Facts

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  • Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $16,007* 
  • Total credit cards in circulation in U.S: 576.4 million, as of yearend 2009 (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • Total debit cards in circulation in U.S: 507 million, as of yearend 2009 (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008 (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Average APR on new credit card offer: 14.45 percent (Source:CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, March 2010.)
  • Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 14.31 percent, as of December 31, 2009 (Source: Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010)
  • Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $864.4 billion, as of January 2010 (Source: Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010)
  • Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.46 trillion, as of January 2010 (Source: Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010)
  • U.S. credit card 60-day delinquency rate: 4.5 percent. (Source: Fitch Ratings, March 2010)
  • U.S. credit card default rate: 11.37 percent. (Source: Fitch Ratings, March 2010)

CREDIT CARD ISSUER STATISTICS

Total cards in circulation in U.S. 
(Through year-end 2009)

  • Visa credit: 270.1 million, down 11 percent (Source: Visa.com)
  • Visa debit: 382 million, up 18 percent (Source: Visa.com)
  • MasterCard credit: 203 million, down 22 percent (Source: MasterCard.com)
  • MasterCard debit: 125 million, up 1 percent (Source: MasterCard.com)
  • American Express credit: 48.9 million, down 9 percent (Source: AmericanExpress.com)
  • Discover credit: 54.4 million, down 6 percent (Source: Discover.com)
  • TOTAL CREDIT CARDS: 576.4 million
  • TOTAL DEBIT CARDS: 507 million

Customer satisfaction 

J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Credit Card Satisfaction Study Rankings
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
1. American Express -- 762
2. Discover Card -- 751
3. National City -- 740
4. Wells Fargo -- 724
5. Barclaycard -- 717
6. U.S. Bank -- 715
7. Chase -- 708
8. Citi -- 699
9. First National Bank of Omaha - 689
10. Bank of America -- 687
(Source: J.D. Power and Associates, September 2009)

 

Market share

U.S. credit card outstandings
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - $366.05 billion (Was $405.80 billion) 
MasterCard - $267.57 billion (Was $305.22 billion)
American Express - $86.06 billion (Was $96.30 billion)
Discover $52.51 billion (Was $55.08 billion)
TOTAL - $772.19 billion (Was $862.40 billion)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Credit card purchase transactions in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - 9.0 billion (Down 2 percent)
MasterCard - 5.9 billion (Down 6 percent)
Discover - 1.6 billion (Down 0.3 percent)
American Express - 3.6 billion (Down 7.4 percent)
TOTAL - 20.2 billion (Down 4 percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Debit & prepaid cards total dollar volume in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - $1.18 trillion (Up 9 percent)
MasterCard $450 billion (Up 7 percent)
TOTAL - $1.63 trillion (Up 8 percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Debit & prepaid card transactions in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - 26.9 billion (Up 13 percent)
MasterCard - 9.3 billion (Up 11 percent)
TOTAL - 36.2 billion (Up 13 percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

U.S. purchase volume and purchase transactions  

Credit card purchase volume in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
1. Visa - $764.2 billion (Down 7percent)
2. MasterCard - $476.9 billion (Down 13percent)
3. Discover - $100.4 billion (Down 5percent)
4. American Express - $419.8 billion (Down 10percent)
TOTAL - $1.76 trillion (Down 9percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Credit card purchase transactions in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
1. Visa - 9.0 billion (Down 2percent)
2. MasterCard - 5.9 billion (Down 6percent)
3. Discover - 1.6 billion (Down 0.3percent)
4. American Express - 3.6 billion (Down 7.4percent)
TOTAL - 20.2 billion (Down 4percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Debit & prepaid cards total dollar volume in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - $1.18 trillion (Up 9percent)
MasterCard $450 billion (Up 7percent)
TOTAL - $1.63 trillion (Up 8percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)

Debit & prepaid card transactions in U.S.
(Through yearend 2009)
Visa - 26.9 billion (Up 13percent)
MasterCard - 9.3 billion (Up 11 percent)
TOTAL - 36.2 billion (Up 13percent)
(Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)


