CARPENTERIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--There were several important developments in the fortunes of U.S. credit card companies in 2011, according to the annual special report on General Purpose Credit Cards, published in the most recent issue of The Nilson Report, a respected trade newsletter on the payments industry.
American Express overtook MasterCard to gain second place among credit card brands in the U.S., based on spending at merchants. “This is the first time since MasterCard was known as MasterCharge back in the 1960s, that American Express has experienced more purchase volume,” said David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report. While purchase volume increased for all four card brands (Visa, Amex, MasterCard, and Discover), American Express credit cards had an increase of 13.4% to $540 billion dollars, vs. an increase 6.1% to $508 billion for MasterCard credit cards.
For the first time since 2007, combined American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa consumer and commercial credit, debit and prepaid cards generated a double-digit increase in spending at merchants. The combined cards generated $3.595 trillion in purchase volume in 2011, up 10.4% from 2010.
Credit card outstandings, the unpaid balances owned by all Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover general purpose credit card accounts totaled $713.27 billion in 2011, up $1.99 billion or 0.3%. This was the first increase since 2008.
About The Nilson Report
The Nilson Report is a highly respected source of global news and analysis of the credit, debit and prepaid card industry. The subscription newsletter provides in-depth rankings and statistics on the current status of the industry, as well as company, personnel and product updates. David Robertson, Publisher of The Nilson Report, is a recognized expert in the field, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Over 18,000 readers in 90 countries worldwide value The Nilson Report to track industry trends and market information.