Nilson Report

Issue 1188 | Dec 2020


Companies featured in this issue include:

U.S. Consumer Payment Systems–Market Shares of Transactions in 2019

Personal Consumption Expenditures in the U.S.

Consumer Payment Systems in the U.S

Largest Credit Card Issuers Worldwide–Ranked by Purchase Volume in 2019

Card Manufacturers 2019–Part 2

U.S. General Purpose Card Brands–3Q 2020 and change vs. 3Q 2019

Investments & Acquisitions–November 2020

U.S. General Purpose Cards Jan 1-Sep. 30, 2020

Purchases of goods and services (purchase volume) generated by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover credit cards issued in the U.S. totaled $2.610 trillion in the first three quarters of 2020, a decline of 10.4%.

1. Visa, Credit
$1,403.44 billion purchase volume, -8.6%
2. Mastercard, Credit
$605.21 billion purchase volume, -9.0%
3. American Express, Credit
$499.45 billion purchase volume, -17.7%
4. Discover, Credit
$101.84 billion purchase volume, -4.8%

Full access to the General Purpose Cards—January 1-September 30, 2020 results in the United States is available when you subscribe to the Nilson Report.



Global Brand Card Acceptance Worldwide

Please note: Only subscribers can access the charts included with this article.

The merchant acceptance networks of Visa and Mastercard continued to be the largest among the global card brands at the end of the third quarter of 2020 when they reached 70.0 million. Merchant acceptance includes in-store outlets, websites and independent sellers using smartphones and tablets as POS terminals. The more than 2.6 million automated teller machines (ATMs) worldwide available to Visa and Mastercard cards are not included in the merchant acceptance figure. 

Growth continued in store locations in every world region. Outside the U.S., gains were also made in connections to closed-loop systems including digital wallets such as Paytm in India, Gojek in Indonesia, Line Pay in Japan, MFS in Africa and STC Pay in Saudi Arabia as well as merchants that accept payments via QR code. The ability to use smartphones as POS terminals is boosting card acceptance locations everywhere in the world.

UnionPay cardholders had access to the second largest global network. There were 27 million merchant acceptance locations in China and another 35 million outside. Over the last 18 months, UnionPay has signed dozens of contracts to expand its network. Recent deals have included PrivatBank, Ukrgasbank, Barclaycard, Nexi, Santander, Stripe and SumUp in Europe and Interswitch, Gimac, AccésBanque and FNB in Africa. 

Discover Global Network (DGN) topped 50 million. DGN’s recent acceptance deals included Areeba in Lebanon, Saudi Payments in Saudi Arabia and National Bank of Oman. 

Elo, UnionPay, RuPay, JCB, BC Card, Troy and Napas cards have access to DGN. 

JCB grew its network to 35 million. Recent acceptance deals included JSC Post Bank and Russia Post in Russia, Alinma Bank, Riyad Bank and Saudi Payments in Saudi Arabia, Paymentwall, EVO Payments and Viva Wallet in Europe, Nets in Finland, Kyrgyzkommertsbank in the Kyrgyz Republic and Banco Santander and 3C in Spain. 

American Express card global acceptance reached 44.2 million. Recent expansion included new locations in China where Amex became the first global network to receive government approval for local acquiring banks to offer card acceptance. New acceptance locations were also generated by bank partnerships in other key countries. 

In the U.S., Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are effectively at parity in merchant acceptance locations. Recently, growth in the U.S. has come from new merchant categories including payments for parking and rent.

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