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The 2020 Credit Card Data Book: Good Times Roll a Bit Longer

Credit card profits are back, but issuers must protect against the inevitable economic shift.

Mercator Advisory Group updates annual Credit Card Data Book with projections through 2023.


2019 was a banner year for many credit card issuers, as the stars aligned. Unemployment and inflation were low, interest margins were at a peak, collection results were favorable, and total open accounts grew slightly. And according to Mercator Advisory Group’s new report, The 2020 Credit Card Data Book: Good Times Roll a Bit Longer, 2020 will likely be slightly better, and more profitable, assuming the economic tides do not turn.

“Credit card risk is fragile right now. Times have been good, but that “sooner or later” economic shift draws closer every month. Use Mercator’s 2020 Credit Card Data Book to see where sensitivities exist,” comments Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service, at Mercator Advisory Group, the author of this research report. “As an example, if there is a sudden shift, warning bells will ring at credit card issuers and they will quickly tighten credit to protect their balance sheets. As that happens, delinquency will start to climb. This ends up as high credit losses and increased non-interest expense.” Riley continues: “Right now, infrastructure and credit management are as important as portfolio growth. Risks are higher than ever, and issuers must ensure that their credit management policies and systems are ready to react. Overflow and diversion strategies, champion/challenger testing, and a battle-ready credit management team are the order of the day.”

This document contains 29 pages and 20 exhibits.

Companies and other organizations mentioned in this research report include: ACI Worldwide, Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Federal Reserve System, and FICO.



Highlights of the research report include:

  • Key industry metrics to watch in 2020

  • Growth in revolving debt

  • Average credit card debt

  • Credit card return on assets

  • Originations and total active accounts

  • Trillions of dollars in contingent credit card liability

  • Interest rate margins

  • Household debt burdens