Nearly all of bank cards within the U.S. are issued by one in all 10 main bank card issuers. However there are additionally some lesser-known or regional banks that put out high quality bank card playing cards.
The key U.S. bank card issuers
Technically, any financial institution or credit score union can — and sure does — concern bank cards. However your common U.S. bank card consumer is extra prone to have a card from a multinational financial institution than from the regional financial institution down the road.
Actually, the highest bank card issuers within the U.S. maintain greater than 80% of the market share, in response to the Nilson Report. In different phrases, roughly 8 out of 10 bank cards within the U.S. are from one in all these issuers:
- American Categorical
- Financial institution of America
- Capital One
- Synchrony Financial institution
- U.S. Financial institution
- Wells Fargo
In the event you’ve ever questioned why each “Finest Of” listing appears to repeat the identical banks, that is why. They actually do make up the overwhelming majority of bank card choices — particularly the flowery rewards playing cards which can be so common.
Given the huge affect these banks have on the bank card market, it is a good suggestion to get to know them a bit. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at every firm.
American Categorical (American Categorical Co.)
American Categorical, nicknamed Amex, has been in enterprise since 1850. It did not enter the fee card world till the Nineteen Fifties when it issued its first cost card. The primary Amex bank card got here roughly 30 years later. Amex is each issuer and community for its playing cards.
Lately, Amex is the second-largest card issuer within the U.S. by buy quantity, in response to 2020 Nilson Report information. It is also within the high six issuers based mostly on the variety of playing cards in circulation.
See our listing of Finest American Categorical bank cards.
Widespread American Categorical playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: American Categorical has among the best rewards packages round. Amex Membership Rewards factors have numerous makes use of, together with transferring to greater than 20 resort and airline companions. Plus, most of Amex’s playing cards have nice advantages like buy safety and journey insurance coverage.
Financial institution of America (Financial institution of America Corp.)
Financial institution of America, abbreviated BoA, was really based in San Francisco within the 1900s because the Financial institution of Italy. It wasn’t till 1930 that it grew to become the Financial institution of America. The primary BoA bank card, referred to as the BankAmericard, was launched in 1958 as one of many first client bank cards.
BoA is within the high 5 issuers based mostly on variety of playing cards. It is also the fourth-largest issuer by share of buy quantity.
See our listing of Finest Financial institution of America bank cards.
Widespread Financial institution of America playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: BoA affords easy-to-use rewards playing cards, lots of which haven’t any annual payment. Cardholders who additionally financial institution with BoA can earn further rewards relying on how a lot cash they’ve of their financial institution and funding accounts.
Barclays (Barclays Financial institution Delaware)
Barclays is finest referred to as a British financial institution, but it surely has a U.S. presence as Barclays Financial institution of Delaware. Barclays was liable for launching the primary client bank card within the U.Ok. within the Sixties. But it surely did not start issuing playing cards within the U.S. till almost 50 years later.
Barclays is available in tenth when ranked by whole playing cards in circulation (within the U.S.), with round 3% of the whole market share. It is also low on the listing for buy quantity. The financial institution used to concern just a few playing cards below the identify Barclaycard, however now it primarily focuses on cobranded journey and retail playing cards.
Capital One (Capital One Monetary Corp.)
Capital One is a comparatively younger financial institution, having been based just some many years in the past in 1994. It began issuing bank cards nearly instantly, and has grown steadily since then.
These days, Capital One is ranked because the fifth-largest bank card issuer by buy quantity. But it surely is available in first relating to the variety of playing cards in circulation.
See our listing of Finest Capital One bank cards.
Widespread Capital One playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: There is a motive so many individuals have Capital One playing cards, and it isn’t solely as a result of they’re simpler to get (although Capital One does provide many playing cards for individuals who have to construct credit score). Additionally they have quite a lot of high quality rewards playing cards, together with aggressive choices for journey rewards and playing cards for on a regular basis rewards.
Chase (JPMorgan Chase & Co.)
Chase has been round in a method or one other since 1799 when it was based because the Financial institution of The Manhattan Firm. By means of many mergers, it will definitely grew to become JPMorgan Chase, referred to as Chase for brief.
Chase is arguably the highest bank card issuer within the U.S., each when it comes to buy quantity and card quantity. Chase holds the biggest share of the market in purchases, and is available in second for variety of playing cards.
See our listing of Finest Chase bank cards.
Widespread Chase playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: Chase actually excels relating to rewards. Their Final Rewards factors program is likely one of the finest round. You can too get nice advantages with almost each Chase card, together with top-tier journey insurance coverage.
