Consumers from emerging markets have shifted the balance of power among major credit card issuers, according to researchers at the Lafferty Group. Two banks from China and three lenders from Brazil placed among the research group's list of top ten credit card issuers, measured by number of accounts.

With most accounts under its Chase Credit Cards brand, JPMorgan retained the top spot in Lafferty's list. The global lender serviced more than 96 million credit card accounts during 2009, growing its portfolio despite new marketing restrictions on U.S. banks. Lafferty also tracked a steep decline in the number of credit cards issued by Bank of America, now nearly tied with Chinese lender ICBC at 54 million accounts each.

China Merchants Bank and the three Brazilian up-and-comers (Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, and Ita��-Unibanco) all represent the growing market for personal credit cards in South America and Asia. Although Lafferty researchers noted that American adults typically hold two or three cards each, the issuance of new credit card accounts in emerging markets surpassed those in the United States during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.