Visa heads rivals in 2019 commercial payments growth

Visa and Mastercard both registered double-digit year-on-year growth in commercial card payments in 2019, while American Express trailed

by Manpreet Singh

Updated: February 20, 2020

Mastercard’s recent 2019 SEC filings show that the company processed US$732 billion in commercial payment transactions, up by 11% year-on-year in gross dollar volume (GDV). In terms of local growth rate, this was up 14% year-on-year, the highest recorded since 2017.

Visa celebrated its own benchmark in this space last year, as it crossed the trillion dollar threshold in commercial payments in 2019. That news confirmed Visa as once again leading the commercial payments processing space ahead of its rivals. By comparison, American Express reported US$513 billion of commercial payments volume in 2019, representing a slower growth rate of 6% year-on-year in 2019. Comparing to Visa and Mastercard, AmEx had the lowest annual average growth rate of just 5% since 2014 while Visa and Mastercard stand at 15% and 12% respectively.

Commercial Payment Volume Graph

While Visa does not publish its cards volume for commercial or B2B business, Mastercard and AmEx have 85 million and 15 million cards for commercial business clients respectively. The spending per commercial card by Mastercard holder was US$8,611 in 2019, while for AmEx this figure was $34,446.

Year Over Year Growth Rate

The year-on-year growth rate of Visa, Mastercard and AmEx have slowed down from 2018 onwards. This follows a particular growth spike for both Visa (27%) and Mastercard (31%) in 2017.

The cumulative commercial payments volume of Visa, Mastercard and AmEx stood at US$2.2 trillion at the end of 2019 with 45%, 32% and 22% of the share respectively. The annual average growth rate of these companies combined was 9% since 2014.