The number of credit cards in circulation and the number of people using them are crucial metrics when it comes to understanding both the payments landscape and consumer preferences. Not only do these figures speak to the overall availability of credit, but they also reveal market share by card network and indicate whether most consumers are using a single credit card for all expenses or a few cards targeted to different types of transactions. Furthermore, these statistics speak to the overall popularity of credit as a spending vehicle.
The number of credit cards from the four primary credit card networks (i.e. VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) is 636 million.
(Sources: Visa.com, MasterCard.com, AmericanExpress.com, Discover.com, 2015)
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau there were:
- 1.43 billion credit cards in 2000
- 1.49 billion credit cards in 2008
- That number is projected to be 1.058 billion credit cards in 2014*.
Number of credit cards (In Millions)
|Type of Credit Card||2000||2003||2007||2008||2010||2012||2014 Projected*|
(Source Census Bureau)
Also according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were:
- 159 million credit cardholders in the United States in 2000.
- 176 million in 2008.
- That number was projected to grow to 183 million U.S. cardholders by 2011 and then drop to 160 million cardholders in 2012.
Number of cardholders (In Millions)
|Type of Credit Card||2000||2003||2007||2008||2011 Projected*||2012 Projected*|
(Source: Census Bureau)
- According to Experian, there are 2.24 open credit accounts per individual with credit history. If there are between 240 and 250 million adults in the U.S, this data indicates that there are between 537.6 million and 560 million credit cards nationwide, as opposed to 759 – 793.5 million in 2011, a 29.3% drop.
(Source: Experian National Score Index 2015)
In regards to households:
- 78 percent of U.S. households, representing 91.1 million, had one or more credit cards at the end of 2008. At the end of 2007, there were 90.4 million households with cards.
(Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
- Approximately 74.9 percent of the U.S. families surveyed in 2004 had credit cards, and 58 percent of those families carried a balance. In 2001, 76.2 percent of families had credit cards, and 55 percent of those families carried a balance.
(Source: Federal Reserve)
- By early 2009, offers to households for new credit cards had dropped to around one-fifth of their count in 2006. Card solicitations have turned up over the course of 2010, but they remain well below their pre-crisis levels.
- Consumer credit equaled 24.55% of household debt at the end of 2014, up from 23.53% the prior year. Consumer credit per household was $26,919.
(Source: Nilson report, June 2015)
Number of Credit Card Accounts (In Millions)
|Year||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q1||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q2||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q3||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q4|
Number of Credit Cards per Cardholder
- Consumers have an average of 2.24 open credit accounts, including bank cards and retail cards.
(Source: Experian National Score Index, 2015)
- On average, today’s consumer has a total of 13 credit obligations on record at a credit bureau. These include credit cards (such as department store charge cards, gas cards, or bank cards) and installment loans (auto loans, mortgage loans, student loans, etc.). Of these 13 credit obligations, 9 are likely to be credit cards and 4 are likely to be installment loans.
- In 2007 approximately 51 percent of the U.S. population had at least two credit cards and approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population had more than 10 credit cards.
(Source: Experian National Score Index study, February 2007)