In the face of an impending coronavirus-induced economic doom, the behavior of economic trends (both current and old) are at the very center of attention for many an individual. With each passing day, the global economy is becoming increasingly unstable, and with that credit card debt is spiraling more and more out of control — hence why credit card statistics can be such a useful tool in uncovering all the latent problems behind “plastic money” and its use. In this article, we will focus on presenting both global and US facts and stats regarding this topic, including data concerning general credit card usage, global circulation, debt figures, fraud cases, trends, and more.
Read on to improve your chances of economic survival and avoid the “gravity of debt” by going over these insightful stats and facts!
Top 10 Takeaway Credit Card Statistics & Facts
- China-based UnionPay is the biggest credit card provider in the world.
- In 2017, 19.4% of people older than 15 owned a credit card.
- Visa is the most popular US credit card, counting 124 million users in 2018.
- The average American owns 3 credit cards.
- There are some 180 million credit card holders in the US.
- Around 1 in every 6 dollars spent via payment cards comes from business credit cards.
- College students have an average credit card debt of $1,423.
- The US suffers a yearly loss of $16–$20 billion due to credit card fraud.
- Millennials had the lowest credit card debt in 2019 of all age groups.
- There’s an increase in non-cash payments due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Credit Card Usage Statistics by Country
1. Canada is the world leader in credit card usage.
(The Global Economy) (Statista) (Statista)
82.6% of Canadians older than 15 own a credit card, according to 2017 data published by The World Bank.
In 2018, 79.6 million credit cards were issued in Canada, out of which 42.7 million were active. This is almost double the amount from 2004 when just 26 million credit cards were active.
Next in line is Israel (75%), followed by Norway (70.5%), Luxembourg (69.8%), and Japan (68.4%).
2. Credit card ownership by country data shows that Myanmar (Burma) has the lowest credit card usage of all countries.
(The Myanmar Times) (The Global Economy)
With only 0.06% of its population having a credit card in 2017, Myanmar (Burma) takes the last spot on the list of 141 countries by credit card ownership.
In 2019, an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 people (out of 54 million) were using credit cards in Myanmar, but a staggering 20–25% of them incurred late payment charges, as stats reveal.
Other countries with extremely low credit card usage per population for this year were Morocco (0.19%), Bangladesh (0.20%), and Ethiopia (0.29%).
3. The Asia Pacific region is responsible for 50% of the global card payment expenditure, facts about credit cards reveal.
$25 trillion dollars were spent on card payments in 2017 on a global level, which is a 13% increase from the previous year; the Asia Pacific region accounts for around $12 trillion of these spendings.
The way people use credit cards differs around the globe, and the Asia Pacific region is the global leader in credit card expenditure. The reason being, the Chinese use credit cards to withdraw funds but rarely use them directly to pay for things, reserved only for important purchases.
4. Asia marked the biggest increase in credit card usage in the world since 2011, credit card statistics show.
(Financial Times) (Medianama)
Asia marked a drastic rise in credit card usage in the past few years.
For the period 2011–2017, the Asia Pacific region marked a whopping 205% increase in credit card expenditure.
In comparison, Europe marked only a 23% increase during the same period.
India, on the other hand, experienced a 27% increase in the number of credit cards in circulation from 2017 to 2018, reaching 41 million in August 2018.
5. China-based UnionPay is the biggest credit card provider in the world, as per credit card statistics.
(Financial Times) (Payments Cards and Mobile) (Statista)
UnionPay owns as much as 44% of all global payment cards, accounting for 36% of the total card expenditure; by the end of 2017, there were some 15 billion payment cards in circulation globally.
6. In 2019, Visa and MasterCard counted 335 million and 200 million cards globally.
(Statista) (Financial Times)
Visa is the second-biggest credit card provider in the world, following UnionPay. In 2019, Visa accounted for 28% of the total expenditure via payment cards (credit and debit cards) around the world.
MasterCard, the third-biggest credit card issuer, contributed approximately 16% of the global card expenditure the same year.
7. 19.4% of the global population older than 15 owns a credit card, usage statistics in 2017 indicate.
(Nilson Report) (The Global Economy) (Financial Times) (Nilson Report)
22.11 billion general payment cards (credit, debit, and prepaid) were in circulation worldwide in 2018.
An estimated 55% of expenditures were made by debit cards, which are the most popular type of payment cards around the world.
8. 3.2 million payment card records in India were compromised, as disclosed by credit card statistics for 2018, India.
