21+ Credit Card Statistics To Make You Give Up Your Credit Card
Updated · May 20, 2023
Did you know that the earliest version of credit cards was manufactured in 1928 by the Farrington Manufacturing Co?
It was called Charga-Plate and was used in the US from the 1930s until the late 1950s. Since then, credit cards have gone a long way in becoming one of the banking system’s most powerful tools.
Today, we have collected some essential credit card statistics that are both disturbing and kind of impressive.
Eager to learn more? Here we go!
Captivating Credit Card Facts (Editor’s Choice):
- Currently, there are more than 2.8 billion credit cards in use globally.
- Over 1 billion of them are in circulation within the US alone.
- Around 70% of US citizens have at least one credit card.
- The average US national credit card debt among cardholders is $6,569.
- In 2020, credit cards accounted for around 27% of all payments.
- 83% of Americans aged 30–49 years have a credit card.
Credit Card Usage
As mentioned, prototypes of credit cards were used as early as the 1930s.
They started becoming more popular in the 1960s and after the computerization of the credit card system in 1973.
Ever since, the usage of credit cards has kept growing year on year.
1. Bank of America introduced the first true credit card in California in 1958.
The drop of the card wasn’t as successful as planned. Many retailers refused to cooperate with Bank of America because they saw no reason to pay the demanded 6% transaction fee. Furthermore, credit card fraud was conceived shortly after the credit card itself.
2. Visa invented the first Point of Sale terminal (POS) in 1979.
(Source: FIS Global)
Before this revolutionary invention, credit card authorization was a painful process. At first, a manual imprinter was used. It captured the customer’s credit card information and printed three copies using carbon paper.
Afterward, Visa and Mastercard used a booklet. The latter included the number of credit cards canceled, stolen, or past due. Merchants had to validate that the buyer’s credit card was not in the booklet before approving a transaction.
This process was time-consuming and somewhat tiring, so many retailers just skipped it. With the invention of the POS terminal transaction’s speed reduced substantially.
3. As of 2019, the number of credit cards in the US was 1.89 billion.
(Source: Shift Processing)
The US accounted for more than 50% of credit cards in the same year since 2.8 billion were in circulation worldwide. Back in 2000, US citizens had 1.43 billion credit cards.
4. As of January 2020, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi was the most-searched credit card.
(Source: Business Insider)
The top 10 of the most popular credit cards in that period looks like this:
- Costco Anywhere Visa®
- Southwest Credit Cards
- Discover it® Cash Back
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Freedom
- American Airlines Cards
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Citi® Double Cash Card,
- Apple Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
5. Credit cards offer tempting rewards.
People mainly use credit cards because of the easy rewards. They have been created for this exact reason—to be persuasive. You may get back 1.5% or 2% for every dollar spent with some of them. However, if this will make you spend more money than you usually would, it’s probably not that good of an idea to use them in the first place.
6. Between November 2020 and October 2021, the average credit card spend per month was $4,874.
(Source: Visual Capitalist)
However, this data is probably not that accurate for the whole US population since the participants in this study had a higher-than-average net worth. They spend most of their credit card money on travel, general merchandise, and restaurants.
7. Around 1.01 billion credit card transactions occur every day.
As of 2018, Visa was the most popular credit card among consumers, with 165.3 billion transactions globally. UnionPay and Mastercard are second and third with 98.3 and 90.2 billion, respectively.
8. The average credit card approval rate is 45.4%.
Being approved for a credit card depends mainly on your credit card history. If you don’t have (a good) one, your chances are pretty low (a 16% approval rate, to be exact). Here are the credit card approval rates for people with different credit card histories: Superprime (84%), Prime (65%), Near-Prime (43%), and Subprime (19%).
9. Credit cards are the second preferred payment method.
(Source: Shift Processing)
Ever since 2013, debit cards have been the preferred payment choice of consumers. Contrastingly, cash is used the least, with most people carrying less than $40 on hand. According to newer credit card vs. cash statistics, customers will spend about 83% more if they use a card.
