Have you ever stopped to consider how convenient it is that all of your credit cards fit perfectly into the slots in your wallet, no matter what type of card it is?
Banking cards, credit cards and even government-issued ID cards follow specific, predetermined size standards.
Not only does it make it convenient for you to carry them around, but it makes it easier for machines to read and identify the cards when making a purchase or withdrawing cash.
Credit card dimensions
The standardized size of a credit card is as follows:
- Credit card size in centimetres: 8.56 cm wide by 5.398 cm high.
- Credit card size in millimetres: 85.6 mm wide by 53.98 mm high.
- Credit card size in inches: 3.375 inches wide by 2.125 inches wide.
While the size of the credit card stays constant, the design, material and placement of your credit card numbers will vary by credit card depending on the type of card you get, as well as the credit card issuer. This makes the cards easier to identify when you’re looking for the one you want to use.
However, the standard size ensures that no matter the type of credit card you have or where you are, it will still fit into the credit card terminals or ATM machines.
What are credit cards made out of?
The vast majority of credit cards on the market are made out of plastic. Specifically, PVC which is a composition of polymers of vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride. It’s a dense, water-resistant material that is flexible and durable, which makes it ideal for credit cards because they undergo heavy use.
In recent years, there’s been an increase in metal credit cards, which are more sleek and durable than their plastic counterparts.
Why credit cards have a standard size
Credit cards are all the same shape and size and have been since the first credit card was released by the Bank of America in 1958. The size was not based on what would fit in a wallet but rather to meet the identification card size standards implemented by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO . These standards apply worldwide to all ISO member countries. The ISO sets standards for a variety of products and services, including technology, food safety and identification cards.
All financial cards, including credit cards, charge cards and debit cards fall under the ID-1 category, which means they must be 8.66 cm wide and 5.4 cm in height. This size standard is sometimes referred to as CR80.
Standard credit card sizes make it easier for payment-related technology to accept credit cards. For example, you have to insert your credit card a certain way in credit card machines at businesses and ATMs in order to have it read and processed correctly.
Credit card weight and thickness
Though all credit cards do need to be the same size in terms of height and width, they can vary in weight. Unsurprisingly, metal credit cards weigh significantly more than plastic ones. For example, the Platinum Card from American Express weighs 17.5 grams. In comparison, a typical plastic credit card will only weigh about 5 grams.
Thickness is also standardized by the ISO. All credit cards must be .76 mm thick ( or 0.0299 inches). This goes for both plastic and metal credit cards. The metal ones just seem bigger because they are heavier.
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Black credit cards are exclusive and may be available on an invitation-only basis. Black credit cards tend to have high fees and spending requirements.
The best prepaid cards are reloadable, earn rewards, have minimal fees, and allow you to make in-store purchases, pay bills online, send e-transfers, and more.
A credit card CVV, or card verification value, is a three- or four-digit security code that appears on your credit card and is used to prevent fraud.