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This article was last updated Mar 31, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Need to contact your credit card issuer? CompareCards has compiled a list of major U.S. credit card companies and their contact information. And know that if you’re ever in a pinch, you can always contact your card issuer by calling the telephone number listed on the back of your credit card.
- What’s the difference between credit card networks and issuers?
- What are the major credit card companies?
- Credit card company FAQs
What’s the difference between credit card networks and issuers?
There are four major credit card payment networks: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
A payment network acts as an intermediary between the merchant and the bank when you use your credit card to make a payment. A credit card issuer, on the other hand, extends you a line of revolving credit that you can use for purchases (this is your credit card account).
Credit card issuers are banks and credit unions. However, two credit card issuers are their own payment network.
American Express and Discover issue cards directly to consumers, while Visa and Mastercard do not. That means if you have a Visa or Mastercard, you generally won’t be dealing with Visa or Mastercard for your inquiries, but rather with your issuer. However, with an American Express or Discover card, it’s more likely you’ll be dealing directly with American Express or Discover — though there are cards issued by banks which use American Express as the payment network, such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and the USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card.
Traditionally, the most widely accepted credit cards have been Visa and Mastercard cards, but American Express and Discover have almost closed that gap in recent years.
What are the major credit card companies?
We’ve included 10 major credit card issuers on this list.
For context, here’s what the market share of purchase volume for top U.S. credit cards looked like in 2019, according to data from The Nilson Report:
- American Express at 20%
- Chase at 20%
- Citi at 11%
- Bank of America at 10%
- Capital One at 9%
- U.S. Bank at 4%
- Discover at 4%
- All others combined at 22%
And, here’s how satisfied customers are with various credit card issuers, according to data from J.D. Power:
Established in 1850, American Express offers a wide selection of cards — both for personal and small business customers. Plus, the company also issues several co-branded airline credit cards with Delta. Perhaps one of the best-known Amex cards is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which charges a hefty annual fee of $550, but also offers some of the best luxury benefits of any travel credit card.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
If you’re interested in applying for an American Express card, you can use the American Express tool to check if you’re prequalified for any of the issuer’s cards. Prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval, but it does indicate that you have a higher likelihood of getting approved once you actually apply.
75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months. *
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually.*
No foreign transaction fees & exclusive airport lounge access*
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express
Bank of America
What’s now Bank of America has its roots in Nantucket Pacific Bank, which was founded in 1804. The “Bank of America” name and logo came about in 1998.
Barclays is a British-owned bank that traces its history back to London in 1690. The bank began to expand beyond London in the mid 1740s, and in 1987, introduced the United Kingdom’s first debit card.
Capital One is something of a newcomer to the financial scene compared to some of the other companies on this list, as its initial public offering was in 1994. Capital One offers a variety of cards, ranging from cards aimed at applicants who are new to credit (or are working to rebuild from bad credit) to ones that offer strong cashback rates and travel rewards.
You can check online if you’re prequalified for any Capital One cards. While prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval, it does show that you’ve got a better chance at being approved once you actually apply.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. is one of the oldest institutions on our list of credit card issuers, with roots going back to the year 1799. In 1958, the bank — then called Chase Manhattan Bank — became the first New York City bank to offer customers a retail credit card.
Chase is well known for its travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for more value by booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. From 6/1/20 through 6/30/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Earn 3x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®
What is now Citibank started in 1812 as City Bank of New York. Citi issues the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, one of the most competitive flat-rate cashback credit cards available.
Discover Bank was founded in 1911. Perhaps the most well-known Discover card is its flagship 5% cashback card, the Discover it® Cash Back. Discover also offers student cards and a secured card, aimed at helping those who are new to credit or are rebuilding from bad credit.
0% for 14 months on purchases and Balance Transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.
5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically*
Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
- Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
- No annual fee.
- Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back
USAA started in 1922 as an auto insurance company and now issues financial products available to military members and eligible family members. To qualify for USAA membership, you must be one of the following:
- Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve. This encompases people who are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard and Reserves.
- Veterans. You must have retired or separated from the U.S. military with an honorable discharge.
- Eligible Family. This includes widows, widowers and unremarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage, as well as people whose parents joined USAA.
- Cadets and Midshipmen. If you’re a cadet or midshipman at a U.S. service academy or affiliated academy preparatory school, or if you’re in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, or if you’re an officer candidate within 24 months of commissioning, you’re eligible for membership.
U.S. Bank traces its history back to 1863, with the opening of First National Bank of Cincinnati. It took the name U.S. Bank after a series of mergers at the turn of the 21st century.
Wells Fargo, well known for its iconic stagecoach, was founded in 1852. The name comes from its founders’ names, Henry Wells and William Fargo.
Credit card company FAQs
Do credit card companies verify income? You will have to list your income when you apply for a credit card. The issuer may or may not ask you to provide verification of your income after reviewing your application.
What are some common credit card fees? Some common credit card fees include:
- Annual fees. This is a fee just for carrying the card. Cards with annual fees are often travel cards with more robust rewards or perks than their no-annual-fee competitors.
- Foreign transaction fees. This is a fee charged for each transaction you make outside of the United States. For many cards, it’s 3% of each transaction. If you’re traveling abroad, it’s smart to plan ahead and make sure you have a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.
- Late fees. If you don’t make at least the minimum payment each month by your due date, you’ll typically be assessed a late fee. Paying late will also damage your credit score substantially, and you’re likely to be hit with a high penalty APR.
Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.