Credit cards were first introduced to Australians in 1974 by Bankcard and have become the most popular payment method nationwide since then.
Are credit cards common in Australia?
Let’s take a closer look inside Oceania’s central economy zone, and delve into the most impressive credit card statistics in Australia.
10 Fascinating Credit Card Statistics
- 68% of Australians have a credit card
- Australians made more than 400 credit and debit card transactions per capita in 2020
- 41% of Aussies take out a credit card for emergencies
- As of 2019, the average credit card limit is estimated to be $9.800
- 52% of people in Australia take money out of their savings to pay off debts
- In 2019, 49% of online payments were made by using credit cards
- Gen Z Aussies pay off their credit card debts in 4.5 months
- In 2021, there were 4.2 million card frauds in Australia
- The average credit card debt in Australia is valued at $3.357
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia has credit card assets worth $8.1 billion
General Credit Card Statistics in Australia
1. 13.7 million people in Australia own a credit card.
(QSuper) (Reserve Bank of Australia) (Illion)
Credit card numbers in Australia provided by RBA reveal that by 2022, there were 13,157,721 credit card accounts, while 17 million bank cards were in circulation. On the other hand, there were only 0.8 million business credit cards.
2. In 2021, the credit card payment value was estimated at $311 billion.
The pandemic, combined with the rising popularity of contactless payments and online shopping, influenced a significant growth in credit card payments. Namely, the market gained $298 billion in 2020, and exceeded that achievement by 8.3% the following year.
Moreover, Global Data foresees a continuation of growth by 6.6% CAGR till 2025.
3. Australia’s card transactions had a value of $801.7 million in 2020.
All types of card transactions experienced an ongoing increase of value up to 2019, when the estimated worth reached $819.6 million, an expansion from the $789.3 million of the previous year.
4. In 2019, Australians spent $333.72 billion on credit card purchases.
The total credit card expenditure has expanded gradually throughout the years, starting from $228.36 billion in 2010. Fast forward to 2017, the outlay had escalated to an astonishing $316.35 billion, which then multiplied to $326.62 billion just a year later.
Australia’s Ecommerce statistics reveal that 53% of all web purchases in 2020 were conducted with credit cards.
5. As of 2019, the average credit card limit is estimated to be $9.800.
What is the average credit card limit in Australia? Statistics show that Aussies tend to have a high credit limit of $9,833.34. However, quite the opposite, the average credit card interest rate generally has a low value of 19.77%, even at its best, and it can go down to 13.03%.
6. Australians made more than 400 credit and debit card transactions per capita in 2020.
(Reserve Bank of Australia)
Electronic payments have largely overstepped all the other payment methods in Australia as of 2020. Although direct cash transactions were the main form of payment, especially at their height in 2007 with 320 transactions per person, they have since dropped significantly.
In 2020, there were less than 200 cash transactions per capita, compared to 560 electronic transactions.
7. Credit card issuance has a market size of $7.1 billion.
Australia’s credit card issuance market share has notably plummeted since the $10.9 billion peak in 2015. The market share value especially took a giant leap from the $8.7 billion in 2020, when it fell to $6.8 billion the succeeding year.
Consequently, this industry’s market size growth has gone as low as -7.9%, evaluated from 2017 right up to the present day.
8. In 2020, Aussies on average made a credit card transaction of $109.
(Statista)Credit card transactions have suffered a subtle decline in value in recent years. Throughout the financial year of 2015, Australians generally made transactions of $132. The transaction worth dropped to $111 in 2019.
9. The average value of credit card transactions in Australia has decreased.
After reaching the peak value of $132 in 2015, credit card transactions have lowered their worth year by year. For example, in 2019, numbers had dropped to $111, plummeting even further in the following year to an average value of $109.
On the other hand, the rise of buy now pay later among Australians is noticeable.
10. Commonwealth Bank of Australia has credit card assets worth $8.1 billion.
Commonwealth is Australia’s first choice among credit card companies, overflowing the market with more than $8 billion of profit. Westpac Banking Corporation is close behind, with $6.5 billion worth of credit assets.
It is followed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (AU$5.4 billion), National Australia Bank Ltd. (AU$3.9 billion), and Citigroup Pty Ltd. (AU$3.5 billion).
Australians and Credit Cards Usage
11. 41% of Aussies take out a credit card for emergencies.
There are many advantages to possessing a credit card, but precaution for financial emergencies takes the number one spot for Aussies. Rewards and flyer points (38%) were another benefit that people in Australia deemed important, along with establishing their credit (18%).
Now and then, Aussies want to make a big splurge (21%), and credit cards come in handy in those situations, as they do with paying off debts (11%).
12. Australian men own more credit cards than women.
The latest statistics show a substantial gender gap in ownership of credit cards. Men in their 40s prove to be the greatest target of this industry, owning up to 1.8 million credit cards, while women of the same age group have only 1.3 million. That may be just a result of Australia’s current gender pay gap, showing that Australian women are paid 13.4% less than men.
Unsurprisingly, older Aussies have the least amount of bank cards, with men ageing over 80 owning 254,000 credit card accounts, and women with 225,000.
13. Sydneysiders have 3.2 million credit cards.
As expected, Australia’s capital city attracts a broader audience interested in the benefits of electronic payments, occupying 22% of the market. Melbourne ranks closest to the top with almost 3 million credit cards, which translates as a 20% share. In comparison, other regions own a lower percent, with Darwin (0.5%) ending up on the lower end of the scale.
