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Credit Card Ownership Statistics & Facts – By Income, Credit Score, Education Level & More

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Christy Rodriguez
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Christy Rodriguez

Travel & Finance Content Contributor

87 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 36U.S. States Visited: 31

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a cer...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

32 Published Articles 3117 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Credit cards are a valuable tool for many cardholders. Some people use cards as a convenient way to pay for expenses while earning rewards — and pay balances in full each month. Others pay steep interest fees to defer expenses until a later date.

Are you curious about who owns credit cards? Find out how many cards people own on average and learn whether ownership is related to factors like income, education level, or gender. Does how many cards you own relate to what state you live in or how old you are? And most importantly, how do you compare? Get the facts here.

General Credit Card Ownership — 6 Quick Facts

  1. 82% of adults living in the U.S. had at least 1 credit card in 2022.¹
  2. The average American owns 3.84 credit cards.²
  3. There are 441 million credit card accounts open within the U.S.
  4. 54.3% of 20-year-olds have opened their first credit card or are an authorized user on someone’s account.
  5. While the type of card owned varies by generation, cash-back cards are the most popular type of credit card.
  6. On average, women have 4.5 open credit cards, while men have 3.6.²

Average Number of Credit Cards Owned by State

Average Number of Credit Cards by State
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

New Jersey had the most credit cards open per person: 4.54 accounts on average. Alaska consumers had the least number of credit cards — on average, only 3.06 credit card accounts open per person.²

This doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with the amount of debt each state holds. For example, Alaska is also home to cardholders with the most debt. The District of Columbia, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland round out the other top locations for credit card users with the most debt on average. Experian data shows some of the lowest average credit card debt balances are in the Midwest.

Credit Card Ownership by Age/Generation

Credit Card Ownership by Age Generation
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

When you break credit card ownership down by generation, you’ll see that older age groups typically carry the most credit cards. For example, on average, people between the ages of 40 and 74 had 4+ credit cards open.

On the flip side, younger generations are the fastest-growing group, according to Experian data. Generation Z increased their open credit card accounts by more than 9% in 2020 from 2019. That’s notable, considering Generation Z ranges from ages 18 to 23, an age when card approvals aren’t typically plentiful.

Bottom Line:

While you can apply for a card at 18, it can be difficult to get approved if you’re under 21. Check out the best credit cards for college students and recent graduates for suggestions on cards that may be a fit if you’re just getting started.

Credit Card Ownership by Gender

Credit Card Ownership by Gender
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

More than 97 million women (78% of women) and 95 million men (81% of men) in the U.S. have at least 1 credit card.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal law that prohibits credit discrimination on a number of factors — including gender. Still, women are rejected from credit card applications at a higher rate than men (or receive less favorable terms or interest rates), which might account for the lesser percentage of ownership. 

Confidence also appears to play a role in those who apply: 61% of men reported feeling “very confident of approval,” while only 56% of women reported feeling the same.

Credit Card Ownership by Credit Score

Credit Card Accounts by Credit Score 2022
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Superprime (credit scores 759+) and prime (credit scores between 680 and 759) borrowers make up most open credit card accounts, with over 72% of all open accounts. There is a continued shift back towards subprime accounts, especially since the drop in 2020.

Total credit card accounts increased to 441 million accounts in 2022. This is an increase from 411 million accounts from the same period in 2021. In addition, nearly half of the accounts are superprime.

Credit Card Ownership by Income

Income levels have a significant impact on card ownership. Among households with an annual income of over $100,000, 98% have a credit card. Those making between $50,000 and $100,000 annually still have a high percentage of credit card ownership at 94%. Once the household income drops below $25,000, however, credit card ownership drops steeply to 57%.¹

Depending on the number of members in the household, well over half of credit card owners might fall within the Department of Health and Human Services’ poverty guidelines. For example, for a family of 4 in 2023, the poverty level is $30,000.

Credit Card Ownership by Race/Ethnicity

Credit Card Ownership by Race Ethnicity
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal law that prohibits credit discrimination, including race. Still, credit card ownership isn’t equal across racial and ethnic lines.

More than 92% of Asian and 87% of white adults had a credit card in 2023. Meanwhile, only 73% of Hispanic and 71% of Black adults owned a credit card.

Credit card use also varied by race and ethnicity. For example, while Asian adults had the largest percentage of ownership, less than 3 in 10 carried a balance on their card at least once during 2023. Black and Hispanic adults were more likely to carry balances on their credit cards than other racial or ethnic groups, at 78% and 62%, respectively.¹

Credit Card Ownership and Disability Status

Disability status can also impact levels of card ownership. For example, among those who have a disability, 69% own a credit card. This is compared to 82% card ownership for those without a disability.¹

This statistic shows that there are notable gaps in access to financial services, especially when you factor in that those with a disability are also less likely to have a bank account as compared to those without a disability. 10% of those with a disability do not have a bank account, compared to 5% for those without a disability.¹

Final Thoughts

Overall, credit cards are tools that consumers can use to their benefit. Differences in credit card ownership vary by age, income, gender, race, and even location. If you’re considering opening a new credit card, being well-informed about these differences is important.

Fair access across protected groups as well as knowledge about what factors (such as a good credit score) can put you at an advantage are key facts when it comes to credit card ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does everyone own a credit card?

According to the Federal Reserve, 82% of people in the U.S. own at least 1 credit card. This includes all eligible adults (18+). Most people own more than 1 credit card.

Can a credit card have 2 owners?

Yes, there are 3 ways to share credit card ownership: authorized users, joint account holders, and co-signers. These factor into the statistics we’ve included above.

How many credit card holders are in the U.S.?

There are 441 million open credit card accounts in the U.S.! This has steadily increased since the pandemic, with the average American having 3.84 credit cards.

How many credit cards do most people own?

The average American owns 3.84 credit cards, according to Experian.

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About Christy Rodriguez

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a certified CPA.

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