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World's Top 10 Credit Card Issuers

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World's Top 10 Credit Card Issuers

Since the first widely accepted plastic charge card was issued in 1958 by American Express, the use of credit cards has skyrocketed. In fact, at the end February, more than 576 million credit cards were in circulation* in the United States alone, with US consumers' revolving debt rising to $864.4 billion*** (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt) as of January.The average American household with credit card debt at that time was carrying more than $16,000** at an average rate of 14.
Gyro Photography | Getty Images

Since the first widely accepted plastic charge card was issued in 1958 by American Express, the use of credit cards has skyrocketed.

In fact, at the end February, more than 576 million credit cards were in circulation in the United States alone, with US consumers' revolving debt rising to $864.4 billion (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt) as of January.

At these huge levels, it's no wonder credit card fraud is rampant and costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. In fact, CNBC's American Greed investigates one credit card scam that took in $100 million alone.

So where does all this credit come from? Click ahead to see the world's top 10 credit card issuers.

By: Constance Parten
Posted: April 13, 2010

Sources: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

Nilson Report, February 2010

Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010

10. Lloyds TSB/HBoS

Credit Issued: $19.29 billion(UK)Quick Fact: Figures released by the Bank of England suggest that Britons owed a combined £61.5 billion ($94.51 billion) to credit card companies as of January 2010.
Ben Stansall | AFP | Getty Images

Credit Issued: $19.29 billion
(UK)

Quick Fact: Figures released by the Bank of England suggest that Britons owed a combined £61.5 billion ($94.51 billion) to credit card companies as of January 2010.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

9. Barclays

Credit Issued: $32.60 billion(US, UK, Germany, South Africa and more than 30 other countries)Quick Fact: Credit card spending was found to have fallen in the UK by 3.7 percent in January when compared with levels seen in 2009, according to figures released by the British Bankers' Association. Total consumer credit has declined by 1.8 percent over the past year, the BBA figures showed.
Loic Venance | AFP | Getty Images

Credit Issued: $32.60 billion
(US, UK, Germany, South Africa and more than 30 other countries)

Quick Fact: Credit card spending was found to have fallen in the UK by 3.7 percent in January when compared with levels seen in 2009, according to figures released by the British Bankers' Association. Total consumer credit has declined by 1.8 percent over the past year, the BBA figures showed.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

8. Wells Fargo

Credit Issued: $36.40 billion(US, Canada)Quick Fact: Wells Fargo has 17.3 million credit cards in circulation through the end of 2008.
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $36.40 billion
(US, Canada)

Quick Fact: Wells Fargo has 17.3 million credit cards in circulation in the United States.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

7. Discover

Credit Issued: $49.60 billion(US)Quick Fact: Discover had 54.4 million cards in circulation at the end of 2009, down 6 percent from the year prior.
Victoria Snowber | Getty Images

Credit Issued: $49.60 billion
(US)

Quick Fact: Discover had 54.4 million cards in circulation at the end of 2009, down 6 percent from the year prior.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

6. HSBC

Credit Issued: $58.50 billion(US, UK, Mexico, Hong Kong, Turkey, Canada and 45 other countries)Quick Fact: Though HSBC is the sixth largest issuer of credit cards worldwide, the bank has just 2.05 percent of the general purpose credit card market in the US.
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $58.50 billion
(US, UK, Mexico, Hong Kong, Turkey, Canada and 45 other countries)

Quick Fact: Though HSBC is the sixth largest issuer of credit cards worldwide, the bank has just 2.05 percent of the general purpose credit card market in the US.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

5. Capital One

Credit Issued: $68.78 billion(US, Canada, UK)Quick Fact: Capital One holds just 6.95 percent of the general purpose credit card market share in the US.
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $68.78 billion
(US, Canada, UK)

Quick Fact: Capital One holds just 6.95 percent of the general purpose credit card market share in the US.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

4. American Express

Credit Issued: $105.00 billion(US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Mexico, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and 34 other countries)Quick Fact: Am/Ex was ranked No. 1 in credit card customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates in September 2009.
Greg Wood | AFP | Getty Images

Credit Issued: $105.00 billion
(US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Mexico, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and 34 other countries)

Quick Fact: Am/Ex was ranked No. 1 in credit card customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates in September 2009.

3. Citi

Credit Issued: $148.90 billion(US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and 34 other countries)Quick Fact: Citi is the second largest distributor of general purpose credit cards in the US at 92 million in circulation behind Chase at 119.4 million.
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $148.90 billion
(US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and 34 other countries)

Quick Fact: Citi is the second largest distributor of general purpose credit cards in the US at 92 million in circulation.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

2. Chase

Credit Issued: $184.09 billion(US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Mexico and 22 other countries)Quick Fact: Chase is the largest issuer of general purpose credit cards in the US at 119.4 million
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $184.09 billion
(US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Mexico and 22 other countries)

Quick Fact: Chase is the largest issuer of general purpose credit cards in the US at 119.4 million

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

1. Bank of America/MBNA

Credit Issued: $194.70 billion(includes outstandings from US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain)Quick Fact: Bank of America was ranked No. 10 in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Credit Card Satisfaction Study Rankings, behind six of the other top 10 credit card issuers.
Getty Images

Credit Issued: $194.70 billion
(includes outstandings from US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain)

Quick Fact: Bank of America was ranked No. 10 in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Credit Card Satisfaction Study Rankings, behind six of the other top 10 credit card issuers.

Source: CreditCards.com and Nilson Report, December 2009 (through year-end 2009 and ranked by total worldwide outstandings)

American Greed

Watch American Greed's Episode 44 double feature, premiering Wednesday, March 16 9p | 1a ET.

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