How Long Is A Credit Card In Inches?
It’s quite likely that you own either a debit or credit card – they’re issued by practically every bank, and are in the hands of a staggering number of Americans! According to a 2019 Nilson Report, over 208 million adults in the US had a credit card in 2018. That’s over 80% of the adults in the country!
And there are so many cards available nowadays – and yet, somehow, they all manage to fit in the same place in your purse or wallet! Indeed, if they weren’t the same size and shape, they wouldn’t be able to easily work in many places at all.
If all of our cards were different shapes and sizes, can you imagine how many different readers and ATM terminals we’d need?
So, with that in mind, it’s clear – the size and shape of a credit card has to remain consistent. Not just that – but the materials used, and the very layout of the card too, all have to be carefully controlled so that they’re easy to use at shops and machines worldwide.
If you’re interested in learning more about the dimensions of a credit card, and how they’re made, then this article will tell you all you need to know. Read on to find out more!
One important dimension of credit and debit cards is their thickness. If they don’t conform to a uniform thickness, then using them in ATM terminals and card readers wouldn’t be easy, or perhaps even possible!
Too thick, and the card simply won’t fit into the slot, or won’t be able to be moved and manipulated by the mechanisms inside the machine. It might not even fit well into your wallet or purse – although many of us are I’m sure guilty of cramming too many cards into the same slot anyway!
Too thin, and the card could well lose durability, making it fragile and able to be damaged easily in your wallet or purse. Or potentially even the machine reader itself – possibly jamming it up, and rendering it useless for future customers!
It’s for these reasons and more that the cards thicknesses are kept within specific tolerances. Typically, a credit or debit card is 0.03 inches thick – which is also 0.76 millimeters. The thickness in inches can also be said to be 30 mil thick – one mil being one thousandth of an inch.
This is a standard thickness for credit and debit cards, as they are used similarly and often using the exact same machines. Plastic cards of other thicknesses do exist, from anything between 10 mil thick to over 30 mil, but they’re not typically used for credit and debit cards.
Width & Length
Just like the thickness of credit and debit cards, their width and length are also carefully controlled, in order to be exactly the same worldwide. Again, one of the key reasons for this uniformity is so that the cards can be read in any reader or ATM terminal, no matter where you are in the world.
A credit or debit card, no matter where in the world it is issued, or exactly which bank or financial institution issued it, will have dimensions of precisely 3.375 inches by 2.125 inches – in metric, that’s 85.6 millimeters by 53.98 millimeters.
Credit cards are actually almost exactly in the shape of what’s called a “golden rectangle” – a shape derived from an ancient mathematical ideal of balance and beauty, in the ratio 1:1.6. With a size ratio of 1:1.586, a credit card is almost – but not exactly – a shape fitting this ratio!
Why These DImensions?
These dimensions are actually an international standard, set out by the International Organization for Standardization. The specific standard is ISO/IEC 7810#ID-1.
You might look at different credit and debit cards and conclude that they’re all different – but in actual fact, they all must share key features that identify them as cards issued by financial institutions – and of course, the various features that actually make them work as payment cards in machines and readers worldwide!
Cards will have a long main number on them. You’ll usually find this number on the front, typically embossed – although this is being phased out by many issuers in favor of newer, slimline cards. And, of course, some card issuers have started to put this number on the back of the card instead.
This number is typically around 16 digits long, and is an important way of identifying the card not just as a credit or debit card, but as one belonging to a specific financial institution and account.
You’ll typically notice a number of logos and insignia on the card too. These tell you which bank issued the card, as well as which credit card network – i.e. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express – the card and account belong to. The specific brand name of the account or credit package type may also be printed on the card.
Somewhere on the card, typically (but not always) on the signature strip, there’ll be another string of numbers – usually 3 digits in most cases. This is an additional security feature called (amongst other names) the CSC – Card Security Code.
You’ll also have some dates on the card too – always an expiration date, and typically a date from which the credit or debit card is active. The card won’t be able to be used outside of these dates – so if your card is expired, it’s time to get in touch with whichever bank or institution issued it, and get a replacement!
And, of course, there’s the special features that make the card work in machines and readers. The magnetic stripe on the back of the card has been the main way that these have worked for many decades, but the majority of new cards will have additional features to facilitate quicker and easier transactions – such as the chips that enable contactless payment.
Most credit and debit cards – the overwhelming majority, in fact – are made out of a lightweight and durable plastic. They’re produced in their millions, so plastic makes for a great product to make them out of – it’s inexpensive, lasts a long time, is lightweight, and is easy to work with from a manufacturing point of view.
However, some extremely exclusive cards can be made from metal – and it’s even possible to get a card that’s actually plated in gold!
If you were wondering just why all credit and debit cards are the same size, then hopefully this article has helped to teach you something about the dimensions of a credit card – and why they are that way!