Since the start of the recession the number of Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts has dropped like a rock. Credit cards hit turbulent waters in the final three months of 2008 and have fallen out of favor as debit cards have taken over. According to CardData, compared to January 2008 the number of accounts has declined by at least 40 million in the U.S. and could exceed 80 million once final second quarter data are released. The number of Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts peaked at 496 million one year ago. At the end of March of this year the number had fallen to 446 million. MasterCard reports that its credit card accounts declined from 206 million as of March 31st to 184 million at mid-year. Visa reported that its credit card accounts dropped from 258 million as of December 31st to 240 million as of March 31st. (Visa will release official Q2 figures in late October.) According to CardData, the 9% drop through the first quarter and MasterCard’s second quarter figures, projects to 404 million credit card accounts at mid-year or an 18% year-on-year decline.
CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS (Visa and MasterCard) 1Q/08: 490 million 2Q/08: 496 million 3Q/08: 492 million 4Q/08: 479 million 1Q/09: 446 million 2Q/09: 404 million (projected) Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)