(The Paypers) (ZD Net)
Around 3.2 million payment card records from India were compromised and posted online for sale on cybercrime portals.
The figures were significantly higher than the ones from 2017 when another 800,000 registered payment cards were stolen.
Consequently, India has the potential to become the second-most targeted country in the world when it comes to cybercrime, after the US.
This comes as no great surprise, seeing how India is currently the 5th largest economy in the world.
Credit Card Usage Statistics in the US
9. Visa is the most popular US credit card, accounting for 124 million users in 2018.
Consequently, making Visa the most popular credit card among all the available credit card brands in the US.
Store credit cards ranked second with some 110 million holders, whereas MasterCard ranked third with 97 million users.
American Express counted only 36 million users ending up in 6th place in the process.
10. Credit card statistics in America show that the average American owns 3 credit cards.
(Statista) (The Global Economy) (The Nest)
What’s more, statistics show that 70.2% of American households possess at least one Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card.
In 2017, the total credit card ownership percentage in the US for those over 15 was 65.6%. Additionally, 33% of the population owned two credit cards.
The World Bank gave the US 6th place based on the number of people owning a credit card in the country.
11. There are 180 million credit card holders in the US, credit card statistics for 2018 reveal.
In 2018, the total number of credit card owners was 180 million.
Conversely, in 2010, there were just 152 million credit card holders in the US.
12. Oil company credit cards have 11 million fewer users than a decade ago.
13. Noncash transactions are expected to reach 1 trillion by 2024, projections for credit card usage statistics show.
(Federal Reserve) (Business Insider)
To put things into perspective, in 2018, the number of non-cash payments, including payments made by ACH debit cards, credit cards, and check payments, reached just 174.2 billion.
This year, card payments are expected to account for 44% of all e-commerce and 68% of all peer-to-peer (P2P) payments.
Of the total card payments in 2018, credit card payments contributed with 34.1%.
14. Cash purchases are in the lead by merely one percent, cash vs credit card spending statistics in 2018 indicate.
With 34%, the debit card was the most used payment method in the US in 2018.
Other notable payment methods include cash and credit cards, used in 24% and 23% of transactions, respectively.
For the first time in US history, debit cards were the most preferred payment method.
In addition, the use of cash declined significantly from 2017 to 2018.
15. Older Americans own more credit cards, statistics report.
Credit card ownership in America is generation-dependent.
Younger generations own little to no credit cards, whereas older Americans have around 4 of them on average.
A 2019 Ascent survey revealed that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers own around 4 credit cards on average, whereas Millennials have but 3 credit cards.
59% of people younger than 35 own a credit card, whereas almost 80% of those aged between 65 and 74 have one, which is confirmed also by the retirement savings statistics. A drop to 66% is noted in the credit card ownership after the age of 75.
16. Around 1 in every 6 dollars spent via payment cards comes from a business credit card, statistics reveal.
(Credit Cards) (Experian)
In 2019, there were 486 million credit card accounts in the US, out of which 20.8 million were new accounts in 2019.
Out of these, less than 4% are business credit cards, used by entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Regardless of their relatively small number, small-business cards are responsible for a good chunk of credit card spending, accounting for some $430 billion in total.
Although around 67% of small-business owners own a business credit card, only 24% use it as their primary method of business spending.
17. Credit card statistics in 2020 project an increase in non-cash payments due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In 2017, around $160.6 billion in non-cash transactions were recorded in the region of North America, topping the global scale in the process.
However, given the coronavirus crisis, an increasing number of cash payers are thinking twice before using cash, which can be infected by the virus.
Overall, this outbreak could be the final push for the global acceptance of digital payments. As such, firms like Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., American Express Co., PayPal Holdings Inc., and others are expected to benefit greatly.
Credit Card Debt Statistics and Fraud Figures
18. The average US household with debts is $15,310 short on their credit card.
(Schwab Moneywise) (DQYDJ) (NY Fed) (Reuters)
On the other hand, the average household income in the US in 2016 was $89,930.
According to the safe debt guidelines by Charles Schwab & Co., the total debt should be lower than 36% of pre-tax income for the household to maintain its economy.
19. The average American credit card debt in 2019 was the lowest for Millennials of all age groups.
(The Ascent) (CNBC)
Over 55% of credit card owners reported debt at the end of 2018. As shown in the credit score statistics the debt varies across generations.
