Secret History of the Credit Card
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Market Share of Top Ten Credit Card Issuers

This graph shows the effects of consolidation. In 1990, the top 10 general-purpose credit card issuers had a 56.5 percent share of the market. In 2004, the top 10 have an estimated 89.5 percent share of the market.

*The general purpose credit card market includes cards with the Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover brands. Securitized receivables are included in this analysis. The highlighted portfolio acquisitions include those valued at $5 billion or more. Please note that these acquisitions do not fully explain the increasing share of the top ten issuers. 2004 data are estimates.

Source: The Nilson Report and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Payment Cards Center Research

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Payment Cards Center studies developments in consumer payments through an agenda of research and analysis as well as forums and conferences that encourage dialogue incorporating industry, academic, and public-sector perspectives. The Center's publications are available on its web site:

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posted nov. 23, 2004

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