(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. is fielding bids to replace JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the issuer on its popular co-brand credit card as a fresh wave of competition for new card customers emerges.
American Express Co. and Synchrony Financial are among those bidding on the portfolio, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing the negotiations. Representatives for the lenders declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Amazon didn’t have an immediate comment when reached by email on Tuesday.
JPMorgan is willing to part with the Amazon portfolio, according to some of the people familiar with the matter. Banks in recent years have loaded up their cards with rich perks, making it harder for lenders to turn a profit, especially in the world of co-brand cards where revenue is often shared with the merchant partner.
JPMorgan’s current Amazon card comes with a lucrative set of rewards, including offering the e-commerce giant’s Prime members 5% cash back on purchases made on its site and at its subsidiary Whole Foods Market. That’s helped it become the fastest-growing portfolio among the top 10 co-brand card programs in the U.S., according to a 2019 study by Packaged Facts.
“Though the massive co-brand portfolio would be a huge win for loan balances, the significant rewards associated with the program could be prohibitive, as evidenced by JPMorgan potentially being willing to walk away,” Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said in a note to clients on Tuesday.
JPMorgan could fetch a 15% premium on the portfolio, which contains more than $15 billion in loans, said some of the people familiar with the matter. Cardholders spend more than $50 billion a year on the card, according to the Packaged Facts study.
Amazon and JPMorgan first issued a card together in 2002 and their offerings have long operated on the Visa Inc. network.
It wouldn’t be the first time Amazon worked with other credit-card issuers. The retailer already offers a card with AmEx that’s targeted at small-business owners. The firm has also long partnered with Synchrony on its private-label card and the two debuted a secured card together in 2019.
(Adds analyst’s comment in fifth paragraph.)
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