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21 Interesting Facts About Credit Cards

If you’re like most American adults, you have at least one credit card – but do you know the most popular uses for the plastic in your wallet?

Ali Hardy Apr 29, 2019

More than 75 percent of Americans have at least one credit card. Whether it’s a dip, tap or swipe, credit card transactions number in the billions each year. Following are answers to popular questions about everyday Americans’ credit card use.

How many credit cards should I have?

The average American has 3.1 credit cards (these are general use, branded credit cards — not store cards). Utah and Idaho fall a little below the national average with 2.95 and 2.88 per person, respectively.

Most people in the U.S. have at least one credit card. In fact, a 2018 Statista survey revealed that 83 percent of Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 have a credit card, and 52 percent have two or more.

What’s the average credit score?

The average credit score in the U.S. is 675. Utah and Idaho’s average is slightly higher at 683 and 681, respectively. 

What purchases are credit cards used for typically?

The top five most common credit card uses are:

  • Home renovations - 46.3 percent
  • Vacations - 46 percent
  • Medical emergencies - 41.5 percent 
  • Weddings - 35.7 percent
  • Business expenses - 17.7 percent

How are consumers using their credit cards?

For 33 percent of consumers, credit cards are their favorite form of payment. When it comes to shopping online, credit cards are the top payment method of choice.

In contrast, credit card holders are least likely to pay for small purchases with their cards. For a purchase under $10, only 23 percent of credit cardholders use their card. Typically, Americans prefer to make bigger purchases with credit. On average, $25 is the median purchase total at which consumers say it makes sense to use credit.

Where are credit cards most commonly used?

More than half of all credit card holders use their cards for everyday spending. Credit cards are the preferred way to pay at department stores, followed by gas stations and grocery stores. The use of credit cards at department stores is likely due to most consumers preferring credit cards for more expensive purchases.

When it comes to dining, American consumers are more likely to use credit cards at dine-in restaurants, compared to fast food restaurants or coffee shops.

What is the credit utilization rate?

The credit utilization rate indicates how much a cardholder currently owes compared to their total limit, and the average  is 30 percent.

Based on these insights, it’s certainly fair to say that credit cards are a part of daily life for most Americans. If you’re shopping for a new credit card, consider a Zions Bank Amazing Rate credit card, a Zions Bank Amazing Cash Back credit card or a Zions Bank Amazing Rewards credit card, or compare all three and see which one is right for you.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval. Terms, conditions and restrictions apply. See a banker for details.

Ali Hardy is a freelance writer for Zions Bank.

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