The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, June 15, 2024

53 Illuminating Credit Card Usage Statistics (2024)

Credit Card Usage Statistics
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Cooperation is at the heart of the intertwined relationships among consumers, merchants, credit card issuers, and the networks supporting them.

Consumers drive digital transformation in financial services by demanding greater convenience and flexibility. Merchants adapt to consumer demand by expanding how they accept payments.

Issuers compete for business by creating more effective and lucrative consumer incentives and better financial management tools. Networks look for ways to streamline transactions and costs for greater effectiveness.

Together, credit card stakeholders drive innovation, growth, and progress. This list of illuminating credit card usage statistics will help you understand how credit cards define and extend the financial ecosystem.

Credit Card Usage By the Numbers

1. According to 2024 data, the average monthly consumer debt payment, including credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages, is $1,225. Most of that debt is in mortgages, but monthly credit card payments are rising significantly, from $152 in 2020 to $202 in 2023. That’s a 15% increase from 2022.1

2. According to 2023 data, consumers hold an average of 3.9 credit cards. That number is down from 4.15 per person in 2017, but card ownership has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.2

3. According to 2023 data, credit card debt as a share of disposable income is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels. That metric was up to 4.98%, a slight but significant increase from 4.84% the previous quarter.3

Total credit card debt

4. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report for Q4 2023 placed total U.S. credit card debt at $1.13 trillion, up $50 billion (4.6%) from the previous quarter and another in a series of increases.4

5. Visa held the largest (40%) global credit card market share in 2023. China’s UnionPay held the second spot with 32%. Mastercard came in third with 24% of the market. Other networks, including Amex and Discover, accounted for only 4% of global credit card transaction volume.5

6. In April 2024, the median average credit card interest rate was 24.37%.6

7. After paying down credit card debt during the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are building it back up again. Data from Q3 2023 reported that average bankcard utilization per consumer stood at 24.1%. That figure was 24.6% in Q3 2019, before the pandemic.7

8. Credit cards are the most popular retail payment method in the U.S. A 2024 report forecasts a total U.S. credit card transaction volume of $3.84 trillion in 2025.8

Credit card preferences

9. U.S. consumers use cash in only 12% of in-store transactions. Most consumers (81%) prefer to pay with cards.9

10. A 2022 survey reported that only 14% of Americans used cash for all or most purchases. That figure decreased from 18% in 2018 and 24% in 2015.10

11. Credit card penetration in India was 4.6% in 2021, far lower than most large nations.11

12. According to a 2024 report, 85 U.S. companies issue credit cards; 3,788 companies process credit cards and money transfers.12

Worldwide credit card balances

13. Most consumers are comfortable carrying credit card balances. Worldwide, more than 60% of cardholders carry a balance on their cards.5

14. U.S. consumers use debit cards for 31% of in-store transactions.9

15. Americans carry four credit cards on average and make 210 purchases annually using credit cards.12

16. According to Q4 2023 data, Americans held nearly 595 million credit card accounts, up from about 590 million the previous quarter.4

17. Credit card transactions account for 70.2% of U.S. retail sales.9

18. Visa processed about $14.5 trillion in payments and managed about 4.2 billion cards in 2023. Mastercard processed about $9 trillion in payments and managed about 2.9 billion cards. Discover processed about $589 billion and managed about 305 million cards. American Express processed about $221 billion in payments and managed about 141 million cards.12

19. Only about 13% of U.S. cardholders fall into the subprime or deep subprime categories, with credit scores below 580.12

Cash use patterns

20. A 2022 survey reported that 41% of Americans never use cash. That figure increased from 29% in 2018 and 24% in 2015.10

21. U.S. Visa- and Mastercard-holding consumers spend 21.4% more via debit transactions than credit.9

22. About 24% of U.S. cardholders fall into the prime or near-prime categories, with credit scores between 620 and 719.12

23. Most U.S. cardholders (64%) have credit scores above 720.12

24. Available credit for U.S. credit cards stood at $3.66 trillion in Q4 2023, up from $3.63 trillion the previous quarter. There’s a race happening between increases in card limits and increases in utilization.4

25. In fiscal year 2022, Americans charged $5.54 trillion to Visa credit cards.9

Credit card delinquency patterns

26. Credit card delinquency rates vary by age. In Q4 2023 data, the delinquency rate among users aged 18-29 was 9.65%. Those aged 60-69 had the lowest delinquency rate at 4.42%.4

27. A shrinking percentage of Americans use cash for at least some purchases. Survey data from 2022 reported only 44% fell into that category, down from 52% in 2018.10

