New credit card companies do not launch very often, but the rate has increased in recent years due to the technological advancements behind the fintech boom.
The newest credit card company is Brex, which launched in late 2018. Brex is a San-Francisco-based credit card startup that offers business credit cards and financial services tailored to technology companies. Similarly, Petal debuted its cash back credit card for people with limited or no credit in 2016. That same year, Green Dot (better known for its prepaid debit card products) launched its first credit cards. And another newcomer, Deserve, began issuing credit cards for students and customers with limited credit in 2014.
Several larger companies already established in other areas – of business and the world – have also entered the U.S. credit card market in recent years. Goldman Sachs, the major investment bank, began issuing credit cards in August 2019, for example. And Barclays, which has been issuing cards in the U.K. since 1996, crossed into the U.S. credit card market in 2004.
However, Capital One is the last of the current major credit card companies to have launched, entering the market in 1995. Before that, Discover launched its first credit card in 1986 (though it didn’t become a stand-alone company until a 2007 spinoff from Morgan Stanley).
When new credit card companies launch, they’re always associated with at least one big existing company – either one of the four card networks or, in the case of store credit cards, a major retailer. The four major card networks are Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
Finally, it’s worth noting that new credit card companies entering the market moving forward may have a difficult time gaining a foothold in the ultra-competitive credit card landscape. Eight of the largest credit card issuers combined have nearly 80% of the market share.
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