Nilson Report

Issue 1148 | Feb 2019


Companies featured in this issue include:

Top Issuers of U.S. General Purpose Credit Cards 2018

Market Shares of Purchase Volume for Top Credit Card Issuers 2008-2018

Shares of Outstandings for U.S. Credit Card Issuers 2018

Top U.S. Credit Card Issuers: Outstandings, Volume, Transactions, Cards

50 Largest Visa & Mastercard Issuers in the U.S. – Ranked by Outstandings

Investments in Merchant Acquiring/Processing in 2018

Top U.S. Credit Card Issuers: Outstandings 2018

Outstanding credit card receivables tied to Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards reached $973.38 billion at December 31, 2018, up 5.4% over 2017. The five largest issuers ranked by outstandings are shown here.

1. Chase
$156.63 (bil.)
2. American Express
$111.37 (bil.)
3. Citibank
$110.69 (bil.)
4. Bank of America
$109.46 (bil.)
5. Capital One
$100.21 (bil.)

Full access to the Top U.S. Credit Card Issuers: Outstandings, Volume, Transactions, Cards 2018 results is available when you subscribe to The Nilson Report.



Payfone Token Protection for Digital Transactions

SIM cards are the smart chips in telephones that provide sufficient security to telecom companies to approve calls that begin in one part of the world and end in another without any friction related to the user’s identity in between. Payfone secures transactions including reset of passwords, logging into accounts from mobile devices and laptops, call center sessions, and customer applications, by leveraging the 128-bit encryption in SIM cards as well as by accessing the telecom infrastructure used worldwide by nearly 800 mobile network operators (MNOs), and “signals” from utilities, banks, processors, and MNOs. Those signals include a history of prior authentications, SIM card swaps, phone number porting, and phone numbers for new handsets. 

Payfone aims to eliminate what it calls the “trust gap.” While more than 90% of all transactions are legitimate, only 30% can instantly be recognized as legit. The trust gap is the remaining 60%. Currently, companies use knowledge-based questions and other identity verification tools to close the gap. This costs companies money and irritates their legitimate customers. 

After know your customer (KYC) compliance has been completed, Payfone’s Trust Platform creates a token that connects to a user’s phone. Trust Platform can check sources to identify 90% of all active phones in the U.S. The token becomes the user’s identification at financial institutions. Currently, 60% of calls to a bank in the U.S. are initiated by a mobile phone. 

Last year, Payfone authenticated 20 billion transactions for customers including 6 of the 10 largest U.S. banks and Early Warning Services’ Zelle person-to-person payments. This year, Payfone expects to authenticate 40 billion. Its technology secures transactions initiated by mobile devices and PCs as well as those from call centers. 

In the U.S., Payfone recently launched new architecture for Trust Platform called “Zero Knowledge.” Transactions are secured in a manner that keeps data private and the experience passive for consumers. The company has started to offer mobile authentication as an alternative to one-time passwords in Europe, where financial institutions operate under new regulations for data privacy (GDPR) and transaction security (PSD2). Payfone recently signed its first Tier 1 bank in the U.K.

Rodger Desai is Chief Executive Officer at Payfone in New York,,

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