Bank Issued Credit Cards.

Jars filled with cut up credit cards
April 8, 2024 Uncategorized

According to the Canadian Bankers Association (“CBA”), in 1977 there were 8.2 million Canadian bank issued credit cards in circulation.  With a population of 24 million that worked out to be less than one card per family.  By 2023 there were closer to 100 million bank issued credit cards in circulation.  Since the population had grown to about 42 million that worked out to be about 7 cards per family.  Why would bankers allow so many cards to be issued to so many people, with so little money?  Let’s face it just look at your bank statement – the banks know where every penny you spend goes it is clearly labelled and easy for them to audit. 

Average Spend on Credit Cards.

The CBA also reported that the average credit card sale in 1977 was valued at about $140 (in 2023 dollars) while by 2023 it had plummeted to about 1/3rd of that value – indicating that cards were being used both more often and for much smaller purchases (a loaf of bread or bag of milk). Oddly enough, the CBA stopped publishing embarrassing credit card statistics in 2018 and deleted the previously published data from their website, however they can’t hide from the waybackmachine.

Canadians are saturated with high interest-bearing credit cards, averaging 21%, with payment terms calculated, miraculously, over many lifetimes – we have seen interest calculated over terms of 420 years (of minimum monthly payments) from chartered banks.  It is well known in the lending and insolvency industries that consumers are frequently using one form of credit to make payments on another form of credit – they are more afraid of losing access to more debt than losing the debt altogether, largely due to the incongruence between incomes and living costs.