The U.S. market for commercial credit cards in the mid-to-large corporate market space continues to grow at a healthy pace. The growth in usage of commercial cards is associated with several interrelated factors. Certainly questions remain around broader adoption of cards as a primary payables tool, but generally all the factors are converging in a positive direction. This new report, U.S. Commercial Credit Cards Market Forecast, 2016–2022: Growing at a Healthy Pace, examines factors driving the growth, along with opportunities to gain greater share of business-to-business (B2B) spending.
This research report examines the state of the U.S. commercial card market, including market size, changing dynamics, emerging trends, and continued growth channels.
“Factors contributing to results include macro trends such as corporate travel budgets and general business activity (GDP), along with more focused developments around technology innovation and the pace of corporate adoption,” commented the author of the report. “Increased business activity leads to more domestic and international travel, an increased demand for goods and services, while simultaneous technology innovations create a more digital payment environment. During 2017 and continuing into 2018 and coming years, factors are converging into positive tailwinds, which results in healthy commercial card growth trends.”
- An overview of shifting technology capabilities and how payments services providers are adapting to these changes
- A detailed discussion of the changing patterns in B2B payments and how the industry can capture greater share
- Case summaries describing both innovation to remove friction from the traditional supplier conversion challenges and a solution designed to create a better corporate client travel spend experience
- Chart and text presenting a forecast for U.S. commercial credit card spend by product type through the year 2022
- Sensitivity analysis for card spend along with estimated network share
- Strategic considerations around emerging technology and new payments systems
Broadening Cards Utility
Digital Cash Cycle Perception
Spend Shift Destination
Easing the Friction
US Market Spend Numbers
Commercial Credit Card Growth and Distribution
Spend Range Sensitivity
The Branded Networks
Trends and Other Strategic Considerations
The AAB Tech Effect
Impact of New Payments Systems
The Procure-to-Pay Connection Conclusions
U.S.-based spending on commercial cards remains on an upward trajectory across both traditional and virtual card account product solutions. The growth in usage of commercial cards over time has been associated with several interrelated factors. These factors include macro trends such as corporate travel budgets and general business activity as measured by GDP, along with more focused developments around technology innovation and the pace of corporate adoption. During 2017 and continuing into 2018 and coming years, all the factors have been converging in a positive direction, which results in healthy commercial card growth trends.
It is important to clarify that for purposes of consistency and specificity in this research report, consideration of the state of the industry and outlook focuses on mid-to-large market corporate spending for nonspecialty credit cards (corporate, purchasing, and virtual cards). Therefore we do not discuss business cards (sometimes referred to as small business cards), fleet (fuel) cards, commercial prepaid cards, or debit cards. For analysis of other types of commercial cards not contained in this research, see the References section at the end of the report.
Global business travel in 2017 reportedly reached $1.33 trillion, an almost 6% improvement over 2016. Expectations for 2018 also continuing to be positive at 7%. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) ranks the U.S. as the second largest business travel market (behind China) and expects five-year growth to be in the range of 4%. In the most recent travel card benchmark survey, RPMG indicates that a great opportunity remains for cardable spending growth on travel cards through 2020 based on corporate adoption of best practices. This would indicate additional opportunity in cardable travel spend given our estimates of 4.2% corporate card growth. General U.S. economic activity during 2017 picked up from the tepid pace of 2016, with full-year GDP at 2.3%. GDP growth in Q2 2018 was 4.2% annualized, which could indicate that fiscal policy changes are starting to kick in on growth, which of course supports general business-to-business (B2B) spend activity. Mercator Advisory Group continues to estimate growth of B2B payments overall in the 4% range, with electronic payments picking up the shift from paper to gain about 7% per annum. Given the continuing trend toward digital payments, growth of corporate purchasing cards (P cards) remained steady but not robust at 6.5% while virtual card volumes increased by an expected 19.9%.
According to these estimates, in 2017 the U.S. commercial credit card volume for mid-to-large corporates reached $504.7 billion, which represented year-over-year growth of approximately 9.3%, about a 10% improvement from the prior two years. While the commercial card industry continues to benefit from this ongoing shift and increase in purchase volume, vast opportunities for growth still exist. This report examines a number of factors in the state of the U.S. commercial card market, including market size, changing dynamics, emerging trends, and the opportunity with respect to accelerating B2B spend share for cards.