How Do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

Millions of people around the world use credit cards for multiple online transactions right now. But have you ever thought of the fact: how do credit card companies make money? Well, credit card companies make …

how do credit card companies make money

Millions of people around the world use credit cards for multiple online transactions right now. But have you ever thought of the fact: how do credit card companies make money?

Well, credit card companies make the most profit from three things. They are the rate of interest, transaction fees that businesses pay who accept credit cards, and the amount of money that is charged to the credit cardholders. 

However, the amount of fees that credit card holders have to bear is completely based on the offers by the credit card companies to their customers.

You need to keep in mind when you, as a credit card holder are unable to pay your credit card bill, your bank will charge you interest on the amount you have borrowed. 

On the other hand, late fees and annual fees also help credit card companies to make money, but to a fewer extent. In the below sections, we will be going to discuss the working process of credit card companies in detail. Keep reading.   

How Do Credit Card Companies Work?

Credit card companies mainly work with two types of enterprises. The enterprises include networks and issuers. So, if you want to know how to work with credit card companies, you need to be either an issuer or a network organization. 

Now let’s see what these enterprises look like.


Networks are organizations that are responsible for multiple online cashless transactions on credit cards. You will be able to find out multiple major network organizations in the United States. They are Discover, American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. here, both Discover and American Express are considered issuers and networks at the same time.  


Issuers are organizations that hold several credit unions and banks under their banner. Their main task is to issue credit cards. Some issuers in the United States include Synchrony, PenFed Credit Union, Chase, Citi, and others. 

Retail credit cards that have the name of a gas company, store, and other merchant are generally issued credit cards by banks. Also, they have to sign a contract with the retailers. That is why these retailers are generally known as ‘co-branded’ credit cards. 

Note: The moment you use your credit card, your money transfers automatically via multiple hands including the issuers and the networks. It goes to the merchant bank finally. The networking organizations also make sure that the money is attributed to the right cardholder, that is you. After that, the issuer can bill your amount. 

How Can You Spend Less On Credit Cards?

how do credit card companies make money

It is very essential to know how credit card companies work with issuers and networks. It helps you understand how you can spend less on your credit card. You have to go along with some of the key steps that help you spend less on your credit cards. 

Let’s see what those key steps are.

Avoid The Cash Advances

If you do a cash advance transaction using your credit card, you are availing of the most expensive transaction. Cash advances have a fee structure that is quite burdensome.

If you do not avoid the cash advances, you may have to bear both an additional fee based that is based on the percentage from 2 to 5 and a flat transaction fee for getting a cash advance. 

Not just that, you might also bear a higher rate of interest on the deriving balance than a purchased balance on your credit card. So, you should avoid this option unless you are in a desperate situation. 

Minimize Fees

You should seriously find out the credit card offers that come with minimal fees. You better look for a credit card offer that includes annual fees or no balance transfer fees.

It is best for you to find out and apply for those credit card offers that include annual fees and rewards that are offered to you in case you exceed the card limit. You will be able to save money with the rewards and the sign-up bonus. 

Pay The Balance On Time

When you are using a credit card, you should try to pay the balance on time and in full. This way, you can stay away from high-interest charges. If you are unable to pay the balance on time, you should try to pay more than the due balance every month. 

This will lower your due balance. Therefore, you have to pay less interest. 

Maintain Good Credit

This is one of the best and easiest methods by which you will be able to spend less on your credit card. Promotional credit cards that come up with 0 percent interest rates generally put aside these alluring offers for borrowers who hold credit scores from good to excellent. 

The same is applicable to the credit card offers that come up with $0 in annual fees and extensive reward programs. If you have a low cibil score, you will be limited to fewer offers on your credit card.

Also, you will have to pay a high-interest rate on balance transfer, annual fees, and repayment. 

We know that maintaining a good cibil score is not possible always, but, when you do, you can actually save a lot of money. 

Avoiding The Costs Of Using A Credit Card

Let’s make it very clear. There are multiple key steps that you can avail in order to avoid the cost of using credit cards. You will find out at least 8 credit card fees.

