Card networks report strong growth in credit and debit card spending

Visa and MasterCard both reported quarterly financials this week, which enables us to develop a picture of how the four main U.S. card networks (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) performed in terms of card volume.

See the table below for details on the card networks’ total U.S. card volume for 1Q11, with comparisons to 1Q10. Note:

  • Strong year-on-year (y/y) growth in both debit card (+12.0%) and credit card (+9.2%) spending.  Even though credit card spending growth continues to trail debit cards, growth rates have recovered in recent quarters, following significant declines in 2009.  This reflects the efforts of leading credit card issuers to promote spending, as outstandings continue to decline.
  • Strongest credit card volume performance came from American Express, which enjoyed double-digit growth in all customer segments (13% in consumer, 14% in small business, and 18% in corporate).  Its share of total credit card spend rose from 24.6% in 1Q10 to 25.9% in 1Q11
  • Discover reported 24% debit card growth through its Pulse PIN debit network.  Visa also reported double-digit debit volume growth.
  • Visa’s share of total (credit and debit) card spend among the four networks rose 46 bps y/y to 51.9% in 1Q11