10. The average credit card payment per month is $110.50.
This number is based on the average credit card balance of $5,525 and the average minimum payment percentage of 2%.
11. The best credit card usage percentage is 30%.
Credit Card Demographics
After covering some of the key credit card statistics, now, we’re on to explore the demographics behind them. What kind of people use credit cards, how old are they, and where are they from—we shall find out together!
12. The average American has four credit cards.
(Source: Shift Processing)
70% of the US population has a credit card, with 34% having three or even more. Why do people need so many of them? Probably due to the fact that carrying more cards increases their spending limit.
13. The credit score of most Americans was exposed in April 2021.
(Source: Krebson Security)
The credit bureau found a weakness in a partner website that let anyone check the credit score of tens of millions of US citizens. What was even more disturbing was the revelation that the bug might be present on many other websites as well.
14. Canada is the country with the most credit cards.
When looking at credit card usage statistics by country, Canada is the clear leader. 82.6% of Canadian citizens over the age of 15 have credit cards. The following four countries in the top five list are Israel (75%), Norway (70.5%), Luxembourg (69.8%), and Japan (68.4%). The US ranks sixth with 65.6%.
15. The average American has a total credit limit of $31,015 across all credit cards.
However, the average credit card limit differs by age. Here’s what it is for every generation:
- Generation Z (18–22 years old): $8,062
- Millennials (23–38 years old): $20,647
- Generation X (39–54 years old): $33,357
- Baby Boomers (55–73 years old): $39,919
- Silent Generation (74 years old and up): $32,338
16. Adults over 75 have the highest average credit card debt by age.
The average amount is $8,100. Despite that, only 28% of citizens in this group have debt at all. The adults under 35 have the lowest debt, averaging $3,700.
17. The average credit score by race is highest for Asians.
As of 2019, Asians have an average credit score of 745, classified as “very good.” White Americans are pretty close to their group, with an average of 734. Unfortunately, blacks were the race with the lowest score (677).
Credit Card Delinquency
Our collection of credit card facts would be incomplete without some about delinquency. Especially considering how the number of credit cards in the US is now the highest it has ever been.
18. The number of credit cards in the US hits an all-time high.
In Q3 2021, their number reached 520 million! Did you know that $800 billion of the $15 trillion household debt is in credit cards?
19. Americans aged 18–29 have the highest delinquency rate.
As of March 2022, their delinquency rate is 76% higher than the average, standing at 9.36%. Americans over 50 have a delinquency rate lower than 5%, which can be associated with their larger wealth compared to that of young adults.
Credit Card Debt
The US credit card debt has been increasing steadily over the years. However, the final quarter of 2019 turned out to be the record-breaker—with the total credit card debt in the US reaching $930 billion.
20. As of May 2020, 47% of Americans have credit card debt.
This percentage of Americans with credit card debt equals around 120 million people. Surprisingly or not, Millennials went deeper into their debt because of the pandemic. 34% of them increased their debt during COVID-19, compared to 23% of Generation X and 15% of baby boomers.
21. The average credit card debt in America is $5,525.
Interestingly enough, the average US credit card debt has decreased since 2019. It was over $6,000—exactly when it reached an all-time high. Since then, however, it has fallen by 15%.
22. As of 2020, the US has the highest average credit card debt.
(Source: Shift Processing)
Canada was second with $4,154, whereas the UK ($3,245), Japan ($2,900), and Germany ($2,052) made up the rest of the top five list. However, the study included only the countries with the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Did you notice that these credit card statistics showed that countries with large economies are more likely to have a high credit card usage or debt?
As seen, the US is a leader in almost all related charts, which is probably due to a number of factors—easy rewards and fraud protection being among the most important ones.
What did you gather from our collection of facts?
Can you imagine life without one?
With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.