CONSUMER STATISTICS

Card ownership

  • 176.8 million credit cardholders in 2008 (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Some 29 percent of poll respondents reported that they do not have a credit card. That was a more than 10 percent jump from the number of respondents who reported having no credit cards in June 2009. (Source: Scientific poll for CreditCards.com, conducted Feb. 5-7, 2010)
  • The average credit cardholder has 3.5 credit cards. Including both cardholders and non-cardholders, the average consumer has 2.7 cards each. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Total credit cards in U.S. through yearend 2009: 576.4 million, down 15 percent; Visa - 270.1. million, down 11 percent; MasterCard - 203 million, down 22 percent; Discover - 54.4 million, down 6 percent; American Express - 48.9 million, down 9 percent (Source: Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Discover Web sites, Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • The average age at which a U.S. consumer under the age of 35 first adopted a credit card is 20.8 years. The average age of credit card adoption for a consumer over the age of 65 is 40.6 years. (Source: "The 2008 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)
  • Eighty percent of consumers currently own a debit card, compared to 78 percent who own a credit card and 17 who own a prepaid card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • About 60 percent of consumers have a rewards credit card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • About 21 percent of consumer currently have a contactless debit card, while 26 percent have a contactless credit card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • 78 percent of American households -- about 91.1 million -- had one or more credit cards at the end of 2008. A year earlier, there were 90.4 million households with cards. (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
  • In the fourth quarter of 2008, consumers over 60 had an average of 5.6 open bankcard and retail accounts. Overall, consumers had an average of 5.4 cards. A year before, those over 60 had 6.1 open cards and consumers overall had 5.5. In 2006, those over 60 had 6.2 open cards and consumers overall had 5.5. (Source: Experian marketing insight snapshot, March 2009)
  • According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 159 million credit cardholders in the United States in 2000, 173 million in 2006, and that number is projected to grow to 181 million Americans by 2010. (Source: Census Bureau)
  • In 2006, the United States Census Bureau determined that there were nearly 1.5 billion credit cards in use in the U.S. A stack of all those credit cards would reach more than 70 miles into space -- and be almost as tall as 13 Mount Everests. (Source: NY Times, Feb. 23, 2009)
  • The top 10 U.S. credit card issuers held an 87.55 percent market share of $972.73 billion in general purpose card outstandings in 2008. That includes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover and is up rom 84.70percent in 2007. (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
  • As of yearend 2009, there were 270 million Visa credit cards and 382 million Visa debit cards in circulation in the United States. (Source: Visa.com)
  • As of yearend 2009, there were 203 million MasterCard credit cards and 125 million MasterCard debit cards in circulation in the United States. (Source: MasterCard.com)
  • As of yearend 2009, there were 48.9 million American Express credit cards in circulation in the United States. (Source: AmericanExpress.com)
  • As of yearend 2009, there were 54.4 million Discover credit cards in circulation in the United States. (Source: Discover.com)
  • Eighty-four percent of the student population overall have credit cards, an increase of approximately 11 percent since the fall of 2004. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
  • Only 2 percent of undergraduates had no credit history. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
  • Half of college undergraduates had four or more credit cards in 2008. That's up from 43 percent in 2004 and just 32 percent in 2000.  (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
  • Since 2004, students who arrived on campus as freshmen with a credit card already in-hand have increased from 23 percent to 39 percent. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
  • Two-thirds of survey respondents said they would consider switching their primary credit card if a better feature were offered. (Source: ComScore, September 2008)
  • 76 percent of undergraduates have credit cards, and the average undergrad has $2,200 in credit card. Additionally, they will amass almost $20,000 in student debt. (Source: Nellie Mae, "Undergraduate Students and Credit Cards in 2004: An Analysis of Usage Rates and Trends")
  • 41 percent of college students have a credit card. Of the students with cards, about 65 percent pay their bills in full every month, which is higher than the general adult population. (Source: Student Monitor annual financial services study, 2008)
  • 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 Bulletin, February 2006)
  • About a quarter have no credit cards, and an additional 30 percent or so pay off their balances every month. (Source: Federal Reserve Board survey of consumer finances, 2004)
  • 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, and bank cards) and installment loans (auto loans, mortgage loans, student loans, etc.). Not included are savings and checking accounts (typically not reported to a credit bureau). Of these 13 credit obligations, nine are likely to be credit cards and four are likely to be installment loans. (Source: myfico.com)
  • The average consumer's oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time. In fact, one out of four consumers had credit histories of 20 years or longer. Only one in 20 consumers had credit histories shorter than two years. (Source: myfico.com)
  • Approximately 51 percent of the U.S. population has at least two credit cards. (Source: Experian national score index study, February 2007)
  • At about 20 percent, New Hampshire and New Jersey have the largest concentration of consumers with 10 or more credit cards. (Source: Experian national score index study, February 2007)
  • Consumers carry more than 1 billion Visa cards worldwide. More than 450 million of those cards are in the United States. (Source: Visa USA internal statistics, 4th quarter 2006)

