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Australian credit card, debit card and debt statistics

By Daniel Ross

This page contains consumer credit and debt statistics -- including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, debit cards, prepaid cards, bankruptcies and more -- compiled by an Australia.CreditCards.com research team. Statistics on this page will be updated periodically. 

 

Bankruptcy

Total number of bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements for the September quarter 2014: 7,466 -- a decrease of 189 from the March quarter 2014. 1

Total number of bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements fell 0.2% in the September quarter 2014 (7,466) compared to the September quarter 2013 (7,482) and increased 8.5% compared to the June quarter 2014 (6,884). 2

Total number of bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements in 2012-2013 was 30,822. 3

Total number of bankruptcies for the September quarter 2014: 4,390 -- a decrease of 542 from the March quarter 2014. 1

The number of bankruptcies fell 11.6% in the September quarter 2014 compared to the September quarter 2013. There were drops in all states and territories except the Northern Territory and South Australia. 2

Provisional number of bankruptcies in 2013-2014 was 18,601. 4

Total number of bankruptcies in 2012-2013 was 20,876. 3

Total number of debt agreements for the September quarter 2014: 3,010 -- an increase of 332 from the March quarter 2014. 1

Debt agreements in the September quarter 2014 were the highest number on record in a quarter. The Australian Capital Territory experienced the largest increase in debt agreements over the previous year -- 70.7%. 2

Provisional number of debt agreements in 2013-2014 was 10,704. 4

Total number of debt agreements in 2012-2013 was 9,652. 3

Total number of personal insolvency agreements for the September quarter 2014: 66. 1

Personal insolvency agreements comprised 0.9% of total personal insolvency activity (which includes bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements) in the September quarter 2014. The number of agreements was 20.0% higher than the September quarter 2013 total of 55. 2

Provisional total of personal insolvency activity (which includes bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements) in 2013-2014 was 29,514. 4

Provisional number of personal insolvency agreements in 2013-2014 was 208. 4

Total number of personal insolvency agreements in 2012-2013 was 294. 3

 

Business credit cards

Visa business credit cards are the most popular among Australian businesses, with 27% of microbusinesses and 32% of small, medium and large businesses using one. 24

American Express business credit cards are the least popular among Australian businesses, with 9% of microbusinesses and 19% of small, medium and large businesses using one. 24

 

Card ownership

Number of credit card and charge card accounts as of October 2014: 15.6 million -- a slight increase from the October 2013 total of 15.5 million. 6

Number of credit card accounts with an interest-free period as of October 2014: 14,034,000 -- an increase from the October 2013 total of 13,870,000. 5

Number of credit card accounts without an interest-free period as of October 2014: 263,000 -- a decrease from the October 2013 total of 300,000. 5

Growth in credit card applications was 7% in the September 2014 quarter, up from 1.4% in the June 2014 quarter. All states except South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory experienced growth. 11

 

Credit card use

Value of transactions made with credit cards with an interest-free period as of October 2014: $20.5 billion -- an increase of more than $1 billion from October 2013's total of $19.42 billion. 5

Value of transactions made with credit cards without an interest-free period as of October 2014: $131 million -- a decrease from the October 2013 total of $150 million. 5

The average Australian spent $15,859 on their credit card during 2013 -- a rise of 3.8% from 2012. 7

The average monthly usage per credit card as of February 2013: 11.4 times. 13

 

Credit limits

Combined credit limits for credit cards with an interest-free period as of October 2014: $129 billion -- an increase from the October 2013 total of $124 billion. 5

The average Australian had a credit limit of $9,329 on their credit card during 2013 -- a rise of 0.8% from 2012. 7

 

Credit card debt

The average amount of credit card debt per cardholder is $4,200. 8

Over half a million Australians carry more than $5,000 in credit card debt. 14

Around 2 million Australians, representing 27% of credit card users, did not pay off their personal credit card debt in full each month in 2013. This compares to 24% of credit card users in 2009 who did not pay their balances in full each month. 14

Total balance held on credit cards with an interest-free period as of October 2014: $44.5 billion -- an increase from the October 2013 total of $43.9 billion. 5

Total balance held on credit cards without an interest-free period as of October 2014: $362 million -- a decrease from the October 2013 total of $469 million. 5

Total balance held on all credit cards and charge cards as of October 2014: $49.6 billion -- a slight increase from the February 2013 total of $48.9 billion. 6

Total balance accruing interest on all credit cards and charge cards as of October 2014: $33.4 billion -- a slight decrease from the October 2013 figure that totaled almost $33.9 billion. 6

The average Australian had a balance of $3,151 on their credit card during 2013 -- a drop of 1.5% from 2012. 7

In Western Australia and Victoria, the median value of credit card debt per household that owed debt as of March 2012 was $4,000. 25

In Southern Australia, the median value of credit card debt per household that owed debt as of March 2012 was $3,000. 25

 

Credit reporting and scores

(It should be noted that, in light of the recent changes to the credit reporting system, experts believe that it will take months if not years before a comprehensive archive of relevant consumer credit information is gathered together.)

85% of consumers have never accessed their credit file. 9

74% of consumers are not aware of the recent changes to the credit reporting system (from negative credit reporting to comprehensive credit reporting). 9

37% of Aussies who accessed their credit report in the past two years were given guidance on how to read the information on their credit report, and told what to do if any of the information was inaccurate. 9

81% of Australians are not concerned about their credit history. 10

The national average Veda score in Australia is 749. 10

The state with the highest average Veda score is Tasmania: 763. 10

The state with the lowest average Veda score is Northern Territory: 731. 10

Women have better average Veda scores than men: averaging a score of 775 as opposed to 743. 10

 

Total consumer debt

As of Dec. 23, 2014, Australia's overall debt per household was proportionate to 150% of disposable income. 17

As of Nov. 27, 2014, the interest Australians paid per household was proportionate to 9% of disposable income. 17

Overall consumer credit demand, as measured by the volume of credit card and personal loan applications processed at the Veda Consumer Credit Bureau, shrank by 1.8% in the September 2014 quarter (vs September 2013 quarter). 11

 

Debit Cards

Number of debit card accounts as of October 2014: 39,565,000 -- an increase from 37,656,000 in October 2013. 12

Number of cash-out transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: 23.7 million -- a slight increase from 24.2 million in October 2013. 12

Total value of cash-out transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: $1.596 billion -- a slight increase from $1.564 billion in October 2013. 12

Number of purchase transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: 333.9 million -- a slight increase from 298.7 million in October 2013. 12

Total value of purchase transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: $18.2 billion -- an increase from $16.5 billion in October 2013. 12

Total number of purchase and cash-out transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: 337.5 million -- an increase from 302 million in October 2013. 12

Total value of purchase and cash-out transactions per month using a debit card as of October 2014: $19.8 billion -- an increase from $18.1 billion in October 2013. 12

Australians used their debit cards an average 14.6 times per month as of February 2013. 13

The number of debit cards on issue has tripled during the last four years, while credit cards have remained largely stable overall. 13

 

Delinquency

In 2010, one quarter of Aussies who settled their bills late paid their bill at more than 30 days past term. 28

 

Identity theft, fraud

Australians lost $1.4 billion due to personal fraud during 2010-2011. 15

6.7% of Australians aged 15 or older were victims of at least one incident of personal fraud during 2010-2011. 15

3.7% (662,300) of Australians were victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 -- an increase from 2.4% in 2007. 15

0.3% (44,700) of Australians were victims of identity theft during 2010-2011 -- a decrease from 0.8% in 2007. 15

2.9% (514,500) of Australians were victims of scams during 2010-2011 -- an increase from 2.0% in 2007. 15

34.4% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 reported two or more incidents. 16

94% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 reported that only one card was fraudulently used. 16

50.3% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 were informed about the crime by a bank or financial institution. 16

72.4% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 sought reimbursement from their card issuers. 16

64% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 received reimbursement by their card issuers. 16

33.2% of victims of credit card fraud during 2010-2011 indicated that they lost money even after receiving reimbursement. 16

Total fraud on cheques and payment cards from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 totaled nearly $351 million -- an increase from 16.1 cents to 18.7 cents per $1,000 spent from the 12 months prior. 19

The overall amount of payment card fraud during 2013-2014 was a little over $343 million. 19

Card-not-present (CNP) fraud represented the bulk of payment card fraud during 2013--2014: $256.1 million (the majority of which occurred overseas) -- an increase from $199.2 million during the year prior. 20

There were 617,366 transactions made in Australia with lost or stolen cards during 2013--2014 at a value of $123.2 million. 20

There were 834,627 transactions made overseas with lost or stolen Australian cards during 2013--2014 at a value of $197.9 million. 20

10% of Aussies say that they were a victim of credit card fraud at least once between 2009 and 2014. 27

 

Merchant fees

The average fees that merchants paid to accept MasterCard or Visa in September 2014 totaled 0.84% of the purchase price, vs. 0.81% a year earlier. 18

The average fees that merchants paid to accept American Express in September 2014 was 1.73% of the purchase price, vs. 1.78% a year earlier. 18

The average fees that merchants paid to accept Diners Club in September 2014 was 2.11%, vs. 2.03% a year earlier. 18

The average fees that merchants paid to accept EFTPOS transactions in September 2014 was 16.30 cents, vs. 16.38 cents a year earlier. 18

 

Online, contactless, mobile use

Online sales are expected to continue to grow, reaching an estimated 9.8% of total retail sales by 2017. 21

Roughly 45% of what Australians spend online goes to overseas-based websites. 21

41% of smartphone users have made a purchase via their phone. 22

In 2012-2013, Aussies spent up to $13.9 billion online. 23

69% of Aussies owned a contactless card as of September 2013. 23

Contactless payments represent more than 10% of all card transactions. 23

 

Rewards

In 2011, among the four major Aussie credit card issuing banks, the average amount of spending required for a $100 shopping voucher was $8,400 -- up from $16,000 in 2006. 26

 

Sources:

1. Australian Financial Security Authority, quarterly statistics: September quarter 2014

2. Australian Financial Security Authority media commentary: September quarter 2014

3. Australian Financial Security Authority, Commentary: annual statistics 2012--2013

4. Australian Financial Security Authority, Commentary: provisional annual statistics 2013--2014

5. Reserve Bank of Australia: Additional Credit Card Statistics C1.1 (Excel spreadsheet)

6. Reserve Bank of Australia: Credit and Charge Card Statistics C1 (Excel spreadsheet)

7. MasterCard: A new year for payments (press release: March 2014 edition)

8. Australian Securities and Investments Commission credit card debt clock

9. Experian -- "Australian unaware of new legislation" (press release 12 March 2014)

10. Veda Credit Score Card (October 2013)

11. "Credit demand mixed with hunger for credit cards" (Veda press release, 17 October 2014

12. Reserve Bank of Australia: Debit Card Statistics (Excel spreadsheet)

13. Roy Morgan research into card usage (press release April 11, 2013)

14. ASIC Roy Morgan: smart people not so smart with their money (ASIC press release March 12, 2014)

15. Australia Bureau of Statistics: Personal Fraud Costs (press release, April 2012)

16. Australian Bureau of Statistics: press release on credit card fraud, 18 April 2012

17. Reserve Bank of Australia: Household Sector Household Finances (released 2 April 2014)

18. Reserve Bank of Australia: Average merchant fees for debit, credit and charge cards (Excel spreadsheet)

19. Australian Payments Clearing Association: Fraud Statistics 2014 Financial Year

20. Australian Payments Clearing Association: Scheme Credit, Debit and Charge Card Fraud 2014 Fiscal Year

21. Frost and Sullivan: press release on online shopping, 2013

22. Australian digital statistics 2014 (press release 9 January 2014)

23. Australian Payment Clearing Association: Submission to the Financial System Inquiry

24. Roy Morgan research into business credit card usage (press release August 2013)

25. Reserve Bank of Australia: Distribution of Household Debt (Excel spreadsheet)

26. Reserve Bank of Australia: Personal Credit Card Market in Australia (March quarter 2012)

27. Parking and Traffic Consultants: EMV Credit Card Technology (2014 update)

28. Dun and Bradstreet: One in three Aussies pay their bills late (press release, May 2010)

Updated: January 14, 2015

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