First-quarter credit CIF (cards-in-force) among the Top 4 U.S. credit card issuers picked up some momentum adding 9.7 million cardholders over the past year. Based on current growth trends and economic patterns, the number of credit and charge cards, issued by the major issuers, will likely top 300 million in early 2023.
The Top 4 (Chase [JPM]; Capital One [COF]; Bank of America [BAC]; and Citibank [C] expanded their collective card base by 4.3% YOY (year-on-year) in the first-quarter (1Q/19), compared to 4.1% for the prior year. Over the past five years the Top 4 added 43.2 million cards, from 189.5 million in 1Q/15 to 232.7 million for 1Q/19, according to figures collected by CardData.
CIF Peer Group & Outlook
Chase led the Top 4 peer group in first-quarter YOY growth, driven by the introduction of new high value reward cards and the expansion of co-branded cards. Capital One, in second place, and the consistent CIF growth leader for the past eight years with its focus on sub-prime lending, has been slowing over the past two years as it tightens underwriting, notes Robert McKinley, Senior Analyst for CardFlash, CardData and CardTrak.
The Top 4 expanded by more than 11% in 2016, thanks to the migration of American Express Costco and other cobranded products to the Top 4, notably Citibank. Based on an average four-year YOY growth rate of 5.33% and a CAGR of 5.27%, and discounting the impact of the American Express 2016 migration, it is likely CIF for 1Q/20 will come in around 245 million, surpassing the 300 million milestone in 1Q/23, and bobbing around 330 million by EOY 2025, according to analysis by RAM Research.
First-Quarter Credit CIF Leaderboard
Chase U.S. credit CIF jumped 7.8% YOY for 1Q/19 to an estimated 84.1 million, compared to an estimated 81.4 million in the prior quarter, and an estimated 78.0 million one-year ago. For the first-quarter of 2015 Chase posted an estimated 77.9 million CIF.
Capital One U.S. credit CIF was up 3.6% YOY for 1Q/19 to an estimated 57.6 million, compared to an estimated 56.3 million in the prior quarter, and an estimated 55.6 million for 1Q/18. For the first-quarter of 2015 Capital One posted an estimated 43.5 million CIF.
Bank of America U.S. credit CIF inched upward 1.1% YOY for 1Q/19 to an estimated 42.5 million, compared to an estimated 47.4 million in the prior quarter, and an estimated 47.0 million one year ago. For the first-quarter of 2015 Bank of America posted an estimated 38.5 million CIF.
Citibank U.S. credit CIF increased 2.6% YOY for 1Q/19 to an estimated 43.5 million, compared to an estimated 43.1 million in the prior quarter, and an estimated 42.4 million for 1Q/18. Citibank reported U.S. gross accounts of 34.8 million for 1Q/19, compared to 34.6 million for 4Q/18, and compared to 33.9 million accounts for 1Q/18. For the first-quarter of 2015 Citibank posted an estimated 29.6 million CIF.
All figures shown are estimates derived from current outstandings, purchase dollar volume and historical data as well as proprietary data. Citibank currently reports gross (open) accounts. Figures exclude cards deactivated voluntarily or involuntarily with account open balances.