The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Credit Card Companies | 15 Largest Issuers (2020 List)

Credit Card Companies | 15 Largest Issuers (2020 List)

credit card news

Toby Sembower
By: Toby Sembower
Updated: January 27, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Credit card companies, like most other things in life, come in all shapes and sizes.

Some are titans of the industry, spending upwards of $336 million a year to blare commercials 24/7 on every medium known to man. Others lack any kind of name recognition — outside of their employees, and, presumably, a handful of customers.

You don’t want to entrust your financial future to just any credit card company. So, if you’re looking to get a new credit card, where do you even start?

Below we list the 15 largest credit card companies (as measured by number of active U.S. accounts), along with links to their top credit cards, phone numbers, credit score ranges, and more:

1. Visa — 336M Cardholders

Visa LogoVisa is the largest major payment network, widely accepted by over 40M merchants. From traditional benefits to premium rewards, Visa offers a wide range of benefits for cardholders around the world. 


VISA® RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 500 to 850
  • Average: 675
  • Translation: Can have anywhere from poor to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

2. Mastercard — 231M Cardholders

Mastercard logoThe second-largest major credit card network in the United States, Mastercard offers perks like easy bill pay and personal information protection using chip technology. Mastercard processes transactions in over 210 countries and territories, and in more than 150 currencies.


EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • There's no annual fee and your cash rewards don't expire. Each month, as you plan for future purchases, you can change your 3% choice category online or through our mobile app.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 550 to 850
  • Average: 750
  • Translation: Options for consumers with bad to excellent credit available

Where to Apply

3. Citibank — 95M Cardholders

Citi LogoCitibank is a major banking institution for customers of all credit standings. Citi cards have two primary rewards programs available: Simplicity and Thank You. The CitiManager® online tool helps its members manage multiple accounts.


CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Good/Excellent

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 633 to 850
  • Average: 750
  • Translation: Must have good to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

4. Chase — 83M Cardholders

Chase LogoChase is the second-largest issuer of general-purpose credit cards in the U.S. With rewards from companies like Disney and Southwest Airlines, Chase boasts high customer satisfaction for its credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is often regarded as the best travel card.


EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 616 to 850
  • Average: 718
  • Translation: Must have fair to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

5. American Express — 63M Cardholders

Amex Logo

Active in over 160 different countries and territories, American Express (AMEX) is the world’s largest issuer of credit cards in terms of transactions, averaging 6 billion transactions per year. American Express primarily accepts high-income cardholders with robust credit scores.

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 623 to 850 
  • Average: 733
  • Translation: Must have good to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

6. Capital One — 62M Cardholders

Capital One LogoWhether your credit score is excellent or poor, Capital One has a credit card for you. With 24/7 customer service and free credit scores via CreditWise, Capital One provides premium benefits and invaluable tools for all its cardholders, including the opportunity to build or rebuild your credit.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 666 to 850
  • Average: 717
  • Translation: Can have anywhere from poor to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

7. Bank of America — 58M Cardholders

Bank of America logoFounded in 1904, Bank of America began as the “Bank of Italy,” serving America’s expanding immigrant population. Bank of America re-branded itself in 1930 and created the first general-use credit card. Its award-winning online and mobile banking makes handling credit cards easy for its customers.


Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • There's no annual fee and your cash rewards don't expire. Each month, as you plan for future purchases, you can change your 3% choice category online or through our mobile app.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees while earning points to use for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees
  • Introductory 0%† APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases.  After that, a Variable APR that's currently 14.99% to 22.99% will apply.
  • 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend, everywhere, every time.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles
N/A
14.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 12.99% to 22.99% Variable APR
  • $0 Intro Balance transfer fee during first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
12.99% to 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 681 to 850
  • Average: 744
  • Translation: Must have excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

8. Discover — 39M Cardholders

Discover logoDiscover has numerous promotional offers on its credit cards, including cash back, miles, and 0% intro APRs. Dependable fraud protection keeps customers safe while they spend. Applying for a Discover card is easy, and you’ll find they have good offerings for students and businesses alike.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 550 to 850
  • Average: 733
  • Translation: Can have bad to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

9. Synchrony Financial — 37M Cardholders

Synchrony Bank logo

Established in 2003, Synchrony Financial is a major issuer of Mastercard and Visa credit cards. Synchrony offers a wide variety of co-branded retailer and store credit cards that are suitable for a range of credit types.

Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 300 to 850
  • Average: 630
  • Translation: Can have poor credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

10. Wells Fargo — 23M Cardholders

Wells Fargo LogoWells Fargo is one of the oldest financial institutions in America. Wells Fargo credit cards provide competitive offers and diverse financial assistance to suit cardholders of all types. About 1 in 3 American households trust this brand’s six-horse stagecoach with their personal finances.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 620 to 850
  • Average: 750
  • Translation: Must have good to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

11. Barclays US — 16M Cardholders

Barclays LogoBarclays is a reliable option for responsible borrowers in good credit standing. Established in 2004, Barclays is known for its co-branded credit cards in partnership with well-known travel, entertainment, retail, educational, and financial institutions. 


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 600 to 850
  • Average: 721
  • Translation: Must have fair credit or better to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

 12. U.S. Bank — 14M Cardholders

US Bank Logo

U.S. Bank offers credit cards for rebuilding credit for first-timers, students, small businesses, and the general populace. U.S. Bank has many beneficial credit cards that you can easily browse through online.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 600 to 850
  • Average: 725
  • Translation: Can have anywhere from poor to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

13. USAA — 10M Cardholders

USAA LogoBegun by former members of the military, the United States Automobile Association issues credit cards for military servicemen, veterans, and their families. USAA members receive cash back, rewards points, low rates, and more. 


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 650 to 850
  • Average: 750
  • Translation: Must have fair to excellent credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

14. Credit One — 6M Cardholders

CreditOne Bank logoCredit One takes care of its customers with cash back rewards and monthly credit score tracking. There’s even a promotional offer for NASCAR fans! In less than a minute, anyone can go online to see if they’re pre-qualified for a Credit One Bank credit card.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 530 to 850
  • Average: 675
  • Translation: Can have poor credit to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

15. PNC Bank

A popular brand east of the Mississippi River, PNC Financial Services issues credit cards to individuals and small businesses with strong credit histories. The majority of PNC’s cardholders (60%) have high credit scores. PNC cardholders enjoy lower rates and great rewards for their financial responsibility.


Credit Scores Approved

  • Range: 620 to 850
  • Average: 719
  • Translation: Must have fair credit or better to become a cardholder.

Where to Apply

Sources and Further Reading

As you can see, the nation’s largest issuers offer credit cards for all types of credit-worthy customers. No matter your credit score, however, you should take your time to research credit card offers and the companies behind them, as your experience can vary greatly based on the card and issuer.

With the right knowledge, you’ll be ready to make a responsible, informed decision in choosing your next credit card.


To see the top credit cards ranked:

Recommended sites that we used to compile the data in this guide:

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