Have you ever stopped to look at your plastic cards, including credit cards, ATM cards and debit cards? If you have, you may have noticed that they're all the same size. Even many gift cards have the exact same measurements. Why is that, and what are the dimensions of a credit card?
What Is the Standard Credit Card Size?
The exact size of a credit card is as follows, according to WalletHub:
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- Width: 3.37 inches, or 85.6 millimeters
- Height: 2.125 inches, or 53.98 millimeters
- Thickness of a credit card: .0299 inches, or .76 millimeters
There are other design elements that all credit cards have in common. For one thing, the magnetic stripe is in the same position on all charge cards regardless of the credit card issuer.
Credit card numbers are almost always printed in the same place on the front of the card. They used to be raised but no longer need to be. A few different credit cards have begun putting the numbers elsewhere, but that's still rare. Most credit cards also have rounded corners and place the logo, signature strip and other elements in the same places.
Why Are Credit Cards the Same Size?
Thanks to the International Organization for Standardization, credit and debit cards are all the same size. This organization sets international standards across many industries and for various products. The main reason credit card companies adhere to these dimensions is to guarantee that their customers can use their accounts everywhere. In other words, whether you carry a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or another brand, you can use it in any standard card reader.
There are other incentives for credit card issuers (including Amazon and Bank of America) to use the standard size. Consumers expect a distinct look and feel from cards, and there's something to be said for familiarity. This is true even when someone gets their first credit card. The uniformity of card sizes also makes it easier to make wallets and card holders. Even drivers' licenses and identification cards usually follow the same template.
Technically, there are no different sizes or shapes for credit cards, at least not those that are widely accepted. There are other ways to personalize your card if you want something more unique. Many companies allow you to choose from a selection of images, allowing you to choose the logo for your favorite sports team, a preferred cartoon character or a peaceful scene. In some cases, you can even upload your own photo to use as the background of your card. You could see your loved ones or a treasured travel destination every time you pay.
Alternatives to Using Credit Cards
Some options exist if you don't want to carry credit cards. First, you could consider using cash, explains PrimeWay Federal Credit Union. Spending cash instead of charging (even with a debit card) has been proven to lower credit card debt and improve your credit score. If you still want to charge, you may be able to use your smartphone instead of the card. Programs like digital credit cards and Apple Pay are widely available, even in independent businesses. Keep a $20 bill handy in case the corner coffee shop doesn't accept it yet.
The magnetic strip has largely given way to the chip reader in recent years. Is that a sign that credit cards themselves are on the way out? As more consumers switch to digital forms of payment, fewer and fewer people may carry credit cards. However, it's unlikely that companies will stop issuing physical cards anytime soon. Customers expect them, and sometimes retailers or others accepting payment need to see a physical credit card and ID card for verification.