HomeNews24 Eye-Opening Credit Card Statistics for 2023
24 Eye-Opening Credit Card Statistics for 2023

24 Eye-Opening Credit Card Statistics for 2023

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With inflation rising around the world, more and more people seem to be relying on credit cards to make ends meet. In this overview of credit card statistics, we’ll look into how many people own credit cards, who their preferred issuers and networks are, and how often and for which purposes they use their cards. We’ll also share the most recent data on credit card debt.

Top 10 Credit Card Statistics and Facts

  • 84% of US adults owned at least one credit card in 2021.

  • An average American holds 3.23 credit cards.

  • 49% of Americans haven’t changed their primary credit card in 5 years.

  • The leading issuer of general-purpose credit cards in the US is Chase.

  • Sberbank was Europe’s leading card issuer in 2021.

  • Visa holds 39% of the global credit card market.

  • Credit card utilization in 2021 was 25.6%.

  • 40.1% of US credit card owners carry a balance month-to-month.

  • 62.14% of Americans use credit cards to pay their monthly bills.

  • Americans owe $841 billion in credit card debt.

Credit Card Ownership Statistics

84% of US adults owned at least one credit card in 2021.

The share of credit card owners in the US was slightly up from 83% in 2019 and 2020. Global data from 2021 reveals that credit cards are also very common in Canada, where 82.74% of people aged 15 and over owned at least one in 2021. Israel (79.05%), Iceland (74%), and Hong Kong (71.63%) round out the list of territories with the highest credit card penetration rates.

(Federal Reserve, Statista)

Nearly all top-earning Americans have a credit card.

According to a recent Federal Reserve report, 98% of US adults earning $100,000 or more per year have a credit card. The same goes for 94% of those in the $50,000–$99,999 bracket and 84% of those who make $25,000–$49,999 per year. Unsurprisingly, people earning less than $25,000 are least likely to own a credit card — only 57% have one, credit card stats reveal.

(Federal Reserve)

Asian Americans are more likely than others to own a credit card.

A whopping 93% of Asian Americans own credit cards, but only 22% of them carry a balance, i.e. use their credit line. Similarly, while 88% of white Americans have a credit card, only 37% decide to use the credit they’re given. On the other hand, credit card facts show that Hispanics (77%) and Blacks (72%) are least likely to own but most likely to use a credit card (48% and 52%, respectively).

(Federal Reserve)

An average American holds 3.23 credit cards.

Recent research reveals that the United States is one of just a handful of countries with one or more credit cards per capita. Canada ranks first with 3.85 credit cards per person, and Japan is third with 2.34. South Korea is in fourth place with 2.20 credit cards per capita. The average number of credit cards per person in Brazil stands at 1.33, which puts it in fifth place.


New Jersey has the most credit cards per person.

The Garden State has an average of 4.54 credit cards per person, and it’s followed closely by Connecticut, with 4.21 cards per capita. Other states with a high number of credit cards per person include Rhode Island (4.16), Florida (4.15), New York (4.14), and Delaware (4.10). Meanwhile, Alaska is at the bottom of the list with 3.06 credit cards per person.


Cash back is the most valued feature among US credit card owners.

In a recent survey, 41% of respondents chose cash back as their favorite credit card feature. And while 14% will always go for the most widely accepted credit card, 9% look for cards with low interest rates, and 5% those with low fees. Finally, 6% of Americans like credit cards that provide travel rewards, and 4% prefer travel perks like bonus points and miles.


49% of Americans haven’t changed their primary credit card in 5 years.

Of this number, 26% have actually never switched their top-of-the-wallet card, 12% did so between 5 and 10 years ago, while 11% last changed their primary credit card a decade or more ago. Only 21% of Americans have switched their go-to credit card within the previous year.


Facts About Credit Card Issuers and Networks

The leading issuer of general-purpose credit cards in the US is Chase.

Based on total purchase value, Chase is the leading US credit card issuer, with $950 billion in 2021. The only other issuer to surpass $500 billion was American Express, with total purchases worth $868 billion. Other leading issuers of general-purpose credit cards include Citibank ($483 billion), Capital One ($455 billion), Bank of America ($414 billion), Discover ($182 billion), and US Bank ($166 billion).

(Nilson Report)

Chase is also the top business credit card issuer, statistics reveal.

The New York City-based Chase is in the lead ($182.5 billion worth of purchases in 2021), and Bank of America follows in the second ($177.5 billion). All other commercial card issuers amassed less than $100 billion in purchases each. Among them are Wells Fargo ($93.3 billion), US Bank ($87.5 billion), Capital One ($80.8 billion), and Citibank ($65 billion).

(Nilson Report)

Sberbank was Europe’s leading card issuer in 2021.

Based on total credit card payment data, the Russian Sberbank was Europe’s leader in 2021 with $344.5 billion. The rest of the top five included Lloyds ($274 billion), NatWest ($214.1 billion), Crédit Agricole ($214 billion), and Barclays ($184.4 billion). This ranking most likely won’t hold up in 2023, as Sberbank faced severe financial hardships amid the recent political turmoil.

(Nilson Report)

Visa holds 39% of the global credit card market.

This number makes Visa the world’s most used credit card network. China’s UnionPay is in a close second with 34%, while Mastercard is third with a 24% share. Looking at the total transactions, Visa is first with $226 billion, UnionPay follows closely with $198 billion, and Mastercard ranks third with $140 billion worth of purchases in 2021.

(Nilson Report)

Credit Card Usage Statistics

40.1% of US credit card owners carry a balance month-to-month.

