10 Interesting Credit Card Facts and Statistics that Consumers Need to Know

It's hard to imagine a world without credit cards. From paying for gas to buying groceries, we depend greatly on our credit cards. In 2019 alone, the total value of credit card transactions amounted to $3.9 million in the United States. Cashless payments, especially credit card payments, have definitely become the norm in many countries, even more so during the pandemic. 

If you want to know some trivia about credit card usage, credit card debt statistics, or consumer debt in general, we've got you covered. Read on for some interesting facts about credit cards. 


10 Interesting Credit Card Facts and Statistics

Here are some interesting credit card facts and statistics that might surprise you:

1. American Express launched the first credit card made out of plastic in 1959. The previous year, it launched one of the first iterations of the credit card, which was made of cardboard. 

2. Bank of America aggressively promoted the use of the first revolving-credit cards in 1959 by way of junk mail. It tested out what's called the "Fresno drop," which involved mailing out 60,000 BankAmericards to local residents. 

3. Historians say Franklin National Bank created the first true credit card. It came with a buy now, pay later scheme with interest. 

4. According to Forbes.com, the most popular types of credit cards in 2022 are the Chase Freedom Flex, Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Platinum Card from American Express. 

5. The total number of transactions made through all four major credit card networks (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express) equated to 41 billion, which amounted to an estimated $3.8 trillion. 

6. Credit cards don't really have an expiry date. Though it says so on your card, you can continue using it after its expiration date. The date only serves two purposes: to determine the next date when your credit card issuer will send you a new card and for online and phone purchases where you are not present. The date allows the merchant to validate your ownership of the card. 

7. If you placed all credit cards in circulation end to end, they would cover 88.050 miles, which is the equivalent of 3.5 trips around the globe. 

8. Credit card issuers spend about $80 on marketing and more to acquire new customers, based on a report by the Database Marketing Institute. The ROI for each customer amounts to $120 annually, so $80 isn't so bad. 

9. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but card interest rates are at the mercy of credit card issuers. Federally chartered banks are free to determine the interest rates for your card since they’re not mandated to follow credit limits set by the states for the rate. 

10. The first two digits of your card identification number determine the type of industry that released the card. For instance, if your credit card number begins with a 1 or 2, then an airline issued it.  

Credit Card Statistics by Demographics

  • Credit card delinquency rates are higher among younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. They have a 76% higher delinquency rate than others.
  • White adults have the highest average credit card balances per person of any racial group ($6,900), according to an analysis by MoneyGeek. On the other hand, black adults and African American cardholders had the lowest average debt ($3,900).
  • In terms of income levels, Americans who belong to the 60th to 79.9th annual income percentile were more inclined to have debt (57%) than those below the 20th percentile (30%).
  • Individual consumers who are 75 years and older (mostly baby boomers) had the highest average consumer debt ($8,100), while those under 35 had the lowest debt ($3,700).
  • Per state, Alaska reflected the highest average credit card debt, which is $6,617 per person. Iowa, on the other hand, had the lowest at $4,289. 
  • Hispanic adults used their credit cards "wisely" during the Covid-19 crisis, based on a survey of Debt.com. According to the survey, Latinos in the United States and Puerto Rico cut back on using their payment cards, paid more than the minimum month-to-month payment, and looked into using cards with low-interest rates.

Credit Card Debt Statistics

Credit Card Trivia Questions and Answers

Now that you've read through all the facts and statistics above, you may still have some questions about the origins of the credit card, as well as its anatomy and key features. Below are some commonly asked questions about payment cards, an

What was the first credit card called? 

After founder Frank McNamara left his wallet at home while dining out, he decided to create the Diners Club credit card. The card was widely considered a predecessor to the modern charge card.

What are the 3 digits on the back of a credit card called? 

The identifying codes on your credit cards are CSCs (Card Security Codes). The three-digit CSCs are CVV (Card Verification Value) on Visa cards or CVCs (Card Verification Codes) on Mastercards.

Can someone use your card without providing the CVV?

To charge a credit card, only the number, expiry date, and amount are required. The card can still be charged without the CVV. As part of their anti-fraud mechanisms, most merchants will require the CVV and/or postal code. 

What is the nickname for credit cards?

You might hear credit cards referred to as "plastic," "plastic money," or "bank cards" (although these words are used to refer to debit cards too).

Where did the first cardless transaction occur?  

Mobil, a petrol company, introduced Speedpass in 1997, allowing customers to make fast and contactless payments at gas stations.

How can you validate the credit card number?

The Luhn algorithm, which uses the checksum formula, can be used to check the validity of a credit card. Every second digit needs to be doubled, beginning on the right. 1111 becomes 2121, for example. Afterward, you need to add all the digits. If the sum is divisible by 10, it means that the credit number is valid. Otherwise, it’s invalid. Merchants use this algorithm to authenticate credit cards before receiving their customers’ payments to steer clear of credit card fraud. 


There you have it. These are some lesser-known facts and credit card usage statistics across America as of late. 

Credit cards are here to stay and will continue to have a major role in people's financial lives. Although many credit card users are still burdened with debt, we're seeing positive changes in how consumers use their credit cards and pay off their balances. Besides, recent trends point to the fact that balances, charge-offs, and delinquency rates are showing signs of improvement even as credit card ownership continues to rise.

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