Credit cards have been in use since the 1920s and have come a long way from a paper card to a plastic one.
Credit card statistics reveal that the average American has four credit cards, so we can safely say that these pieces of plastic have become an essential life tool that gives us great buying power.
But, as someone wise once said, with great power comes great responsibility.
Even though credit cards are a great concept and can be more than helpful, borrowing money from your bank to satisfy your shopping addiction (hey, we’re not here to judge) can put you in some serious debt. And we can tell you that the average American credit card debt is no joke.
This might actually explain the love-hate relationship Americans have with this plastic wonder.
Keep reading to find out more about the credit card industry, the pros and cons of owning a credit card, and how common and dangerous credit card debt can be. We’ll also answer some of the most-asked questions, so let’s dive in!
But let’s first see what we’ll cover in the article.
Top 10 Crucial Credit Card Statistics for 2020
- 92% of Americans who earn $50,000+ annually have at least one credit card.
- Canadians are the world’s leaders in credit card ownership at 83%.
- About 67% of small business owners have a business credit card.
- Worldwide, $24.26 billion was lost due to payment card fraud in 2018.
- It’s estimated that 57% of students have a credit card.
- The average credit card debt in America is $5,331 per individual.
- At an average of $7,407, men have higher credit card debt than women.
- Credit cards can process 5,000 transactions per second.
- 35% of credit card users were victims of credit card fraud in 2019.
- The Black American Express credit card was such a popular myth that AmEx decided to actually turn it into a reality.
If these editor’s picks have sparked your interest, read on for more interesting facts and stats.
Credit Card Usage Statistics by Country
The absence of cash and credit has become a staple of the modern economy. Both businesses and people rely on credit to get paid and make payments, and having a vast variety of credit card brands and customization options only adds to the pros.
1. The median income of a full-time wage or salary worker on a weekly basis was $936 in Q4 2019.
Ever wondered, how much does the average American make so they can afford these credit cards?
As we’ve mentioned, credit card ownership statistics reveal that an average American has four credit cards.
Furthermore, as the data from the fourth fiscal quarter of 2019 also reports, the average American savings account has $40,200.
2. 92% of Americas who earn $50,000+ annually have at least one credit card.
Americans with higher incomes also have a larger total credit card count.
Further facts about credit cards show that only 3% of Americans who earn more than $200,000 annually don’t have a credit card.
However, income isn’t the deciding factor in owning one. 46% of people who have no income have at least one.
3. Canadians are the world’s leaders in credit card ownership at 83%.
As of 2017, Canadians own more credit cards than any other nation, as the data on credit card ownership by country report.
Even though the US has a culture of credit card usage, only 66% of Americans were credit card owners in 2017.
4. In 2019, 81% of men and 78% of women in the US had at least one credit card.
The reason for the difference in percentages between male and female credit card owners may be that women are rejected from credit card applications at a higher rate than men. Nevertheless, over 97 million women and 95 million men are proud owners of a US credit card.
5. As credit card usage statistics report, Sweden will become a totally cashless country by 2023.
The use of credit cards in Sweden gained popularity in the 1990s and hasn’t stopped growing since.
From personal to business transactions—whether in malls, on busses, in shops, or even at church—people prefer using credit cards. In fact, some 900 banks no longer accept cash deposits.
6. According to the credit card statistics from 2018, India saw a 30% increase in credit card use.
Furthermore, the country’s credit card circulation reached 48.9 million in 2019, which represented major growth compared to 38.6 million from the previous year.
The market has grown phenomenally, issuing close to as many as a million credit cards a month.
7. It’s estimated that the credit card processing industry will reach $1.82 trillion in annual volume by 2024.
As long as there’s ongoing growth in credit card usage, credit card processing companies will continue to flourish.
The processes they oversee are essential for the payment ecosystem, as these companies are responsible for transmitting all credit card transactions.
Business Credit Card Statistics
Business credit cards account for only a small percentage of the overall number of issued credit cards. However, their owners spend far more than those using regular credit cards, and their market segment has reached $500 billion—meaning they account for every $1 in $6 spent.
8. About 67% of small business owners have a business credit card.
Additionally, 31% of all businesses seeking credit applied for a credit card, while 86% asked for a loan or line of credit.
However, further credit card statistics report that only 24% use their business credit card as the primary business spending method.
9. On average, the monthly payment for business credit card owners is about $2,000.
Business credit cards have higher credit limits because small business owners charge much more than regular consumers.
What’s more, the monthly payment for consumers is less than half what businesses pay.
This is also why some business credit cards don’t have a limit but do have annual fees.
Credit Card Debt Statistics for the US
Credit cards let you spend more than you make, so it’s very easy to fall into debt that’s extremely hard to crawl out of.
Covering financial emergencies (like car and home repairs), falling for the card-rewards tricks, having too many cards, and repaying just the minimum amount are some of the reasons people fall into debt.
But how much debt is the US in, and how many people need credit card help?
10. The average credit card debt in the US is $5,331 per individual.
Additional facts about credit card debt claim that an astounding 55% of Americans don’t regularly fully pay off their monthly debt.