Online use

  • Seventy-one percent of survey respondents said they have logged into their credit card account via the Internet. (Source: ComScore, December 2009)

Debit cards

  • In 2009, Visa had $1.8 trillion in U.S. debit and prepaid card transaction volume. That's up 9 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, Visa had 26.9 billion U.S. debit and prepaid card transactions. That's up 13 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, MasterCard had $450 billion in U.S. debit and prepaid card transaction volume. That's up 7 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, MasterCard had 9.3 billion U.S. debit and prepaid card transactions. That's up 11 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, December 2010)
  • Eighty percent of consumers currently own a debit card, compared to 78 percent who own a credit card and 17 who own a prepaid card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • About 21 percent of consumer currently have a contactless debit card, while 26 percent have a contactless credit card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • "More consumers now have debit cards than credit cards, and consumers use debit cards more often than cash, credit cards, or checks individually." (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Top 10 U.S. general purpose debit card issuers (Note: 2007 ranking in parentheses) 1. Bank of America - $224.59 (1); 2. Wells Fargo - $167.30 (2); 3. Chase V/MC - $135.96 (5); 4. U.S. Bank - $34.78 (6); 5. PNC - $30.11 (18); 6. Regions Bank - $22.60 (7); 7. USAA (1) - $21.55 (11); 8. SunTrust - $21.12 (8); 9. TD Bank - $20.59 (29); 10. Citi - $20.22 (9) (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
  • Debit & prepaid cards in U.S. through yearend 2009: 507 million, up 13 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - 382 million, up 18 percent; MasterCard - 125 million, up 1 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)  
  • Debit & prepaid cards total dollar volume in U.S. through yearend 2009: $1.63 trillion, up 8 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - $1.18 trillion, up 9 percent; MasterCard - $450 billion, up 7 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • Debit & prepaid card transactions in U.S. through yearend 2009: 36.2 billion, up 13 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - 26.9 billion, up 13 percent; MasterCard - 9.3 billion, up 11 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)  
  • There were 34 billion U.S. debit card transactions in 2008, totalling $1.33 trillion. That's way up from 16.1 billion transactions totalling $583 billion in  2003. (Source: Nilson Report, December 2009)
  • In 2008, 72 percent of consumers indicated they used a debit card in the past year. In 2007, that number was 65 percent. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • Debit card usage grew from 2007 to 2008, with 66 percent of consumers indicating they used a debit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey, compared to 57 percent of consumers in 2007. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • Only 47 percent of Americans over 65 said they had used a debit card in the month before the September 2008 survey, 19 points lower than any other age group. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • 76 percent of Americans aged 25 to 34 indicated they had used a debit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. 63 percent of that age group said that had used a credit card in the same period. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • 71 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 said that they had used a debit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. Just 51 percent of that same age group indicated they had used a credit card in the same period. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • As of December 31, 2008, there were 126 million MasterCard debit cards in circulation in the United States. (Source: MasterCard.com)
  • 74 percent of monthly college spending is with cash and debit cards. Only 7 percent is with credit cards. (Source: Student Monitor annual financial services study, 2008)

Prepaid cards

  • In 2009, Visa had $1.8 trillion in U.S. debit and prepaid card transaction volume. That's up 9 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, Visa had 26.9 billion U.S. debit and prepaid card transactions. That's up 13 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, MasterCard had $450 billion in U.S. debit and prepaid card transaction volume. That's up 7 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • In 2009, MasterCard had 9.3 billion U.S. debit and prepaid card transactions. That's up 11 percent from 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, December 2010)
  • About 6 percent of consumers have used a prepaid card in the past months. About 9 percent have used one in the past year. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Eighty percent of consumers currently own a debit card, compared to 78 percent who own a credit card and 17 who own a prepaid card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Debit & prepaid cards in U.S. through yearend 2009: 507 million, up 13 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - 382 million, up 18 percent; MasterCard - 125 million, up 1 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • Debit & prepaid cards total dollar volume in U.S. through yearend 2009: $1.63 trillion, up 8 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - $1.18 trillion, up 9 percent; MasterCard - $450 billion, up 7 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)
  • Debit & prepaid card transactions in U.S. through yearend 2009: 36.2 billion, up 13 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - 26.9 billion, up 13 percent; MasterCard - 9.3 billion, up 11 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)  
  • There were 5 billion U.S. prepaid card transactions in 2008, totalling $153 billion. That's way up from 2.5 billion transactions totalling $69 billion in 2003. (Source: Nilson Report, December 2009)
  • Based on purchase volume, H&R Block was the top issuer of prepaid cards in the U.S. The company had $7.71 billion in purchase volume on its prepaid cards in 2008. MetaBank ($3.52 billion) and Chase ($3.30 billion) were second and third, respectively, though their combined totals were less than that of H&R Block. (Source: Nilson Report, July 2009)
  • The total amount loaded for prepaid cards in 2008 (including both open-loop cards -- which are general purpose cards that carry the American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa logo and can be used wherever those cards are accepted -- and closed-loop cards -- which can only be used in specific places) was $247.7 billion, a $27.8 billion increase over the $220.27 billion load in 2007. That's an increase of 12.4 percent.
    (Source: Mercator Advisory Group, "6th Annual Network Branded Prepaid Market Assessment," September 2009)
  • Open-loop gift cards (general purpose cards that carry the American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa logo and can be used wherever those cards are accepted) continue to grow in popularity. $60.42 billion was loaded on to open-loop prepaid cards in 2008, a 54.3 percent increase from 2007.
    (Source: Mercator Advisory Group, "6th Annual Network Branded Prepaid Market Assessment," September 2009)

