Visa remains the largest scheme in the Americas by a considerable margin
According to RBR’s Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021 study, the number of Mastercard cards grew by an impressive 6% in the Americas in 2015, compared with a rise of 4% for Visa. Nevertheless, Visa remains the largest card scheme in the region, with a share of 43% of the 2.9 billion cards in circulation, compared with 26% for Mastercard. Private label cards collectively account for 23% – a proportion which is declining as such cards are frequently converted to international schemes.
2015 a strong year for Mastercard in North America
It was in North America that Mastercard saw particularly strong growth, with its number of cards growing by 12% in Canada and 6% in the USA in 2015. In Canada, Mastercard-branded cards now account for 40% of the total, boosted by a recent agreement between the scheme and retail chain Costco.
A number of deals changing the competitive landscape
RBR notes that major changes in the competitive landscape are often a result of deals between the schemes and retailers: for instance in 2014, Walmart switched its co-branded credit cards from Discover to Mastercard and in 2013, Best Buy changed its credit card partner from Mastercard to Visa.
The switch by Costco in the USA from American Express to Visa announced in 2015 is expected to impact positively on the latter’s market share for 2016. In addition, Visa has entered into partnership with USAA, which has led to the organisation’s cards being migrated from Mastercard.
Brazil’s Elo grows by a third in just one year
Although they account for just 4% of the region’s cards, domestic schemes grew by an impressive 12% in 2015. This was largely due to Brazil’s main domestic scheme, Elo, which expanded by almost a third to represent 9% of the country’s payment cards.
RBR’s Chris Herbert remarked: “It will be interesting to see how the competitive dynamic of the Americas cards market develops in the coming years, particularly in light of the major deals we have witnessed, alongside the striking growth of domestic scheme cards in Brazil”.