Citi (Citigroup Inc.)
Citi can hint its roots again to the early 1800s and the Metropolis Financial institution of New York. It grew to become Citigroup, referred to as Citi by most, in 1998. The corporate entered the bank card market within the Sixties, with a card identified colloquially because the “All the pieces Card.”
The trendy Citi reins within the high three of bank card issuers within the U.S., ranked third in each buy quantity and by the variety of playing cards in circulation.
See our listing of Finest Citi bank cards.
Widespread Citi playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: Citi has all kinds of playing cards, making it simple to seek out one to fit your wants. They’ve one of many high rewards packages with their transferable ThankYou Factors. You can too discover distinctive money again playing cards with lengthy intro 0% APR offers.
Uncover (Uncover Monetary Companies)
Uncover was born as a department of Sears — sure, the division retailer — throughout an try and enter the monetary trade. It was spun off, offered, and ultimately grew to become Uncover Monetary Companies. Many credit score Uncover because the inventor of the rewards bank card. Uncover is each an issuer and its personal bank card community.
Uncover is available in fourth total relating to the variety of playing cards in circulation. But it surely solely ranks seventh for market share by buy quantity.
See our listing of Finest Uncover bank cards.
Widespread Uncover playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: Uncover’s secure of playing cards have numerous nice options. For one, all of them have rewards — even their secured card. Uncover playing cards are additionally mild on charges, with no annual charges or international transaction charges on any of their playing cards.
Synchrony (Synchrony Monetary)
Synchrony originated because the GE Capital Retail Financial institution roughly 90 years in the past, turning into Synchrony Monetary in 2014. Most individuals who maintain a card issued by Synchrony might not even notice it, as the corporate offers nearly solely in cobranded retail bank cards. Dozens of common retail manufacturers have retailer bank cards issued by Synchrony. However the financial institution retains its personal branding minimal.
Synchrony holds the smallest portion of the market of the issuers on this listing, coming in tenth in buy quantity. This is sensible with a lot of its portfolio consisting of usually low-limit retailer playing cards. Nevertheless, the financial institution is seventh for whole playing cards issued.
Widespread Synchrony playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: In case you have a retailer card, there is a good likelihood it is issued by Synchrony. And as a lot as we might warning towards retailer playing cards, they undoubtedly have their place.
U.S. Financial institution (U.S. Bancorp)
U.S. Financial institution began out on the West Coast as the US Nationwide Financial institution of Portland in 1891. A number of mergers later, it grew to become U.S. Bancorp, additionally referred to as U.S. Financial institution. The financial institution hasn’t been issuing bank cards for lengthy, although it now has each bank-branded and cobranded choices.
All in all, U.S. Financial institution has a comparatively small portion of the market share. It is available in ninth for card quantity, although it is ranked sixth for share of buy quantity.
See our listing of Finest U.S. Financial institution bank cards.
Widespread U.S. Financial institution playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: U.S. Financial institution has a number of attention-grabbing playing cards that stand out from the standard choices. It has one of many few choose-your-own rewards playing cards in the marketplace, and even contains uncommon bonus classes like dwelling utilities and health facilities.
Wells Fargo (Wells Fargo & Co.)
Wells Fargo is a toddler of the California Gold Rush and as soon as served because the western arm of the Pony Categorical. It bought into extra conventional banking within the Twenties, and bank cards towards the tip of the century.
Wells Fargo at present holds a modest portion of the market share, ranked eighth total for each card quantity and for its share of bank card buy quantity.
See our listing of Finest Wells Fargo bank cards.
Widespread Wells Fargo playing cards we have reviewed:
Why we like them: Wells Fargo underwent a significant overhaul of its bank cards — and we’re followers. Its present choices embrace a no-strings 2% money again card and an intro APR card with a really beneficiant 0% APR time period.
Lesser-known or regional bank card issuers
The majority of the bank cards within the U.S. could also be from simply 10 issuers. However the remainder are issued by lesser-known corporations, together with regional banks and credit score unions. That is undoubtedly not an entire listing, however listed below are some smaller issuers it’s possible you’ll encounter:
- Fifth Third Financial institution
- Goldman Sachs
- Huntington Financial institution
- Navy Federal Credit score Union
- Pentagon Federal Credit score Union
- PNC Financial institution
- Truist (a merger of BB&T and SunTrust)
- World Monetary Community Nationwide Financial institution (aka Comenity)
In the event you’re unsure which firm points your bank card, you possibly can examine your cardholder settlement. You can too search for the cardboard’s web site and examine the fantastic print on the backside of the web page or within the phrases and circumstances.