major credit card companies
Image source:

Credit card companies are credit unions, banks, payment networks, and other financial institutions that provide credit to individuals and company owners while also facilitating card transactions. The 4 major credit card companies in the US are Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Visa. We’ll dwell more on these in this chapter, as well as other credit card companies.

What Are Credit Card Companies?

Credit card companies are the banks and credit unions that give out credit cards to consumers and small business owners. They also service their cardholders’ accounts by billing for purchases, accepting payments, etc. Credit card companies are majorly classified as credit networks and card issuers.

What Are The 4 Major Credit Card Companies?

American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa are the 4 major credit card companies in the United States. Each credit card network, also known as a card association, operates slightly differently, but the fundamental principles stay the same.

Card networks enable funds to be transferred from a cardholder to a merchant. When you use a credit card to make a purchase, payment processors use a card network to communicate transaction information between the merchant’s bank (also known as the acquiring bank or acquirer) and the financial institution that issued your card.

A credit card issuer is a bank or credit union that issues a credit card to an end user, such as a consumer or small business owner. In the United States, major banks frequently operate as credit card issuers: American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Discover, and U.S. Bank are all card issuers.

Other Credit Card Companies

Apart from the 4 major credit card companies, there are other companies that operate in the same manner. We’ll discuss them in this section.

#1. American Express 

American Express bills itself as a payment service that connects customers to “items, insights, and experiences that improve lives and drive corporate success.”

The payment platform of the company consists of issuing cards and running a payment network. Customers of American Express include individuals, small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and multinational corporations.

Although American Express cards are not issued entirely by American Express, many of the greatest Amex cards are.

#2. Bank of America

Bank of America serves over 67 million consumer and small business clients with banking and card services.

The company’s card products rate high on our list of the top student cards, but the corporation offers a wide range of credit card options to individuals and businesses of all sizes.

#3. Barclays

Without physical locations, Barclays provides global online services. The issuer provides credit card choices for both households and small companies.

The company offers co-branded cards such as the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®* or the JetBlue Card*, but it also offers standalone cards such as the Barclaycard Platinum (only available in the U.K.).

#4. Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation is a conglomerate with numerous physical locations and a significant online presence. Based on the outstanding balance of credit card loan data from 2021, the corporation is the third-largest issuer of Visa and Mastercard credit cards in the United States, offering list-topping card options for consumers and companies across numerous card categories.

#5. Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. engages in investment banking, consumer and small business financial services, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. The bank has physical locations throughout the country and also provides online banking services. Chase credit cards are known for being some of the most reward-focused, benefit-heavy travel cards available.

#6. Citi

Citi’s 200 years of banking and financial asset management knowledge does not transfer to two centuries of credit card experience, but Citi’s credit card options are well-known among credit card specialists, particularly for long introductory APR periods and generous rewards.

#7. Discover

Discover is one of the largest digital banks in the United States, issuing cards and acting as a card network. Though the network is not generally accepted outside of the United States, Discover’s cards rank high on numerous of our best lists for lucrative reward schemes and other features.

#8. Synchrony

Synchrony is well-known for issuing shop credit cards. As a partner financier of retail and other industries, the bank principally specialized in lending to consumers.

#9. U.S Bank

U.S. Bank has branches all across the country. Individuals, businesses, and significant enterprises can use the bank’s financial goods and services, which include a number of credit card options such as the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum.

#10. Wells Fargo & Co

Wells Fargo claims to service one out of every three households in the United States. The bank, undoubtedly one of the most famous brands in consumer finance, provides numerous solid credit cards for both people and businesses.

Credit Unions

A credit union is a member-owned financial entity that makes loans and provides checking and savings accounts, similar to a bank. A credit union, unlike a bank, distributes profits to its members. This implies that credit unions typically provide lower interest rates on loans and greater savings rates—as well as a potentially friendlier banking experience. Many credit unions provide especially attractive reward credit cards. Those who want to be more eco-friendly or bank more responsibly may prefer a credit union over a larger bank.

Credit Card Issuers vs. Credit Card Network

While credit card networks facilitate information transfer, credit card issuers provide credit cards to consumers and companies. The institution that determines who qualifies for the revolving line of credit charges fees to the consumer and provides rewards is known as the card issuer. When you pay your bill or report your card as lost, you will primarily deal with your card issuer (rather than the card’s network).

Because these banking institutions also offer credit cards, American Express and Discover stand out among the main four credit card networks. However, if you want a Visa or Mastercard credit card, you must apply through another financial institution, such as Chase, Citi, Bank of America, or Capital One.

Even though they offer a lot of credit cards, several significant credit card companies aren’t household brands. Synchrony Financial and Comenity Bank, for example, are the two major credit card issuers behind numerous shop credit cards. Neither bank has high-visibility branches throughout the United States.

What Are The Top Hardest Credit Cards?