But, if you maintain the key methods, you can avoid credit card costs and spend less on your credit cards. 

The steps are:

  1. Ignore the cash advances.
  2. Minimize your fees.
  3. Pay the balance on time.
  4. Maintain good credit.

Now, you should learn how to make money using your credit card. Here are the tips and tricks for that.

  1. You should earn a sign-up bonus.
  2. You should transfer credit points to cash.
  3. Refer your friends and earn money.
  4. Link your credit card to acorns.
  5. Go for stoozing a 0% APR.

Do You Know: Is Major Banks A Good Career Path

How Much Do Credit Card Companies Make Per User?

how do credit card companies make money

There was research in 2017 on credit cards. According to that, credit card companies make an average of $180 on every account per year. The income source of credit card companies is the interest rates and the interchange rates for every account. 

Now, look at the table below so that you can understand it well. 

Company Active Accounts Interest/Account Interchange/Account Total
American Express 62,700,000 $36.93 $60.43 $97.36
Barclays 16,300,000 $180.50 $18.50 $199.00
Capital One 62,100,000 $172.31 $34.09 $206.40
Chase Bank 82,800,000 $118.58 $21.13 $139.71
Discover 38,700,000 $191.38 $17.40 $208.63
Synchrony 36,700,000 $243.38 $16.43 $259.81
Comenity 9,589,510 $368.45 $15.25 $383.70


How Do Credit Card Networks Work And Earn Money?

The network organizations of credit cards work slightly differently from the credit card companies. So now look at their working processes.

When it comes to Visa, you might think: how does Visa make money? Network organizations like Visa make money from the fees of assessments. These fees are processed when a merchant makes transactions using his credit card. 

The same applies to Mastercard as well. Networks such as Mastercard and Visa charge 0.14% on each transaction. Sometimes it can go up to 0.1375% if you are using Mastercard for your transaction. 

How Does American Express Make Money?

If you are using American Express or Amex, you might be wondering: how does Amex make money? Well, American Express or Amex earns its money from merchant fees. 

American Express also makes money via its model of fees that are designed for cardholders. These models include interest rates on outstanding credit balances, fees for an annual membership, and fees charged for conversions. 

How Do Credit Card Companies Check Your Income?

If you apply for a credit card from your bank, only then credit card companies will be able to check your income. They do that to check whether they can approve your application or not. 

Here are the documents that you have to submit to prove your income to the credit card companies. 

  1. Bank Statements
  2. Profit and loss statement
  3. Annuity statement
  4. Pay stubs
  5. Tax documents
  6. Unemployment benefits
  7. Pension distribution statement

Please remember that credit card companies may ask for other legal documents as well to check your actual income. Therefore, the documents that are mentioned above may not be enough that you submit to credit card companies. 

How To Get Money Off A Wisely Card

Your Wisely Card allows you to check its fees at any time. You will be able to view it on the application called MyWisely. Else, you may go to the website and check the fees for free. 

Using your Wisely Card, you will be able to get money off from any participating bank. There, you will be able to withdraw money to the penny. You have to ask the teller and inform the person that you want to make an over-the-counter transaction. 

Inform him of the amount of money and show him your ID card. That’s all. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does a credit card company make per transaction?

A credit card company can charge different fees for different transactions. Generally, the processing fees for credit cards will charge a business from 1.5% to 3.5%. Each time a person is using his credit card, the merchant has to bear a processing fee the same as the transaction percentage. The amount of that fee that is going to the issuer through the payment network is known as interchange. 

2. Do credit card companies like it when you pay in full?

When a person pays his balance in full and on time, his credit score is increased. This way, your credit applications will be accepted easily by lenders. You will be also offered terms of preferential borrowing such as high limit and lower interest by them. 

3. Do credit card companies lose money on some customers?

Definitely not. Credit card companies never lose money on any of their customers. You need to keep in mind when you, as a credit card holder are unable to pay your credit card bill, your bank will charge you interest on the amount you have borrowed. 

4. Ending Note

Using a credit card can have both advantages and disadvantages. So, it is recommended to use your credit card wisely. You should also follow the steps that assist you in spending less on your credit cards.  

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