Australian credit card stats

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 12th October 2021

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

Credit card use is gradually declining, with debit cards used for 44% of purchases in 2019 and credit cards used for 19% of purchases.

The shift away from credit cards is being led by millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996), with 90% of that demographic avoiding 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.

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 also impacting credit card use, with the biggest users of BNPL (more than 30%) in the 30-39 age bracket.

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.