Credit limits and usage

  • In 2007, 97 percent of consumers indicated they used a credit card in the past year. In 2008, that number plummeted to 72 percent. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • Credit card usage fell dramatically from 2007 to 2008, with only 64 percent of consumers indicating they used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey, compared to 87 percent of consumers in 2007 — a 23 percentage point decline. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • 80 percent of Americans 65 or older indicated they used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. That's 13 points higher than any other age group. They also used debit cards far less than other age groups. Only 47 percent of those over 65 said they had used a debit card in the month before the survey, 19 points lower than any other age group. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • 63 percent of Americans aged 25 to 34 indicated they had used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • Just 51 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 indicated they had used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. 71 percent of that age group said that they had used a debit card in the same period. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
  • 92 percent of cards included a fee for exceeding the credit limit, including 100 percent of all student cards. The amount of the overlimit fee is $39 on most accounts. (Source: Pew Safe Credit Cards Project, March 2009)
  • For families having any bank-type cards, the median number of such cards remained at 2; the median credit limit on all such cards rose 21.4 percent, to $18,000, and the median interest rate on the card with the largest balance (or on the newest card, if no outstanding balances existed) rose 1.0 percentage point, to 12.5 percent. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009) 
  • 58 percent of Hispanics have not used a credit card in the past 30 days. (Source: Experian Consumer Research study, November 2008)
  • 31 percent of Hispanics typically pay cash for their purchases. (Source: Experian Consumer Research study, November 2008)
  • More than 23 billion credit cards transactions were processed in the United States in 2007, and they are projected to grow by 26 percent over the next five years. (Source: Nilson Report)
  • Approximately 14 percent of Americans use 50 percent or more of their available credit. (Source: Experian National Score Index Study, February 2007)
  • At about 17 percent each, Alaska and Hawaii have the largest concentration of consumers who use 50 percent or more of their available credit. (Source: Experian National Score Index Study, February 2007)
  • Residents of Jackson, Miss., use the highest percentage of their credit limit. (Source: Men's Health magazine's personal debt survey, July 2008)
  • Lincoln, Neb., residents use the lowest percentage of their credit limit. (Source: Men's Health magazine's personal debt survey, July 2008)
  • 95 percent of surveyed issuers have over-limit fees. The average over-limit fee, among institutions with over-limit fees, is $29.13. (Source: Consumer Action credit card survey, July 2008.)
  • 37 percent of consumers say they are using their credit cards less. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, "Credit Card Issuer Profitability in a Difficult Economy," July 2008)

