Payment Methods

Credit, Debit, Prepaid Card Purchases Increased 7 Percent In 2016

Credit, debit and prepaid cards issued in the U.S. saw purchase volume increase 7 percent year over year in 2016. That’s according to the Nilson Report, which said in a press release Monday (May 8) that credit, debit and prepaid cards’ purchase volume in the U.S. reached $5.648 trillion in 2016.

“Consumers are choosing credit cards over debit cards to gain rewards from banks and other issuers,” said David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, in the press release highlighting the new research. The Nilson Report found American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa credit cards topped $3 trillion in terms of purchase volume for the first time ever, generating a combined $3.059 trillion in spending at merchants, up 8.0 percent when compared to 2015. Debit and prepaid cards with those brands as well as the brands of EFT networks Star, Pulse, Nyce, Interlink, Accel and others combined generated $2.589 trillion in purchase volume, up 5.8 percent. What’s more, the Nilson Report found credit cards increased their market share of purchase volume over debit and prepaid cards to 53.64 percent, up from 45.84 percent in 2015. The Nilson Report said it marked the fifth year in a row in which credit cards gained market share.

JPMorgan Chase, the largest issuer of consumer and commercial credit, debit (including EFT network) and prepaid cards since 2008, generated $861.30 billion in purchase volume, remaining the top issuer, the Nilson Report said. American Express remained the largest issuer based on combined credit card purchase volume. Wells Fargo overtook Bank of America to become the largest issuer based on debit and prepaid purchase volume, while it also remained the largest issuer based on signature debit purchase volume. Wells Fargo also surpassed Bank of America to become the largest based on PIN debit purchase volume. The Bancorp Bank remained the largest prepaid card issuer, the Nilson Report said in the release.


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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The July 2019 Pay Advances: The Gig Economy’s New Normal, a PYMNTS and Mastercard collaboration, examines pay advances – full or partial payments received before an ad hoc job is completed – including how gig workers currently use them and their potential for future adoption.

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