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Title: U.S. Market for Private Label Credit Cards, 5th Edition, The
Published: September 2006
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The following is the abstract from the full report:
In a few short years, the private-label credit card market has seen a near total shift in the control of card portfolios; with very few exceptions, retailers have given up on in-house control, and have unloaded their private-label programs on third-party issuers. After a string of enormous acquisitions, including the 2005-06 purchase of the receivables of the newly merged Federated and May Department Stores, Citi Commerce dwarfs the rest. Yet second-tier players GE Money, HSBC, and Alliance Data have also made notable acquisitions and expansions—and even J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., barely on the radar in 2004, essentially doubled its receivables with the 2006 acquisition of Kohl’s retail card program.
By themselves, none of these deals have increased the overall size of the market, but they have freed retailers to focus on their core businesses, to explore ways to attract cardholders, and to experiment with more ambitious reward and loyalty programs. At the same time, most of the third-party bank issuers have increased their investment in behind-the-scenes services for their retail card partners, offering more assistance with everything from marketing and advertising to rewards administration and customer service. As a result, the market has exceeded earlier growth predictions, with surprising gains in 2004 and 2005 and continued growth in store for the near future.