Did you know there are approximately 200 million credit card users in the United States? Not only are American adults credit card users, plenty of people are credit card investors.
Credit card companies fall into the financial services sector. Considering the high volatile nature of the financial services sector, investors should closely monitor the financial health of credit card companies on a regular basis. Financial factors such as the bottom line, liquidity position, operational efficiency, and return on equity (ROE) can help determine the financial health of credit card companies.
Investors should also look at external factors like consumer spending, broader economic health, and fed rate cuts that influence interest rates before deciding to invest in a credit card company.
In this article, we’ll review a list of the five credit card companies you can keep on the watchlist of potential stocks.
*All data is according to the date surrounding publication.
Here are the major credit card companies and stocks to keep a watchful eye on:
- Visa (NYSE: V)
- MasterCard (NYSE: MA)
- American Express (NYSE: AXP)
- Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS)
- Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF)
Visa, Inc. is a financial technology company that facilitates electronic funds transfers worldwide. The organization provides Visa-branded products such as credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards to financial institutions like banks. Banks use these cards to facilitate funds transfer for their customers.
Visa has been consistently delivering a handsome ROI to its shareholders. The stock touched a 52-week low of $179.23 in October 2020 and achieved a 52-week high of $252.67 in July 2021.
Visa stock is behind the broader markets after COVID-19. Investors were cautious about the low volumes of cross-border transactions due to the decline of travel and business activities. Visa suffered a 28% decline in cross-border transaction revenues in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
However, as COVID restrictions begin to lift, consumer spending is likely to grow in the short term. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumer spending has seen a month-on-month growth and has recently seen an increase in disposable personal income of nearly $40 billion. The increasing consumer spending is likely to help the stock to break out in the short term.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard, Inc. is another financial technology company that processes payments between the banks of merchants and card-issuing banks via Mastercard-branded credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards.
According to Yahoo Finance, the stock had seen a 52-week low of $281.20 in November 2020 and achieved a 52-week high of $401.50 in April 2021.
Mastercard is known for its operational efficiency. The organization has maintained a robust operating margin in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted the operating margins of Mastercard. The operating margin of the organization was 52.8% in 2020, down from 57.2% in 2019. Since the organization generates revenue from the fees on transactions, the overhead would be very low.
The return on equity (ROE) of Mastercard is 109%, which is impressive by any standard. Mastercard is generating more than one dollar in revenue for every one dollar of shareholder’s equity.
Overall, one should keep Mastercard in the investment portfolio because of:
- The high operational efficiencies
- Good ROE
- Clear long-term growth strategy
American Express (NYSE: AXP)
The American Express Company (Amex) is a multinational financial services company. It offers credit cards, charge cards, traveler’s checks, and corporate banking services. The organization is ranked at 23 in Forbes’ list of most valuable brands in the world.
The operational activities of Amex don’t mirror the operations of Visa and MasterCard. Instead, Amex works similar to a bank and offers loans to retail customers and businesses in addition to credit cards.
Amex remained profitable during the COVID-19 pandemic because of its high-income bracket clientele. Amex is making significant investments in financial technology solutions. In this process, the organization acquired Kabbage, a financial technology platform.
Amex is also offering a “Pay It and Plan It” feature for its cardholders. This feature resembles the “Buy Now and Pay Later” option popularized by PayPal. This feature would create a positive impact on the top line of the organization in the medium term.
Overall, Amex remains on our list of the top credit card stocks because of:
- Unique business model
- The large high-income client base
- Investments in financial technology
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS)
Discover Financial Services is one of the largest financial services organizations in the United States. It owns Discover Bank, Discover Network, Pulse Network, and Diners Club International. Discover Bank offers savings accounts, loans, and credit cards to retail customers and businesses.
Discover is a consistent dividend-paying organization. The average five-year dividend yield is 2.63%.
Discover has been maintaining a good liquidity position for the last few years. The organization has cash of $16.36 billion on hand at the quarter ending June 2021.
The increased consumer spending and lower risk of defaults post-COVID-19 would help Discover generate huge revenue growth and boost Earnings per Share (EPS).
Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF)
Capital One Financial Corporation is an American financial institution that offers credit cards, loans, and savings accounts to customers. Capital One is the fifth-largest credit card issuer in the United States in 2021.
Capital One can be one of the best value stocks to buy right now because of:
- The price-to-earning (P/E) ratio of 9.86
- The price-to-book ratio of 1.33
The interest coverage ratio of 145% indicates that the organization is not vulnerable to liquidity risk. Capital One delivers great returns to its stakeholders as long as the economy is in a healthy state, employment rates stay intact, and people spend money to maintain their lifestyles.
Credit cards have become an integral part of our day-to-day life. Continued economic recovery and increases in consumer spending will help financial services and companies report huge revenues.
The five best credit card stocks listed in this article have unique business models, high liquidity, a large client base, and superior operational efficiencies. Most of these credit card stocks are a part of index funds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
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