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For many of us, credit cards are a part of everyday life. There’s a good chance you’ve got a card or two in your wallet and that you pull them out regularly to make payments. But there’s a lot more to cards than what you carry. Credit card data also shows how people manage their cards, including when they’re paid and if they’re carrying a balance.
Ever wonder how your financial choices and habits stack up? Check out these credit card statistics to see how you compare.
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Visa Is the Most Common Type of Credit Card
Of the four main types of credit cards — Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover — Visa is by far the most common, making up 52.8% of cards in circulation. That’s head and shoulders above Mastercard, which only comprises 31.6% of cards and leaves Discover and American Express both in single digits.
It doesn’t make much difference if you choose Visa or Mastercard since both are widely accepted in the US and internationally. American Express and Discover also have some strong card options in their portfolio that are worth considering.
Chase Has Issued More Cards Than Other Banks
By far, Chase has issued more cards than other institutions, with more than 93 million Chase credit cards in circulation. This is nearly double the number of the next largest issuer, Citi, with 48 million cards in circulation.
Comparing credit cards is an important part of the decision-making process but in many cases, the issuer may not be a top factor in your decision. Instead, features like interest rates, rewards rates and annual fees may weigh more heavily into finding the best card for you.
Credit Cards Are Used For 28% of All Payments
A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that in 2021, credit cards were used to make 28% of all payments. This is the highest level it’s been since the study began in 2016, indicating that credit cards are gaining ground compared to cash or other forms of payment. The percentage of payments made by credit cards is larger for households with higher income: it jumps to 34% for households earning $ 100,000 to $ 149,999 and 44% for those earning over $ 150,000.
Deciding to use cash versus credit is a personal decision based on your own financial situation. However, paying by credit card can have several advantages, if you’re disciplined, including security benefits and convenience. Compared to debit cards, credit cards may also offer the option to earn increased rewards.
The Average Credit Score Is 714
According to Experian data from the third quarter of 2021, the average credit score is 714. This score is considered a “good” rating based on the FICO scale and is one factor in determining approval odds and rates when applying for financing. Impressively, scores have consistently improved every year since 2017.
If your score is lower than the national average, you may want to take steps toward improving your credit score. Having a strong credit rating can help qualify you for the best credit cards and most competitive rates for mortgages, auto loans and other lending products.
The Number of Credit Card Users Has Reached a New High
In Q4 2021, credit card users reached a total of 196 million, a high according to TransUnion. Among those users, there were 20.1 million new accounts, representing more than 60% annual growth from the year before and bringing the total number of accounts to over 485 million.
Applying for a new card can come with a number of benefits, including access to credit lines, membership benefits and the ability to earn rewards. However, there are a few things to know before applying for a credit card.
On Average, People Have Three Credit Cards
An Experian report shows that, on average, people have three different credit card accounts. This number varies a bit by generation and tends to go up for older generations. Gen Z members, for example, only had 1.8 credit cards as of 2019 while Baby Boomers had 4.8. Since people may apply for new accounts over their lifetime, this is a logical progression.
There’s no right number for how many cards you should have. In fact, holding multiple credit cards can actually be good for your credit score, assuming you’re using them responsibly. That’s because having access to additional credit can keep your credit utilization low.
Half of All Credit Card Users Have Carried a Balance
In the past 12 months, half of all credit card users carried a balance at least once based on Federal Reserve data. While families with higher income levels were less likely to report revolving a balance, the proportion of cardholders was substantial across all income levels.
Sometimes, carrying a balance can’t be helped. However, if you expect to have to carry a balance in advance, applying for a 0% introductory APR card can buy you a number of months to pay off your balance without accruing interest expenses.
Average Credit Card Debt Decreased in 2021
In 2021, the average credit card debt was $ 5,221, or about 1.8% lower than in 2020. This decrease makes a major difference collectively. Compared to 2019, total credit card balances in the country are now $ 71 billion lower.
Although this is a good sign, credit card interest rates are often high and working toward a zero balance will help you avoid interest charges. There are several credit card payoff strategies that can be effective as you strive toward that goal.
Credit Card Delinquencies Dropped Below 2%
Credit card delinquency rates remained below 2% throughout all of 2021. Those rates represent the lowest they’ve been in at least 20 years and a great improvement compared to previous years. Similarly, credit card charge-offs (the number of accounts written off by card issuers) is also near all-time lows.
Paying off your credit card bill in full every month is always the best course of action, but when that’s not possible, it’s still important to make the minimum payment. By making the minimum payment, you’ll avoid a delinquent mark on your credit report as well as avoiding several credit card fees.
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Credit card use is widespread and continues to be a major player in our financial lives. Although many cardholders still have some debt and may carry a balance, we’re seeing positive changes in how credit cards are being used and paid. Trends toward lower balances, delinquencies and charge-offs show that cardholders are moving in the right direction even as the number of card users has reached an all-time high.