The four major credit card networks – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover – dictate where credit cards and debit cards can be used. They are not created equal, however. Visa and MasterCard boast a significant advantage in terms of worldwide acceptance, while Amex and Discover supplement their payment facilitation business by issuing cards directly to consumers. Card network rental car insurance, extended warranty, and fraud liability policies vary widely as well.
The card network market share statistics listed below will give you a sense of the hierarchy that exists in the card network space. Networks are compared based on credit card market share, debit card market share, purchase volume, cards in circulation, and monthly spending.
Market share based on purchase volume
Market share based on number of cards in circulation (End of 2012)
|277 million||178 million||52 million||61 million|
Annual and monthly purchase/spending volume (End of 2012)
- According to Experian, there are 2.35 open credit accounts per individual, which means that the average individual’s credit card spending is $762.6/month and $9,151 on an annual basis.