The number of credit cards in circulation and the number of people using them are crucial metrics when it comes to understanding both the payments landscape and consumer preferences. Not only do these figures speak to the overall availability of credit, but they also reveal market share by card network and indicate whether most consumers are using a single credit card for all expenses or a few cards targeted to different types of transactions. Furthermore, these statistics speak to the overall popularity of credit as a spending vehicle.
Number of Credit Cards
- There were a total of 1.12 billion credit cards in 2018 and the projection for 2023 is more than 1.25 billion.
- The number of credit cards from the four primary credit card networks (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) was 679 million in 2018.
Total Number of Credit Cards (In Millions)
Number of Credit Cards by Card Type (In Millions)
Number of Cardholders
The number of cardholders in 2018 was 182 million, a growth of about 16.5% compared to 7 years ago, in 2011. By 2023, this number is predicted to grow nearly 6%, to 193 million.
Total Number of Cardholders (In Millions)
Number of Cardholders by Card Type (In Millions)
Number of Credit Card Accounts
The number of credit card accounts reached the highest level in 21 years. It started growing year after year since 2012, rising in 2019 above their pre-crisis levels.
Total Number of Credit Card Accounts (In Millions)
|Year||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q1||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q2||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q3||Number of Credit Card Accounts Q4|
Number of New Credit Card Inquires
By early 2020, inquires for new credit cards had dropped to around 23% of their count in 2015. Card solicitations have turned down over the course of 2016, reaching the lowest levels so far. We encounter similar patterns as in 2009, when offers for new credit cards dropped by one third of their count in 2006.
New Credit Card Inquiries
Number of Credit Cards per Cardholder
8 in 10 U.S. adults (83%) report that they have at least one credit card, and 52% carried a balance in 2019.
According to Federal Reserve survey, credit cards were the most common application types. Although 80% of the credit card applicants were very confident in their chances of approval, 31% reported at least one credit card denial or lower credit offer.
Consumer credit equaled 26.11% of household debt at the end of 2019, up from 25.92 % the prior year. Consumer credit per household was $25,386. Credit card debt was 6.55% of total debt in 2019, up from 6.42% the prior year.
|2019||2018||Change 2019 vs. 2018|
|Average Number of Credit Cards||3.07||3.04||0.99%|
|Average Credit Card Balances||$6,629||$6,506||1.89%|
|Average Credit Card Balance per Capita||$3,390||$3,220||5.28%|
|Average Number of Retail Credit Cards||2.51||2.59||-3.09%|
|Average Retail Credit Card Balances||$1,942||$1,901||2.16%|
|Average Nonmortgage Debt||$25,386||$25,104||1.12%|
|Average Mortgage Debt||$231,599||$208,180||11.25%|