November 13, 2009

Average Number of Credit Cards Per Person

Right now in my wallet I've got 4 credit cards. I have my Amex card via Costco that I use for most everything to get the rewards, I have a Citibank Mastercard that is my backup for places that don't take Amex, plus I also have another Mastercard and a Discovercard that I don't really use. I also have 3 different debit cards. Hmm, I carry too many cards don't I?

How many credit cards do we have?

This report on the Federal Reserve site from 2007 says that we had 4.6 credit cards per person. Almost 5 credit cards per person.

The statistics page on says that "In the fourth quarter of 2008 ... Overall, consumers had an average of 5.4 cards" and they cite Experian as the source.

From Census data in 2006 there were 1,488 million credit cards total in the country and the Census also said there were 114 million households in 2006. That works out to 13 credit cards per household. But that number also includes "Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP), phone cards, automobile rental, and miscellaneous cards" If you exclude those then you get a number of about 10.5 cards per household.


  1. BTW, if you don't mind carrying another card, Schwab's Invest First VISA card is pretty nice: 2% cash back (in real cash, not points that you can redeem) and no foreign transaction fee.

    I guess I have something like 6 credit cards, but these days, I use only one card (the Schwab one, since that gives me most cash back under most situations, except at Costco); the others stay at home (with zero balance on them, of course).

  2. Byung, that Schwab card is one of the best rewards cards around for sure. 2% is about the best cash back you can get. But oddly I can't seem to find a current link to apply for the Schwab Visa. I wonder if they've stopped giving them or if they just hid the application somewhere I can't find it?

    I tend to switch rewards cards as I find new and better deals. I switched to the Amex Costo card sometime last year since it gives 1% on everything plus 3% on restaurants and a fair amount of my spending is at restaurants.

  3. Hm. You are right. The old links I had are not working any more, and link where the link to application used to be doesn't show that option any more.

    I am not sure what that means, though ...


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