14. 8% of Aussies have been rejected for credit card issuance.
Although most people in Australia have transitioned to electronic transactions, a small portion hasn’t been able to enjoy the privileges of owning a credit card. Unsteady income (36%) is the most common reason banks decide to reject issuances, with Aussies drowning in debts (22%) coming in second, and bad credit scores (21%) being right behind.
15. 68% of Australians have a credit card.
What percentage of Australians have credit cards? More than half of the Australian population owns at least one credit card. Out of them, millennials are more likely to possess two cards (21%), even though the majority of this age group has only one bank card (43%).
Middle-aged Aussies have the widest portion of people who own more than three cards, with an exact share of 8%, while elders are just 1% behind.
16. In 2019, 49% of online payments were made by using credit cards.
(J. P. Morgan)
Which payment method do Aussies find most sufficient in electronic commerce? Almost half of Australians pick credit cards as the easiest and most reliable way to spend cash on the internet. Digital wallets are close behind with a 23% share, followed by bank transfers (15%).
17. Aussies made overseas purchases worth $1.3 million in 2019.
Overseas purchasing rates had been slippery over the year distance from February 2018 up to the same month of the succeeding year. Australia reached the highest amount of purchases in July of 2018, a number of $2 million, which dropped a bit, but quickly recovered with a substantial amount of $1.8 million in January of 2019.
However, the next month it suffered a loss of half a million dollars.
Credit Card Debt Statistics
18. The average credit card debt in Australia is valued at $3.357.
(Mozo) (Rate City)
Australian credit card debt has risen again to a very worrying level, even though Aussies spent $4.28 million less on credit card expenses. What is more concerning is that there were 14,276 credit card accounts less in 2022, yet debts are still at a shocking level of $17.39 billion, all while the accruing debt interest reached $148.7 million.
Credit card debt accounts for 1.9% of overall consumer debt in Australia.
19. The average time for Australians to pay off their credit card debt is 6.5 months.
Australians, on average, take up half a year to clear off their debts. However, the male population takes care of their cash obligations fairly quicker than females do, as men typically need 6.2 months to pay the money back, while women take 6.9 months.
20. 52% of people in Australia take money out of their savings to pay off debts.
More than half of Australians would access their emergency savings to clear off credit card debts, while 18% would ask family or friends for help. Another 18% would call the bank to cover some expenses, and only 5% stated that they would miss a payment.
21. Gen Z Aussies pay off their credit card debts in 4.5 months.
Gen Z people seem to be more dependable regarding credit card debts, compared to the older Australians. They are followed by:
- Baby boomers – 5.6 months
- Gen Y – 6.7 months
- Gen X – 4.9 months
Credit Cards Fraud Stats
22. In 2021, there were 4.2 million card frauds in Australia.
(Australian Payment Network)
Australian payment fraud statistics reveal that most scams are made through bank cards, with 69.617 proprietary debit card frauds and 4.1 million scheme credit, debit, and charge card frauds. Those scams took away a terrifying $490 million worth of transactions with a rate of 0.06%.
23. In 2019, the credit card fraud rate was evaluated at 56.6 cents per $1,000.
As much as we don’t like it, bank card fraud can often happen locally and globally. Luckily, payment scam rates had dropped from 73 cents per thousand dollars to 56.6 cents in 2019.
Previously, the rates were stable and at a high level, and this fall represents a significant change in credit card fraud rates.
24. Card Not Present frauds rose to 3.7 million transactions.
(Australian Payments Network)
Online credit card frauds have surpassed all the other payment scam methods, stealing a total of $442 million in 2021. CNPs even exceeded the 277 thousand stolen card transactions that scammed people out of $23.8 million. They are followed by:
- Skimming – $6 million
- Fraudulent Applications – $1.9 million
- Never Received Card – $1.7 million
25. 25% of online traders used a card authorization system for fraud prevention.
(Australian Institute of Criminology)
Small businesses can be a great target for scammers, which is why they have to take precautionary measures to not fall victim to online credit card fraud. More than half of Australian online traders processed electronic authorizations manually, while 25% did it automatically. Only 5% never confirmed transactions electronically.
To decrease their chances of being scammed, they use additional manual screenings in the likes of:
- Phoning or emailing the customer – 55%
- Database of good and bad customers – 41%
- Rejecting suspicious orders – 30%
- Confirming the customer’s address in the phone book – 12%
General Comparison Between the US and Australia Credit Cards Stats
26. 70% of Americans own a credit card.
(Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection)
The United States had roughly 181 million credit card users out of the total 258 million population in 2020. Although the number of American adults using credit cards is substantially larger than that of Aussies, Australia’s credit card user rate is just 2% lower.
27. In 2019, 34% of people in the USA had credit debt of less than 5,000 USD.
America had credit debts worth US$800 billion in the third quarter of 2021 alone, a dramatically higher amount than the Australian AU$17.39 billion debt. Surprisingly, though, 35% of Americans said they don’t have any fee obligations, while 34% owed US$5,000.
Only 12% needed to pay back a sum between US$5,000 and US$9,999, followed by the 8% who had a debt of US$10,000 – US$19,999.
Credit card statistics Australia show that although card payments bring a lot of benefits to the table, they also have a chunk of disadvantages that come along with them.
People can easily get tangled up in frauds and credit card debts, so our advice is to be careful not to fall victim to those traps, and enjoy your relaxing shopping sprees without worry.