Credit card size

Credit Card Size – Size Matters Even In Payments

Introduction – An Evolution Journey

Plastic money or credit cards as they are commonly known, are the most accepted form of money these days. Credit cards have evolved into a highly adaptable financial tool. Thanks to digitization and online applications, the use of plastic money amongst the masses have increased manifolds. There are various kinds of cards like cash cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, travel cards, gift cards, balance transfer and credit cards etc. Here, you will get to know about credit cards size in detail.

Looking back, one will realise that the Credit cards have been around as early as the 20th century. In 1958, Bank of America was the first big bank to issue one. A biggest myth prevailing is that the earliest credit cards were designed to fit into a wallet whereas the truth is they were really designed to meet strict requirements imposed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The ISO establishes standards for everything from the safety of toys to the dimensions of credit cards. The measurements of identification cards defined by ISO/IEC are 7810:2003. This standard was created by the ISO in collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). All credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards  are required to be 85.6 mm x 53.98 mm (3.375 in × 2.125 in) in size and are classified under ID-1 cards. Regardless of category, all identification cards must be 0.76 mm thick.

Credit cards have evolved significantly over time, but their size has remained constant. Right from inserting cards into scanners, to sliding them through a little roller and getting a copy of the numbers on the card, to swiping, credit cards have come a long way with technological upgradation.

Dimensions of a Standard Credit Card

Credit card size

Source: speeli.com

All credit cards have a width of 3.37 inches (85.6 mm) and a height of 2.125 inches (53.98 mm). All credit cards have a common size as it is considerably more convenient for businesses to engage with them. If only the cards came in a variety of sizes, retailers and service providers would need heaps of card reading machines to ensure that each one could fit into a corresponding one.

Thankfully, organizations like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are there to create guidelines otherwise credit card issuers would have had to join together to simply agree on card sizes and this would have been a complex and pretty inconvenient procedure.

The ISO has 162 member countries, and ISO/IEC 7810#ID-1 sets the credit card dimensions rules that member countries must follow. Implying that not only are credit cards issued in the United States, but all around the world are of the same size.

Materials Used in Making of Credit Cards

Credit card size

Source: payspacemagazine.com

Despite the fact that all credit cards are the same size, they have drastically diverse designs. The material used to make cards is one distinguishing factor. The following are some of the most prevalent card materials:

  1. Metal: Luxury credit cards for customers who want to spend in style are frequently made of metal. Metal credit cards are typically heavier and have a more sophisticated appearance.
  2. Gold: Some high-end luxury cards are coated in gold, elevating their beauty and elegance to new heights.
  3. Plastic: Typical material used in credit card manufacturing. Plastic cards lack the exquisite appearance of metal or gold-plated cards, but are easier to carry in a wallet. A plastic credit card may be an only alternative if one doesn’t want or qualify for a higher-tier credit card.

What Is the Size of a Credit Card?

Credit card size

Source: Eggradients.com

There are four different card sizes, each with its own name: ID-000, ID-1, ID-2, and ID-3. The ID-1 size, often known as CR80, is used for credit cards. CR80 is the usual size for credit cards, ATM cards, and debit cards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) controls and defines the size and make of these cards.

Alongwith having rounded corners with a radius of 2.88–3.48 millimetres the dimensions of a regular CR80 credit card are as follows:

3.37 inches in width (85.6 mm)

2.125 inches in height (53.98 mm)

This implies that any card being used for regular commercial activities, such as a debit or a credit card or any purchase or even a gift card, will be approximately 3.5 inches by 2 inches in size. Credit cards are designed to be very adaptable. So that one doesn’t have to be concerned about the credit card being snapped in half and even if it happens by any chance, most credit card providers will replace the credit card for free.

Let’s take an example of a credit card having a thickness of 30 mil is classified under CR80 head. One Mil is equal to one thousandth part of 1 inch. The unit Mil is generally confused with millimetre, which is not the case. 

So that all payment machines are able to accept any card, it is important for all credit cards to have a standard thickness. Coordinating the payment systems would become a humongous task for businesses and cardholders if credit cards did not have a uniform thickness.

Furthermore, it is a prerequisite that all credit cards must have a long-lasting structure, which is the reason why the cards need to adhere to their predetermined thickness requirements  as defined by the International Organization for Standardization. Thankfully, credit card sizes are controlled to protect cardholders from becoming confused.

Credit Card Sizes in Different Measuring Units Are Displayed in the Chart Below:

Credit card sizeWidthHeightThicknessCorner Radius
Inch3.37 Inch2.125 Inch0.0625 Inch0.125 Inch
Centimeter (cm)8.56 cm5.39 cm0.159 cm0.318 cm
Millimeter (mm)85.6 mm53.98 mm1.588 mm3.18 mm
Pixels (72 DPI)242.64 px225 px4.5 px9 px
Pixels (300 DPI)1011 px637.5 px18.75 px37.5 px

Who Came Up with the Idea for This Criterion in the First Place?

Source: Networkencyclopedia.com

The implementation of a standard credit card size and thickness was done by International cooperation. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the authority on creating these. However, prior to that, other organisations also tried to standardise these features but none of them were able to achieve the same results as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) thereby making 

Following are the two main reasons why credit cards are all the same size.

  1. It’s the best size to fit in a wallet – neither too big nor too small.
  2. It ensures that relevant entities can better engage with credit cards. There will be no need for a variety of card readers to cover the whole range of measurements.

Also Read : Child Tax Credit 2021: All You Need to Know

It’s Unique and Improvised but Still the Same

Credit card size

Source: theconversation.com

Despite seeing so many changes, the credit cards’ size, thickness, and measurements have remained constant. Technology is constantly evolving. One may get a duplicate of the numbers on his/her credit card by running it through a tiny roller or can swipe the magnetic stripe with a chip reader, but the look and feel of the card remains the same. It may seem to be a trivial requirement to have the same measurements for all credit cards but it can have far-reaching consequences that are important enough to be given attention to.

Overall, one can choose a credit card based on the following factors:

  1. Design and aesthetics of the card,
  2. What material is used to make the card?
  3. Other features: include a rewards programme, an annual percentage rate, and other benefits.

In all possibilities, one can be sure that the card will be just the right size – it will neither be too big nor too small. The standard credit card size is just right to easily slip it into one’s wallet. While two people sitting next to each other may or may not have the same credit card but one thing is certain, the credit card dimensions for both are the same.

Bottom Line

The International Organization of Standardization has developed a standard measurement for all credit cards so that they can be used in any or all payment machines. Credit cards are 3.37 by 2.125 inches in size in order for card readers to read them. Wallet shopping and credit card purchases would substantially be more difficult without this standardisation. The credit card comes in a conventional size, but one may choose to modify it in a variety of ways to make it stand out.

Thanks to international standards, no matter which credit card one may apply for, it will be the same size. A credit card user can choose a card based on its material, design, or preferably characteristics like the APR, rewards programme, and bonuses. One may also be rest assured that his/her card will always fit in the wallet and in chip readers, so one would not have to worry about it being too big or little. Credit cards are always the same size because of ISO regulations, even though they work differently.

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