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Which Bank is the Top Credit Card Issuer in Canada?

May 6, 2014
2 mins
Young family plays at city park and the baby son plays with a toy truck

Some observers might offer that the Toronto-Dominion Bank has been on a mission as far as acquiring credit-card related businesses over the past few years. Since 2009, the bank has purchased an estimated $20 billion worth of credit card assets including half of CIBC's Aerogold Visa portfolio consisting of 550,000 cardholder accounts this past December.

Those moves by TD have made it the top credit card issuer in Canada according to the Nilson Report, which indicates that the bank has $14.7 billion in outstanding balances for 2013.

The former leader, incidentally, was CIBC which is now third in the race with $10.9 billion in outstanding balances, trailing the Royal Bank of Canada's $13.4 billion.

The Bank of Nova Scotia finished fourth with $10.5 billion, followed by fifth-ranked Bank of Montreal with $7.85 billion.

While none of the big five banks in Canada disclose exactly how much they make from credit cards, we expect that the profit margins are quite healthy considering that the group collectively earned $28.3 billion in overall profits in fiscal 2013. Typically, banks collect between 1.5 to 3.0 percent in interchange fees, on each credit card transaction, depending on the card used.

We can easily see that competition for credit cards will continue at a feverish pace. Scotiabank, over the past 18 months, has issued 250,000 travel-reward cards throughout Canada in conjunction with American Express. Scotiabank said this was its most successful credit card roll-out to date and it expects with the re-branding of ING DIRECT Canada, acquired in Nov. 2012, to Tangerine, another successful credit card launch will take place with their online banking customers.

Also, in the next few weeks, expect to see a new CIBC and Tim Hortons co-branded Visa credit card with special loyalty rewards offered for everyday spending.

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