Volume of credit cards finally back up near pre-recession levels

It took six years, but the volume of credit cards is finally approaching pre-recession levels, according to an American Bankers Association report issued in June. As of the fourth quarter of 2014, the total number of open credit card accounts, and the volume of new cards being issued, are both nearing the levels they were at the end of 2008, when the recession was roaring through the economy.

The recession, which officially began in December 2007, caused an upheaval in the credit card industry. Creditors reacted to the downturn by slashing credit limits and shutting down accounts for existing customers, and not issuing new cards to any but the most creditworthy customers.

Unlike 2008, however, far more cards are in the hands of, or going to, people with top-tier credit. Although the number of cards given out to people with subprime credit scores ramped up at the end of 2014, it remains well below 2008 levels.

The data comes from the June edition of the association's quarterly publication, the Credit Card Market Monitor.


Number of new credit card accounts, 2008-2014

Total number of credit card accounts, 2008-2014


See related: Applying for a credit card? Your odds of approval, More infographics

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Updated: 01-21-2019