JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s purchase last year of Washington Mutual Inc.'s banking assets nearly helped it surpass Wells Fargo & Co. as the No. 2 debit card issuer, behind Bank of America Corp., according to the 2010 edition of the ATM&Debit News "EFT Data Book," which is to be published this week.

The New York banking company more than doubled its portfolio, to 28.2 million cards at the end of 2008, compared to 13.9 million a year earlier. Though consolidation may slow among the larger banks, it could accelerate among community and regional banks, which are still struggling, according to Ali Raza, an executive vice president at the Alpharetta, Ga., consulting firm Speer & Associates Inc.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. last year made the biggest jump in the debit card rankings, to No. 4 from No. 10 in 2007, because of its purchase of National City Corp. The deal gave PNC 7.3 million debit cards, and 135% growth.

B of A continues to top the list, with 36.5 million debit cards, up 9.3% from 2007.

It "is sort of at the stage where they've hit the cap in terms of retail deposits," Raza said. "They are still working through some of their prior acquisitions."

The 10 largest debit card issuers had a combined 128.6 million cards at the end of 2008, up 31.5% from a year earlier.

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