Credit cards are among the most common payment methods in the world, used by one out of every five consumers. Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store or online store, offering it as a payment option can facilitate and even encourage checkouts. 

In the United States, as many as 87% of small businesses accept credit card payments. But the use of credit cards isn’t equal across countries, and as you consider whether to adopt them for your store, you need to better understand how widespread their usage is. Here’s a look at the breakdown of credit card use by country and territory.

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Credit card penetration by country and territory

Recent data on credit card use by country and territory shows that Canada has the highest penetration rate, defined as the percentage of consumers aged 15 and above who own a credit card. More than four out of every five (82.7%) consumers in Canada have credit cards. For context, the global average is 24.5%—around one in four. 

Canada’s advancement in digital payments is worth highlighting. In 2022, the average consumer there made digital payments worth $4,082—double the global average of $2,040. At 96.2%, the country also has one of the highest debit card penetration rates.

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The country with the second-highest credit card penetration rate is Israel. 79.1% of buyers there own credit cards. But unlike Canada, debit card ownership is considerably lower, at just 30.6%. 

Hong Kong ranks third on the list ranking credit card use by country and territory, with a penetration rate of 71.6%. This is followed by Japan, with 69.7%. Rounding out the top five is Switzerland, where 69.2% of the population owns a credit card. The value of digital payments made by the average Swiss consumer in 2022 was $7,202—the highest across all countries and territories and more than three times the average worldwide. 

South Korea is the country or territory with the sixth-highest credit card penetration rate, with 68.4%. This is followed by Norway and the US, in joint-seventh place. The credit card penetration rate in both these countries is 66.7%—one-third of their populations. 

Taiwan and the United Kingdom round out the list comparing credit card penetration by country and territory, with rates of 63.8% and 62.1%, respectively.

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