The idea of credit ranges back to the time when we first started using money. However, the consumer credit card of modern times started back in the mid-20th century. Despite their relative youth, credit cards have taken the place of an important keystone of the financial world. Today we are going to take you through the top credit card companies so that you can choose the one that caters to your requirements in the best possible manner.
Top 11 Biggest Credit Card Companies
1. American Express (American Express Co.)
American Express (Amex) has been in business since 1850 but entered the payment world only in the 1950s by issuing its first charge card. However, the first Amex credit card came approximately 30 years later with Amex being both the network and issuer for its cards. According to 2020 Nilson Report data, American Express is the second-largest card issuer in the U.S by purchase volume and among the top six issuers based on the number of cards in circulation. American Express targets its products to high-income individuals having strong credit scores. It is preferred by cardholders due to the Amex Membership Rewards points which can be redeemed among 20 hotel and airline partners. Most of its cards offer additional perks like travel insurance and purchase protection.
2. Bank Of America (Bank of America Corp.)
Bank of America (BoA) was founded in the 1900s as the Bank of Italy in San Fransisco for serving the needs of America’s growing immigrant population. It became Bank of America in 1930 and the first credit card was launched in 1958. Currently, BoA is the fourth largest issuer by percentage of purchase volume and among the top five issuers according to the number of cards. It is preferred by customers due to the easy-to-use rewards cards, some of which have zero annual fees. There is also an option for cardholders banking with BoA to earn extra rewards according to how much money they have in their investment accounts and bank. Apart from its credit card operation, Bank of America also offers investment vehicles, deposit accounts, and financial management services to its customers. There are separate investment banking and corporate divisions of the company.
3. Barclays (Barclays Bank Delaware)
Barclays has gained a massive presence in the U.S. as the Barclays Bank of Delaware. It launched the first consumer credit card in the U.K. in the 1960s but the first U.S. card was issued nearly 50 years later. Barclays ranks 10th in the U.S. depending on the total cards in circulation and holds around 3% of the total market share. It is popular for its travel rewards credit cards and co-branded credit cards which are issued in partnership with popular brands like L.L. Bean, U.S. Airways, and the National Football League. You need to have excellent credit for being approved for Barclays credit cards.
4. Capital One (Capital One Financial Corp.)
This relatively young bank was founded just a few decades ago in 1994 and started issuing credit cards almost immediately. Currently, it is ranked as the fifth-largest credit card issuer by purchase volume and first according to the number of cards in circulation. It is the 3rd largest credit card company in the USA in terms of outstanding balances. People prefer Capital One cards as they are easier to get and offer a variety of quality reward cards including competitive options be it for everyday or travel rewards. The USP of Capital One cards lies in its reasonable fees, simple rewards program, and offers for people of all credit levels. Other than credit cards, Capital One also offers a plethora of banking products, auto loans, and personal loans.
5. Chase (JPMorgan Chase & Co.)
Chase has been operating since 1799 and was founded as the Bank of The Manhattan Company. Eventually, it became JPMorgan Chase following a series of mergers. Chase is the top credit card issuer in the U.S., both in terms of card volume and purchase volume. It stands out from its peers in terms of rewards. Their Ultimate Rewards points program can offer you a variety of benefits for nearly every Chase card. You can choose among the popular Freedom rewards card, free balance transfer card, Sapphire Reserve cards, and more. Various co-branded cards are also offered by Chase in partnership with the likes of Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, and more.
6. Citi (Citigroup Inc.)
Citibank is the consumer banking segment of the financial services company Citigroup. It was established as the City Bank of New York in 1812 and became the second-largest U.S. bank as of 2021 by outstanding balances. Most of the Citibank credit cards are offered to people having above-average credit standing. Citi offers two well-known rewards programs – Double Cash and ThankYou. There are also co-branded partnerships with Expedia and American Airlines. A wide array of cards is offered by Citibank making it easy to find one that will suit your needs.
7. Discover (Discover Financial Services)
Discover was created as a branch of the departmental store Sears while it was attempting to enter the financial industry. Over time, it was spun off and sold before becoming Discover Financial Services. Discover has been credited by many as the pioneer of the rewards credit card. Apart from being an issuer, it also has its own credit card network. It ranks seventh for market share by purchase volume and comes fourth overall according to the number of cards in circulation. All of its cards come with lucrative rewards programs and levy light fees with no foreign transaction or annual fee charged on any of its cards.
PNC Financial Services Inc. is the 11th largest credit card issuer depending on purchase volume and the 7th largest U.S. bank according to total deposits and assets. This regional player has made its mark in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Most of its retail bank branches are located to the east of the Mississippi River. PNC is a full-service credit card issuer whose service ranges from rewards cards for small business owners to secured credit cards for people having bad credit. However, most of PNC’s credit cards are targeted at people having excellent credit who are interested in earning rewards.
9. Synchrony (Synchrony Financial)
Synchrony originated roughly 90 years ago as the GE Capital Retail Bank and became Synchrony Financial in 2014. The company deals exclusively in cobranded retail credit cards. You will find various popular retail brands having store credit cards issued by Synchrony with minimal branding by the bank. Since a big share of its portfolio consists of low-limit store cards, Synchrony ranks lower than its peers mentioned on our list in terms of purchase volume.
10. U.S. Bank (U.S. Bancorp)
U.S. Bank started out as the United States National bank of Portland in 1891 on the West Coast. Following multiple mergers, it became U.S. Bancorp or U.S. Bank. Presently it offers both bank-branded and cobranded options (in partnership with Club Carlson, Kroger, and Harley Davidson) despite not issuing credit cards for long. It ranks ninth in terms of card volume and sixth for a percentage of purchase volume. The U.S. Bank credit cards offer unique schemes such as choose-your-own rewards cards and unusual bonus categories like fitness centers and home utilities. Its credit cards are offered to people across the credit spectrum.
11. Wells Fargo (Wells Fargo & Co.)
Wells Fargo entered traditional banking in the 1920s and started issuing credit cards at the end of the century. Currently, it holds a big portion of the market share and is ranked eighth in terms of card volume and percentage of credit card purchase volume. Wells Fargo offers credit cards to people across the credit spectrum ranging from rewards credit cards to credit building credit cards, business credit cards, and more.
With a large number of companies offering credit cards with lucrative features, it might become difficult to choose the best. However, we have done the research on our end and presented you with the best options so that you can act accordingly.