Credit, debit, and prepaid cards issued in the U.S. generated $5.648 trillion in purchase volume in 2016, up 7.0% over 2015, according to The Nilson Report, a card and mobile payment trade publication. The publication also revealed that credit cards continue to gain market share over debit - a shift largely driven by an increased consumer focus on leveraging credit cards to earn rewards.
American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards topped $3 trillion for the first time, generating a combined $3.059 trillion in spending at merchants, up 8 percent over 2015. Debit and prepaid cards with those brands as well as the brands of EFT networks Star, Pulse, Nyce, Interlink, Accel, and others combined to generate $2.589 trillion in purchase volume, up 5.8 percent.
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. It was the fifth year in a row in which credit cards gained market share. According to Nilson Report publisher David Robertson, "Consumers are choosing credit cards over debit cards to gain rewards from banks and other issuers."
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. 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. Wells Fargo remained the largest issuer based on signature debit purchase volume, and overtook Bank of America to become the largest based on PIN debit purchase volume. The Bancorp Bank remained the largest prepaid card issuer.