Credit Card Facts and Stats

By Leni Parrish on May 25, 2012

Credit Card Facts It’s difficult to understand the scope and extent of the credit card industry as an individual. We typically are so concerned with our own debt and spending that we do not have the time to imagine what the industry as a whole is like and how much of a role it plays in a country’s finances. Some of the following data will help you to understand just how big the credit card industry is and how hundreds of millions of people’s spending all add up to some pretty astonishing totals.

Credit Cards in Circulation

In the United States, Visa has the largest hold on the credit and debit markets, with approximately 260 million credit cards and 390 million debit cards in circulation. In a distant second is MasterCard, which has 180 million credit cards and 130 million debit cards in the market. American Express comes in third with approximately 50 million credit cards in consumers’ hands; American Express does not issue debit cards. All in all, there are approximately 610 million credit cards in the US market. That’s approximately two for every man, woman and child.

Card Ownership Trends

Currently, there are approximately 180 million credit cardholders in the United States, which accounts for the majority of the adult population. The average credit cardholder has 3.5 cards, while approximately 29% of adults do not hold a credit card. This is the highest number in decades, as the economic climate has led to a nearly 20% decrease in credit card ownership. There is a big difference in the average age of obtaining one’s first credit card between age groups; those under 35 on average pick up their first card at the age of 20, while those over 65 didn’t pick up their first card until the average age of 40.

Highest Rated Creditors

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2010 Credit Card Satisfaction Rankings, indicating which companies have the highest rate of customer satisfaction. The most satisfied credit card users report having American Express as their issuer, while Discover, US Bank, Wells Fargo and Chase round out the top five. Barclaycard, Bank of America, Capital One, Citi and HSBC also fit in the top ten list of best ranked creditors.

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