Top 5 Credit Card Companies – 2020

There are tons of credit card companies available today, which can make picking the right one for you a challenge. Luckily, The Motley Fool took care of the hard work and rated the most popular credit card companies, so you know exactly where to start your search.

They based their decision on each card provider’s outstanding balances for 2019. For instance, if one company had 25% of the total outstanding balances, that means its customers made up 25% of the country’s entire outstanding credit card debt.

Below are the leading five credit card issuers, their portion of outstanding card balances, and why cardholders love to use their cards.

Chase (16.6%)

Chase may have 16.6% of the U.S.’s outstanding credit card debt, but it’s just 5% more than the second-place credit card company. 5% might not seem much at first, but when you’re referring to it in the context of debt, it is. Data from The Motley Fool shows that by the end of 2019, total credit card debt topped an all-time high of $930 billion.

Chase’s rewards credit cards are one of the primary factors for the company’s achievement. Chase offers great travel perks and cash back bonuses. Not only that, but it’s Chase Ultimate Rewards program is perhaps one of the best of any credit card company on the market.

The fact that Chase is also the biggest financial institution in the country gives it another advantage. Typically, people prefer to get credit cards from the same place they bank, so having a large pool of banking customers can contribute to even more credit card users. 

Citi (11.6%)

Coming in at number two is Citi, partially thanks to its broad range of credit card options. Citi offers both cash back credit cards or points that you can redeem through the Citi ThankYou Rewards portal. When you use this program, you can earn a variety of travel discounts for your next trip.

Citi also provides several credit cards specifically designed for users who want to build or improve their credit. Plus, it partnered with some of the most popular companies such as Costco, American Airlines, AT&T, Expedia, and more, so you can get more savings with a branded card.

Citi also offers robust banking tools, similar to Chase. It is among the four largest financial institutions in the U.S.

American Express (11.3%)

You would think that American Express would have a larger outstanding balance since it’s one of the most popular credit cards. It shares many similarities with Chase and Citi, such as generous cash back and travel rewards, various branded cards, and high-quality bonuses through the American Express Membership Rewards program.

But, there are a few factors that put American Express at number three on The Motley Fool’s list:


  • It offers considerably fewer banking services
  • It typically has credit cards with pricier annual fees
  • Fewer merchants accept American Express cards compared to other credit card companies


Bank Of America (10.7%)

As the second-largest U.S. financial institution, Bank of America is one more case of how an extensive banking system leads to more credit cardholders. It does an excellent job of encouraging its customers to sign up for several financial products using its Preferred Rewards program.

To qualify for this program, you have to maintain an average daily minimum balance requirement in your Bank of America and Merrill investment accounts. There are three levels: Gold Platinum and Platinum Honors. Depending on the tier, you can enjoy various benefits and rewards on every purchase you make with a Bank of America credit card.

Capital One (10.5%)

Consumers appreciate Capital One for its ease of use and low costs. Its credit cards are among the easiest to understand and provide similar rewards for all purchases. Not only that, but when you’re ready to exchange your points, the process is just as simple. Capital One credit cards have no costly annual fees (fees exceeding $95 each year).


Below are the credit card issuers that didn’t make The Motley Fool’s list:


  • Discover (7.6%)
  • Wells Fargo (4.3%)
  • U.S. Bank (4.1%)
  • Barclays (2.6%)
  • Synchrony (2.0%)


Altogether, that’s 81.3%, with the extra 18.7% dispersed throughout the other issuers. As you can see, the majority of outstanding credit card balances are held by only a few companies. On the bright side, that encourages card issuers to get creative to attract new customers. So that means that they’ll continuously adjust their programs and rates to make sure you get the best deal.

  • Daly, Lyle. “The 5 Most Popular Credit Card Companies.” The Motley Fool, 12 Nov. 2020,
Ian Schindler