The hardest credit cards to obtain demand great credit, a large salary, and, in some circumstances, an invitation. For example, American Express’s infamous Centurion “Black” Card is only available to customers who charge hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and are invited to apply. Here are the hardest credit cards to obtain:

#1. Chase Sapphire Reserve 

Because it is one of the best rewards cards on the market, Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most difficult credit cards to obtain approval for. From the 60,000-point welcome bonus to the 1 – 10 points per $1 spent on purchases, and even the $550 annual fee, it’s easy to see why the Sapphire Reserve is so popular. That is also why you will need outstanding credit to be authorized.

#2. Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus

For approval, Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus requires great credit. The card also boasts appealing terms, such as a $0 annual fee, 1.5 – 5% cash back on purchases, and a sizable introductory bonus. New cardholders will receive $500 after spending $4,500 in the first three months.

#3. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is difficult to obtain because it requires exceptional credit and has a $395 annual fee. However, new cardholders can earn an introductory bonus of 75,000 miles by spending at least $4,000 within three months of creating an account. The Capital One Venture X also provides up to $300 in annual statement credits for Capital One Travel bookings, as well as significant continuous rewards rates of 2 – 10 miles for $1 spent and a variety of other benefits.

#4. American Express Centurion Card

The American Express Centurion Card is the most difficult to obtain. Amex Centurion, sometimes known as the “Black Card,” requires an invitation to obtain. And it’s reported that you must charge at least $1 million each year to an American Express credit card to even qualify.

#5. The X1 Credit Card 

The X1 Credit Card is an invitation-only credit card that requires a high credit score in order to be approved. This card also has no annual fee and rewards at a rate of 2 – 3 points for every $1 spent.

#6. Simmons Bank Visa Credit Cards 

These banks no longer merely provide low normal APRs. You must have a very strong track record as a borrower. Even credit cards for persons with good credit charge more than 14% on average. That is what distinguishes the Simmons Bank Visa card’s 14.5% – 22.5% (V) standard APR. Furthermore, there is no annual charge. The Simmons Bank Visa, as you might think, requires great credit to get approved.

#7. The Wells Fargo Company Elite Card

The Wells Fargo Company Elite Card is the most difficult to obtain for a business credit card because it requires exceptional credit to be approved. Most other top business credit cards will also accept applicants with excellent credit. The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card has very attractive terms as well, offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $1,000 welcome bonus after spending $25,000 within three months of opening an account. Given the initial bonus spending criteria, it’s a difficult card to get approved for and a challenging card to make outstanding. Otherwise, with no yearly charge for the first year ($125 after that), it shouldn’t be too difficult to finance.

Which Credit Card Has Fastest Approval?

The credit card with fastest approval is that of American Express. 

How Do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

Credit card companies may earn from consumer transactions, consumer fees, and interest levied on balances.

#1. Fees for Transactions

Every time you tap, insert, swipe, or click a credit card, the merchant is charged a transaction fee for the ease of collecting payment. This contribution, which typically ranges between 1% and 4%, is frequently folded into the cost of the items or services you purchase. Some vendors pass this price directly on to customers. In any case, the card networks profit from transaction fees levied directly to vendors for the ease of accepting credit card payments and indirectly to consumers through cost markup.

#2. Interest 

An interest rate linked with the usage of a card will vary depending on the lender and your creditworthiness, and will normally be charged to any balance carried on the card. When you do not pay your account on time, lenders profit from interest charges. You can prevent interest costs by paying on time and in full each billing period. Interest will not accrue during the grace period (usually one billing cycle).

#3. Annual Charges

Credit card companies may levy annual fees for cards with high rewards or cards marketed to and tailored for people with bad credit. Annual fees can be prohibitively expensive, especially for the most expensive, feature-rich reward cards.

#4. Additional Fees and Charges

Card issuers can charge late fees for failing to pay on time, cash advance fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM with a card, balance transfer fees for transferring the balance of another card, foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside the United States, and over-limit fees when a cardholder exceeds a credit limit. All of these fees allow card firms to benefit off the financial necessities of their customers.

In Conclusion,

There are numerous credit card companies available, but nearly all of them use one of 4 major networks: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, or Visa. Numerous card issuers provide revolving credit accounts and lend money to users in various forms through credit cards. Many of these services may include lucrative reward and loyalty schemes to persuade people to use credit cards, but credit cards also come with a lot of responsibility. Keep in mind that late or missing payments, as well as carrying a balance for an extended length of time, can be costly.

  1. What Is a Credit Limit? How Does Affect Credit Score
  2. Best Business Credit Cards For Startups In 2022
  3. VISA LOGO: The History of Visa
  4. Check Card: How to Check Card Visa, American Express, Stimulus (+ free tips)
  5. CREDIT CARD ANNUAL FEE: Best Travel Credit Card Annual Fee Explained


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like