In 2019, around 56.7% of Millennials held some amount of debt on their credit card. Likewise, 68% of Gen Xers had the same, which is the biggest percentage of the total number of credit card users with debts.
In terms of money, the average Millennial debt is estimated at $5,500 — the lowest among all the generations since Gen Xers own $6,600, on average, and Baby Boomers own around $6,800 in credit card debt.
20. Facts about credit card debt reveal that it increases with age, peaking with 50–59 years of age.
What’s more, an Ascent survey found that the number of families with credit card debt increased with the level of education, reaching an average of $8,200 in families with college degrees.
In Q2 2019, the total credit card debt in the US reached $868 billion.
21. $1,423 is the average credit card debt for college students in 2019.
Recent survey data published by CNBC, encompassing over 30,000 college students, reveals that over a third of college students have credit card debt, and for 36% of these students, the debt surpassed the $1,000 mark.
Additionally, the average credit card debt of college students in 2019 was 32% higher than in 2016 and was estimated at $1,423.
Besides the rise in credit card debt, college students have increased rates of credit card delinquency, as per their personal finance statistics with over 8% of debts overdue longer than 90 days.
22. Almost 4% of the total number of liabilities range from $20,000–$30,000 in credit card debt, facts from 2019 indicate.
The average US credit card debt for 2019 per credit cardholder was $6,200.
What’s more, 52% of debts involved sums lower or equal to $2,500, whereas 15.5% were for debts in the $2,500–$5,000 range. Around 18% was for sums above $10,000, with some 7.4% owing more than $20,000.
Lastly, in September 2019, 5.2% of debts were overdue for more than 90 days.
23. The average American credit card debt for 2019 was highest in Alaska, with an average of $8,026.
Next were the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, with average credit card debts of $7,084, $7,082, and $7,077, respectively.
People in Iowa had the lowest debt on their credit cards, with an average $4,744 debt per credit card owner.
Wisconsin was the second-best at $4,908, followed by Mississippi with an average debt of $5,134.
24. Approximately 35% of US credit card holders have experienced credit card fraud, statistics from 2019 reveal.
(The Ascent) (Rippleshot)
In 2017, the US registered 15.4 million victims of payment card fraud.
In a recent survey, around 16.5% of credit card holders said that checking for fraud is one of the worst aspects of owning a credit card.
From the 1,000 respondents, 35% stated that they had been the victim of credit card fraud. This was true for almost 43% of Baby Boomers, 38% of Gen Xers, and for just 33% of Millennials.
25. The US suffers a yearly loss of $16–$20 billion due to credit card fraud, facts from 2017 show.
Projections indicate that this could lead to $35 billion in losses in 2020.
What’s more, some $11.8 billion are lost each year due to false claims of unauthorized purchase, or similar wrong clams, also known as friendly frauds.
Other frequent types of credit card fraud include e-commerce fraud, which had risen by 33% between 2016 and 2017, and ATM skimming fraud (marked a 70% increase for the period 2015–2016).
In addition, synthetic ID fraud accounted for 80% of total credit card fraud losses.
How common is credit card debt?
(CNBC) (NY Fed)
Around 55% of US credit card owners have credit card debt.
Now, to answer “how much debt is the US in?” is not an easy one since credit cards, and debt in general, peak during the holiday season, which belongs to the next fiscal year.
How many people use a credit card?
(The Global Economy) (Statista) (The Nest) (Experian)
Around 19.4% of the global population aged 15 years and older owned a credit card in 2017.
In 2018, there were 180 million credit card holders in the US alone, while over 70.2% of American households own at least one Visa, Mastercard, or Discover credit card.
Stats from 2019 show that there are around 486 million credit card accounts in the US.
What percentage of credit cards are Visa?
Visa is the most popular US credit card, accounting for 124 million users in 2018; in other words, 69% of the total number of American credit card holders.
What is the average credit card debt in 2019?
The average credit card debt in 2019 was $6,200 per credit card holder, whereas the average American savings by household was estimated at $8,863.
There’s no doubt about it, the US is the world leader when it comes to the economy. Yet, figures keep revealing a dirty little secret — credit card debt; a financial burden that an increasing number of American cardholders are dragging over the years.
Keeping the upcoming economic instability in mind, there’s still a lot that can be done in terms of reducing the national credit card debt.
Seeing how there’s a huge influx in the number of people placing confidence in “plastic wallets,” credit card statistics can help us better understand these cashless payments to keep ourselves financially afloat.