Types of cards

  • About 69 percent of consumers have used a credit card in the last month. About 73 percent have used one in the past year. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Eighty percent of consumers currently own a debit card, compared to 78 percent who own a credit card and 17 who own a prepaid card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • About 21 percent of consumer currently have a contactless debit card, while 26 percent have a contactless credit card. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Total credit cards in U.S. through yearend 2009: 576.4 million, down 15 percent; Visa - 270.1. million, down 11 percent; MasterCard - 203 million, down 22 percent; Discover - 54.4 million, down 6 percent; American Express - 48.9 million, down 9 percent (Source: Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Discover Web sites, Nilson Report, February 2010) 
  • Debit & prepaid cards in U.S. through yearend 2009: 507 million, up 13 percent. Breakdown by card company: Visa - 382 million, up 18 percent; MasterCard - 125 million, up 1 percent. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2010)  
  • The top 10 U.S. credit card issuers held an 87.55 percent market share of $972.73 billion in general purpose card outstandings in 2008. That includes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover and is up rom 84.70 percent in 2007. (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
  • "In less than 15 years, debit card transactions in the United States grew from 1 percent of noncash transactions to more than 50 percent." (Source: Tower Group, August 2009)
  • About 80 million contactless payment cards are expected to be issued through 2009, according to Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. (Source: Contactless News, "Contactless Payments: What's Next?" August 2009)
  • Of families with credit cards in 2007, 96.1 percent had bank cards, up less than 1 percent from 2004. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)
  • Of families with credit cards in 2007, more than half (56.7 percent) had store credit cards, though that was nearly 2 percent fewer than 2004. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)
  • Of families with credit cards in 2007, 11.9 percent held gas cards, and that's down more than 5 percent from 2004. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)
  • Balances on bank cards accounted for 87.1 percent of outstanding credit card balances in 2007, up from 84.9 percent in 2004. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)
  • For families having any bank-type cards, the median number of such cards remained at 2; the median credit limit on all such cards rose 21.4 percent, to $18,000, and the median interest rate on the card with the largest balance (or on the newest card, if no outstanding balances existed) rose 1.0 percentage point, to 12.5 percent. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, February 2009)
  • Chase issued the most Visa credit cards in 2008 at 73.7 million. Bank of America was second with 51.1 million. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2009)
  • Citi issued the most MasterCard credit cards in 2008 at 73.8 million. Chase was second with 45.7 million. (Source: Nilson Report, February 2009) 