What’s even more surprising, people with the highest average household income have the highest credit card debt: around $11,200 for those with an income of $160,000+.
11. It’s estimated that 57% of students have a credit card.
(Sallie Mae) (Fox Business)
Furthermore, one-third of them also has over $1,000 in credit card debt.
Some of them carried their debt from high school into their freshman year in college, but the exact teenage credit card debt statistics can’t be established as teens under the age of 18 can’t apply for a credit card without a parent’s co-signature.
12. College students undergoing financial stress have more than $4,000 in credit card debt.
A recent survey discovered that only 13% of college students feel prepared to take on the financial burden of higher education, while the rest feel overwhelmed and stressed by this situation.
The most financially stressed college graduates had an average of $40,757 in loan debt, while the average credit card debt for college students was about $3,000 more than the credit card debt of students who felt less financially stressed.
13. Generation X and baby boomers have the highest credit card debt: $7,750 and $7,550 respectively.
These two generations are in the middle of their lives, so it’s reasonable that they own the most credit cards and spend so much on them.
The Silent Generation follows with an average of $4,613 in credit card debt, and as the data on American credit card debt from 2019 shows, Generations Y and Z have the least credit card debt: $4,315 and $2,047 on average.
14. With an average of $7,407, men have higher credit card debt than women.
Women are often labeled as shopaholics and big spenders.
However, official data on the size of credit card debt reveals that this labeling is unjustified, to put it mildly.
As the data shows, women use credit cards for smaller purchases, with an average of $5,245 in total credit card debt, while men make larger purchases and have $7,407 in debt.
Credit Card Fraud Statistics
Even though technology advances on a daily basis and has a great impact on recognizing and preventing fraud, credit card users still fall victim to various types of fraud.
15. Worldwide, $24.26 billion was lost due to payment card fraud in 2018.
In addition to this, credit card statistics also disclose that the US is the most credit card fraud–prone country in the world.
In 2018 alone, the US had 38.6% of reported card fraud losses, and the numbers have still been on the rise since then.
16. 35% of credit card users were victims of credit card fraud in 2019.
Frequent credit card usage carries a lot of fraud risks, and baby boomers were the generation with the most credit card fraud victims, at 42.6%, as the credit card fraud stats report.
Meanwhile, 37.6% of Generation X and 33.1% of millennials suffered from credit card fraud, the number one type of identity theft fraud.
17. Card not present (CNP) fraud is 81% more common compared to point of sale (POS) fraud.
Overall credit card fraud reached its peak in 2018 when it grew by 18.4%.
Unfortunately, it’s still growing, as are all other types of credit card fraud, and people in their 30s are most likely to fall victim to them. Here are a few more stats on fraud:
- 14.8% of all known fraud is identity theft.
- New account fraud grew by 24% from 2017 to 2018.
- The takeover of existing accounts dropped by 6% between 2017 and 2018.
Fun Facts About Credit Cards
Having a credit card is a serious thing and, as we’ve seen, can have both positive and negative sides.
However, there are also some interesting facts about credit cards we’re sure you didn’t know.
18. The Black American Express credit card was such a popular myth that AmEx decided to actually turn it into a reality.
Prior to 1999, there was a story circulating of a black credit card exclusive to the wealthiest people that offered them secret benefits.
One of the more interesting facts about credit cards claims that the myth was so popular American Express decided to actually create this card.
Thus, the Centurion Card was born, inspiring other card companies to make their own luxury credit cards.
19. Russian Dimitry Argarkov edited his credit card contract and sued the bank for violating the terms he added.
(The Moscow Times)
Argakov edited his contract in 2008, adding a 0% interest rate, no commissions or fees, and 6 million rubles ($181,000) in compensation if the bank were to cancel the contract.
The bank signed the contract without reading it, which made it legally binding, so after years of lawsuits, Argarkov won $700,000 in court.
20. The fast facts about credit cards reveal that they can process 5,000 transactions per second.
It’s true that digital currencies like Bitcoin are conquering the market, but they won’t replace credit cards anytime soon for one simple reason: they’re too slow compared to credit card transactions.
While one Bitcoin transaction takes 10 minutes, credit cards process 5,000 transactions in just one second.
21. How common is credit card debt?
Although it’s scary, credit card debt is a pretty common occurrence. Some 55% of US credit card users are in debt, and unfortunately, this percentage is on the rise.
22. How many people use a credit card?
About 19.4% of the global population aged 15+ has a credit card. In fact, there are 180 million credit card owners in the US alone, with 486 million credit card accounts.
23. What percentage of credit cards are Visa?
Visa is the most popular credit card in the US, with 124 million users in 2018, which accounts for 69% of the overall number of American credit cardholders.
24. What is the average credit card debt in 2019?
According to the data, the average credit card debt in 2019 was $6,200 per credit card owner.
Yes, living the cash-only life is the best way to avoid overspending, going into debt, or becoming a credit card fraud victim, but the positive sides of having a credit card definitely outnumber the negative ones.
Knowing these credit card statistics will help you be cautious and protect yourself, but owning a credit card truly gives us great buying power.