Co-Branded Credit Cards are More Important Than Ever for Retailers

Press Release
Aug 5, 2019

Rockville (MD), August 5, 2019 — Market research firm Packaged Facts estimates that co-branded credit cards generated $990 billion in purchase value in 2018, up an average of 8% from 2016. Retailer co-branded credit card purchase value grew at the fastest annual rate. Packaged Facts’ findings are featured in the brand new study Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 7th Edition, now on sale.

In many ways, co-branded credit cards are more important than ever. The cards are often powerful components of retail loyalty programs and strategies that generate revenue for not only their issuers but also retail partners. The revenue contributions can be quite significant, helping those retail partners invest in core operations. As loyalty tools, they also remain very important, possessing rewards and other benefits that can help retail partners maintain or grow their more frequent, higher-spending customers.

“Because the environment in which retail partners operate is as intense as ever, the co-branded card programs have a more pronounced role to play,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Co-branded credit cards also benefit from having cardholder bases that are generally more affluent and credit worthy than average, which translates to higher-than-average credit card spending per cardholder and less risk attached to associated loan balances. This makes the co-branded space a highly competitive arena for capturing prized affluent consumers.

However, the major financial institutions participating in this market may also be its greatest threat. Several years out from the recession, the largest national banks have almost wholly unburdened themselves of “run-off” credit card portfolios associated with legacy programs that had been weighing them down. They are leaner and meaner, and they can now focus more exclusively on building their own credit card programs. At the same time, their scale and historical margin expectations combine to allow them to build highly competitive “own-branded” (proprietary) credit card programs that provide very attractive rewards and benefits. This is especially true of a bevy of new cards targeting highly affluent travelers and spenders, which can go toe to toe against much of the co-branded competition.

“While this does not spell the end of co-branding, it does suggest that major bank issuers may be shifting the power dynamics that have put retail partners in the driver’s seat,” says Sprinkle.

Purchasing the Report

The latest addition to Packaged Facts’ collection of payment cards and services market research reports, Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 7th Edition provides a wealth of insight on this hugely important segment of the payments industry.

View additional information about Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 7th Edition, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports at Packaged Facts’ website:  

About Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased at our company website and are also available through

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