hold a 79% share.

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