BACK

Research and Statistics

Infographic: Card market continues climb but subprime still in hole

Summary

Americans now have more cards open than at the end of 2008

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The number of open credit cards in America, after plunging on the heels of the 2008 financial crisis, settled into a three-year valley from 2010-2012. But account numbers have steadily ticked up since then – so steadily, in fact, that Americans now have more cards open than at the end of 2008.

Citing a solidifying labor market and rising wages, the American Bankers Association’s latest Credit Card Market Monitor shows strength across the market for the fourth quarter of 2016, including year-over-year growth in new account openings (9.7 percent), total accounts (8 percent) and monthly purchase volumes (9.9 percent).

But not every segment of the market has emerged from the hole dug by the Great Recession. Within total card accounts, the composition of prime, subprime and super-prime accounts has shifted dramatically. Compared to 7 percent growth overall, the super-prime market has grown 22 percent. Prime accounts grew less than the average, at just 4 percent, but that’s still in positive territory versus the 2008 watermark.

It’s subprime that has yet to surface. Growth in the highest-risk market hasn’t been less steady than other segments – in fact, it’s often been the fastest-growing, as it was in the fourth quarter of 2016 when it showed 16 percent year-over-year growth. But what’s different is the depths to which the subprime market fell in 2010-2012, as it shouldered the biggest brunt of the industry’s credit tightening.

At the end of 2008, subprime accounts numbered 85 million and comprised 26 percent of all accounts. By 2013, subprime accounts had sunk to 52 million accounts and represented just 18 percent. After three years of increases, subprime is now back up to about a fifth of accounts (21 percent) and totals 73 million cards. But that still leaves the segment 14 percent below 2008 figures.

The American Bankers Association’s Credit Card Market Monitor is published every quarter, drawing on data from a nationally representative sample provided by Argus Information Services. The latest monitor was released April 27, 2017.

See related:Subprime card applicants still facing tight credit, More infographics

To use the graphic on your site, use the following code:

<center><a href=”http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/infographic-card-market-continues-climb-but-subprime-still-in-hole.php”><img alt=”CreditCards.com Infographic: Card market continues climb but subprime still in hole” border=”0″ src=”http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/images/Infographic-card-market-climb-subprime-still-in-hole.png” /></a> </center>

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Rate survey: Average card APR spikes to all-time high of 15.80 percent

May 3, 2017: The national average APR for new credit card offers rose to an all-time high, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Published: May 3, 2017

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: April 19th, 2019
Business
15.32%
Airline
17.50%
Reward
17.56%
Cash Back
17.60%
Student
17.79%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.