How Does Canada’s Credit Card Usage Compare To The Rest Of The World?


In our last blog, we revisited the topic of credit card usage in Canada and examined a couple of recent studies that proved that Canadians greatly prefer plastic over cash. This is a trend that is only growing. And with each passing year, more and more Canadians prove that our nation is becoming a “cashless society”.

Perhaps, there will never come a day when no one uses cash ever. But we’re sure there will be a day when all business owners decide that accepting credit cards is simply a must in order to keep their businesses afloat. Canada, as we pointed out, has a special affinity for credit cards. And this has been the case for years. A 2011 Canadian Bankers Association report revealed that Canadians collectively held 74.5 millions Visa and MasterCard credit cards.

On average, Canadian adults carry three credit cards each.

“Given that there are fewer than 27 million Canadians over the age of 20, that works out to nearly three per adult,” writes Allan Britnell on, “And that’s just Visa and MasterCard cards. With millions of retail cards issued by stores like the Hudson’s Bay Company and The Brick and it’s no wonder our wallets are bulging, even if there’s no cash in them.”

How does Canada compare to other countries in the world of credit card usage?

United States
Evidently, Americans love credit cards as well. Britnell writes that, according to one report, there were 576 million credit cards in circulation in 2010. Another report estimated that, on average, Americans walk around with six credit cards each!

The English also enjoy using credit cards. In Britnell’s 2012 report, he wrote that there were enough credit cards in circulation to accommodate for each citizen – approximately 60 million. “In a typical month U.K. residents make about 160 million credit cards purchases, at an average of £66 per swipe,” say Britnell, “Collectively, that helps add up to a tidy chunk of the country’s collective $1-trillion pound debt (a figure that includes government, corporate, and all other debts owed).”

Credit card usage isn’t as heavy down under. According to Britnell, the 14 million credit cards in circulation account for one per adult. “In a country with a total population approaching 23 million – cumulative credit card debt is about $50 billion, a little more than $3,000 per cardholder,” he writes.

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with credit cards,” insists Britnell, “In fact, used properly, they are a key tool in a savvy consumer’s tool-belt.\”

Evidently, Canada ranks as one of the highest credit card-using nations in the world. And that means one very important thing for Canadian retailers: accepting credit cards is a must! Do you accept credit cards at your place of business? If not, there’s certainly no reason to wait any longer to change your ways.

Contact Canadian POS Corporation and be sure to ask us about both our Countertop and Wireless POS terminals that allow you to accept all credit cards – Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover – with ease. They accept Interac debit cards as well. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-877-748-2884 or email us at info@localhost.

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