Demographics

  • Asian-Americans
    • Nearly two in three Asian-Americans reported having at least two credit cards. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009)
    • Just 19 percent of Asian-Americans reported not having a credit card. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009)
  • African-Americans
    • About one in three African-Americans -- 35 percent -- reported having at least two credit cards. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009)
    • 49 percent of African-Americans reported not having a credit card. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009)
    • 26 percent of Americans, or more than 58 million adults, admit to not paying all of their bills on time. Among African-Americans, this number is at 51 percent.  (Source: National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 2009 Financial Literacy Survey, April 2009)
    • In 2004, of those with credit cards, 84 percent of African-American households carried credit card debt compared with 54 percent of white households. (Source: Demos.org, "Borrowing To Make Ends Meet," November 2007)
    • Over 90 percent of African-American families earning between $10,000 and $24,999 had credit card debt. (Source: Demos.org study, November 2007)
  • Elderly
    • Three in four cardholders age 60 or older always paid their credit card in full in the past 12 months. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009) 
    • 80 percent of Americans 65 or older indicated they used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. That's 13 points higher than any other age group. They also used debit cards far less than other age groups. Only 47 percent of those over 65 said they had used a debit card in the month before the survey, 19 points lower than any other age group. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
    • In the fourth quarter of 2008, consumers over 60 had an average balance of $763 per open bankcard or retail accounts. A year before, that balance was $746. The year before that, it was $735 -- meaning the average has jumped about 4 percent in 2 years. (Source: Experian marketing insight snapshot, March 2009)
    • Individuals older than 60 have a significantly higher credit score than younger consumers. The U.S. average VantageScore® is 769. The average score rises to 837 when looking solely at the over-60 population. (Source: Experian marketing insight snapshot, March 2009)
    • In the fourth quarter of 2008, consumers over 60 had an average of 5.6 open bankcard and retail accounts. The U.S. population as a whole had an average of 5.4 cards. A year before, those over 60 had 6.1 open cards and the population as a whole had 5.5. The year before that, those over 60 had 6.2 open cards and the population as a whole had 5.5. (Source: Experian marketing insight snapshot, March 2009)
  • Gender
    • Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than men in 2008. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Hispanics
    • About half of Hispanics -- 44 percent -- reported having at least two credit cards. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009) 
    • 42 percent of Hispanics reported having no credit cards. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009)
    • 58 percent of Hispanics have not used a credit card in the past 30 days. (Source: Experian Consumer Research study, November 2008)
    • 42 percent of Hispanics don't like the idea of being in debt. (Source: Experian Consumer Research study, November 2008)
    • 31 percent of Hispanics typically pay cash for their purchases. (Source: Experian Consumer Research study, November 2008)
  • Young adults/college students
    • The average person under the age of 35 got both their first credit card and their first debit card when they were about 21 years old. (Source: "The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
    • 41 percent of cardholders from the ages of 18 to 29 made only the minimum required payment on a credit card in some of the past 12 months. (Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, "Financial Capability in the United States," December 2009) 
    • Just 51 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 indicated they had used a credit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. 71 percent of that age group said that they had used a debit card in the same period. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
    • Only 2 percent of undergraduates had no credit history. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Eighty-four percent of the student population overall have credit cards, an increase of approximately 11 percent since the fall of 2004. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Half of college undergraduates had four or more credit cards in 2008. That's up from 43 percent in 2004 and just 32 percent in 2000.  (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Since 2004, students who arrived on campus as freshmen with a credit card already in-hand have increased from 23 percent to 39 percent. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • In spring of 2008, only 15 percent of freshmen had a zero balance, down dramatically from 69 percent in the fall of 2004. The median debt freshmen carried was $939, nearly triple the $373 in 2004. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Seniors graduated with an average credit card debt of more than $4,100, up from $2,900 almost four years ago. Close to one-fifth of seniors carried balances greater than $7,000. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Nine in 10 undergraduates reported paying for direct education expenses with credit cards—and the average amount they charged more than doubled since the last study. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Ninety-two percent of undergraduate credit cardholders charged textbooks, school supplies, or other direct education expenses, up from 85 percent when the study was last conducted, in 2004.  (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Nearly one-third (30 percent) put tuition on their credit card, an increase from 24 percent in the previous study. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Students who used credit cards to pay for direct education expenses estimated charging $2,200, more than double 2004’s average of $942. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Sixty percent of undergrads experienced surprise at how high their balance had reached, and 40 percent said they have charged items knowing they didn’t have the money to pay the bill. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Only 17 percent said they regularly paid off all cards each month, and another 1 percent had parents, a spouse, or other family members paying the bill. The remaining 82 percent carried balances and thus incurred finance charges each month. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Two-thirds of survey respondents said they had frequently or sometimes discussed credit card use with their parents. The remaining one-third who had never or only rarely discussed credit cards with parents were more likely to pay for tuition with a credit card and were more likely to be surprised at their credit card balance when they received the invoice.(Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • Eighty-four percent of undergraduates indicated they needed more education on financial management topics. In fact, 64 percent would have liked to receive information in high school and 40 percent as college freshmen. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
    • One-fourth of the students surveyed in US PIRG's 2008 Campus Credit Card Trap report said that they have paid a late fee, and 15 percent have paid an "over the limit" fee. (Source: U.S. PIRG, "Campus Credit Card Trap")
    • 74 percent of monthly college spending is with cash and debit cards. Only 7 percent is with credit cards. (Source: Student Monitor annual financial services survey of current college students, 2008)
    • The average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in debt; average credit card debt has increased 47 percent between 1989 and 2004 for 25-to 34-year-olds and 11 percent for 18- to 24-year-olds. Nearly one in five 18- to 24-year-olds is in "debt hardship," up from 12 percent in 1989. (Source: Demos.org, "The Economic State of Young America," May 2008)
  •  Other
    • 76 percent of Americans aged 25 to 34 indicated they had used a debit card in the month preceding the September 2008 survey. 63 percent of that age group said that had used a credit card in the same period. (Source: Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines" study, March 2009)
    • Americans older than 50 are more likely to have a credit card than those 25 to 49 years old, but tend to use them less frequently. (Source: AARP payments study, 2007)
    • In 2005, older consumers were significantly less likely to be victims of the ID frauds covered in the survey. While 15.4 percent of those who were between 35 and 44 years of age were victims of one or more of the frauds in the survey, the rate falls by to 11.0 percent for those between 55 and 64 and to 10.4 percent for those between 65 and 74. Of those who were at least 75 years of age, only 5.6 percent were victims. (Source: Federal Trade Commission survey, October 2007)
    • Hispanics were 50 percent more likely than nonHispanic whites to have been a victim of fraud in 2005, with 18.0 percent of Hispanics estimated to have been a victim of one or more frauds. (Source: Federal Trade Commission survey, October 2007)
    • Discussing credit card debt is highly taboo. The topics at the top of the list of things that people say they are very or somewhat unlikely to talk openly about with someone they just met were: The amount of credit card debt (81 percent); details of your love life (81 percent); your salary (77 percent); the amount you pay for your monthly mortgage or rent (72 percent); your health problems (62 percent); your weight (50 percent). (Source: CreditCards.com research, January 2009)