What Is the Size of a Credit Card? (2023)

Last Updated: December 10, 2022 9 min read
Author: Zach L.

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links and we may receive a commission through them, but this is at no additional cost to you. For more information, please read our privacy policy.

A credit card has a standard size of 3.375 inches long by 2.125 inches high. This standard allows for usage across worldwide retailers and credit card machines.

What Is the Size of a Credit Card?

Today, there aren’t many people without credit cards. It’s a useful financial tool that can be used for several functions. Several banks provide credit cards to their customers, and there are many types of cards in general, including credit cards, debit cards, visa cards, etc.

Standard Credit Card Size

The size of a credit card can be measured in two ways: by width and by length. The width is measured from top to bottom, the length from left to right. Most credit cards have the following dimensions 3.375 inches by 2.125 inches or 85.60 millimeters in length by 53.98 millimeters in width (with the edges rounded). The thickness of a credit card is due to the category they fall in of ID-1 (like most ID cards), and the thickness is 0.03 inches or 0.76 millimeters depending on your usage of freedom units or not.

The dimensions of a credit card are the same size as a standard business card and very similar to the size of a standard playing card. There are different sizes of credit cards but that isn't the norm, so your new card will fit in your wallet just like your old one and your identification cards.

Credit card sizes are standard to ensure ease of paying and receiving money. This standard is set by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to remove any inconveniences. The international organization of ISO makes and publishes international standards, and 168 countries follow their guidelines in various projects.

When Were Credit Cards Introduced?

When Were Credit Cards Introduced?

The inception of credit cards in the United States started in the 1920s. Now, these credit cards weren't what you have in your wallet today. They were closer to a mix between a loyalty card and a credit card. The credit cards were issued by hotel chains and oil companies and could only be used at the company's outlets.

In 1950, the first credit card as you know them today was introduced by the Diners' Club, Inc. This universal credit card was available to use at many different types of stores, instead of just company outlets like the original credit card prototypes. At the time, this was the first time that you could take a card around to many retailers and not have to have the cash with you for the purchase. That was the best credit card available until competitors started to hit the scene in 1959 when American Express released their travel and entertainment card.

With this innovation came a need for better security measures and standards to protect people from fraudsters. Scammers might try to use stolen identities or impersonate real account holders by using fraudulent identification numbers associated with those accounts.

Credit cards are the common payment method in the United States, with over 200 million households using them. Credit cards are also one of the most convenient ways to pay for goods and services. Many people use a credit card as their primary source of payment, and it can be used at any time — even outside the U.S. or Canada.

Who Issues Credit Cards?

Who Issues Credit Cards?

Banks and other financial institutions issue credit cards, such as credit unions, issuing the cards to customers with certain qualifications and requirements. Credit card issuers look for different requirements based on the credit limit of the card, but having a decent credit score, a fairly clean credit report, a credit history with some length to it, and income to be able to pay them for the credit that was provided are the main things they are looking for.

Some cards are free while others have an annual fee — some have even lower fees than debit cards! Some credit cards offer rewards programs where you can earn points toward cash back or travel rewards.

Different Kinds Of Cards

Different Kinds Of Cards

Credit Cards

The reason credit cards are so named is that they provide you with credit to purchase things even if you don't have the funds available to you at the time. You can make large purchases that you may want to only make the minimum payment on for a while, and that wouldn't be possible with a debit card. This isn't recommended as splitting up a purchase using a credit card you will end up paying credit card companies much more than the price of the item because of the credit card interest rates.

To recap, credit cards provide credits or loans. You can purchase things through your credit card because it provides you credits to spend. So, the card issuer pays instead of you, and then you must pay them the spent amount and potentially other charges if you don't pay the credit card bill in full. If this is at all confusing, I get it. If you want another primer, Disney gave a pretty good explanation of how credit works in the 2021 film Raya and the Last Dragon in the scene where they go shopping for gifts for Dang Hai.

Credit cards are now more durable, compact, and flexible than ever before. They’re also easier to carry around in your wallet or purse than they were in the past, thanks to the introduction of contactless payment that allow you to swipe a card without ever taking it out of its holder, and the magnetic stripe that holds the credit card information so you can just swipe and not have to fill out any paperwork.

The higher your credit score the higher credit limits you can have available to you, as well as having better perks like no foreign transaction fee, low or no balance transfer fees, cash advances, and low introductory APRs.

This is why we frequently recommend to people with credit card debt, to consolidate their debt into one credit card that has an introductory 0% APR for the first 12-18 months. This relieves the compounding interest included in your monthly payments and puts you in charge.

Credit cards, also known as charge cards, are plastic cards with a magnetic strip that can have different logos. These cards are usually accepted anywhere that accepts cash and are good for purchases of goods and services. Visa or MasterCard are the dominantly used credit cards.

Debit Card

These cards do not allow you to carry a balance or make purchases with them; instead, debit purchases simply transfer funds directly from your checking account into the merchant’s account when you use them at checkout. Debit cards are also called check cards or ATM cards, depending on where your bank issues them.

You can use debit cards for purchasing and paying as well. So, you don’t need to carry checks or cash in your pocket and can withdraw your existing money from them.

Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are called secured because the card issuer can’t lose. You’ll have to provide collateral of the same value as the secured credit card is offering you. Providing collateral means you’ll hand over property or other valuables if you fail to pay the credit/debit provided.

Secured credit cards are available to people who do not have good credit but want to borrow money for a home or a vehicle. A secured credit card needs you to deposit some money into a bank account you can use to pay back the debt if you run into financial trouble. When applying for one of these cards, you will probably need to provide a personal identification number (PIN) and your social security number.

If you have bad credit, you might be only eligible for secured credit cards. This might apply to someone who just turned 18 and is starting their credit journey, so a secured credit card isn't a bad thing it is just another tool in your tool belt for increasing your credit score.

Charge Cards

Charge cards let you pay like credit cards, but they are different. Charge cards don’t have a balance, and you receive the full statement monthly to pay. If you fail to pay the amount in full, you are penalized, and your card is taken back.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are like coupons. But you don’t buy coupons while gift cards are often bought. So, you have a balance on the gift card, which can be used for purchases. Gift cards have a fixed value which ends when you shop around and use them.

Contactless Cards

Without having to swipe your card, contactless cards allow you to touch or pass it over the scanner. Most smartphones also include contactless payment functionality, so you won’t even have to look for your purse.

Contactless payments are convenient for small transactions like parking fees or subway fares. They’re also useful when making purchases at stores that don’t accept physical credit cards—like farmers’ markets and pharmacies or places with no cashiers on-premises (though this isn’t always the case).

Contactless payment terminals typically accept most credit and debit cards; however, some merchants may not accept contactless payments if their system isn’t configured for it.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, all credit or payment cards have the same standard size. Whether you get a credit or debit card, you’ll receive a card of the same size. This is beneficial because when using a financial product you don't want to worry if your credit card will fit in the machine every time you go to use it.

Credit cards can be a great tool for your financial life, but credit card use should come with caution.