Credit Card Purchase Volume up 7.8% for Major Card Providers

Credit Card Purchase Volume up 7.8% for Major Card Providers

February 22, 2016         Written By Natalie Rutledge

Credit card purchase volumes in the United States increased by 7.8% to $4.79 trillion in 2015, according to The Nilson Report. These statistics are based on data from the four biggest credit card providers in the country: American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

Visa cards yielded the highest purchase volume, beating out all other credit and debit cards. Visa debit cards generated $1.37 trillion in purchases (up 7.9%), while their credit cards accounted for $1.34 trillion (up 10.8%).

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In addition, Visa also won the battle for the number of cards in circulation. Visa added 22.3 million extra cards to its portfolio in 2015, while MasterCard increased by 11.0 million credit cards. American Express gained 2.7 million new cards in circulation, and Discover added 0.6 million cards.

These four networks reported $800.87 billion in outstanding balances in 2015, an increase of $35.67 billion or 4.7%. Visa’s outstandings grew the most ($15.65 billion), followed by MasterCard ($14.17 billion), American Express ($4.08 billion) and Discover ($1.77 billion).

For the seventh year in a row, Visa debit cards generated the highest purchase volume, with $1.374 trillion (7.9% increase). Visa credit cards were the second most popular card type, with purchases of $1.344 trillion (a 10.8% increase). This marked the third consecutive year that the percentage increase for purchase volume on Visa credit cards was better than any other cards.

American Express
American Express has been the second largest credit card brand in the United States since 2011, when it surpassed MasterCard. This year, it accounted for $717.29 billion in credit card sales, up 4.8%.

MasterCard’s purchase volume grew 7.4% to reach $625.75 billion. Its debit cards increased 8% to $580.14 billion.

Discover was the only credit card provider to see a decline in purchase volume, dropping 6.9% year-over-year to $118.49 billion.

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The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 22, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at
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