Three-Fourths of U.S. Adults Now Own Debit Cards

Engagement at all-time high, says report

Debit Card

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- More than 71% of American adult consumers (more than 170 million) now have a debit card, up almost 14 percentage points in five years, according to Debit Cards in the U.S., a report by Packaged Facts.

The market research publisher expects debit volume and value to grow more than 7% in 2014 and 2015 as it continues to chip away at the more than $3 trillion of cash and check expenditures that remain ripe for electronic conversion.

Debit Cards in the U.S. revealed that approximately 52% of U.S. adults are engaged debit card users--those who have used a branded (Visa or MasterCard) debit card for purchase in past 30 days, an increase of almost 17% during 2010-2013.

Debit card engagement is in fact at an all-time high, Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle said.

Between 2008 and 2010, debit card usage jumped by eight percentage points, which Packaged Facts attributed to two factors. First, consumers susceptible to credit tightening and credit-card account closings sought cards they could more readily obtain. And second, more consumers became attracted to debit cards as a way to police spending in an environment where saving money and cutting spending gained significance.

In more recent years, Packaged Facts said, a healthier economy and successful debit card marketing strategies are the primary drivers of growth in debit card usage. This growth has continued even though programs that reward debit card use are becoming increasingly rare, which suggests that while perks for usage are nice, the debit card has moved into a stage where usage is so permeated and expected that incentives for use are not needed as much.

Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods and pet products and services.