Also known as “revolvers,” these credit card owners tend to use up some of their credit line and carry that balance over to the next month at least once per quarter. The number of revolvers seems stable at the moment — they accounted for 40.1% of all credit card owners in Q4 of 2021, on par with 39.7% in 2020’s final quarter. Meanwhile, 36.2% of card owners didn’t take advantage of their credit line in Q4 of 2021 and thus had no outstanding credit card balances.

(American Bankers Association)

62.14% of Americans use credit cards to pay their monthly bills.

Travel (52.92%) is the second most common credit card expense in the US. At the same time, 36.57% of Americans say they’ve used credit cards to pay for their medical expenses. It’s also interesting to note that 15.26% of US consumers say they’ve used one credit card to make payments for another one. Other common credit card expenses include new cars (11.69%), rent (10.21%), education (8.33%), and taxes (3.96%).


The average American credit card limit in 2021 was $12,945.

The number was up by 0.43% from $12,890 in 2020. Of course, a limit of nearly $13,000 is reserved for people with excellent credit scores, high incomes, and no debt. Meanwhile, others can expect to receive a credit line with a limit closer to the national median. In 2021, this number stood at $5,394 — an 8.44% increase from $4,974 in 2020.


Alaska is the American state with the highest average credit limit.

Credit card owners in Alaska get an average limit of $16,657 — slightly more than in the second-placed District of Columbia ($16,216). Other states with high credit limits include New Jersey ($15,977), New York ($15,781), Connecticut ($15,404), and Hawaii ($15,126). The lowest credit limits are in Wisconsin ($11,221), Indiana ($11,118), and Mississippi ($11,055).


Credit card utilization in 2021 was 25.6%.

According to credit card stats, there was barely any difference in spending among the three youngest generations. Gen-Xers were in the lead with 31%, whereas millennials and Gen-Zers each spent 30% of their credit line on average. Older generations were more conservative in this respect. While baby boomers spent an average of 22% of their limit, those born in 1945 and before (“the silent generation”) spent just 12%.


Credit Card Debt Statistics

Americans owe $841 billion in credit card debt.

If we take this number from 2022’s first quarter and divide it by the most recently reported number of households — 129.93 million — it turns out each US household owes an average of $6,472.72 in non-revolving credit. But besides the total credit card debt in the US, there’s also the revolving credit, which borrowers repay from month to month. According to a June 2022 report, that value is currently at $1.103 trillion, exceeding its pre-pandemic high of $1.1 trillion.

(CNBC, Statista)

An average American has a credit balance of $5,221.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have noticeably reduced their credit card spending. In 2020, the average balance was $5,315, down 14.2% from $6,194 in 2019. A year later, it went down to $5,221 — a 15.7% decrease in the average credit card balance over just two years.


Alaska is the most indebted state.

With an average credit debt of $6,617, Alaska leads the pack, followed by Connecticut at $6,040 and Virginia at $5,992. New Jersey is in fourth place with a debt of $5,978 per capita, and Maryland is just a dollar behind at $5,977. Meanwhile, Iowa has the lowest average credit card debt ($4,289). Other states with low credit card debt include Wisconsin ($4,376), Kentucky ($4,521), and Idaho ($4,582).


Gen-Zers and millennials owe less than other age groups.

According to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances – which is conducted every three years – people aged 45–54 have the highest average credit card debt in America ($7,670). They’re also most likely to have credit card debt, as 51.7% owe at least a small chunk of their credit limit. For comparison, Americans under 35 owe $3,660 with indebtedness of 47.6%, whereas those aged 35–44 owe $5,990 and have an indebtedness rate of 50.5%.

(Federal Reserve)

33% of Americans believe they’ll need more than two years to pay off their credit card debt.

Statistics on credit card debt reveal that 39% of US adults believe they’ll be able to repay it within the next year. While another 24% think it will take them two years to do so, 5% say they’ll probably need five years. On the other hand, 3% of Americans aren’t optimistic — they don’t think they’ll ever be able to pay off their credit card debt.


Other Interesting Facts About Credit Cards

16% of Americans would use credit to cover a $400 emergency.

While 68% of US adults say they would have enough cash saved up to cover such an expense, the rest would have to find other ways to do so. Among them, 14% say they would use their credit card and then gradually repay their debt over time. Additionally, 2% admit they would have to use money from a bank loan or a line of credit to deal with unexpected costs.

(Federal Reserve)

Most Americans open credit cards to build credit scores.

Facts on credit cards reveal that 25.7% of Americans open their card to start building a credit score. Gen-Zers are most likely to do this, with 38.97% citing building credit as the reason for opening their last credit card. And while 15.1% of Americans do it to earn points and cash back rewards, 12.9% want to have extra available credit in case of necessity.

(The Ascent)

Credit card fraud is the second most reported type of identity theft in the US.

In 2021 alone, US citizens submitted 389,737 reports of credit card fraud. The only more common identity theft type was the theft of government documents and benefits with 395,948 reports. In most instances, criminals would use the victim’s identity to open a new credit account, causing them financial problems and damaging their credit score in the process.

(Federal Trade Commission)

Credit Card Statistics FAQ

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Credit Card Statistics in 2023: The Takeaway

People nowadays have more credit cards than ever before. The total credit spending went up in 2021, with the revolving credit debt reaching an all-time high of $1.103 trillion in the US alone.

And yet, people are more conservative in their spending and only utilize about a quarter of their limit. To that point, credit card statistics show that the average balance has gone down in the wake of the pandemic, as consumers are cutting their spending rather than entering more debt.


Radovan Sekulic
Radovan Sekulic
Radovan is a journalism graduate with years of experience as a writer and editor. He loves dabbling in numbers and percentages, interpreting data, and trying to make sense of seemingly complex information and turning this into digestible articles. He is also a pop culture aficionado with boomer taste, and if he's not watching movies or reading on current events, he's probably busy getting cat hair off his furniture.