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UK Insights

Britain tops the global credit card ownership league

Richard Keogh

Managing Director, Consumer, at Kantar Media UK

Economy 22.10.2015 / 08:00

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Seven out of 10 brits have a credit card

73% of British adults own a credit card, putting Britain at the top of a Kantar Media TGI global league table, ahead of the USA (72%) in second place and Germany (62%) in third. Globally there are huge variations, with 42% of adults in China having a credit card, while in Russia the figure is just 12% and in India it's only 5%.

The high credit card ownership figures in Britain may reflect Kantar Media TGI research that Brits have a high likelihood to agree that they spend money without thinking.

When we ask whether people use their credit card once a week, we see that ownership and use do not always correlate. Whilst credit card ownership in China is still somewhat behind some of the European markets, use of credit cards is certainly comparable. 16% of adults in China use a credit card once a week or more, compared to only 7% in Germany (reflecting their overall careful approach towards spending and saving), 12% in Spain and 19% in Britain. This demonstrates to what extent Chinese consumer behaviour with regard to spending and buying on credit is very similar to many developed markets. The one market it is nothing like in this regard is the US, where 39% of adults use a credit card at least once a week, which demonstrates just how ingrained purchasing on credit is in the US consumer psyche compared to other markets.

The factor important to the highest proportion of adults in the Britain, the US and other key European markets - apart from France - when choosing a credit card is the same: no annual fee. However, the factor important to the next highest proportion of consumers varies. In both Germany and Spain, the credit card brand being widely accepted is at number two on the list and indeed in France this is the most important consideration. Not so in Britain or the US, where the second greatest consideration is the interest rate. Because credit card ownership and frequency of usage is so commonplace in these two countries, it is understandable that fundamentally cost-related factors rank so high.

Source : Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

The data used in this article is from Kantar Media TGI Great Britain, a continuous, single source survey of British adults (aged 15+) that is based on a robust, nationally representative sample of 25,000, with data released on a rolling quarterly basis.

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