28. Data from Q4 2023 reported that 8.52% of U.S. card balances were delinquent by 30 or more days.

29. U.S. consumers are 40% more likely to transact with credit cards than cash.9

Average credit card transaction

30. Americans spend an average of $90.89 on each credit card transaction.9

31. Americans have more credit to use. Total U.S. credit card limits increased by $74 billion (1.6%) to $4.79 trillion in Q4 2023. That was a relatively modest increase after 10 consecutive quarters of larger increases.4

32. According to a 2024 report, cumulative daily credit card transactions in the U.S. numbered 148 million.12

33. Credit card penetration in Bangladesh and Morocco was about 1% in 2021.11

34. Data from 2023 revealed credit line increases across all borrower classes. Superprime credit lines stood at $12,046, up 0.7% from the previous quarter. Prime credit lines stood at $7,392, up 2%. Subprime credit lines stood at $3,190, up 1.3%.3

35. Credit card delinquency is an increasing problem. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report for Q4 2023 reported an annualized credit card delinquency rate of 8.5%.4

High-income card use

36. According to a 2022 survey, only 41% of Americans with household incomes of $100,000 or more used cash for typical retail purchases. That figure decreased from 57% in 2018 and 64% in 2015.10

37. In 2023, Americans spent an estimated $4.98 trillion on credit cards out of a total of $7.48 trillion in retail spending.9

38. The total number of U.S. credit card accounts continues to rise among all borrower classes. Data from 2023 revealed that the number of superprime accounts stood at 215 million, up from 209 million the previous year. Prime accounts stood at 127 million, up from 122 million the previous year. Subprime accounts stood at 99 million, up from 80 million the previous year.3

39. The likelihood of using cash exclusively decreases with income. Survey data from 2022 reported that 30% of consumers with incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 are more reliant on cash than those who are more affluent. Only 4% of consumers with incomes above $100,000 were exclusive cash users.10

40. U.S. shoppers spend up to three times as much using credit cards instead of cash.9

41. Cash use varies by race. In a 2022 survey, about a quarter of Black adults (26%) and 21% of Hispanic adults said they paid cash for all or almost all of their typical weekly purchases. Only 12% of white adults fell into that category.10

42. In fiscal year 2021, U.S. consumers charged $2.899 trillion to Mastercard credit cards.9

Revolvers versus transactors

43. Most credit card holders are revolvers, meaning they carry debt from month to month. The share of revolving accounts in Q3 2023 was 43.4%, up 1.17 percentage points from the previous quarter. The number of transactors (those who pay their debt in full every month) stood at 33.6%. Dormant accounts comprised 23% of the total.3

44. The average daily credit card purchase rate in the U.S. was $14.2 billion in 2023.12

45. Older Americans are more likely to keep cash on hand “just in case.” In a 2022 survey, 71% of Americans aged 50 or above reported keeping cash on hand compared with 45% of adults under 50 who said the same.10

46. According to 2023 data, credit lines for new accounts increased across all borrower classes. Credit lines for new superprime accounts stood at $9,453, up 4.4% from the previous quarter. Credit lines for new prime accounts stood at $5,000, up 6.1%. Credit lines for new subprime accounts stood at $2,132, up 5%.3

47. Hundreds of millions of merchants worldwide accept credit cards. About 44 million accept Visa, 37 million accept MasterCard, 31 million accept AMEX, and 30 million accept Discover.5

Card ownership patterns

48. Credit card usage varies with age. Gen Xers (aged 43-58) and baby boomers (aged 59-77) hold an average of 4.3 cards, the most per person. Millennials (aged 27-42) and members of the silent generation (aged 78+) are next at 3.5 cards per person. Gen Zers (aged 18-26) hold only two cards per person.2

49. A substantial percentage of U.S. credit card debt flows into serious delinquency (90 or more days past due). The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report for Q4 2023 noted that 6.36% of total credit card debt was in serious delinquency.4

50. Canada had the highest credit card adoption rate globally in 2023, with 83%. In the U.S., 68% of adults held credit cards. Israel and Norway reported higher credit card adoption percentages than the U.S. Both were above 70%.5

51. Most American adults (183.9 million, or 70%) have a credit card account in their name.9

52. In Q3 2023, the average credit card balance per consumer stood at $6,088, up 11% from the previous year.7

53. The average number of credit cards per consumer tends to be higher in more populous states. Alaska, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming have the fewest cards per consumer (about 3.3). Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have the most cards per consumer (4.2 or higher). New Jersey has the most, at 4.5.2

In Conclusion

Today, credit cards are so common that it’s challenging to remember how consumers managed without them.

They offer levels of speed, convenience, flexibility, and security that cash can’t match. Money is disappearing as a result.

Consult these credit card usage statistics for insights into credit cards’ impressive impact and effectiveness.

Data Sources: