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Average Size Of Credit Card Transaction

Contributed by mm | December 27, 2004 12:12 PM PST

CardWeb reported that in the last year, the average size of credit card transaction tops $100 for the first time. 2003's average of $101.64 is 1.9% higher than last year's $99.76 and represents 16% increase in 10 years.

Out of curiosity, I tabulated my numbers in the last three years from my Microsoft Money file:null

2002: 244 transactions for a total of $8,849.31, average = $36.27
2003: 516 transactions for a total of $26,235.60, average = $50.84
2004 Year-To-Date: 622 transactions for a total of $24,301.64, average = $39.07

For the record, my 2002 absolute charge amount is much lower because I started my life with credit card in the middle of that year. Also, my 2003 per-transaction charge is inflated due to a number of big-ticket items associated with my first house.

Anyway, I have almost no way to match the $100-some average by my fellow credit card users. Am I living poor to most of Americans or am I a master cheapskate?

CardWeb answered my question by commeting in the same report that "[t]he increase in credit card ticket size is clearly related to the sharp rise in debit card transactions which siphon off smaller transactions. The average off-line debit purchase transaction is currently $39.78."

Well, I am not a fan of debit cards -- the last time I used a debit card is in April, just before I got an American Express card to pay at Costco, which does not accept Visa or Mastercard. I strongly advocate all people with financial discipline to use credit card as the major payment channel for more rewards and more protection.

This Post Has Received 75 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Professor Jim Commented on January 1, 2005

This is a statistical phenomenon. Averages can be very misleading when there may be a small number of outlying data points. For example, with the rise in credit card incentives, people are more prone to use their credit cards for very large purchases. I bought a boat on credit card for $15,000 just for the travel incentives. (paid it off next month...) Statistically, a small number of transactions like this can dramatically raise the overall average transaction size.


Mr. K Commented on January 3, 2005

I have been downloading my credit card purchases since 2000...here is my data.

2000 - 200 tr = $6,781.28 avg $33.91
2001 - 265 tr = $8,993.17 avg $33.94
2002 - 280 tr = $10,294.60 avg $36.77
2003 - 328 tr = $12,014.61 avg $36.63
2004 - 275 tr = $11,860.80 avg $43.13

My averages seem to be falling into the same area as yours.
It would be interesing to see the averages charges broken out by income class.


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