Australian credit card stats

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 5th August 2022

Australian Credit Card Stats

With more than 13 million personal credit cards in use in Australia, it’s fair to say the country is awash with plastic.

These are some of the key Australian credit card stats and facts.

How are Australians using their credit cards?

Credit card usage

Number of personal credit cards in Australia: 13,259,647

Number of purchases: $3.064 billion (August 2020-July 2021)

Value of purchases: $310 billion (August 2020-July 2021)

Total balances: $36 billion (July 2021)

Value of repayments: $27.29 billion (July 2021)

Average balance per credit card: $2,715

Average number of monthly purchases per credit card: 18

Average credit card purchase: $104

What credit cards cost

Fees and charges

Annual fees

There is a huge range of annual fees for credit cards in Australia.

Many have zero fees while others can charge more than $1,000 each year.

The biggest annual fee is attached to the invitation-only American Express Centurion card, or Amex Black, which attracts an annual fee of $5000.

Interest charges

The average annual credit card interest rate in Australia is 19.94%.

Fee charges

In 2019, credit card companies charged $1.5 billion overall in fees.

Do consumers like using credit cards?

Consumer sentiment

A study of 110 randomly-selected high-volume credit card-related search keywords from March 2019 to March 2022 carried out by Finty revealed a strong post-pandemic rebound in searches for credit cards.

Biggest gainers

KeywordMarch 2019March 2020March 2021March 20222022 v 2021
westpac low rate credit card916492320125374%
velocity credit cards6403599133373%
credit card offers8878011253454372%
nab rewards credit card32537825285571%
citi credit card818571398120867%
credit cards balance transfers44281229688567%
anz cancel credit card53082330579462%
best rewards credit card990413401104161%
credit card qantas points746625474122161%
american express credit card14161134740189761%

Biggest losers

KeywordMarch 2019March 2020March 2021March 20222022 v 2021
anz credit card offers148302402301-34%
best balance transfer credit cards12981037955700-36%
gem visa1218621032096939149904-39%
anz balance transfer8081628832580-43%
go mastercard1320071479799352162807-49%
balance transfer4537393021691421-53%
0 interest credit card510498745446-67%
balance transfer offers43414445818461-77%
0 balance transfer19391591669284-136%
westpac activate card58210261668405-312%

Key takeaways from the study

  • 81% of keywords in the study experienced growth from 2021 to 2022.
  • Travel-related keywords experienced the strongest growth, up 53% on average from 2021 to 2022.
  • 75% of keywords related to activating a new credit card were up from 2021 to 2022.
  • Searches for balance transfer-related keywords were up just 2% from 2021 to 2022.
  • Only a third of balance transfer-related keywords have returned to pre-pandemic 2019 volumes.
  • Search volume for credit cards from the Big Four banks is up 18% on average from 2021 to 2022.
    • ANZ: +24%
    • CommBank: +48%
    • NAB: +37%
    • Westpac: -31%

Search keyword data retrieved from Ahrefs in June 2022. Complete search keyword data is available here.

Who's in the market?

Issuers

There are four main credit card companies, but the market is dominated by just two - Mastercard and Visa, with American Express and Diners Club bringing up the rear.

Reserve Bank statistics (July, 2021), show Mastercard and Visa’s dominance.

Share of number of purchases

Mastercard and Visa: 92.8%

American Express and Diners Club: 7.2%

Share of value of purchases

Mastercard and Visa: 83.6%

American Express and Diners Club: 16.4%

Issuers

There are at least 70 credit card issuers in Australia.

A powerful challenger

Credit cards vs BNPL

The increasing popularity of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services — they were used for about $10bn of purchase in Australia and New Zealand in 2019/20 —is impacting credit card use, with the biggest users of BNPL (more than 30%) in the 30-39 age bracket.

90% of millennials avoid using credit cards. Reasons include:

  • Simply not wanting to use credit.
  • Concerns over credit card debt.
  • Wanting to avoid credit card fees and interest rates.
  • A preference for spending their own money.
  • Not being able to be approved for a credit card.