Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

25 interesting credit card facts

Think you know about the ins and outs of credit cards? Think again.

The secret lives of credit cards

Credit card fact #1 – Credit cards were originally like today’s department store cards — offered by individual stores and only for use at those stores. The first one to be used at multiple locations was offered by The Diner’s Club in the US in 1950 – it was good for use in 27 restaurants in New York City.

Credit card fact #2 – American Express issued its first credit card in 1958 and their Black Centurion card today has a $2,500 annual fee and minimum spend requirement of $250,000 a year. That’s not earnings, that’s spending – and it’s in US dollars.

Credit card fact #3 – Visa began life as BankAmericard, offered by Bank of America in 1958. It became Visa in 1976.

Credit card fact #4 – Visa stands for Visa International Service Association.

Credit card fact #5 – The Visa logo colours represent the blue of the sky and the gold of the hills in California where Bank of America was founded.

Credit Card Fact #6 – Mastercard began life as MasterCharge and was formed by four Californian banks in 1967. It became Mastercard in 1979 and it was the first card to use holograms.

Credit card fact #7 – In September 2016, the average Canadian had $3,954 of credit card debt – up about $10 from 2015.

Credit card fact #8 – It is against the merchant agreements of Mastercard, Visa, and American Express for a vendor to require you to provide your phone number, home address or other personal information. You also do not need to present a driver’s license or spend above a certain purchase amount.

Credit card fact #9 – As of December 2017, there were 74.3 million Visa and Mastercard credit cards in circulation in Canada.

Credit card fact #10 – You do not have to sign anything to agree to the cardholder agreement. You are agreeing to this when you first use your card.

Credit card fact #11 – If you have several debts on one card at different interest rates, payments are applied to the balance with the highest interest rate first.

Credit card fact #12 – A common clause in the terms and conditions is that the cardholder waives their right to sue the credit card company.

Credit card fact #13 – In 2016, the average number of credit cards owned by a Canadian adult was 2.2.

Credit card fact #14 – Minimum payments are so low because it allows the consumer to carry more debt. Someone who can only pay $100 per month can typically have a credit limit as high as $5,000.

Credit card fact #15 – Credit cards are all the same shape and size, as their dimensions are governed by the ISO 7810 standard, an international standard for identification cards.

Credit card fact #16 – With a simple phone call to your provider, you can often lower your interest rate if you suggest you might go elsewhere.

Credit card fact #17 – Credit card numbers conform to the Luhn algorithm, which is a simple checksum test on the number.

Credit card fact #18 – There are generally two types of magnetic strips: high-coercivity and low-coercivity. High-coercivity is stronger and more durable.

Credit card fact #19 – Higher-coercivity are usually black and low-coercivity strips are dark brown. Low-coercivity strip cards can be scrambled by a weak magnetic force, including mobile phones.

Credit card fact #20 – Visa and Mastercard operate zero-liability policies in respect to fraudulent use.

Credit card fact #21 – A potentially useful credit card trick for anyone under 18 (or the age of majority) is that they cannot be forced to pay back any charges on a credit card they own, because they are not allowed to enter into a legally-binding contract until they reach 18 (or the age of majority in their province or territory of residence).

Beginners guide to credit cards

Credit card fact #22 – In 2016, residents of Quebec had the highest percentage of Canadians with credit scores of 750 or above.

Credit card fact #23 – In 2016, residents of Nunavut had the highest percentage of Canadians with credit scores of 520 or lower.

Credit card fact #24 – In 1977, the average charge on a Visa and Mastercard credit card in Canada was $30.46. In 2017, it was $97.77. In 2008, the average was at an all time high of $112.80.

Credit card fact #25 – Finder Canada is a magnificent place to learn about and compare credit cards. We’re on your side.

Compare Canadian credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
EXCLUSIVE
Neo Financial Credit Card
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Get $25.00 when you apply for the Neo Financial Credit Card. Plus, earn an average 5% cashback at thousands of partners and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
Finder Award
OFFER
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
30,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 30,000 Points (up to $150 in value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, get the 1st year annual fee waived for the primary cardholder ($25 value). Apply by January 31, 2022.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an extra 15% cash back (up to $150) on up to $1,000 of everyday purchases in the first 2 months Until January 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an extra 15% cash back (up to $150) on up to $1,000 of everyday purchases in the first 2 months Until January 31, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by February 28, 2022.
Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back
9.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 10% bonus cash back at eligible restaurants and bars for the first 4 months (up to $500 spend). Plus, get a 9.99% introductory annual interest rate on purchases for the first 6 months.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
Walmart Rewards Mastercard
Up to $25 in Reward Dollars
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.89%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to $25 in bonus Walmart Reward Dollars.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

More guides on Finder

Go to site