Second-quarter credit CIF (cards-in-force) continue to grow despite a saturated U.S. market driven by an expanding sub-prime marketplace and the aggressive marketing of high-end rewards cards. Over the past year, the total CIF is up by more nearly 24 million, and growing more 300 basis points (bps) over the prior twelve-month period. Mastercard is blowing the socks off the competition.
U.S. credit/charge cards-in-force (CIF) in the second-quarter (2Q/19) for the Major 4 (Visa [V], MasterCard [MA], American Express [AXP] and Discover [DFS]) were up 4.4% year-on-year (YOY), compared to 1.2% YOY gain in the prior year. At the end-of-the-period (EOP) for 2Q/19, there were 688.7 million U.S. credit/charge CIF compared to 683.9 million for 1Q/19, and 659.4 million for 2Q/18, according to figures collected by CardData.
Credit Card CIF Analysis
Of the 29.3 million credit/charge CIF added by the Major 4 over the past year, Mastercard contributed 24.0 million. American Express made up 2.1 million, Visa about four million, and Discover lost some ground. The current four-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is now running at 2.41%, according to analysis by RAM Research.
There was very little credit/charge CIF YOY growth in 2017 and 2018 in the U.S. but a reversal is afoot. With low funding rates, the market for unsecured credit cards to consumers with credit scores below 660 is going full blazes in the U.S. with new entrants every quarter. Mastercard has largely benefited by this trend. At the same-time American Express has been ramping up marketing, upgrading existing U.S. high-end programs and introducing new consumer and business reward cards, notes Robert McKinley, Senior Analyst for CardFlash, CardData, and CardTrak.
Visa U.S Credit/Charge CIF
Visa U.S. credit/charge CIF for 2Q/19 edged up by 1.2% YOY to an estimated 337 million, compared to a revised 336 million in the prior quarter, and a revised 333 million in the year ago quarter. (Visa reports CIF on a one-quarter lag basis.) In the second-quarter of 2015 Visa had 323 million U.S. credit/charge CIF. Visa U.S. credit/charge CIF is currently growing at a 1.07% CAGR.
Mastercard U.S Credit/Charge CIF
MasterCard U.S. credit/charge CIF for 2Q/19 grew 11.8% YOY to 235 million, compared to a revised 230 million in the prior quarter, and a revised 211 million in the year ago quarter. In the second-quarter of 2015 Mastercard had 185 million U.S. credit/charge CIF. Mastercard U.S. credit/charge CIF is currently growing at a 6.16% CAGR.
American Express U.S Credit/Charge CIF
American Express U.S. credit/charge CIF for 2Q/19 increased 4.0% YOY to 54.0 million, compared to 54.1 million in the prior quarter, and 51.9 million in the year ago quarter. In the second-quarter of 2015 American Express had 55.3 million U.S. credit/charge CIF. American Express U.S. credit/charge CIF is currently growing at a 0.59% CAGR (unadjusted). Adjusting for the divesture of cobranded cards, notably Costco, in 2016, the American Express CAGR is 3.72%.
Discover U.S Credit/Charge CIF
Discover U.S. credit CIF for 2Q/19 decreased 80 bps YOY to an estimated 62.7 million, compared to an estimated 63.8 million in the prior quarter, and an estimated 63.5 million in the year ago quarter. (Discover no longer discloses CIF or account data and is now based on PDV, outstandings, and internal guidance) In the second-quarter of 2015 Discover had an estimated 62.9 million U.S. credit/charge CIF. Discover U.S. credit/charge CIF is currently a flat CAGR.
Complete Second-Quarter Report on Major 4 U.S. Credit/Charge Cards-in-Force [2015-2019] Available for Immediate Download
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