Nicholas Financial (NASDAQ: NICK) and CPI Card Group (NASDAQ:PMTS) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and dividends.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Nicholas Financial and CPI Card Group’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Nicholas Financial $90.47 million 0.79 $5.40 million N/A N/A
CPI Card Group $254.86 million 0.10 -$22.01 million ($0.31) -7.61

Nicholas Financial has higher earnings, but lower revenue than CPI Card Group.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Nicholas Financial and CPI Card Group, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Nicholas Financial 0 0 0 0 N/A
CPI Card Group 1 2 0 0 1.67

CPI Card Group has a consensus price target of $5.75, suggesting a potential upside of 143.64%. Given CPI Card Group’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe CPI Card Group is more favorable than Nicholas Financial.

Risk & Volatility

Nicholas Financial has a beta of 0.57, indicating that its share price is 43% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, CPI Card Group has a beta of -0.53, indicating that its share price is 153% less volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares Nicholas Financial and CPI Card Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Nicholas Financial -3.23% 0.54% 0.19%
CPI Card Group -9.61% N/A -2.34%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

54.6% of Nicholas Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 11.4% of CPI Card Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 29.6% of Nicholas Financial shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 5.5% of CPI Card Group shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


CPI Card Group pays an annual dividend of $0.22 per share and has a dividend yield of 9.3%. Nicholas Financial does not pay a dividend. CPI Card Group pays out -71.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.


Nicholas Financial beats CPI Card Group on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Nicholas Financial Company Profile

Nicholas Financial, Inc. operates as a specialized consumer finance company in the United States. The company engages in acquiring and servicing automobile finance installment contracts for the purchase of new and used automobiles and light trucks. It also originates direct consumer loans and sells consumer-finance related products. The company operates through 65 branch offices located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Nicholas Financial, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida.

CPI Card Group Company Profile

CPI Card Group Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, production, data personalization, packaging, and fulfillment of financial payment cards. It operates through U.S. Debit and Credit, U.S. Prepaid Debit, and U.K. Limited segments. The U.S. Debit and Credit segment produces financial payment cards and provides integrated card services to card-issuing banks in the United States. Its products include EMV and non-EMV credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid debit cards issued on the networks of the payment card brands, as well as private label credit cards. This segment also provides various integrated card services, including card personalization and fulfillment, and instant issuance services. The U.S. Prepaid Debit segment primarily offers integrated card services comprising tamper-evident security packaging, card personalization, and fulfillment services to prepaid debit card providers in the United States. It also produces financial payment cards issued on the networks of the payment card brands. The U.K. Limited segment primarily produces retail cards, such as gift and loyalty cards for customers in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. It also provides card personalization, packaging, and fulfillment services. The company serves national and regional banks, independent community banks, credit unions, prepaid debit card program managers, group service providers, and card transaction processors through field-based sales representatives in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and internationally. The company was formerly known as CPI Holdings I, Inc. and changed its name to CPI Card Group Inc. in August 2015. CPI Card Group Inc. was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.

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