Visa Mastercard cards-in-force (CIF) for U.S. payment cards (credit & debit) increased 6.1% year-on-year (YOY) in the fourth quarter (4Q/18), compared to a 2.1% YOY gain in the prior quarter. Visa and Mastercard U.S. credit cards increased 3.4% YOY while CIF for debit cards rose 8.1% YOY, in 4Q/18.
There are were 1371 million Visa and Mastercard payment cards in circulation in the U.S. at the end of 4Q/18, compared to 1351 million for 3Q/18 and 1292 million for 4Q/17, according to CardData.
Mastercard is leading U.S. credit card CIF in YOY growth as well as U.S. debit cards CIF YOY gains in 4Q/18, according to RAM Research.
Visa + Mastercard Credit & Debit Cards
The 4Q/18 U.S. credit card CIF for both networks was up 3.4% YOY, compared to 2.9% YOY in the prior quarter. Visa and Mastercard reported 570 million credit CIF for 4Q/18, compared to 558 million for 3Q/18 and 551 million for 4Q/17.
The 4Q/18 U.S. debit card CIF for both networks increased 8.1%, compared to 1.5% YOY in 3Q/18. Visa and Mastercard reported 801 million debit CIF, compared to a revised 793 million for 3Q/18 and 741 million for 4Q/17.
U.S. Credit Cards
Visa U.S. credit cards had an estimated decline of -0.3% YOY in CIF for 4Q/18, compared to a slight increase of 0.3% for 3Q/18. Visa had an estimated 339 million credit CIF in the fourth quarter, compared to a reported 336 million for the prior quarter, and 340 million for the year ago quarter. Visa reports CIF on a one-quarter delay.
Mastercard U.S. credit cards posted a 9.5% YOY in credit CIF for the fourth quarter, compared to 7.2% YOY gain in credit CIF for 3Q/18. Mastercard reported 231 million credit CIF million for 4Q/18, compared to 222 million for the prior quarter, and a revised 211 million for the year ago quarter.
U.S. Debit Cards
Visa U.S. debit cards had an estimated boost of 7.9% YOY gain in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of -1.7% YOY in CIF for 3Q/18. Visa had, an estimated 585 million debit CIF, compared to a revised 581 million for the prior quarter, and a revised 542 million for the year ago quarter.
Mastercard U.S. debit cards posted an 8.5% YOY gain for 4Q/18 CIF, compared a 10.4% YOY gain in CIF for 3Q/18. Mastercard reported 216 million debit CIF, compared to a revised 212 million for the prior quarter, and a revised 199 million for the year ago quarter.
U.S. Visa + Mastercard Payment Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 1251 million
4Q/17: 1292 million
4Q/18: 1371 million
U.S. Visa + Mastercard Credit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 535 million
4Q/17: 551 million
4Q/18: 570 million
U.S. Visa + Mastercard Debit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 716 million
4Q/17: 741 million
4Q/18: 801 million
Visa U.S. Credit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 335 million
4Q/17: 340 million
Mastercard U.S. Credit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 200 million
4Q/17: 211 million
4Q/18: 231 million
Visa U.S. Debit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 527 million
4Q/17: 542 million
Mastercard U.S. Debit Cards-in-Force
4Q/16: 191 million
4Q/17: 199 million
4Q/18: 216 million