U.S. credit cards to gain more share of spending by 2020

The Nilson Report’s annual study on payment cards

CARPINTERIA, CA (November 9, 2016) — November 8, 2016. Credit, debit, and prepaid cards issued in the United States initiated 104.41 billion purchase transactions in 2015, up 8.0%, according to The Nilson Report, the top trade journal covering the card and mobile payment industries.

Spending for goods and services on those cards totaled $5.805 trillion, up 7.4% over 2014. By 2020, purchase volume is projected to reach $8.226 trillion.

“Credit, debit, and prepaid cards spending continues to grow faster than personal consumption expenditures in the U.S. as card issuers and retailers provide incentives to move more spending onto payment cards,” said David Robertson, Publisher of The Nilson Report.

At the end of 2015, there were 6.26 billion credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation in the U.S. The number of cards in circulation is projected to reach 7.30 by 2020.

In 2015, when credit cards accounted for 53.47% of all spending and debit cards for 46.53%, Visa debit cards had the highest market share with 23.66% of all spending. Visa credit cards were second with a 23.15% share, followed by American Express credit cards (12.36%), Mastercard credit cards (11.24%), and Mastercard debit cards (9.99%).

By 2020, credit cards are expected to account for 56.67% of purchase volume. Visa credit cards are expected to have a greater share of purchase volume at 27.09% in 2020 than Visa debit cards at 22.49% followed by American Express credit cards with 11.56%, Mastercard credit cards with 11.35%, and Mastercard debit cards with 9.75%.

The full report, U.S. Payment Cards Projected, is available by downloading the current issue of The Nilson Report at by clicking here.


About The Nilson Report

The Nilson Report, in its 46th year of publication, is the most respected source of news and analysis of the global card and mobile payment industries. The by-subscription-only newsletter provides credit, debit, and prepaid card issuer, acquirer, and vendor statistics not found in any other trade journal, as well as concise technology, personnel, and product news and updates. It does not accept paid advertising of any kind. There are no advertisements, no articles written by vendors, and no sponsored content.


Lori Fulmer

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