Not every credit card company is a major firm capable of offering billions of dollars in credit; smaller credit card companies do exist. Since most credit cards are issued by banks or credit unions, finding a smaller credit card company often involves finding a smaller banking institution.
Use the FREE credit card chaser to search for credit cards from various sized firms to find a company size that suits your needs.
What are some of the smaller credit card companies?
Smaller companies that issue credit cards are typically tougher to find than the big name firms are. Because they are smaller, they do not have the same huge budget to compete for customers at the big-company level.
A good place to start looking for smaller credit card companies is in and around your home at regional banks and credit unions. A few examples of smaller institutions that offer credit cards include:
- Astoria Federal Savings credit cards in Queens, New York
- Atlantic Stewardship Bank; Coppermark Bank
- Personal or business credit cards from Scotiabank in the Bahamas
- Florida options include Seacoast National Bank
- California has credit card choices from Ventura County Credit Union
- Valley National Bank offers credit cards in New Jersey and New Mexico
- Wayne Bank offers them in Pennsylvania
- Wayne Bank and Trust covers Indiana
West Suburban Bank and Zion Bank are two regional banking institutions that also issue credit cards.
What about cards not issued from a bank or credit union?
Other organizations that issue credit cards can often do only with the support of a large company, such as Visa or MasterCard. You however, can find credit cards issues specifically for a hotel, department store, gas station or other retailer.
While many of these companies may be quite large in their own right, they remain smaller than the credit card company giants that rule the playing field. Choices for credit cards from retailers include those from King Size, Mor Furniture for Less, the electronics store OneCall, Radio Shack and Van Maur department stores.
Kawasaki Good Times Credit Card is another option, as is the QVC Qcard.
Universities may also issue credit cards, some in conjunction with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or a major banking institution, such as Bank of America, and others through smaller companies.
What are the biggest credit card companies?
The largest credit card companies are much easier to find, as they have the budget and staff to promote their services in a variety of ways. CNBC’s American Greed compiled a list of the top 10 credit card issuers based on the amount of credit they issued.
- The top slot goes to Bank of America/MBNA with $194.70 billion worth of credit issued to its clients.
- Chase bank takes second place with $184.09 billion and the claim to fame of being the top-ranking company for issuing credit cards for general-purpose use in America.
- Citi comes in third with $148.90 billion in credit issued; it is the second-ranking company for general-purpose credit cards in the U.S.
- Fourth place goes to American Express with $105.00 billion.
- Fifth place to Capital One with $68.78 billion in credit issued.
- HSBC takes slot number six with $58.50 billion.
- Discover is number seven, with $49.60 billion.
- Wells Fargo with $36.40 billion at number eight.
- Barclays and its $32.60 billion worth of credit falls ninth on the list.
- Lloyds TSB/HBOS rounds out the top 10 with its $19.29 billion worth of credit issued.
What advantages would I have with smaller companies?
Big banks often come with big fees, whereas smaller banks and especially credit unions can get away with charging smaller and fewer fees, according to CNN Money.
Credit unions operate as non-profit entities which means money they do make can be used to benefit the customer in the form of lower fees and other savings. Smaller banks are not non-profits, but they often have the leeway to offer lower fees and other services for which larger banks may charge mightily.
Smaller institutions may also offer lower fees as a way to compete against the corporate giants in the banking industry. Credit card interest rates may also be more competitive from a smaller company, especially from credit unions.
Larger loans and credit limits, however, may be easier to obtain from larger companies, CNN notes, since they have the money to back such transactions in case accounts go into default.
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